Best Buy, Kirkland’s and Alaska Airlines all made the nice list, but Nordstrom, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble had better watch out. They’ve been tagged on the naughty side of Christmas. But don’t blame Santa; he’s not the one keeping this list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
This idea originated with Robert Jeffress, pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas. Jeffress came up with the website, GrinchAlert.com, because he wanted to make a point about keeping Christ in Christmas. GrinchAlert.com allows people to create their own lists of businesses that promote the Christ in Christmas and shame those who don’t.
“It’s an attempt to do something positive,” Jeffress says.
Admittedly, Jeffress has some warped notions about what it means to play nicely with others. This is the same fellow who during the debate over the placement of a mosque three blocks from Ground Zero warned his people Islam is an evil religion, one that promotes pedophilia.
“The deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam: It is a religion that promotes pedophilia – sex with children. This so-called prophet Muhammad raped a 9-year-old girl – had sex with her,” Jeffress said.
To be clear, it’s not Islam that Jeffress is fed up with so much as it is a namby-pamby propensity toward political correctness that our culture has cultivated. Jeffress is a man who says what he thinks, even when he probably hasn’t given as much thought to it as he should have.
Before the executives at Nordstrom and Macy’s storm the offices at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jeffress wants them to know he’s not the one keeping track of who is naughty and nice. The website is a public forum, like letters to the editor, Jeffress told a Fox News reporter. “In a pluralist society like ours everyone ought to be able to share their views,” he said.
You have to hand it to Jeffress for adopting the language of the politically correct and finessing it to suit his purposes. What those purposes are, however, is downright disturbing. If Jeffress is trying to put the Christ back into Christmas, he’s sure picked an ugly, un-Christlike way to do that.
He says the website is simply a positive way to reward those businesses that promote the spirit of having a Merry Christmas. It is not, he insists, meant to be a boycott of businesses that fail to do that.
It’s true that the comments praising the businesses that meet some nebulous standard of what constitutes a Christian Christmas far outnumber the comments on the naughty list. But it’s also true that those on the naughty list are getting a public spanking for their holiday, not Christmas, spirit.
After a shopping experience at Target, one person wrote: “I was looking for an ornament that reflected the reason for the season, and I could not find anything that said Merry Christmas. I’m tired of seeing ONLY snowmen, Santa Clauses, snowflakes, birds, glitter … I could not find a gift bag, an ornament, or a gift box with a manger or the Holy Family on it. My husband & I will make a conscious effort to support stores like Mardel’s, Hobby Lobby, LifeWay or church bookstores that support Christmas wholeheartedly.”
Another said of Barnes & Noble: “Employees will not say ‘Merry Christmas’ because they have been instructed to say ‘Happy Holidays.’ This has been going on for years and I quit buying from them years ago.”
Jeffress can deny it all he wants, but the message that comes across is loud and clear: Good Christians will only shop at the stores that give lip service to Jesus.
Ironically, Jeffress and his followers never address the question of how the babe in the manger became the poster child for capitalism to begin with. If Jeffress and his Grinch Alert crew are so all-fired concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas, they might want to begin by spending less time in the shopping malls and more time at the homeless shelters.
That’s the most likely place Jesus would hang any time of the year.
Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of “Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? ‘Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV.”