Friday, November 22, 2013

Major retailer ditches political correctness, saying ‘Merry Christmas’ this year

The American Family Association has made it its mission for nearly eight years to coordinate a major grassroots email campaign targeting retailers that replaced “Merry Christmas” messages with the politically correct “Happy Holidays.” But this year, the group is claiming a major victory.

Bill Chandler, Gap Inc.’s vice-president for global corporate affairs, sent a personal letter to the association announcing its policy has changed this year for Gap and Old Navy stores:

As we near the holiday season I want to update you on how Gap, Inc.’s family of brands will celebrate the Christmas season. As a global retailer, we embrace the diversity of our customers and respect a variety of traditions and faith during the holidays, including Christmas.

Starting today, every Gap Outlet window will have signs that say “Merry Christmas” along with Christmas trees and wreaths throughout their stores.

Chandler said in the letter that a “special Christmas-themed event” was being planned for all of its Old Navy stores in mid-December, adding that the stores’ websites will also include “Christmas-related products.”

American Family Association President Tim Wildmon said in an email to supporters that:

"eight years ago, nearly 80 percent of retailers abandoned Christmas for a non-offensive, generic holiday approach. The group attributes some retailers’ turnaround to the grassroots pressure the assocation’s supports have put on companies waging a “war on Christmas.”

“AFA began working with GAP Inc. about five years ago when it adamantly refused to use the term ‘Christmas’ in any of its seasonal advertising,” Wildmon said in the email. “For that reason, AFA asked you to boycott Gap stores during the Christmas shopping season last year. Your efforts have paid off.”


A Very Dangerous Game

Thomas Sowell

New York City police authorities are investigating a series of unprovoked physical attacks in public places on people who are Jewish, in the form of what is called "the knockout game."

The way the game is played, one of a number of young blacks decides to show that he can knock down some stranger on the streets, preferably with one punch, as they pass by. Often some other member of the group records the event, so that a video of that "achievement" is put on the Internet, to be celebrated.

The New York authorities describe a recent series of such attacks and, because Jews have been singled out in these attacks, are considering prosecuting these assaults as "hate crimes."

Many aspects of these crimes are extremely painful to think about, including the fact that responsible authorities in New York seem to have been caught by surprise, even though this "knockout game" has been played for years by young black gangs in other cities and other states, against people besides Jews -- the victims being either whites in general or people of Asian ancestry.

Attacks of this sort have been rampant in St. Louis. But they have also occurred in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and elsewhere. In Illinois the game has often been called "Polar Bear Hunting" by the young thugs, presumably because the targets are white.

The main reason for many people's surprise is that the mainstream media have usually suppressed news about the "knockout game" or about other and larger forms of similar orchestrated racial violence in dozens of cities in every region of the country. Sometimes the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified "teens" or "young people" against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims -- and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own "achievement."

Despite such pious phrases as "troubled youths," the attackers are often in a merry, festive mood. In a sustained mass attack in Milwaukee, going far beyond the dimensions of a passing "knockout game," the attackers were laughing and eating chips, as if it were a picnic. One of them observed casually, "white girl bleed a lot."

That phrase -- "White Girl Bleed A Lot" -- is also the title of a book by Colin Flaherty, which documents both the racial attacks across the nation and the media attempts to cover them up, as well as the local political and police officials who try to say that race had nothing to do with these attacks.

Chapter 2 of the 2013 edition is titled, "The Knockout Game, St. Louis Style." So this is nothing new, however new it may be to some in New York, thanks to the media's political correctness.

Nor is this game just a passing prank. People have been beaten unconscious, both in this game and in the wider orchestrated racial attacks. Some of these victims have been permanently disabled and some have died from their injuries.

But most of the media see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. In such an atmosphere, the evil not only persists but grows.

Some in the media, as well as in politics, may think that they are trying to avoid provoking a race war by ignoring or playing down these attacks. But the way to prevent a race war is by stopping these attacks, not trying to sanitize them.

If these attacks continue, and continue to grow, more and more people are going to know about them, regardless of the media or the politicians. Responsible people of all races need to support a crackdown on these attacks, which can provoke a white backlash that can escalate into a race war. But political expediency leads in the opposite direction.

What is politically expedient is to do what Attorney General Eric Holder is doing -- launch campaigns against schools that discipline a "disproportionate" number of black male students. New York City's newly elected liberal mayor is expected to put a stop to police "stop and frisk" policies that have reduced the murder rate to one-fourth of what it was under liberal mayors of the past.

Apparently political correctness trumps human lives.

Providing cover for hoodlums is a disservice to everybody, including members of every race, and even the hoodlums themselves. Better that they should be suppressed and punished now, rather than continue on a path that is likely to lead to prison, or even to the execution chamber.


Revisiting American and Global Culture Wars

George Will recently wrote a column about "When liberals became scolds." He was certainly right about that, when considering such liberals as Amy Goodman and Media Benjamin (the notorious Code Pink). I have never heard either of these women say anything positive about our country. If one were to ask them, I am certain that they would say that they love this country so much that they want it to be better than it is.  They seem to think of all their carping as loyal opposition.

Will was actually tracing the origin of this carping to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Nobody wanted to think that a stupid sad sack such as Oswald could have single-handedly changed the course of history. It just didn't feel right. To the Liberals, it seemed unlikely that any true liberal would want to kill this popular president. It had to be a much larger conspiracy, one in which the evil right-wingers in Texas had detested this president and publicly said so were behind this assassination. And these right-wingers could not believe that Oswald was not an agent of the Soviet Union itself. Because of the incredibility of this assassination, conspiracy theories were much easier to swallow.

With this assassination, any pretense of a consensus society largely bit the dust. Replacing consensus was a culture of resentment. Young people resented their elders ("trust nobody over 30").  Women resented their second-class status (Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex). Black and Brown citizens resented their second class status also, especially since they had fought so bravely in World War II and believed that their standing as citizens should be a given. Homosexuals resented the closet they were living in because of laws that put them there. This was the cultural revolt of the left.

The assassination also pushed conservatives into a defensive mode. They believed that American values were under threat by some very foreign ideas. For women to be first class citizens, they needed control over their fertility and access to all careers and administrative positions. However, the former values of women as wives, mothers, and nurturers were being threatened by this sort of feminist equality. The conservatives were right that the older values were threatened, but like King Canute, they tried to hold back the tide. Diehards, moreover, were prepared to resort to violence to prevent abortion and in some cases birth control (clasp a quarter with your knees instead).

The youth revolt that seemed so sweet and charming at first (look what the young people are doing!) soon became more sinister. Out of it came terrorism in the name of ideology (Black Panthers) and an irresponsible sexuality along with drug use that gave medics the nightmare of diseases that had not been seen since Chaucer's time. Sexual license, it seems, neither makes young men nor young women happy. And the vulgarization of language and public behavior in our society is their contribution too.

Behind most of the societal conflicts, not only in the US but also around the world, has to do with social values, especially the value of tolerance. Tolerance is not the same thing as endorsement, which neither side understands today. We see these struggles primarily in the Muslim world, centered around the status of women and family. Militant Muslims are willing to kill rather than permit women equality.

This is why a militant thug saw fit to try to assassinate a teen-age girl who spoke up about wanting to go to school.  The cultural attitude toward women as property rather than human beings is behind the rampant crime of honor killing "disobedient" girls, happening wherever Muslims are living around the world today. Muslim-majority governments say nothing, but we must care and prosecute these killers.

The culture wars will continue because these values are so important to the participants. The only thing that will end culture wars is genuine, common-core education. Freedom requires responsibility and a certain level of tolerance. This is the opposite of ideological (or religious) certainty that only one way, their way, is right.


Why Did Costco Label Bible as Fiction?

What do the Bible, "The Hunger Games" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" have in common? All three are works of fiction, according to the booksellers at Costco.

Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach made that shocking discovery last Friday as he was shopping for a present for his wife at a Costco in Simi Valley, Calif.

“All the Bibles were labeled as fiction,” the pastor told me. “It seemed bizarre to me.”

Kaltenbach is the lead pastor at Discovery Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in southern California.

He thought there must be some sort of mistake so he scoured the shelf for other Bibles. Every copy was plastered with a sticker that read, “$14.99 Fiction.”

The pastor knew something must be amiss so he set off in search of a Costco employee hoping for an answer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find anyone willing to answer his question (which is not all that surprising if you’ve shopped at Costco).

Since no one in the store was willing to offer assistance, the good shepherd of Discovery Church snapped a photograph of the Bible and tweeted it to his flock.

“People are pretty shocked and upset,” he told me. “We are supposed to be living in an era of tolerance, but what Costco did doesn’t seem too tolerant.”

I doubt they would label the Koran as fiction, Pastor Kaltenbach said. Heaven help us if they did.

“If they don’t believe in the Bible, that’s fine – but at least label it as ‘religion’ as some bookstores do, or ‘inspiration’,” he said.

So does the warehouse store that sells laundry detergent by the gallon have a problem with the Word of God?

I called Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash. hoping to get answers. The nice lady who answered the phone told me she was aware of the issue and chalked it up to a “human error at a warehouse.”

“It’s all fixed,” she said.

But actually, it’s not fixed – because there’s a boatload of Bibles in the Simi Valley store still marked as fiction.

At that point, the nice lady on the phone became not-so-nice and promptly informed me that Costco doesn’t talk to the press.

“Nothing to report,” she said curtly.

With all due respect, perhaps they should leave the reporting to the professionals and we’ll leave the bulk purchases of toilet paper to Costco.

Pastor Kaltenbach said he’s not one to speak out on such slights, but seeing the Good Book labeled as fiction was bit too much to take.

“On the one hand Christians should not yell out ‘persecution’,” he said. “We aren’t living in Iraq or Iran. But on the other hand, I believe that we do need to stand up for our faith and we need to be vocal about our concerns.”
That’s a message that resonates with pastor and author Robert Jeffress.

“Let’s hope Costco’s explanation is true and not the result of having been caught attempting to marginalize the very foundation of Christian beliefs, the Bible,” Pastor Jeffress told me. “Christians need to call out organizations like Costco whose actions undermine Christianity – regardless of whether those actions are accidental or intentional.”

Steven Smith, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the fiction label identifies the thinking of the labeler more than the content of the book.

“To label the Bible fiction is a practical front for an ideological foundation that assumes things spiritual are unreal,” he told me. “What is odd about this choice is the glut of books in the "religion and spirituality" sections in mainstream book stores. However, as large as "spirituality" sections are, there must not be any room for Christianity. Modern thinking on spirituality is too exclusive to allow for the Bible.”

Of course, this entire episode could have been cleared up had a Costco employee simply answered Pastor Kaltenbach’s question.

And that’s the Gospel Truth.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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