The War on Christmas

December 30, 2013

As the War on Christmas wages on, our host Josh Zepps interviews Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, editor of Church & State magazine, and author of Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics and the upcoming Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do.

Together they get to the bottom of the War on Christmas. They explain how saying “Happy Holidays” is a violation of Christian liberty and explore the vast number of schools banning red, green, and jolly old men.

Is the War on Christmas a fact or is it fear-mongering and imagined persecution among the Christian media elite? This week, an amusing year-end episode of Point of Inquiry which actually delves into some serious Church-State, First Amendment issues along with some festive humor.

This is point of inquiry for Monday, December 30th, 2013. 

Happy holidays. I mean, merry Christmas. I mean, festive, fun, new year, celebration period, the end of the year. 

I don’t know. This is the forecast at the Center for Inquiry, the nonprofit that promotes reasons, science and secularism on Josh Zepps. Host of Huff Post Live. 

Trying not to be attacked for waging war on Christmas. This year, one man who has written as much about the war on Christmas as perhaps any other atheist is Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the assistant editor of that organization’s monthly magazine and author of three books about the religious right and the Christian Coalition. Rob, thanks for being on point of inquiry last week. I am pretty sure that I saw Christmas being undertaken fairly successfully in the United States. I thought it was supposed to be an embattled institution limping to its demise by the dark forces of secularism. Did I miss something that I hallucinate that while you’ve got a good point there? 

Supposedly we’ve been undertaking this war on Christmas for a number of years now. And I guess we’re not doing a very good job because I saw a poll recently that showed that 90 percent of Americans are still celebrating it. Apparently, we have some work to do yet. 

Yeah. When it comes from this idea was what was the Jimbo’s the first time that you can find people talking about a war on Christmas? 

We know it’s funny. There are some people who have done a little more in-depth research and I have and trace it back as early as the 1950s and the John Birch Society. But for me, I noticed it some years ago, maybe ten or twelve years ago. And this group called the American Family Association, which is a very prominent religious right group founded by a minister named Don Wildman. They started promoting this idea. And then from there, it was picked up by another group called the Alliance Defending Freedom, another religious right group. And then, of course, Fox News got a hold of it and, you know, like a pit bull, they just won’t let go. And they’ve really kept it going over all these years. 

Who were the main champions of it now? 

Well, the same organizations are really still promoting it. Every year, the American Family Association puts out what they call a naughty and nice list. I mean, actually, this is hard to believe, but this is true. They have people go through all the store circulars and they look for the word Christmas. And if they don’t see it enough times, they put that retailer on the naughty list and they do see that. They put them on the nice list. I guess amazes me is I think they have way too much time on their hands. 

I mean, the other people, they have too much time on their hands are people who actually read that circular and then changed their shopping habits on the basis of whether or not the the retailers are sufficiently Christmas friendly. 

Well, what’s funny about it is that there are a lot of retailers I’ve noticed to go back and forth. Sometimes they use the term, sometimes they don’t. And I’m often wondering, well, how do those companies end up on that list? Does this have to happen to be whatever week the turkey comes in? Maybe it used to. Maybe they haven’t. But the American Family Association has really turned this into a little business. They say sell stickers and badges and pins and all kinds of stuff about how they’re going to save Christmas. And they make me got probably a good amount of money on this every year, selling them to the fundamentalist who follow them. 

Do you dislike Christmas? 

No, not at all. I think it’s great. And although I’m not religious, I grew up with Christmas and I go celebrate. I have a family. But like a lot of people, we celebrate it as a secular holiday. And I think that’s what’s really bothering the religious right these days. There was a poll out I just saw the other day that showed that a larger number of people were celebrating Christmas as a secular holiday. Now, you know, they’re still the minority. Make no mistake about that. But the number has shot up pretty significantly over the years. And, of course, the religious right. I called the Christmas police. There’s one way to celebrate Christmas. No way. And if you don’t want to do it their way, then you’re obviously waging war on Christmas. 

Well, I have. I noticed that when I moved to the States. Right. I mean, I grew up in Australia of a half Jewish, half Catholic ancestry. And we always celebrated Christmas. But in countries like Australia and most of what most Western European countries, Christmas has become so divorced from any notion of religiosity. When I came to the states and saw that Jewish colleagues were not celebrating Christmas, I hadn’t really ever occurred to me. I sound ridiculously naive, but I hadn’t really occurred to me that as as a person I had a bar mitzvah. I probably shouldn’t even be celebrating Christmas, but it’s so far from from any of it, so far from being a religious institution anymore for being a religious holiday anymore outside of certain parts of the United States, that I think that war is lost. 

And maybe this is just the final I mean, maybe they actually have to some extent a point, which is, yes, they are literally losing this religious holiday as a religious holiday. 

Oh, absolutely. I agree. They’re they’re losing control of it. It has become this this thing that is largely secular for a lot of people. And of course, it’s marked by a lot of control spending, dead consumerism, all the stuff that it really has nothing to do with religion. I know a lot of non Christian people. Some are atheists, some are Wiccan, some pagan, some are Hindus or members of other faiths who celebrate Christmas. So if I’m the religious right’s perspective, the idea of this being this sort of Luber a Christian holiday where you have to do it with. Celebrated in a certain way religiously. They’re just losing that. And that’s what really, I think, had them so angry. 

Let’s go through some of the misconceptions, some of the myths that get peddle by the religious right and by conservatives about the war on Christmas. One of what are some of the most common claims that just fact claims that are being made? 

Well, a lot of those claims revolve around public education. Public schools serve something like 90 percent of our school schoolchildren. And, of course, those kids come from many different religious and philosophical beliefs. And the religious right would would like for those schools to promote their version of Christianity. So they spread all these crazy stories about things that supposedly go on in the public schools, about how they’re trying to shut down Christmas and how they don’t even acknowledge it at all. And I’ve looked into a number of these over the years and they just aren’t true. For example, on just one story. I keep seeing repeatedly is about the public school that supposedly have gone so far that they’ve banned the colors, red and green from the school during the month of December. This is the religious right’s version of an urban legend. You know that term? Sure. It’s it’s their version of the vanishing hitchhiker and the killer with the hope for a hand and all this kind of thing, these stories that people tell. And they always happened to a friend of a friend. Well, so my research and I’ve looked into this several times about the school that supposedly bans red and green that you call the school and they’ll just say, what are we talking about? We haven’t done that. And there are other claims that Christmas, Christmas celebrations and the study of even holidays as an academic subject has been removed entirely. 

I want to look into that to find out there’s much less there than was being planned on the question of those red and green colors. 

I was watching some some clips about the war on Christmas. You know, in preparation for this. And one of the things that I that I did notice was that the way that the people always relate these anecdotes is a bit like a game of telephone, rather than saying that a public school has officially taken a particular stance in providing any evidence for that. They say, I was called I was contacted by the mother of a student who says that. 

And I’m like, well, you know, you’ve got a student who is telling a mother who then gets outraged at something which the student is claiming happened back in class. It could have been as simple as there was something random and something green. And the teacher just took them for completely unrelated reason. And then it’s almost like once you’ve got the paradigm within which there is a war on Christmas every and you’re terrified of that war on Christmas, then everything that you’ll kill then comes home and tells you feeds into that same paradigm. And then you call your local conservative radio host and the conservative radio hosts spews it out as being facts when in actual fact, there’s no journalism going on here. 

No, absolutely not. And it’s very irresponsible. I blame Fox News Channel for a lot of this. They will put these stories on the air and put them online without even bothering to call the school. It was an example recently of a town in Texas called Fiasco First Go Texas, where exactly what you’re saying happened. Some parents started sending around an e-mail claiming the school had banned the colors, red and green and white. Christmas wasn’t true. They hadn’t done it. But this got attributed to the school and Fox News ran with this. If they had bothered to call the school, they would have seen the school had a statement up saying that this was not their policy. They hadn’t Bandy’s colors. They hadn’t banned the word Christmas. But of course, you know, the goal of Fox News is to get everybody all worked up, not to actually report anything factual. And on that score, you know, they did it. They’ve done what they’re supposed to do. 

And one of the other myths that we hear is that it’s become illegal to say Merry Christmas or the black kid. There’s the people are getting punished for saying Merry Christmas. 

Yes. One hears that store that that claim a lot do. In fact, Texas, again, actually passed a law making it clear that people had the right to say Merry Christmas. And a couple other states are actually looking at similar laws. To me, it’s remarkable they’re actually going through this right now. But what we are actual laws that say this, nobody is trying to stop anyone from say Merry Christmas. 

What happened is it’s a lazy I’m pretty sure that the First Amendment covers people’s right to say merry Christmas. Let’s get to the bank. 

I think the Supreme Court, what it does on the what’s happened is that in some parts of the country, like where I live here in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, there’s this incredible amount of diversity. And you can’t really assume that the person celebrates Christmas. They might. They might not. But just in order to be polite or sensitive to them. Some people use the term happy holidays instead. Or they’ll do it because they want to include both Christmas and New Year’s. So it just strikes me as a silly kind of thing. You have people getting seriously worked up about the type of phrases and the terms people use. And what happens is some people like myself get. So just thinking that this is so silly that we’re just just to annoy the religious right out of our way, not to say Merry Christmas even when it’s appropriate. 

I must say, I was actually I was recently sending a letter to to someone in Tennessee, you know, saying, hey, I didn’t know this person. And I was sending another one to a person in New York City and to the person in New York City. I wrote Merry Christmas to the person in Tennessee. I wrote Happy Holidays just to sort of, you know, I guess I wanted to make sure that they were aware that here we say happy holidays. What about the myth that there are cities and towns that have banned decorations for Christmas decorations because people might get offended, right? 

Yes. Well, this is an area where we do actually have some case law to look at. There are certain things that communities can do regarding religious displays and certain things that they shouldn’t do. And every year there are some fights over what how much religious material can appear in these government sponsored displays. I mean, in a nutshell, the Supreme Court has said that if, you know, the town puts up the nativity scene by itself, that that’s not going to be OK. The government isn’t really in the business of displaying religious symbols. Now, if they put their nativity scene in a display that includes a lot of non-religious things, Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, reindeer, candy canes, etc., that’s going to be all right. And they’ve also said that different organizations can come in and use the space and put religious symbols net and not religious symbols on this space as long as everybody gets a crack at it. You might have read recently about this situation in Florida in the statehouse, where a Christian group was allowed to display nativity scene on this space with their own money in their own initiative. Now, as a result of that Jewish group came in and they put their sign up. An atheist group came and put the sign up, and then a man came in with a Festivus pole that he had made out of beer cans. 

I did see it and I saw it because Fox News was commenting on it. And I kind of wish commentator on Fox News was. But she was saying, why should I have to when I’m driving around town trying to show my children nativity scenes, why should I have to explain to them what a Festivus pole made of beer cans is? And I thought, why are you driving around town looking for nativity scenes? 

That’s kind of creepy. 

Well, the funny thing is about these people on Fox News. They don’t even know where to look. There are lots of nativity scenes at churches and that’s actually where they belong. But they insist on dragging them. You don’t want the steps of city hall or into the state house and this kind of thing. And whenever you get into a situation like that with the governments involved, it has to play fair. It has to get everybody that same right of access to the space. Now, again, you know, these are private displays. They’re as I say, they’re displayed on private groups on time with its own dime, not the government. So the atheist groups, the Festivus people, Jewish organizations, you know, Islamic groups, a lot of different organizations could come in and put their symbols up. As far as explaining it to your children, well, maybe you ought to explain it to these people on Fox News. Maybe I’ll explain to them that not everybody believes the same thing or thinks the same way. 

What do you think appropriate? Do you think that that is the appropriate way to to do this sort of thing? I mean, first, out in public space should change. Should we be permitted to use public spaces for any expression of private religious belief? 

Well, I think that as long as we’re going to do that, then we have to have a policy where everybody or every group gets a crack at it. Now, I’m not crazy about the idea of these religious symbols or religious symbols being displayed in front of the city hall or on the steps of city hall or in the steps in state capital simply because there are so many houses of worship and other private places that could sponsor those symbols. But it’s kind of a done deal. Supreme Court ruled some years ago that this type of system is permissible. So we’re going to play by the rules. The problem is that some people just seem to be having a very difficult time with that. I mean, they’re OK until they see a symbol that they don’t understand or they don’t like. And then suddenly they want to take that right away or they want to close down the forum. But that isn’t the way it works at the forum is open to everybody. That means truly, everybody has to be given access to everybody. 

What about the idea that at Christmas time you give a little bit of leeway to nativity scenes and, you know, Hanukkah, you probably give a little bit of leeway to Jewish iconography in New York, give a bit of leeway to to New Year symbolism. But the two always reflexively respond to these things by putting up another another another faith or non faithful image. 

Simply to poke religious people in the eye is petty. 

Well, I can certainly understand some people who feel that way, but I would argue that we do need to be careful about this situation, because once the precedent is established, the religious right legal groups are going to just push it as much as they can. So, for example, if you allowed them to put the nativity scene up for two weeks in front of city hall, they’d be coming back and saying, well, wait, we could put the Ten Commandments up all year round or we’d like to put this cross up next. They’re always going to try to push the envelope and look for whatever kind of loophole they can legally to get their religion somehow joined with government. That’s what they’re all about. So we’ve got to hold the line on some of these things, even though sometimes people may think it’s a little petty. 

One of the things that I’ve noticed living in Australia and in Western Europe this is living here is that in those countries without a formal separation of church and state. It’s much more. Taboo to talk about religion. It’s much more. Politicians don’t wear religion on their sleeve. And although it would be permissible probably for religious iconography to be displayed in public areas, there’s no great push for it. I wondered whether you think there’s any correlation between the strict separation of church and state here, the constitutional separation and the desire of religious people to to chip away at that separation? 

Well, that’s the great irony of the situation. We have a legal separation of church and state in a legal secularism built into our Constitution. Yet countries in Western Europe, some of which actually have established churches, have a much higher rate of what I would call cultural secularism. And they have divorced religion from their political systems to an extent that is not seen here. Now, there are a couple ideas in a couple of theories as to why that’s the case. But I do think that the separation of church and state, because it puts all religions on an equal footing and allows for a great amount of religious freedom has sort of ironically led some of these groups to the position there. And now they’re actually attacking secularism as a cultural phenomenon. There’s one other aspect of that that’s kind of interesting. My friend Tom Flynn, who I’m sure you know, has pointed to some research recently indicating that countries with a strong safety net, social safety net, see a rise in secularism as people stop relying on churches to meet their basic needs. So that might explain why so many of the Scandinavian nations and Western European nations have seen this drop in interest among religion. We’ve never had that strong of a social safety net in this country. Our social safety net is tattered. It has holes in it, and it’s not seamless. And that may be one of the reasons why so many religious organizations, aside from opposing separation of church and state, also oppose safety net because they know that that’s going to reduce their power and their ability to interact with the state. 

Interesting. I guess it’s also their interpretation of religion as well. There is a puritanical strain of American Protestantism that’s very individualistic and very we’re all in this on our own and you should pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It emphasizes personal responsibility. Whereas if you look at European religions, especially sort of Western European Catholicism, it’s much more about community and taking care of one another. 

Yes, I think you’re right about that as well. There’s always been this strain of hyper capitalism merged with our religion. Many Christian denominations in this country have have adopted that almost as a tenet of faith. It’s funny because, you know, I don’t find to be a theologian, unlike Barry Land, who actually is a minister who runs our group. I’m not ordained. I have an interest in religion as an academic subject. But I have a real problem reconciling the message of Jesus with bootstrap capitalism. There seems to be an inherent conflict there. Yet many of the religious right have brought this two right into concert. 

Yeah, and it’s I mean, they’ve really taken it and run with it. If you look at not just the religious right, but I mean American religion. One of the most popular pastors in America is Joel Osteen, who I’ve sat down with and interviewed. 

And he’s very much. He’s he’s an inspiring figure to a lot of people precisely because his gospel is so materialistic and so hassle free. It’s so easy. Well, you have to do is pray to God because God cares about what home mortgage interest rate your pain. And he cares about you losing weight. I mean, it’s the most banal kind of if I would ever be a Christian, I would at least want to take on board some of the burden of being religious and some of the duties of being religious and and interpret. And surely believed that the creator of the universe is concerned about bigger things than what my monthly mortgage repayments are. Do you have any theories about why this is such a big deal in this country? 

You know, to be honest, it’s embarrassing. And I see it as a merging of some strains of Christianity with the self-help movement. And you’re right to think that the force that created the universe was going to obsessing over your waistline or some picayune detail of your life. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at religious right meetings where God has presented very much in that way. It’s almost as if some people believe in God as this the ultimate personal assistant. You get you whatever you want. If you just have faith in our pray hard enough, I think there are some unique facets of our history that have led to the rise of that type of Christianity. But I think they’re very unfortunate, to be honest. 

And how much of the whole war on Christmas and all of these these strains of American culture that we’re talking about, do you think stems from a misunderstanding of freedom of religion versus the freedom from religion? I feel like you hear from religious people a lot, that their religious freedoms are being persecuted by a simple insistence or request from other people that they not force their religion down their throats. It’s. It’s understanding that, yes, you have the freedom to believe whatever you wanted, to express that however you want, but you don’t have the freedom to force me to endure what it is that you’re that you’re claiming to believe. Is there any way that we can clarify that? 

Well, we’ve been trying for so long. It’s very frustrating. I think you’ve put your finger right on it. That’s the crux of the problem in so many ways. People just seem to have a difficult time. Some people in this country grasping the idea that while they can go to whatever church they like and pray and read whatever religious book they like and join in fellowship with other people, they don’t have the right to use the power of the state to enforce their theology. And we’re seeing that today in a more subtle way in some of these fights over access to birth control and other demands that religious groups are making that public policy be bent to conform to whatever theological view they happen to have. What’s so frustrating about it is they’re asking the state to enforce the theology that in some cases they can’t even persuade their own members to adopt. Look at the Catholic Church with huge numbers of people ignoring them on the ban on birth control. So they’re demanding this right to deny people access to contraceptives through their even their secular businesses. Just the owners just happens to be a conservative Catholic. It’s quite remarkable to me. That’s the ultimate lie, not our faith, but in faith. They’ve lost faith in their own ability to spread their faith and are actually asking the government to do it. 

Indeed, on the issue of birth control, we’ve got some really interesting cases coming up at the Supreme Court which are going to be deciding whether or not corporations are have religious freedom. Right straight. I mean, corporations, people with we’ve already established the corporations of people for the purposes of political donations and free speech. If corporations are interpreted as being people for the purpose, I mean, how can a corporation have a religious faith simply because the person, the secular, a secular corporations, simply because the religious person who happens to run it has a religious belief? Is this could this open the door to something nasty? 

Well, certainly could open the door to lots of problems as indeed the contraceptive fight really could just be the tip of the iceberg in a case like this, if corporations, secular corporations, profit making corporations are determined to have some type of religious expression, what where where does it stop? Let’s say the guy owning the corporation happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness and he thinks blood transfusions are sinful. Can he then say, well, my how our health care program started today no longer covers any surgical procedure if that procedure happens to involve a blood transfusion or even the risk of a blood transfusion. More to the point where if a fundamentalist Christian said, you know, I think that you all ought to pray and ask Jesus for healing when you’re sick. So we’re all going to have a health care plan at all. It could be a real problem. I’m hoping that the Supreme Court will just shut down this nonsense, this idea that there is a somehow a corporate religious freedom expression, because that is just I think that’s at odds with what the First Amendment says and how it has been interpreted historically. 

It’s also so hypocritical of religious conservatives to support this, because if the corporation were run by, for example, a fundamentalist Muslim, they would not be championing the religious freedom. It’s it’s only it’s only in this narrow, hypocritical environment. It reminds me a little bit of a few weeks ago when there was this, who are the Duck Dynasty? You know, this guy who. And my apologies to listeners who were listening to this months or years later. But there’s a controversy about this reality television star who made some very homophobic and pro religious fundamentalists comments and people saying that he has been deprived of his right to free speech because an eight network, the producer of the show, has dropped him from the show. 

I keep saying this is not a free speech issue. He had just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean that it’s wise to do it. I have the right to do all kinds of things that I wouldn’t do because it would be a crazy thing to do. And I see some parallels there with with the religious right as well. Nobody’s infringing your freedom of religion or your freedom of speech to simply call out what it is that you’re doing. 

Yes, exactly. The situation with the Duck Dynasty guys. It’s exasperating because only the government can restrict your free speech. And the government tried to punish him for saying certain things that that would be a problem, but a private entity. You know, my employer, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, definitely has an interest in what I say. If I give any speech and I say something that’s racial or very controversial, I’m going to hear from them and I might decide if what I say is bad enough. Everybody is under that particular restriction. And you’re right. It is. There is a parallel there to religious liberty. You have the right to affiliate with whatever house of worship you like to pray to God in whatever way is meaningful to you to read the religious books that speak to you. And you have the right to go out in public and try to persuade people to adopt your point of view, to go door to door and drop your literature or go on the airwaves, go on the Internet, go on the radio. There’s such a dizzying amount of religious freedom in this country that you could do all of that tax free. Minimal regulation by the government. But you can’t force people. 

And I just don’t understand why some people do not grasp that distinction. 

There is no ability to cock up your faith to the power of the state and use the state as your theological enforcer. 

And before leaving Duck Dynasty and that religious nut job, let’s just point out that Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal came out and said that this is about a free speech issue. He shouldn’t have been fired because they’re defending his free speech. Here’s a thought experiment. If he had come out and said that he was an atheist and he’d said that he thinks that the whole Bible is a crock of B.S.. Do you think that Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin would be standing up saying it’s a free speech issue? They’d be calling for his head? 

Of course they would. Yeah. The ultimate hypocrites. Exactly. 

Exactly what they’d be doing. What do you think Christmas will become? What do you think this time of year will ultimately become if you had to put on your prognosticators cap and look some decades hence, as we’ve become increasingly secular, as America becomes more more baumol multi-ethnic? 

Well, your record, I do think it’s going to morph into a more secular holiday, but it will always retain certain religious elements. For example, you know, religious music, which many people are fond of, even if they personally are not religious. And there will be certain religious symbols that people will always probably incorporate. But we do know that church attendance rates in the country are dropping, that more and more people are adopting sort of a personal spiritual view that doesn’t necessarily align with any official theology. And that is going to impact how these holidays are celebrating, how they’re observed. Now, the religious right happy about that. They don’t like it. But sometimes when I’m speaking, I tell them, look, I’m not saying it’s good or it’s bad. I’m saying it’s what is the country is changing and you need to adapt to that. 

So the religious right. I think we can we can accept are deeply they genuinely care deeply about this and they are genuinely concerned about this. Then you’ve got the the bombastic folks on Fox News who are probably just using this as a manipulative ratings trick like Bill O’Reilly. But there’s a subset of of those people who I think really do believe it. I mean, John Gibson is one of these Fox News guys who’s written a book about the war on Christmas. You’ve debated him on the air. He’s just lost his. Lost his mind in being infuriated by the fact that you are calling him on things that he was claiming which weren’t true. 

What do you think is motivating him? He’s clearly not an idiot. He’s not a hit. And he’s not Bill O’Reilly. What? What’s he up? What’s he on about? 

I think a lot of people are threatened by the changes in this country. Do you think about what’s happened to this country in the past, even just 25 years alone? The rise of a very sophisticated, well-funded and aggressive gay rights movement, for example, that has actually brought same sex marriage to several states. Honestly, if somebody had told me 25 years ago that I would live to see same sex marriage, I would have scoffed. I would have thought that’s not going to happen in this country. That’s going to be much farther down the line. Here we are. At the same time, we had a rise of a truly multi faith, diverse, multi-ethnic America where there is no racial dynamics are changing. The rise of the women’s rights movement, the rise of the nonbelievers. It’s been for some of these folks who have this very traditional mindset. It’s been too much, too fast, too soon. So they’re trying to put the brakes on it. And that, I think, is what Gibson represents, the angry white guy. He’s speaking for that constituency, but they’re on the outs. They may not care to accept that Americare to deal with that reality, but their day is going to pass and it’s happening much faster than a lot of us thought. 

I guess it also just depends what you think makes America great. Right. If you think that America is great because of the heartland, the white traditional heartland and church and family and tradition, then of course, you cannot regard the changes as being being threatening. If you think what makes America great on the land is its diversity, its resilience, its openness to the rest of the world, its its migration, the engine of prosperity, its tolerance, its creativity, then you probably regard the demise of traditional white culture as being a good thing. 

And I guess that’s maybe one point at which we can sort of understand them, if not agree with them. 

Yes. Yes, exactly. I think that’s really what it’s all about. Change is always hard for a lot of folks, either the people who, you know, they they they weren’t necessarily crazy about the civil rights movement. They weren’t crazy about the women’s liberation movement. They weren’t crazy about the gay rights movement. They’re not crazy about the nonbeliever’s rights movement. That’s all changed. But I see that as a positive thing. I think as a country that’s more accepting, more welcoming and more diverse. But there definitely are people who are threatened by that diversity. 

Roberson Thanks for being on point of inquiry. Merry Christmas. Happy Christmas. 

Hanukkah. I mean, you have the end of year festive, festive time of whatever denomination. Thank you. 

Josh Zepps

Josh Zepps

An Australian media personality, political satirist, actor, and TV show host. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He was a founding host for HuffPost Live.