How about the ‘Truce for Christmas?’

When I was driving in today, it occurred to me that I haven’t heard much “War on Christmas” stuff this year.

And that’s a reason to say “Happy Holidays!” or “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukkah!” or whatever else you like.

Then I read this little essay that Archbishop Dolan had in the Daily News yesterday, which offered a nice little touch of holiday-time reconciliation.

tjndc5-5qxce77ojdg11ntdqa9f_layoutHe wrote: “As I prepare to celebrate my first Christmas as archbishop of New York, I realize it might seem presumptuous to interject myself into this annual battle. But if any time of year calls for us to follow our better natures, this is that time. Thus, I call for a truce!”

A truce. What a novel idea?

Dolan notes, of course, that he is quite enthusiastic about “keeping Christ in Christmas.” But he also writes: “However, many others don’t believe as we do but still wish to celebrate this wonderful time of the year. Parties, decorations, holiday specials, gifts – I’m all for it!”

And he notes: “Even more troublesome is that this season, when we should be celebrating peace, we find instead so many ways to be at odds with one another.”

I did discover today that the American Family Association, a religious right-ish group big on Culture War stuff, has called for a boycott of the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic because of TV commercials that do not use the word “Christmas.”

The group says: “For the Gap to pretend that isn’t the foundation of the Christmas season is political correctness at best and religious bigotry at worst.”

And I thought that the Gap sells pants.

ADD: By the way, Dolan will be at St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown on Thursday evening to meet with representatives of all the churches in northern Westchester and Putnam.

They’ll be laughing in the pews. Dolan is very engaging at these get-togethers.

Christmas trees in September?

A few tidbits for a Tuesday:

1. In a Village Voice report on how much New Yorkers make, we learn that Archbishop Dolan’s official salary is $23,500. I always wondered what an archbishop makes (but not enough to remember to ask).

2. When I watched a bit of the Detroit Lions winning their first game in a very, very long time on Sunday, I found myself wondering if new Lions head coach Jim Schwartz might be Jewish. Apparently, he’s not.

3. I heard that there are Christmas trees up in Macy’s and other department stores. It’s September, one month removed from August. So much for the War on Christmas.

4. I came across a short piece that Father Thomas Reese, the oft-quoted Jesuit, wrote about, of all things, the Roman Polanski case. He writes:

*****

Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.

And they would all be correct. And I would join them.

But why is there not similar outrage directed at the film industry for giving an award to Roman Polanski, who not only confessed to statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the country prior to sentencing? Why have film critics and the rest of the media ignored this case for 31 years? He even received an Academy award in 2003. Are the high priests of the entertainment industry immune to criticism?

*****

Fine point, Father Reese.

5. Check out this artful AP photo (by Biswaranjan Rout) at a Hindu festival in India, where believers dress like the gods Ram and Hanuman:

APTOPIX India Hindu Festival