Most of all, I love the spirit of good will associated with Christmas -- smiles from strangers, charitable giving and other acts of kindness. We Jews have a holiday called Purim for spreading joy and charity, but Purim also involves raucously cheering the murder of 75,000 Persians, which is somewhat low on the good will meter.
In recent years, however, I've been dismayed that the Christmas spirit I admire has come under attack. Angry people have been exploiting the holiday as an opportunity to vilify their opponents. Vilifying opponents is also low on the good will meter, albeit not as low as murdering Persians.
In 2004, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly launched the war on Christmas spirit when he declared that bad people whom he called "secular-progressives" were pressuring retail stores to use generic holiday greetings in their marketing campaigns. I can understand how O'Reilly might have been disturbed by the de-Christmastizing of Christmas, and I don't begrudge him his indignation, but the way he attacked those secular-progressives seemed very un-Christmas-like to a nice Jewish boy like me.
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