The absence of a tree, the word “Christmas” or any overtly Christian imagery in the Obamas’ holiday card vexed Sarah Palin, who criticized it during a recent Fox News interview.
The L.A. Times described the card:
It features an image of Bo, the Obama family dog, in front of a fireplace in the White House library with a poinsettia and other decorations. The card, which makes no direct mention of Christmas and doesn’t feature a Christmas tree, states: “From our family to yours, may your holidays shine with the light of the season.”
Palin told Fox News that she found it “odd” that the card emphasizes the dog instead of traditions like “family, faith and freedom.” She also said that Americans are able to appreciate “American foundational values illustrated and displayed on Christmas cards and on a Christmas tree.”
The L.A. Times went on to note that former President George Bush sent decidedly more religious Christmas cards than his Democratic predecessor, former President Clinton, or his Democratic successor, President Obama.
The widespread use of the word Christmas is being debated fervently in Iowa in the wake of an Atlantic article by University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom. He wrote:
After years and years of in-your-face religion, I decided to give what has become an annual lecture, in which I urge my students not to bid strangers “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter,” “Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done?” or “Are you going to the Easter egg hunt?” Such well-wishes are not appropriate for everyone, I tell my charges gently. A cheery “Happy holidays!” will suffice. Small potatoes, I know, but did everyone have to proclaim their Christianity so loud and clear?
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. One gutsy, red-in-the-face student told me in no uncertain terms that for the rest of her life, she would continue offering Merry Christmas and Happy Easter tidings to strangers, no matter what I, or anyone else, said, because, “That’s just who I am and I’m not about to change. Ever!” Score one for sticking it to the ethnic interloper.
The woman at my local post office complained about the USPS name given to the stamps of Christmas tree ornaments: “holiday baubles.”
“That whole PC thing drives me nut,” she grumbled under her breath.
As a single Catholic, what do you make of it all? Does “that whole PC thing” drive you nuts? Do you live in Iowa and have an opinion on Stephen Bloom’s observations?
Do you find President Obama’s card disappointingly non-Christmasy? Or do you respect his sensitivity to non-Christians? How do you approach it?