There is no war on Christmas

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

That’s the holly-jolly way it is with the so-called “war on Christmas,” currently freaking out Fox News talking heads and right-wing Christian leaders.

They claim America’s secular society so hates religion it has tried to banish the word “Christmas” from the public square. This in a country where more than 80 percent of the population identifies as Christian.

The same folks have trotted out similar alarm bells several Decembers in a row. This year, however, they’ve been far more effective, extracting concessions from retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Victoria’s Secret to use the term “Christmas” in their marketing plans.

But let us be clear: There is no war on Christmas. There is no plot to rid America of Christianity. This is simply a fairy tale from the tinfoil-hat set. The fact that some non-Christians and secularists have tried to more clearly draw the boundary between church and state does not equal a war on religion.

Why should Jews care? Because some of the loudest voices droning on about the phony “war on Christmas” have often dropped coded words that suggest subtle anti-Semitism.

They talk about secular cabals. They point fingers at George Soros, the Jewish billionaire who finances liberal initiatives. And most unnervingly, they constantly refer to America as a “Christian nation,” implying that the rest of us had better get with the program and bow down.

We will not bow down. Whatever the religious preferences of Americans, America itself is a secular nation. There is no established religion. The founding fathers could not have been clearer.

But if the Christian majority, egged on by cynical alarmists, starts feeling entitled to bully the minority because of some perceived war, then we are in trouble.

America’s religious populace and its secular government have always exerted strong tectonic forces, one against the other. The danger of a social earthquake is ever-present. This country was founded on the premise of protecting the minority, but as a minority, we Jews must remain vigilant so that ancient hatreds do not rear their ugly heads. It can happen here.

To those shrieking about this war, we say, “Look around you: The Christmas lights are up. The trees are twinkling in the windows. The shoppers are shopping, the carols are playing. All is calm, all is bright.”

And to our Christian friends and neighbors, we wish you a Merry Christmas. See, that

wasn’t so hard. Now, how about a “Happy Chanukah?”