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Friday, November 11, 2005

'Tis the Season...For the War on Christmas

I know, I know. This has all the makings of one of those Urban Legend emails you get all the time. But my sources have confirmed it every which way, up to and including an interview by Mike Gallagher with Bill Donohue himself. If you think you can knock it down, let me know. The Wal-Mart website does indeed pull up the results from the article below. And Donohue swears up and down he recieved just the reply he describes:



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. It appears below in its exact form:

“Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. 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 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. It is a wide wide world.”

To which Catholic League president Bill Donohue says: “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. 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.”

Bill Donohue says: “It’s nice to know that Wal-Mart is closed on a federal holiday. Now here is why I am asking the leaders of 126 religious organizations that span seven religious communities to boycott Wal-Mart. Go to its website and search for Hanukkah and up come 200 items. Click on Kwanzaa and up come 77. Click on Christmas, and here’s what you get: ‘We’ve brought you to our ‘Holiday’ page based on your search.’ In other words, Wal-Mart is practicing discrimination.” Contact Fogleman at dan.fogleman@wal-mart.com.

Now, I'm not a member of the "bash Wal-Mart" crowd. But this really is ridiculous.

Update: 11:15 AM CST
Thanks to Nariel, who plugged in the word Christmas today, and found it brought up 7967 results. Looks like Wal-Mart has changed its search engine results. Looks like pressure works, and Wal-Mart responds quickly to negative press. Yippee!

Update 2: 2:15 PM CST
Snopes.com has replied to my query about the story.
You can read their response here.

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