Do Americans Actually Want More Christianity In Their Ads?

Photo:Nick Harvey/Rex.
The holiday season is all about traditions: last-minute shopping trips, group caroling outings, and "family values" organizations complaining about the War on Christmas. Why should this year be any different? The American Family Association just released its Naughty or Nice list ranking companies by how many overtly Christian symbols they used in their holiday marketing this year, or whether their employees are so crass as to utter "Happy Holidays" at the checkout aisle.
Topping the "nice" list? Chains like Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Lowes and ACE Hardware (Jesus was a carpenter). On the "naughty" (a.k.a. not enough Christ in their ads) side? Barnes & Noble, Offices Max and Depot, and Victoria's Secret. (Apparently, angels don't count if they're nearly naked.)
In case you’re not familiar, AFA is an organization which tasks itself with targeting the media and entertainment industry “attacks” on “traditional family values,” whatever those are. In a press release, AFA cites a 2013 Pew Research Center poll indicating that 90% of Americans celebrated Christmas last year, and that 72% of people surveyed were in favor of allowing Christian symbols on government property.
The group uses the stats to arrive at its big claim: Stores that "refuse to acknowledge Christmas" are out of sync with their shoppers. But, there are a couple things it forgot to mention. Roughly half of people under the age of 50 who observed the holiday weren't actually doing it with any religious bent, and 28% of people who supported Christian iconography in public spaces only did so if the symbols were accompanied by those from other faiths. Translation: Without a giant dreidel spinning near a 10-foot Buddha statue and a copy of the Qur’an, nativity scenes need not apply.
Because, while lots of people celebrate old-fashioned Christian Christmas, some don't, and the whole idea of living in a big, diverse country is that sometimes the majority does things to include the minority, like saying "Happy Holidays." The AFA's full list is here. It also includes a second-tier, slightly less naughty list, fraught with companies that only refer to Christmas infrequently, among which are Starbucks and Whole Foods.
As you're perusing, it's worth keeping in mind that some of the "nice" companies are a little less nice to women seeking affordable birth control, LGBT Americans, or employees looking for a living wage. Happy holidays, indeed.

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