So it seems Donald E. Wildmon and the rest of the crazies at the American Family Association are taking full aim at the Target Corp.'s bullseye:
In an effort to get Target to include "Christmas" in their in-store promotions and retail advertising for next year's (2006) season, we wrote Chairman Robert Ulrich. We told Chairman Ulrich that we knew it was too late to change his in-store promotions and retail advertising for this year. We asked him if Target would assure us that the company would make Christmas an integral part of their promotions and advertising next year.
We told Chairman Ulrich that if Target would honor our request, we would encourage our supporters and others to shop at Target. But we also said that if he refused, or did not respond, we would ask our supporters to boycott Target.
How did Chairman Ulrich respond to our request? He did not respond at all! Chairman Ulrich sent a clear message—Target will continue to ban "Christmas."
Boy, do I know how he feels! A few years back, I wrote on behalf of the Gerbil Liberation Front to notorious Richard Gere sympathizer the Dalai Lama, asking him to renounce his comrade's barbaric treatment of our rodent friends. All we got back was a form letter wishing us "peace and prosperity!"
Feh. Like that was going to silence us. Nosirree, Bob.
So I wrote again to tell him that if he would publicly distance himself from that gerbil-torturing menace, I would personally distribute copies of the abridged audiobook version of The Art of Happiness to all six of our members at the next meeting. And this time....nothing. No response at all! Not even a friendly "Gunga galunga."
The message couldn't be clearer. How many more gerbils must be sacrificed to these Buddhist assholes before the world wakes up and smells the fur shavings?!?
But I digress. It turns out Mr. Wildmon's missive is just the latest in what has become a cottage industry of protests decrying retailers for failing to make their Christmas displays sufficiently Christmas-y. Apparently, I'd already be well-aware of this, were it not for the fact that I use the parental controls on my cable box to block out the Fox News channel.
At first glance, it's hard to make out exactly what Target has done to invoke the AFA's ire. I was just at the Target in Falls Church the other day, and the store is festooned with Christmas decorations, most taking advantage of the fact that the company's primary colors are already red and white. There was a Santa ringing a bell outside. The cashier greeted me with "Merry Christmas" rather than the more generic "Happy Holidays." To the untrained eye, it would seem the charge of "banning Christmas" was pretty, well, off-Target.
Ahh, but that's just what they WANT you to think, notes Wildmon:
ATTENTION! Expect Target To Try To Confuse You
When you call Target, they will no doubt try to confuse you. You may be told their employees are free to greet people with a "Merry Christmas." You may be told that they support the Salvation Army. You may be told many things in order to confuse you.
Therefore, ask this one simple basic question and don't allow them to
confuse you. "Do you use the term 'Christmas' in your in-store
promotions developed by Target (not products you have for sale) and do
you include the term 'Christmas' in your retail advertising?"
Target refuses to use "Christmas" in their in-store promotions or in their retail advertising. If you are told they do, you are being mislead.
As Dave Barry would put it...I swear I am not making this up.
For my part, I have to say this whole movement just makes me feel really old. I can still remember when the main complaint emanating from the fundie set round the holidays was that Christmas had become too commercialized, and that the "reason for the season" was being lost amid all that rampant consumerism.
Apparently, that's no longer such a concern, or else you'd think Christians would be PLEASED that big box retailers were moving away from exploiting the name of their sacred holiday as part of something so vulgar as an in-store marketing campaign. I never got the memo declaring that the entire policy of Christianity changed toward being PRO-commercialization of Christmas, but hey....I'm a heathen atheist. I miss a lot of memos.
Still, I have to confess to being a bit dumbstruck as to how the new mission statement could possibly be made to square with the old one.