Naughty and Nice List: What does separation of church and state have to do with Christmas? How did the War On Christmas start? And how can we vote with our shopping dollars using the Naughty and Nice List? Find out with David, Tim, Rick, and Matt with LC.org. And learn how shoppers persuaded Walmart and Sears to say, “Merry Christmas.”
Air Date: 12/6/2016
Guests: Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.
What does separation of church and state have to do with Christmas? How did the War On Christmas start? And how can we vote with our shopping dollars using the Naughty and Nice List? Find out with David, Tim, Rick, and Matt with LC.org. And learn how shoppers persuaded Walmart and Sears to say, “Merry Christmas.”
*David plays the song “”Winter Wonderland.”
I just feel like we should be snapping or something. Just one of those songs just makes you-
*Snapping heard in background
Yeah. There we go. Hey, it’s not our normal buffer music, but welcome to WallBuilders Live, the intersection of faith and the culture! It’s Christmas time. Of course, David Barton has ordered Christmas music for probably every program between now- and not just the 25th but most likely through the entire holiday. So we’ll we’ll be doing that through the first of January as well. I’m going to get e-mails, I’m sure saying that I’m the Grinch because I complain about it all the time. But I actually like Christmas music… but I like even more giving David Barton a hard time.
I want them to notice-I mean it’s really clear how the peer pressure and what other people think about you is now getting to you.
It is because I’m capitulating.
You’ve been on this thing of being the Grinch for long enough that, now that you get called out on it, you’re retreating at a very rapid rate. “No, I’m not the Grinch. I’m not you know.” – Even when listeners who recognize and write us notes and say, “ Hey Dave’s going to like this Christmas stuff but Rick’s not going to like it.” I mean when everybody else recognizes it and you’re denying it. We may need to have an intervention here.
But remember, I mean politics 101. You never repeat the accusation. So you know, you can’t be, “I’m not the Grinch.” It’s, “Man, I love this season. I’m so glad we’re here! David, let’s play more of this music! This is wonderful!”
That’s right. So coming back from the next break will be Stryper’s version of “Winter Wonderland” once I have my finger on the button. By the way, for those people that haven’t heard our program before and are wondering who we are, what we’re talking about, this is WallBuilders Live! We’re the intersection of faith and the culture.
And be sure you are visiting our website WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com. We are always taking on hot topics of the day. Everything dealing with policy, government, and just life. But we’re looking at it from a Biblical perspective, a constitutional perspective, and a historical perspective.
It is a Privilege and Freedom to Celebrate Christmas
David Barton, whom we were just talking to, is David Barton, America’s premier historian. And Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state representative. Back to our festive Christmas program today. Actually, that is our topic and we joke a lot about this, music on Christmas thing, but Christmas itself around this time sometimes isn’t a joking matter. It ends up in lawsuits, ends up in people literally bringing in the government to stop kids from saying, “Merry Christmas” or even have a Christmas song in their choir concert. So, here we are joking about it, but sometimes they’re prevented by government from even singing a Christmas song.
Well, Rick, I’ve had to retreat into my safe space right now because you have said the word Christmas a lot and that was a trigger warning for me.
Actually, I’m going to call my professor and see if he’ll cancel classes. Maybe even, you know, order some pizza for the class or show puppy dog videos from YouTube, just make us feel better. Because that Christmas word is kind of offensive and I don’t really like it. So, please refrain the rest of the program from using offensive language.
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.
Tim, you’ll have to grow up and get a backbone, as they say. I mean, this is a time of year that really does bring the Grinches out. These are folks who don’t celebrate Christmas themselves but instead of just not celebrating, they don’t want anybody else to celebrate. They’ll go to excessive lengths even with law to stop that.
Christmas – An Offensive Holiday?
Well, and guys, as I was commenting, clearly I was joking. But the problem is that it’s not a joke for many people. That this is something that’s offensive and “How dare you?” And now we’re coming up with all these “trigger warnings” and these, “We need a safe space,” and all these things because we view Christmas– People are pretending as if Christmas is an offensive time.
And that’s why as we’re discussing that, there are lawsuits that are happening. This is legitimately something that we are dealing with in America. Which is mind boggling that in America we are dealing with this, but there are people that are being sued for saying, “Merry Christmas” or for having a religious display in their own yard. Things that are really almost beyond the imagination. But this is the real thing we’re dealing with right now.
It is very real and it affects a lot of people. Let’s talk about how it all got started with this war on Christmas. We will be right back. Stay with us. You are listening to WallBuilders Live!
Intro / Outro:
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War On Christmas
Welcome Back! Thanks for staying with us here at WallBuilders Live! We are doing some Christmas talk today and talking about the war on Christmas.
When all this did it start? Did it start with nativity scenes? With Christmas trees in public areas? Or you know, all of the different, I guess symbols of the birth of Christ that the left just couldn’t handle and needed their safe space.
Changing the Definition of Separation of Church and State
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. It goes back to when the court first in ‘47 said, “Hey, separation church of state used to mean the government can’t stop a religious activity but we want to reverse that. And so they came up with this new approach to now being separation means you can’t have a religious activity. And so you started having all these lawsuits filed against every conceivable religious activity. Whether it was voluntary prayer, voluntary Bible reading, or whether there was any kind of activity with religion at schools or in public arenas.
The Lemon Test and Separation of Church and State
And so they started whacking away. And they had so many cases by 1973 in the case Lemon vs. Kurtzman, they came up said, “You know we’re dealing with so many religion cases now, let’s just make a standard they call it the Lemon Test. And it really is a lemon. It stinks. It’s bad, it’s sour. And they said, “Here’s the bottom line. You can have a religious activity in public if you can prove that the primary purpose of your religious activity is secular.”
Now that by itself is oxymoronic. And so suddenly, you can’t prove the primary purpose of prayer as secular. I mean the purpose of prayer is prayer. It’s a spiritual activity. But you now have to show that it was secular. Otherwise, you couldn’t have it. And so, you find it in cases like Wallace vs Jaffree that you can’t even have silent, voluntary prayer, — silent prayer. Who gets offended over that? Well, “But you can’t prove that having a silent prayer is a secular activity.”
Florey vs. Sioux Falls, “Whose birthday Do We celebrate at Christmastime?” — Is Unconstitutional
So with that standard then, a few years later they said, “Oh, can you prove that having a nativity or a Christmas program, can you prove that that has a secular purpose to it?” And no, you really couldn’t. So you have this case in ‘79 for example out of South Dakota, Florey vs Sioux Falls where they said, “It is unconstitutional for a kindergartener to ask, “Whose birthday do we celebrate at Christmastime?”
Now that’s an offensive question!
That’s a loaded question.
You can’t do that.
How dare you use that kind of question in class?
The Santa Claus and Reindeer Test
So you get these cases going. And then in the 80s, it turn into city councils and Allegheny vs ACLU, I think in 1989 US Supreme Court. No, no, no, no. You have to have the Santa Claus and Reindeer Test. It’s not OK unless it’s close enough to something secular to secularize it. So if Santa is close to the nativity scene and if Rudolph is out round there close, then it’s OK because that seems like a secular display. So we’ve gone through that. There have been other cases. Essentially, now they’re kind of back to saying, “Yeah, it’s OK to have a nativity scene.” But the hostility has been going on for number of decades and it really started-
Is there a certain number of Elf’s that you could sprinkle around the nativity scene that would suffice?
The Candy Cane Case, Plano, TX
Now, what you can do is what Memphis did. The public library in Memphis, which is a government run facility and is a public library paid for by city funds. And the public library, they have a community section where you can display whatever your community advertisements are. So, if you’ve got a yoga class or if you’ve got something a parent teacher association gathering for all these parents or like one of the churches did, they went in on this community display and they put up a little, bitty nativity scene and said, “Hey, we’ve got a Christmas program at the church next week and if you want to come.”
Mary and Joseph Not Allowed
Well, the city said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is a government setting and so your message can’t be Christmas. Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll let you keep the nativity scene up, but you have to take out Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the wise man and the manger. You can leave the farm animals and that be your Christmas display.”
Well, that’s a great display for the Agriculture Department. It has nothing to do with Christmas. And so that’s how wacky they’ve gotten on this. And as you mentioned, you know Tim just looked up a case. The Candy Cane Case, that came out of Plano, Texas. Tim, what what age was he when he started?
He was in elementary school when it happened. I don’t remember if he was third grade. It didn’t identify in the article, but he brings candy canes to class, wants to give it to his classmates. It’s got a little note on there that essentially tells the idea of the candy cane with Jesus coming and–
His shepherd’s crook and the shepherds came to worship Jesus —
And then, you know, the white and the red, and so the blood of Jesus are white as snow. But the message was deemed to be offensive and so you can’t give out these candy canes. That’s a Christian message. You can’t do that.
Candy Canes Banned
Well, by the way, they even got to where you can’t give out candy canes at all even if it doesn’t have a Christian message on it because it’s been associated with a Christian message.
That’s right. Even if you remove the description of the candy cane, you can no longer even give out those because it might be construed to be religious. Yeah. So silly. Well, the case is still going on and the kid’s in college now. I think he just graduated from college and the case is still going on.That is still going on because the school district is not going to allow it to fall by the wayside and lose. Because every time it’s gone to court they’ve lost. And so they keep appealing to the next court and the next court. They don’t want to let it drop because they don’t want to let kids bring candy canes to school.
Mat Staver – Liberty Counsel’s Naughty and Nice List
It’s crazy out there, Bro. And there are legal groups who defend this kind of stuff. And one of those legal groups is Liberty Counsel’s, Mat Staver. And every year he comes out with a Naughty and Nice List. And what they do is they use peer pressure and they use the free market economic system. They go through ahead of a time, all the Christmas catalogs, all these businesses and they say, “You know, here’s a business that refuses to even use the word Christmas. All they say is, ‘happy holidays’ or ‘best wishes.’ They won’t even use the word Christmas.
80 Percent Prefers “Merry Christmas”
And by the way, I just checked in polling right now. Only 21 percent of Americans object to using Merry Christmas. By a 3 to 1 margin, they prefer hearing ‘Merry Christmas’ over ‘happy holidays.’”
Vote With Your Shopping Dollars.
And these businesses have been all kowtowed somehow to think that “Well, we got to make the 21 percent happy. We don’t care about the other percent.” And so what’s happened is with the Naughty and Nice List. You can say, “You know what? I’m not going to spend my Christmas dollars in your store when you won’t even acknowledge what is a federal holiday. Christmas is a federal holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by law, by statute and we’re not going to acknowledge that in the private sector, the private arena? Well, I’m not going to spend my dollars with you.”
Support Stores That Support Christmas
And so they come out the Naughty and Nice List every year. It’s amazing how many businesses change as a result of suddenly seeing their advertising dollars or the spending dollars dry up because folks say, “I want to hear ‘Merry Christmas.’” It’s a simple message but Mat Staver, a great guy does this every year.
Yeah, those dollar signs will get their attention. And frankly, those that love Christmas and want to celebrate the birth of Christ, that’s where the numbers are in our country. And that’s where the dollars are in our country. So, if we just use that power and vote with it. Whenever we look at these Naughty and Nice List that Mat is going to share with us, it can make a huge difference.
Crime Can Be Prevented
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Welcome Back! Thanks for staying with us at WallBuilders Live! Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel with us again, Mat. Always good to have you sir.
Good to be with you.
And it’s Christmas time again as you know, David Barton’s favorite time of the year and plays Christmas music all year long. So he’s going to love the show today but this is Naughty or Nice time. You guys every year help us kind of keep up with which retailers are shunning Christmas and which ones are embracing it.
Naughty and Nice List Helps Shoppers Make a Decision on Where They Want to Shop
Well, that’s been for 14 years now. We’ve been doing this and there’s been a huge change particularly in the retail market with the Naughty and Nice List. We have our friend or foe Christmas campaign that focuses on the public sector whether it be in public schools or nativity scenes on City Hall property, for example. And it’s designed to educate. And if necessary to litigate to make sure that the real reason for the season is not censored.
And then on the retail market, the Naughty and Nice List, which helps shoppers make a decision where they want to shop this coming Christmas. And patronize those stores that acknowledge Christmas and boycott those stores and let them know what you’re doing and why you’re avoiding those stores that profit off Christmas while pretending it doesn’t even exist.
You’ve seen a lot of companies change their policy because of these types of things. Can you think of any examples of some good ones that have in the past had the wrong policy, but they got the message.
Walmart Changed from Naughty to Nice! Other Stores Followed!
Well, a big one was Wal-Mart. Several years ago, Wal-Mart would not even allow its customers to be greeted by the greeting Merry Christmas. Whenever the customer came to the checkout counter and greeted the cashier, “Merry Christmas” the cashier would say, “ happy holidays.” And in turn, the customer might say, “Merry Christmas” and the cashier would say, “No, we can only say happy holidays.” They were instructed not to use the word Christmas. And you couldn’t find the word Christmas in the stores or in their advertisement. You also could not find a Christmas tree. They were called holiday trees. So nowhere could you hear the word or see the word Christmas anywhere.
The good news is that the people literally made their voice known. In fact, in one case we got word from a customer that went to the checkout counter had all the checkout goods, greeted the cashier, “Merry Christmas” the cashier said, “happy holidays” and got into this same exchange I was telling you about. And then left all the goods there at the cash register and said that they were going to shop at a competitor. To Wal-Mart’s credit, they came out the next year and said that they were going to acknowledge and mentioned Christmas early and often. And they did and that was the world’s largest retailer. They set the trend. And many have followed. Sears was in that same category. Many others were in the same category. Literally, you couldn’t find a Christmas tree anywhere. A holiday tree that is not celebrating any holiday other than Christmas couldn’t be called a Christmas tree. They had the genericize it they called it a holiday tree. Much of that has changed.
So, that’s not by accident. I mean, that’s because people spoke up and said, “Hey, you know we don’t want Christ to be removed from this holiday. We know why we’re celebrating it.” So if a person wants to be a conscientious shopper this fall and we encourage everybody to do that, make your dollars count. I mean you’re literally voting with your dollars for the type of attitudes and policies and all those things. So if they want to do that Matt, what’s the best way to go to the Naughty or Nice List and check out what you all have compiled?
Well, you can go to the Liberty Counsel LC.org, and right there on the front page you will see the Naughty or Nice List. You can download it, click it, take it with you, put it on your Facebook and social media, share it with your friends. And there’s ways that you can make your voice known. So not only shop with your dollars and vote with your dollars, if you will but also let these stores know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it that makes the difference.
Share The Nice List On Social Media
So, to the stores that are on the nice side when you patronize them or through the Naughty or Nice List, you can send them an e-mail. You can go to their websites, give them a good encouragement. And on the other hand, the stores that are on the naughty side tell them why you’re not going to shop there. For example, at RadioShack you’re going to buy your electronics from a different electronics marketer. Why you’re not going to shop at J. Crew Outfitters, or Gap, or even Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s Sporting Goods this year is now on the Naughty List and needs to come back over to the Nice List. So let them know. And when you call or let them know or you’re in the store and you hear the music or you see the words, let the people there know because that makes a big difference.
Yeah, no kidding. Especially at a store like Dick’s Sporting Goods. I would think a large chunk of their customer base, you know hunters and sportsmen and those kind of folks that you know typically would be our kind of folks. That want to see Christmas, and and not watered down.
Sears Changed Mid-Christmas Season
Yeah, Dick’s Sporting Goods has made a big mistake by moving over to the Naughty List. They have been in the past on the nice side but they’ve gone over to the naughty side. And sometimes this is the retail marketers that are doing this. Maybe it’s other people high up in the company. But the fact of the matter is, for Dick’s Sporting Goods to be on the other side that’s completely out of sync with its customer clientele.
They don’t want to get on the bad side of their customer clientele at the busiest time of the season for them. We actually have actually seen in the past Sears, with an example of this. They changed their entire marketing campaign in the middle of the Christmas season. They saw the headlines of the people contacting them and they saw the handwriting on the wall. They literally pulled all of their generic advertising from the shelves and changed it in the middle of the season of December. They changed it to Merry Christmas because they saw that there was a lot of retail dollars at stake.
Why Should We Get Involved?
Now for many of these, there are retail dollars at stake. And that’s fine. They’re there to make a profit. But the fact of the matter is, why should you step up and make a difference when while we’re talking about is a retail market company? Well, because when you walk into these stores and you’re taking your children or you’re walking in there during this wonderful time of the season and you can’t find a Christmas tree. You can’t find Christmas decorations. You can’t hear the word Christmas. You have all those genericized information. It really begins to send a message and set an attitude. And that’s something that we need to head off we’ve seen it successful in the past and we need to continue in that direction so don’t take anything for granted.
Mat, before we end you guys are also very active in working with public entities. Whether it’s school boards or city councils and others that have attempted to remove Christmas from the public square. And you all have won case after case on that and reversed a lot of those anti-Christmas actions from these public officials. If people see that in their community, can they contact your office and get advice or get you guys to help?
Some People Take It As Far As Keeping Kids From Wearing Red and Green. LC.org Can Help
Absolutely! They can go to LC.org and contact us that way or call us at (407) 875-1776. Let us know if you hear about it. Maybe you’re directly or indirectly involved or you just know about a situation where the children are told they can’t use the word Christmas or God or Jesus in a song. Or they can’t use Christmas greetings or greet each other Merry Christmas. Or even as bizarre as it sounds, but it’s true that they can’t even wear Christmas colors green and red. Let us know, because more often than not, we can get this reversed by communicating. But if not, we’ll litigate if necessary to make sure that Christ is not censored from this season.
Sometimes It Is Just As Easy As A Phone Call
You guys have an incredible win rate ratio. And like you said, I mean sometimes it’s just a phone call. Or you guys have that legal memorandum on public celebration of religious holidays. A lot of times an official just is acting out of fear. Someone’s for whatever reason, given bad information and when they get that good information, they’ll often reverse that. So getting you guys involved really, really does help. So folks, check out that website LC.org and learn more about Liberty Counsel. Matt, always a privilege. Appreciate you coming on, Bro.
Thank you. Good to be with you.
Stay with us folks. We will be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi this is Tim Barton from WallBuilders and we are battling culture and attack on truth. In fact the majority of Americans now no longer believe that there are absolutes and that absolute truth does not exist. Well, we are being bombarded from an existentialist, a postmodern, a humanistic, and a secular worldview that tells us the truth is how we define it. Truth is what we imagine, truth is what we believe. Well friends, I can tell you that’s not the way it works. In fact, God defined truth in the Word of God and laid out very clearly what it is. And we have great examples from history. They show us some things work and some things don’t work. What we’ve done a while ago is to try to help combat this attack against truth.
We started a conference called Truth Be Told. One of the other speakers, David Pate, and myself team up and we go around from city to city talking about cultural issues but looking at it from a Biblical perspective and from American history seeing the examples. And so if you want to learn more about how we can apply truth to various issues of culture you can go visit our website WallBuilders.com and look for information on Truth Be Told. Friends, in a time when truth is being attacked, it’s time for truth to be told.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live!
Thanks to Matt Staver not just for this Christmas deal but all the legal work that they do across the country for religious liberty. Liberty Counsel, one of the great organizations out there defending your religious liberty as well. Even though you may not be a defendant in a case, it’s your rights that are being protected as well.
We’re back with David and Tim and what do you think guys? Have any thoughts about your shopping or are you looking at the Naughty and Nice List? You making in those dollars count?
Wal-Mart now says, “They Now Mention Christmas Early And Often.”
I am and that’s a big deal to me. But I love the fact that he pointed out that Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, that they changed. I love his statement, “They now mentioned Christmas early and often.” Well yeah, I will be using Wal-Mart.
Target Is Still On the Naughty List And Are On The Wrong Side Of The Bathroom Issue As Well
Now Target, on the other hand, has not changed. And you know they’re still on the wrong side of the bathroom issue. So, they’re not getting my Christmas dollars. Even though it’s not about Christmas, it’s still, I’m not going to buy dollars there.
But I remember a couple of years ago Tim and I looked at their list and we found Tractor Supply on the list. We spent a lot of money there for the ranch and other things and so we sent a note to Tractor Supply that said, “Sorry guys, we’re not doing this.”
TSC is on the Nice List
And they wrote back to us and said, “What do you mean, we don’t celebrate Christmas?” Well, they didn’t realize they had left Christmas out of their catalogs. And so as Liberty Counsel goes through, they hadn’t said anything about Christmas. And man, they rectified that in a heartbeat. And the next year the catalog came out and it was Christmas all over everywhere making up for it. Because you know, as they pointed out, they serve rural people. And rural people, they love God, love the country, and love Christmas. So that’s why communicating is such a big deal. I mean, if they get it right, you need to tell them they got it right. We appreciate it. If they get it wrong tell them why you’re not shopping there and it’ll make a big difference.
And that’s just a really important part not just to make the buying decision but to stop in and say here’s why. Or send a letter or a quick e-mail or whatever. That’s what’s going to make it register.
Schools Can Sing Christmas Carols, Liberty Counsel Protects That Right
Yeah, that does make it register. And as you noted, it’s not just the naughty Nice List but you actually have Mat who litigates this stuff when it gets into schools in the public arena. So if somebody’s school gets told, “You can’t sing a Christmas Carol with the Christmas music and your Christian program.” Yes you can. And they will be happy to take them to a judge and prove that to them if need be. So you can use your dollars and do it on the free market side. But if necessary Mat’s also got the ability- this not for private businesses, this is for government entities that want to allow this. But he can take them into court and help him see the light on the other side as well.
Private and Public Distinction
That’s an important distinction to make in terms of the private and public. So on the public side, legally there’s a battle. There on the private side, it’s just voting with your dollars. If they choose to not celebrate Christmas, then that’s their choice. Legally, they should be allowed to do that. But we can certainly take our business elsewhere.
When Someone Wishes You “Happy Holidays,” Reply, “What Holidays Did You Mean?”
And by the way, there’s one other reply. We heard this really good. When somebody wishes you “happy holidays,” You need to turn them and say “What holiday did you have in mind?”
“Thank you. But which holidays did you mean?”
And make them say Christmas. It’s like they can’t say that. “Well, go out and say it. It’s all right, you won’t fall over and die if you say, ‘Christmas.’ It’s OK.”
That’s good. I had thought about that. “Which holidays? Oh, Christmas. Yes. You can say it.” Let’s practice now. Everybody ready?
Oh nobody was hurt by that. Merry Christmas to all our readers out there!