Quick quiz. Tell us what comes to mind when someone says Christmas: The Christ child and the Virgin Mary maybe? Santa and his reindeer? Abortion? If you nodded at all three, you must be one of the whacked out Americans who will be buying their holiday cards from Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania this year, the one place you can find "Choice on Earth" cards for sale for the holiday season.
Let me say this: I am pro-choice, and as a woman who once went without health insurance for a year, I'm usually a proponent of Planned Parenthood. But I've got just one question to ask the folks at PP: what part of Christmas don't you understand?
Christmas is the holiday of Christians -- hence the first six letters of the word. Christians, according to the statistics, also happen to be the most hardcore anti-choicers out there. A full 70 percent of evangelical Protestants think abortion should be illegal, according to a Pew Research Poll last year. Overall, more than half of Protestants are against abortion, and Catholics are split almost right down the middle on the issue: 47 percent are OK with some form of legal abortion; 42 percent think Roe v. Wade should be struck down immediately.
Now compare that to the category Pew calls "unaffiliated" with any religion. They're not Christians, so it stands to reason they're not the big "Christmas" celebrators. And they're also the most likely to be pro-choice. Seventy-one percent of the people who are "unaffiliated" said it should be a legal choice for women in America.
On a pure marketing level, it makes sense for Planned Parenthood to milk the holiday to push the abortion agenda along. The "unaffiliated" are already not buying the whole "virgin birth" story. They might buy these. And if there's any time to catch a Christian off guard, it's when they're thinking about the most miraculous pregnancy ever -- and how it's a little too close for comfort to the myth of the Jolly Fat Guy for some. It's a holiday when Christians have to go on blind faith; it's a time when doubts can creep in.
And these are certainly a marketing ploy. Just check out the copy on the sale: "Not only will you receive a beautiful set of holiday cards, you'll also be spreading the word about [Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania]."
That doesn't make it right. As liberals, we expect right wing Christianity to have respect for us in the so-called "War on Christmas," expect them to understand "happy holidays" is a sentiment about inclusion rather than one that excludes their beliefs. To co-opt their holiday as a means to push our own agenda shows an equal lack of respect.
Are these cards too crass for Christmas?
Image via Planned Parenthood