Wal-Mart Replaces Christmas With “Happy Holidays”: Catholic Civil Rights Group Launches Boycott
By Terry Vanderheyden
NEW YORK, November 10, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic civil rights group is calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart stores after learning the retailer has replaced all reference to “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” in its advertising and in-store greetings.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights explained how a woman who recently complained to Wal-Mart that the store was replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” received an e-mail response from Customer Service.ÂÂ
The e-mail response from a Wal-Mart employee read as follows:
“Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this.Â The majority of the world still has different practices other than “christmas” which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with ‘christmas’ red and white are actually a representation of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal.Â It is a wide wide world.”
Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented on the e-mail: “This statement was signed by someone called Kirby. When I read it, I thought he might be drunk. But I was wrong. We sent Kirby’s response to Wal-Mart’s headquarters only to find that Dan Fogleman, Senior Manager, Public Relations, agrees. After acknowledging that he read Kirby’s response, Fogleman said, in part, the following:”
“As a retailer, we recognize some of our customers may be shopping for Chanukah or Kwanza gifts during this time of year and we certainly want these customers in our stores and to feel welcome, just as we do those buying for Christmas.Â As an employer, we recognize the significance of the Christmas holiday among our family of associates . . . and close our stores in observance, the only day during the year that we are closed.”
“It’s nice to know that Wal-Mart is closed on a federal holiday,” Donohue responded. Donohue said the reason why he is asking the leaders of 126 religious organizations that span seven religious communities to boycott Wal-Mart is because, if you go to Wal-Mart’s website and search for Hanukkah, it comes up with 200 items. Searching for Kwanzaa comes up with 77 items.
On the Wal-Mart website “Click on Christmas, and here’s what you get: ‘We’ve brought you to our ‘Holiday’ page based on your search,’” Donohue added. “In other words, Wal-Mart is practicing discrimination.” However, WorldNetDaily notes that the search also brings up a secondary link to click on, which reveals 7,970 items that match the “Christmas” term. When WND entered the name “Jesus,” 5,668 items were displayed.
According to Wikipedia, Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday observance held from December 26 to January 1 to honor African-American heritage in the United States. Wikipedia also explained that “with the rise of Christmas as the biggest holiday in the Western world and the establishment of the modern state of Israel, Hanukkah began increasingly to serve both as a celebration of the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in Israel and, more importantly, as a December family-oriented gift-giving holiday which could be a Jewish substitute for the Christian one.”
The percentage of Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa is listed at approximately 1.6 percent, while Jews make up only 2 percent of the US population. Christians, who most would say Christmas is their prime religious holiday, make up 80 percent of the US population, according to 2001 US census data.
The Catholic League has historically highlighted incidents of anti-Christmas shenanigans at businesses throughout the nation. Commenting on the hostility to the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child last year, Catholic League president William Donohue said, “What bothers these cultural fascists is traditional morality.”
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Dan Fogleman at [email protected]
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