I have noticed that there have been a number of MSM stories recently updating the status of the Christmas wars at department stores and shopping malls. The new angle is that there is evidence that some major stores are loosening up a bit and allowing a bit more diversity in the greetings used by salespeople and in their advertising departments. Limited use of the C-word appears to be a possibility. If you are not already burned out on this story (and I know many of you are), you might want to check out this wide-ranging story by Keven Eckstrom at Religion News Service that updates a number of boycotts, former boycotts and boycott threats. Some business leaders are backing down and listening to their customers, for better or for worse.
And, yes, the gang here at GetReligion has heard about the Cal Thomas "Christmas wars" column in which he, as he often does, to his credit, actually listens to conservative leaders and then asks them hard questions about what they are saying. Here is the top of this snappy column:
The effort by some cable TV hosts and ministers to force commercial establishments into wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" might be more objectionable to the One who is the reason for the season than the "Happy Holidays" mantra required by some store managers.
I have never understood why so many Christians feel the need to see and hear "Merry Christmas" proclaimed to them at stores by people who may not believe its central message. While TV personalities, junk mail letters and some of the ordained bemoan the increasing secularization of culture; perhaps some teaching might be helpful from the One in whose behalf they claim to speak.
However, let me get to the point of the headline on this post.
Has anyone seen a MSM report on the developments covered in this wire service report by veteran Baptist Press reporter Tom Strode here in Washington, D.C.? Are there any MSM reporters out there who would like to break what seems, to me, to be a major story for A-1 or the business section?
The poster child for the boybotts this year has been Target and Sears has been looming on the horizon. Thus, it is important that Strode writes:
Two of the country's largest retail chains have reversed course and are now directly acknowledging Christmas in their in-store promotions and advertising.
Target and Sears both informed the American Family Association, a pro-family organization based in Tupelo, Miss., they are using "Christmas," thereby changing their recent practice. As a result of Target's decision, AFA announced it would end its boycott of the chain. Although AFA had not called for a boycott of Sears and its subsidiary, Kmart, the organization had listed the company as one of those that had banned "Christmas" in favor of more generic words, such as "holiday."
Pro-family leaders who had called for changes by offending retailers welcomed the decisions.
"We are pleased to learn that Target has heard our concerns and decided to use Christmas in their advertising and marketing efforts," AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon said in announcing the end of the boycott in a written statement. "We think you will see a different approach next year. Corporate America is getting the word from the grassroots."
According to this report, Target executives said:
"Over the course of the next few weeks, our advertising, marketing and merchandising will become more specific to the holiday that is approaching -â€“ referring directly to holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah. ... For example, you will see reference to Christmas in select television commercials, circulars and in-store signage."
And what about the battle lines in the Salvation Army story? Stay tuned.