I try not to pay much attention to the annual bleating from conservatives that Christmas isn't accorded sufficient respect. As far as I'm concerned, these paranoid ramblings serve the limited (but useful) purpose of identifying people who are not to be taken seriously. But Armstrong Williams has produced an argument that is so spectacularly dumb -- even by the standards of "war on Christmas" fabulists -- that I can't let it go without response.
Armstrong sets things up with some garden-variety nonsense:
Non-believers have even targeted our language. If you go into a CVS Pharmacy, or a Barnes & Noble, or a Radio Shack, or a Staples (or many others) this Christmas season, you're going to be wished "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Note that Williams conflates "don't use our language" with "targeted our language." That is, what Williams describes as non-believers targeting "our" language is simply people choosing not to use that language. But that's nothing more than low-level persecution complex. It's what comes next that is impressively stupid:
The stores claim this change is being carried out in the name of diversity. After all, you wouldn't want to offend a Muslim by wishing him a Merry Christmas. (Try using that same argument to ban "Happy Ramadan!" in Saudi Arabia.)
Here, Williams conflates saying "Happy Holidays" with banning "Merry Christmas," as if Radio Shack will toss him from the store by the scruff of his neck if he wishes a clerk "Merry Christmas" while buying a package of nine-volts. And then, incredibly, he suggests that Americans should be no more sensitive towards religious diversity than Saudi Arabia is. Saudi Arabians would never tolerate someone saying "Happy Holidays" -- so neither should America!
The competition is stiff, but there's very little chance you'll read a dumber passage this week. Sadly, this is becoming a trend among right-wing commentators: In July, Newt Gingrich wrote "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia."
I'm confused: Do conservatives believe in "American exceptionalism," or do they want America to be more like Saudi Arabia?