Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You're either with us, or you're against us.
Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces.
The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign's "eyes and ears" in the nation's public schools. They'll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
An additional 800 attorneys from another conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, are standing by as part of a similar effort, the Christmas Project. Its slogan: "Merry Christmas. It's OK to say it."
Fanning the Yule log of discontent against what the Liberty Counsel calls "grinches" like the American Civil Liberties Union are evangelical-led organizations including the 150,000-member American Family Association. It has called for a boycott of Target stores next weekend. The chain's crime, according to the group, is a ban on the use of "Merry Christmas" in stores, an accusation the chain denies.I should note that the right-wing bogeyman that's the focus of so much "war on Christmas" wrath, the ACLU, sided with Jerry Falwell on a case regarding free expression of religion. They've also represented Rush Limbaugh in part of his ongoing drug-abuse case.
Also of note is the fundamentalist drive to remove any sort of Halloween celebration from America's schools. Because it's a satanic event that glorifies sorcery, naturally. These kooks might be bearish on Bush these days, but they still think that the time is ripe to turn America into a theocracy.