Religious wars imagined and real

A few years ago it was discovered that some retailers choose to hawk their wares with the phrase Happy Holidays, in acknowledgement that several holidays are celebrated at this time of year (including New Years, which I think we all agree on).  This was clearly an affront to the ongoing secularization and commercialization of Christmas, and therefore denounced by people whose jobs require that they create controversies in order to report on them.  This year many retailers have “learned their lesson,” as a Wal-Mart spokesperson said, and they are wishing shoppers a “Merry Christmas.” (What “lesson” is that, exactly?)  But the nefarious phrase “Happy Holidays” is still out there, and so the “controversy” continues.

Meanwhile and much more important, the government of Iran has just hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers and their anti-Semitic hangers-on—to much worldwide criticism and disgust, I’m glad to see.  This is what an actual war on a religion looks like, people—a state-sponsored attempt to erase the deliberate cold-blooded murder of millions of people, and the demonization of those who survive.

In an ethical world, Holocaust denial would be vigorously fought with ongoing education and outrage, and the decisions of private companies to be inclusive would be applauded.  Yet I suspect that the “controversy” of “Happy Holidays Shoppers!” will receive many times the news coverage of Iran’s conference and its ilk, at least in America.  If your winter tradition includes wishes for the coming year, may I suggest one for getting our priorities straight?