"This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don't have goodwill toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power."— Martin Luther King, Jr., "A Christmas Sermon on Peace"
To a nation of snowflakes, Christmas has become yet another trigger word.
The latest Christmas casualties in the campaign to create one large national safe space are none other than the beloved animated classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (denounced for promoting bullying and homophobia) which first aired on television on December 6, 1964, and the Oscar-winning tune "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (accused of being a date rape anthem) crooned by everyone from Dean Martin to Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel in the movie Elf.
Also on the endangered species Christmas list are such songs as "Deck the Halls" (it supposedly promotes "gay" apparel), "Santa Baby" (it has been denounced for "slut shaming"), and "White Christmas" (perceived as being racist).
One publishing company even re-issued their own redacted version of Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem "Twas the night before Christmas" in order to be more health conscious: the company edited out Moore's mention of Santa smoking a pipe ("The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.")
Oh the horror.
After a year plagued with its fair share of Scrooges and Grinches and endless months of being mired in political gloom and doom, we could all use a little Christmas cheer right now.
Unfortunately, the politically charged Right and Left have been trying to score points off each other for so long, using whatever means available, that even Christmas has been weaponized.
Yet just because the War on Christmas has been adopted as a war cry by Donald Trump doesn't mean that it's not real.
Look around you.
When I was a child in the 1950s, the magic of Christmas was promoted in the schools. We sang Christmas carols in the classroom. There were cutouts of the Nativity scene on the bulletin board, along with the smiling, chubby face of Santa and Rudolph. We were all acutely aware that Christmas was magic.
Fast forward to the present day, and there is a phobia surrounding Christmas that has turned it into fodder for the politically correct culture wars.
Indeed, in its "Constitutional Q&A: Twelve Rules of Christmas," The Rutherford Institute points out that some communities, government agencies and businesses have gone to great lengths to avoid causing offense over Christmas.
Schools across the country now avoid anything that alludes to the true meaning of Christmas such as angels, the baby Jesus, stables and shepherds.
In many of the nation's schools, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths and candy canes have also been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God. One school even outlawed the colors red and green, saying they were Christmas colors and, thus, illegal.
Students asked to send seasonal cards to military troops have been told to make them "holiday cards" and instructed not to use the words "Merry Christmas" on their cards.
Many schools have redubbed their Christmas concerts as "winter holiday programs" and refer to Christmas as a "winter festival." Some schools have cancelled holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays.
In Minnesota, a charter school banned the display of a poster prepared to promote the school's yearbook as a holiday gift because the poster included Jack Skellington from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and other secular Christmas icons, not to mention the word "Christmas."
In New Jersey, one school district banned traditional Christmas songs such as "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night" from its holiday concerts. A New Jersey middle school cancelled a field trip to attend a performance of a play based on Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" because some might have found it "offensive."
In Texas, a teacher who decorated her door with a scene from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," including a scrawny tree and Linus, was forced to take it down lest students be offended or feel uncomfortable.
In Connecticut, teachers were instructed to change the wording of the classic poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to "Twas the Night Before a Holiday."
In Virginia, a high school principal debated about whether he could mention Santa or distribute candy canes given that they were symbols of Christmas.
In Massachusetts, a fourth-grade class was asked to list 25 things that reminded them of Christmas. When one young student asked if she could include "Jesus," her teacher replied that she could get fired if Christmas' namesake appeared on the list.
Things are not much better outside the schools.
In one West Virginia town, although the manger scene (one of 350 light exhibits in the town's annual Festival of Lights) included shepherds, camels and a guiding star, the main attractions—Jesus, Mary and Joseph—were nowhere to be found due to concerns about the separation of church and state.
In Chicago, organizers of a German Christkindlmarket were informed that the public Christmas festival was no place for the Christmas story. Officials were concerned that clips of the film "The Nativity Story," which were to be played at the festival, might cause offense.