'Grinch List' Highlights Businesses That Won't Recognize Christmas
POSTED: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 10:34am
UPDATED: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 10:45am
A Dallas Church has launched a Web site that alerts holiday shoppers to area stores and businesses that refuse to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" this holiday season.
The First Baptist Church of Dallas launched GrinchAlert.com as a protest against retailers using what it views as politically correct, generic holiday language and displays during the Christmas season.
A "Naughty List" identifies stores in the area that refuse to specifically refer to Christmas in their greetings, decorations and advertisements while a "Nice List" highlights stores that do.
The lists are compiled from reports from shoppers who visit stores, banks, other businesses - even local government offices. Visitors to the site may update the list if they witness behavior or see material that impresses or disappoints them.
The list will be read on the church's radio station every morning until Christmas Day.
So far big national chains such as Best Buy, T.J. Maxx and Hallmark have made the "Nice List" while Nordstrom's, Macy's and Barnes and Noble feature on the "Naughty List."
There are currently about five times more businesses listed as "Nice" than those deemed "Naughty."
Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church launched the site after a controversy erupted over a Christmas display at an area business.
"There was a local bank that had taken down a Christmas tree that was in the lobby because they were fearful of offending people," he told CNSNews in a phone interview.
"It caused a media uproar and the usual 'war on Christmas' talk and I thought, why not try and make something positive out of this?"
Jeffress says that since the site launched, thousands of tips have come in from around the country but the church is sure to verify the accuracy of each before they put a business into the "Naughty" or "Nice" category.
"We have had about 2,000 posting so far and we're trying to be selective about the ones we put on there to try and make sure that there's at least some semblance of accuracy and no fraudulent posts being made," Jeffress said. "We can't of course always guarantee that, but I think you're going to see more and more national posts going up there."
Through his site Jeffress hopes to encourage businesses to adopt Christmas-specific themes and messages and to be less fearful of a negative reaction from people who insist that nothing at a business should risk offending those who may not celebrate Christ's birth.
"I hope what will happen is that fewer business will have bowed to the political correctness police and will instead observe historically what our culture has observed which is the entry of Christ into the world - whether it's through a spiritual scene like a nativity scene or even a secular recognition of Christmas," Jeffress said
The First Baptist Church of Dallas is inviting people to identify businesses that embrace Christmas terminology and displays, and those that don't.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, views the action as offensive to those who do not celebrate Christmas and says the Christian view about the season being specifically about the birth of Christ is moreover factually inaccurate.
"I think this is horribly bigoted," Silverman told CNSNews.
"I think it's the epitome of what is going wrong with Christianity. What this church has to understand is that Christmas is not a Christian holiday," he said.
"It is a stolen holiday and it is one of many holidays where a god was said to be born in the winter solstice. Christianity is not the first or the fifth or even the tenth religion to name their god's birthday as the winter solstice."
" For them to say that this is a Christian-only holiday - which is essentially what they're saying 'if you don't say this you're naughty' - for them to say that is not only incredibly bigoted but it's also factually, provably incorrect," Silverman continued.
"This is not a Christian-only season, it is a holiday season based on the winter solstice which affects every living thing on the planet. It's not about Jesus only."
While Jeffress plans on continuing the list throughout the holiday season he said he is not calling for people to avoid the establishments listed as "Naughty."
"There is in no way any implication of a boycott here," he said.
"One of the restaurants that's on the 'Naughty List' for saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas' is a restaurant that my family goes to every week and I plan to continue to go to it every week - although I might check my enchiladas a little more carefully now that they're on the naughty list," he said. "But we're not going to boycott them because of that."