American Family Association Goes After Chase Over Lack Of Christmas Trees

Fresh off its apparent victory to put the “Christmas” back into Dick’s, the not at all crazy people at the American Family Association have re-focused their laser beams on JPMorgan Chase. Not because it’s a big bank who was recently sued for its alleged part in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, but because they don’t want Christmas trees in the lobby.

The AFA claims that all Chase branches have been given company-approved holiday decorations and ordered to remove any other holiday decor.

According to an AFA press release, internal Chase documents state that “We don’t want to lose somebody’s business because of seasonal decorations,” and that they want to “ensure that everyone who visits our branches is made to feel completely welcome and comfortable.”

Perfectly sane AFA president Tim Wildmon says:

This is an absurd policy… The most welcoming, inclusive thing you can do this time of year is wish people a merry Christmas.

In fact, Chase’s policy will actually be offensive to many people who bank there. When customers find out that Chase is deliberating disregarding Christmas, they may just be inclined to take their banking business to a Christmas-friendly institution. Christmas is a holiday we’ve set aside as a nation to honor the birth of Christ because of his impact on American and world history. It’s just bad business for any company to show this kind of disregard for our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Yes, because the first thing Christians should be concerned about when celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (who was a huge fan of bankers, if I remember my catechism correctly) is interest-earning checking accounts and 3-month CDs.

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  1. Darrone says:

    “The most welcoming, inclusive thing you can do this time of year is wish people a merry Christmas. “

    Really? Wishing a merry “birth of Christ” to people that don’t believe in Christ is inclusive? Who the hell are these nutjobs?

    • msbask says:

      Well said.

      I wondered last week when they were bitching about Dick’s, why do they WANT to commercialize Christmas? No doubt, the real meaning of behind the holidays is lost to most people, but for it to be lost on a religious organization is really disheartening.

    • NYGuy1976 says:

      I would say 90+ percent of people do not equate birth of christ with christmas. They equate “getting stuff you want but do not need” with christmas.

    • Shadowfire says:

      They’re right. Whether you say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” “Happy Hanukkah,” or whatever, that is a welcoming, inclusive thing. If someone saying “Merry Christmas” offends you, you’re just as insane as the people who get offended over “Happy Holidays.”

      • BigBoat2 says:

        Spoken like a true Christian.

        • Shadowfire says:

          Atheist, actually. Nice to meet you, too.

          • redwall_hp says:

            Atheists are often some of the better Christians. :)

          • kc2idf says:

            I would like to chime in that I also agree with this sentiment (I am a Buddhist). I do not care whether it is your choice to say Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Blessed Yule, Fruitful Kwanzaa, or a similarly positive greeting centred around Ramadan, the solstice or Festivus. The name and intent of the holiday is of no importance. The importance comes from the fact that someone is making a well-intentioned statement of well wishes. We should retrieve the manners our parents taught us from the dumpster that we seem to leave them in every December, accept these greetings in the spirit they are intended, say “Thank you,” return the greeting in kind, and move on.

            Attachment to the idea that our choice of winter soltice holiday is the only one that won’t offend us is only causing suffering in the world. Be a human being and mind your manners.

            • Mauvaise says:

              +1000

              I’m Jewish by birth, raised in a very secular household who had a Christmas tree, lit candles on the menorah, hid Easter eggs, etc. Heck, quite a few years, we put a Star of David as our Christmas tree topper and dubbed it our “Hanukkah bush”. Now that I’m an adult I’m agnostic by choice and strongly dislike Christians like these AFA nutjobs, in fact, I’ve been known to say that I think most organised religions are no better than cults.

              That being said – when someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas” or tells me that “I’m in their prayers” if I’m going through a rough time, I don’t get offended because I don’t believe in Christ or their God. I do what I was taught by my parents to do when given a gift (even if it’s just a gift of words): I say a sincere “Thank you” and respond in kind if appropriate.

              Sure, I could choose to get offended, but why would I? The hypothetical well-wisher in the previous paragraph wasn’t meaning to offend, but was trying to be nice to another human being without expecting or asking anything in return. It would be incredibly churlish to be offended.

              Likewise, if you are one of these AFA nut-job-type Christians, you need to realise that no one is purposefully trying to take your faith away from you by wishing you a “Happy Holidays”. Just stuff your ridiculous sensibilities in a sock, say “thank you” and reply with a “Merry Christmas”. I promise not to get offended.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          I’m Jewish, and I agree. I’d rather have someone wish me a “Merry Christmas” than nothing at all.

    • TheWillow says:

      What’s even more fun is that is IS ACTUALLY CHANNUKAH. RIGHT NOW. So… they’re mad at Chase for including Christians during a Jewish holiday, not the other way around.

      (to reiterate what I said elsewhere: A bank deciding to put up Christmas trees is not offensive… But a bank deciding to put up seasonal holiday decorations is ALSO not offensive. In conclusion, I’m sick of ending up a misanthrope by the end of December every single year)

      • Alexk says:

        We’re talking about the AFA here. These are people who are eventually going to be complaining when Hebrew bookstores don’t have Christmas trees in the window.

    • dg says:

      Fuck you. I’m Jewish. Who is this “Christmas” person and why should I marry her?

      Honestly – Christmas isn’t the only holiday at this time of the year, besides that, there’s Chanukkah, Kwanzza, and something Muslim I believe (sorry I forgot) – but pretending that everyone’s christian is bogus.

      Especially when you consider that the holiday got moved to december (to coincide with the winter solstice I believe) – it was originally in January…

      The US goes ape shit for this holiday – and I don’t know why. All I do know is that enough is enough. Say “Happy Holidays” and I’m good with it. I don’t need to see an xmas tree, or menorah, or whatever everywhere…it’s not too green to grow, cut down, and throw out millions of trees each year…

      Tell these groups (PETA, and what not) to go home and STFU

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Many people who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

      • jasonq says:

        Not to be That Guy, but I’m gonna be…Christmas trees are a farmed crop. And in many areas these days the expired ones are chipped for mulch, sunk in lakes or ponds as fish habitat, tossed in the woods to give critters cover, etc. In other words, pretty damned green.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Ramadan (and Eid ul-Fitr) sometimes falls at this time of year, but not always. The lunar calendar causes it to shift by about 11 days annually compared to the solar calendar.

    • varro says:

      Christmas is the day of December 25 – so wouldn’t wishing people a Merry Christmas before the 25th just be plain wrong?

      We complain about Christmas Creep, but Wildmon wants more of it. (BTW, I’m atheist, but don’t mind the huge wreath my building puts in the lobby – it smells nice and is festive.)

      • redwall_hp says:

        Well duh, wreaths and trees are traditions that date back before Christianity by a wide margin. :)

        The ancient Celts celebrated the winter solstice in a way strikingly similar to Christmas.

    • cape1232 says:

      They’re nutjobs who just completely make stuff up, like this:

      “Christmas is a holiday we’ve set aside as a nation to honor the birth of Christ because of his impact on American and world history.”

      Our nation was founded on the notion that we would not, as a nation, honor any religious figures. But just for fun, even if we did, Christ is not important *because of his impact on American and world history*!! OMG, what? Are these tools at AFA even Christian? What Christian is so brain dead about why Christians like Christ? I think the pope is probably also Christian because of Christ’s impact on America. And Joan of Arc. And Moses. And Snoopy.

  2. areaman says:

    What does Christmas trees in a bank have anything to do with American families?

    Nothing!!! AFA are just jerks.

  3. SiddhimaAmythaon says:

    I love going up to people like this and saying happy winter solstice and merry met.

    • beandog says:

      Happy Festivus!

    • LandruBek says:

      And Chase is deliberately disregarding you as well!! You just may be inclined to take your banking business to a solstice-friendly institution, such as Bank of Innis-nan-Druidanach or JPMorwen Celt.

      • Kishi says:

        Hardly. Pine trees make more sense as a pagan symbol than a Christian one- the AFA, by demanding trees, is just supporting proper solstice recognition.

        • LandruBek says:

          Hardly “hardly”! In Chase there’s nary a pine tree, mistletoe sprig, golden sickle, cauldron, torc, or antlered priest to be found anywhere. It’s like they’re totally ignorant of America’s proud Gaulo-Celtic heritage!

  4. MamaBug says:

    Really now? Because Christians own this holiday, and holiday season, and don’t acknowledge the other 4 or so holidays that occur during this time. So to be inclusive = being offense.
    Eff off and grow some common sense, AFA.

    • Gman says:

      [Sarcasm]Yup. Hannukah, meh – that was the old religion of Jesus. Who cares about that anymore.

      I think it is obvious. AFA believes that only Christians are allowed to reproduce and have families.
      [/sarcasm]

      Seriously. I agree. None of these places are actively saying Christians should not celebrate. They are saying that other religions exist. Why not celebrate all of them at once?

      AFA should put their resources to actual good use. Like helping out families in trouble instead of spending lots of money and resources annoying banks with no trees in their lobby.

      • trentblase says:

        I think it’s more that AFA believes only Christians are “real” Americans. Thus, only Christians can have “American Families”

      • Bibliovore says:

        “AFA should put their resources to actual good use. Like helping out families in trouble instead of spending lots of money and resources annoying banks with no trees in their lobby. “

        +10,000

        (And besides, Christmas trees came from pagan tradition, so aren’t actually all that Christian. Also, the whole “kill a conifer for Christ” thing isn’t exactly great for the environment.)

    • varro says:

      It’s a whole holiday season – from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. (Include Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in it as well…)

      To me, the Super Bowl is a bigger holiday than Christmas – that shows what is most important to be on Sundays…

      • RandomHookup says:

        Actually, it runs to the Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas) as well. Many Latin cultures celebrate 3 Kings Day (including Puerto Rico) as a bigger day than Xmas.

    • kc2idf says:

      Four?

      I have a list of a dozen on my desk right now that I just used in a Toastmasters speech: Christmas, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Saturnalia, Yule, Diwali, Eid-ul-Adha, HumanLight, Kwanzaa, Zamenhof Day, Die Natalis Solis Invicti and Festivus.

      There were at least two dozen more where I found these.

  5. Groanan says:

    This is the sorta thing that really gets my goat, so I guess I’ll be sacrificing it this year for the winter solstice.

    If Chase would do likewise, perhaps I’ll stick with them and the 28.9% interest credit card they want me to use.

  6. NYGuy1976 says:

    I worked in a bank years ago and it was unbelievable what people would complain about. I heard everything from Christmas trees should not be near menorahs to trees are not religious symbols so if you have a menorah there should be a manger too. Banks don’t want to deal with these headaches from people. At the JPM headquarters on Park Ave they have a huge tree in the lobby so this must be just for branches.

    • RandomHookup says:

      No pun intended?

    • Kingeryck says:

      We had many people complain because we allow dogs in our bank. NOT because they had a bad experience.. just because someone MIGHT be allergic or something and apparently will just die of anaphylactic shock from being in a large building with one dog.

  7. TooManyHobbies says:

    So, AFA is concerned that Chase isn’t allowing borrowed Pagan symbols to be displayed?

  8. darklighter says:

    Nutjobs.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Frankly, I think they are both wrong.

    The AFA is completely wrong in any assertion that we should embrace Christmas in the general population. The birth of Christ should be celebrated quietly by those believe in Him.

    Chase, and the rest of the anti-Christmas crowd, should embrace this time of year as a time of celebration and joy, completely unrelated to the “invisible magic man in the sky.” The non-denominational decorations most commonly associated with this time of year should be embraced by all as part of this celebratory time, completely unrelated to a religious holiday.

    Many, many other cultures manage to celebrate many annual holidays that are not religiously fueled, such as the changing of seasons, harvesting of crops, historic events, etc. Why can’t the extreme Christian community just shut the hell up, and let me decorate my tree in peace.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      If one wants seasonal decorations, stick to snowflakes and snowmen (and that’s only if they’re in the northern hemisphere).

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Wreaths are seasonal, as are trees in some areas. Other cultures have light festivals, so lights and shiny ornaments are perfectly okay, and not religious.

        Really, nativity scenes and other displays relating to the birth of Jesus are mostly the only things really related to Christmas that is displayed.

    • Mephron says:

      Because the extreme Christian Dominionists believe that you really aren’t worth anything at all as the result of you not being part of their particular belief system.

      They’re fairly terrifying when you really look at their systems and beliefs.

    • Aennan says:

      I’m not celebrating quietly. I will celebrate loudly, with off key singing and lots of wine.

    • TheWillow says:

      A bank deciding to put up Christmas trees is not offensive… But a bank deciding to put up seasonal holiday decorations is ALSO not offensive.

      In conclusion, the holiday season pretty much always serves to turn me into a misanthrope. Awesome.

  10. qwijybo says:

    Really, I am somehow supposed to know someones religious beliefs just by looking at them. I would rather play it safe and say hello, then say merry christmas to someone who may be of a different religion and who may take offense to that. These special interest groups need to realize that America is populated by many belief systems and theirs is one of many. I think Chase is correct in playing it safe and trying to accommodate all beliefs at this time of year.

    • KathleemB says:

      Well, I like to wish everyone a ‘joyful midwinter holiday that you may or may not celebrate, depending on your belief system or lack thereof,’ but that’s kinda unwieldy. and gets me strange looks. So I usually shorten it to ‘happy holidays,’ and most people seem happy.

  11. psiphiorg says:

    It seems weird to me that a Christiam organization is so pro-tree, seeing as those trees have nothing to do with Jesus’s birth, Many churches are anti-tree for that very reason.

  12. eetonaee says:

    “It’s just bad business for any company to show this kind of disregard for our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

    My Judeo heritage really appreciates being encouraged to celebrate Christmas in Spain about 500 years ago by the Spanish Inquisition Association.

    • jackofnight says:

      I thought that line was very curious.

      Will any Jewish groups remind him what Jewish heritage is?

    • Thalia says:

      +1 I hate this misuse of the word “Judeo-Christian.”

      QOTD: Judeo-Christian: just like regular Christianity, only insincerely 5% more inclusive!

      The AFA are a bunch of nutjobs, who have a very poor understanding of the words you use. These words, inclusive, JudeoChristian, and disregard, do not mean what the AFA appears to think they mean.

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This is weird. Don’t they have some baby seals to club for being too gluttonous? I mean, I’m religious and I don’t care whether Chase has a Christmas tree. I don’t care who has a Christmas tree. The only purpose Christmas trees have in a bank is to serve as a stand for all of the bank’s advertisement material anyway. I remember a bank years ago had a Christmas tree with a bunch of CDs as ornaments, and the inside booklet was a piece of paper advertising their high interest CD accounts. Is that Christmasy? Not at all.

  14. Dragging40 says:

    Trees are a pagan tradition. Jeremiah 10, ya’ll. Gee whiz, are atheists the only people who actually read the bible.

    • Doubts42 says:

      well, the only ones who read and understand it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I’m pretty sure most Christian traditions actually violate their own belief systems.

    • obits3 says:

      Jeremiah 10 is talking about making idols (think gold plating onto wood):
      “For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”

      “Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.”

      • RandomHookup says:

        I always come to Consumerist for my Bible lessons.

      • Dragging40 says:

        @Obits3
        Depending on which version of the bible that you believe is the real version I guess. This is from the King James.

        3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

        4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

        5They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

        Sounds like a Christmas tree to me, but use whichever version makes you comfortable while you celebrate the Pagan tradition.

    • partofme says:

      No. There are a lot of Christians who discuss Jeremiah 10 every year as one of the reasons why they don’t observe christmas.

  15. ogremustcrush says:

    As a person who considers themselves agnostic, but continues to celebrate christmas as a cultural holiday (ie trees, presents, santa,

  16. guymandude says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. how do I get the fuck off this planet?

  17. hymie! says:

    Oh, it’s Jesus’s birthday? Sorry, I don’t know any Hispanic people.

  18. Straspey says:

    Christmas was invented by the Catholic Church during the middle ages a means to attract converts and replace local medieval pagan holidays – such as the winter solstice, in this case – with church-approved events; and what could be better than celebrating Jesus’ birthday.

    Memo to Tim Wildmon:

    Historians are are almost completely in agreement that Jesus was actually born in the spring – probably sometime in what we now know as the month of April.

  19. kmw2 says:

    Well, I’m glad they have a hobby.

  20. RayanneGraff says:

    The American Family ASSociation needs to DIAF. Seriously. I’ll start the kindling.

  21. Kris R says:

    Really, AFA? I can think of many other things that are more important. With all the different views people have towards the holidays, I think Chase is justified in their approach. I wish people “Happy Holidays” to people instead of Merry Christmas. I have no idea what view people have, so why should I unintentionally insult them?

    • dru_zod says:

      I don’t understand why people would get insulted being wished “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or whatever anyway. They are all friendly greetings and I seriously would not care if someone sent a friendly greeting for the wrong holiday my way. It’s not as if they’re saying “Screw you.”

      • heythere says:

        Pressuring companies to not acknowledge that there is any other belief system than Christianity is indeed a giant ‘screw you’ to any and all non-christians. If I get a ‘Merry Christmas’ at Chase, I will know damn well what they are saying to me.

      • RandomHookup says:

        I think there is a point at which you get tired of being wished “Merry Christmas” if you don’t celebrate it and you try to keep your kids from being overly influenced by it (think Jews & Jehovah’s Witnesses).

  22. Jane_Gage says:

    Is there a cozy place between the menorah, Christmas tree, and the Kwanzaa bush for my taxidermied baphomet head on wheels? Because if there’s not, I’m suing.

    • KathleemB says:

      And what about my festively decorated, heirloom copy of the Necronomicon, eh? Don’t I deserve the chance to give the gift of insanity this year?

  23. Kestris says:

    On the rare occasion I need to set foot inside my bank, I go there to, you know, conduct a banking transaction, not look at holiday decorations or lack there of.

  24. knackeredmom says:

    The whole faux “War on Christmas” whining has grown tiresome. I’ve spent time as a mainline Protestant, but I’m happily agnostic now. I personally believe religion and spirituality are deeply private and should be kept out of commerce and the public square.

    Businesses, for the most part, attempt to be non-offensive and accommodating to their clients and employees by appealing to as wide an audience as possible. This offends a small portion of the populace who see these attempts as part of an aggressive strategy to plot against them. Oh the irony, deliberate steps to avoid offense result in offense being taken!

    Since some don’t understand that these practices are NOT aggressively anti-Xtian, perhaps they need more experience with practices that are. That or businesses could ban all decor completely. I’m not suggesting illegal acts of discrimination; I’d just like to give them the “war” they constantly whine about.

    /rant

    • PsiCop says:

      Actually I find this annual phantasmal “struggle” provides an endlessly fascinating example of what’s wrong with militant religionism. Yes, even if it’s mindbendingly annoying. I mean … assuming the authority to make Chase install Christmas trees in every branch … ? What better example of sheer arrogance could one ask for?

      I should write the AFA, the Liberty Counsel, and the rest of those hyperreligious wingnut groups a collective thank-you note. After all, they’ve provided me with a lot of blog fodder.

  25. TrinityLast says:

    -waits for these idiots to go after a Hebrew School or kosher deli for lack of Christmas trees-

    • colorisnteverything says:

      I am surprised they haven’t gone after the Muslim international food store owner near me. Great little shop and I go there for most everything because I cook a lot of Iranian food. Good store. It would not surprise me if the militant Christians a few blocks down didn’t say something to him this season because it is offensive that he has the only shop in that complex sans-Christmas tree!

      FTR, I AM Christian. I don’t have a Christmas tree. I don’t care if someone celebrates or not. It certainly would not offend me to see a menorah or if someone wished me a happy Eid! IDK. I guess I am just not that uptight!

  26. Ubernostrom says:

    What if I don’t celebrate ANY holidays. I think Chase should get rid of anything related to any holiday as it offends me deeply.

  27. Hi_Hello says:

    everyone know holiday number reason is so people would be stuff. I think it’s time that the country realize that if you market it as a winter celebration that include alll holidays, you can start to market other seasons.

    Instead of turkey day then holiday season stuff and new years. we could be spending more time at home and buying things for:

    Spring celebration – A week to celebrate the return of the birds and bee, and followers. You can even through in the easter bunny. And people should give gifts of flowers and seeds to each other. Sell potted baby tree and decorate them.

    Summer Celebration – a week to celebrate the bikinis, beaches, swimming, bikinis and the sunshine. Sell gaint sun lights people can hang outside their houses. Throw that in with 4th of july bbq.

    Fall Celebration – a week to celebrate the fruit of of labor. harvest crop and all that thinggie, big banquets. before thanksgiviing come along. Sell a gaint scarecrow where people can burn since spring is over, they won’t need scarecrow anymore. and the back to school spending is a plus

    And we are back to winter.

    I think most school figure this out. You have winter break, spring break, and summer break… they just need to squeeze a fall break and they are set. And business just need to find a way to get these kids who are out of school to ask their parent to buy stuff for them.

  28. Red Cat Linux says:

    Happy Christmakwanzakah, yo.

    Do these guys get upset about the Macy’s window display too?

  29. Hi_Hello says:

    everyone know holiday number reason is so people would be stuff. I think it’s time that the country realize that if you market it as a winter celebration that include alll holidays, you can start to market other seasons.

    Instead of turkey day then holiday season stuff and new years. we could be spending more time at home and buying things for:

    Spring celebration – A week to celebrate the return of the birds and bee, and followers. You can even through in the easter bunny. And people should give gifts of flowers and seeds to each other. Sell potted baby tree and decorate them.

    Summer Celebration – a week to celebrate the bikinis, beaches, swimming, bikinis and the sunshine. Sell gaint sun lights people can hang outside their houses. Throw that in with 4th of july bbq.

    Fall Celebration – a week to celebrate the fruit of of labor. harvest crop and all that thinggie, big banquets. before thanksgiviing come along. Sell a gaint scarecrow where people can burn since spring is over, they won’t need scarecrow anymore. and the back to school spending is a plus

    And we are back to winter.

    I think most school figure this out. You have winter break, spring break, and summer break… they just need to squeeze a fall break and they are set. And business just need to find a way to get these kids who are out of school to ask their parent to buy stuff for them.

  30. Gman says:

    “Christmas is a holiday we’ve set aside as a nation to honor the birth of Christ because of his impact on American and world history.”

    Sorry but maybe i got my history books all mixed up…but I really don’t remember the pert of the history books where Corporations celebrating Christmas was essential to the building of this country.

    “It’s just bad business for any company to show this kind of disregard for our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

    And the Judeo part of that sentence should be ignored?

    But hey – One way to keep money coming in to keep your followers riled up and angry. This is a great way for AFA to do just that.

  31. coren says:

    In today’s edition of “People with too much time on their hands…”

  32. Copper says:

    I’m an atheist, but I love X-Mas (in the spirit of Futurama, I try to call it that). I love X-Mas trees, I love pretty lights, decorations and presents. What offends me, AFA, is that you are full of jerks. I “celebrate” this holiday by buying junk for people I mostly like that they may or may not need or want.

    It’s ridiculous that this organization doesn’t even know its own religious history. Go read a book you didn’t make up.

  33. rooben says:

    Here’s the problem.
    AFA is a Christian organization. Read their website – one of their goals is ” to convince men of sin and drive them to Christ=s grace and forgiveness”.

    That alone tells you that they will not be objective in their goals. To them, any family, or individual, or company that does not put Christianity at the forefront, is Anti-Family.

    Instead, we should be talking about how a religious orgainzation like AFA pretends to have goals to promote family values, and not a religious point of view.

    • redwall_hp says:

      I’m pretty sure the group is mainly composed of rich families who own retail chains. Convince people to boycott your competition, you know.

  34. Shmoodog says:

    Wow, talk about going from 0 MPH to blood boiling in about 3 seconds.

    I am trying to censor myself here. Please give me a moment.

    Ok, screw you Mr. AFA President. (The least vitriolic of the comments going through my head)

    “This is an absurd policy… The most welcoming, inclusive thing you can do this time of year is wish people a merry Christmas.”

    What is absurd, sir, is assuming that Christmas is at ALL inclusive. Christianity isn’t inclusive, for Jebus sake. If I am not Christian, and I don’t celebrate Christmas…see where this is going?

    I wish I didn’t understand how people can be this , but I do. I really do.

  35. stlbud says:

    As a Christian I believe AFA has it all wrong. Christmas is a Holy celebration for Christians. Not a time for rabid commercialism. Dick’s (and everyone else) is only putting up xmas decorations to lure ignorant people into their stores to spend more money than they should. AFA and other “Christians” need to get a clue, pay attention to the real meaning of Christmas, and leave the merchants to themselves.

  36. leprofie says:

    I’m a Christian pastor … and this is just stupid. I hate being lumped in with all these AFA nuts. I’ve boycotted AFA for years, but a lot of good that’s done!

  37. haggis for the soul says:

    No, putting up banners saying “FUCK CHRISTMAS” would be showing disregard for Christmas. Being considerate of the religious traditions of other people is not. I would like to think that Jesus doesn’t care if you put up a tree, but does care about how you treat others. Speck, plank, etc.

  38. jimmyhl says:

    It would be nice to hear that Dick’s Sporting Goods and Chase formed a joint venture called The Mind Your Own Fucking Business Association whose principal goal is to tell the American Family Association to team up with The Go Scrub Your Ass Association.

  39. pwillow1 says:

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has recently added the American Family Association to their list of hate groups because of positions they’ve taken on any number of issues. Recently the AFA stated that gays should pay for AIDS research because AIDS is entirely their fault.

    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/12/american-family-association-gays-should.html

    They’re an extremist hate group. Ignore them.

    • framitz says:

      Sorry, I didn’t believe you. So I visited the afa site.

      In my opinion from looking around the site for a few minutes, I can only conclude that it is a hate group.

  40. jaredwilliams says:

    these people are ignorant morons, this is exactly what Judeo-Christian Christ taught his followers, shove everything down their throat, if they don’t believe what you believe they are going to hell, God hates gays, God hates any other religion except Christianity because it is the ordained religion. God apparently creates bigots as well…

    These are the people who start wars because they have nothing better to do.

  41. daemonaquila says:

    They’re attention whores, nothing more. They have to get their name in the news so idiots will send them money. The Dick’s thing wound up too quickly, so they had to find another target FAST. That this is the best they could come up with is… pathetic.

  42. amgriffin says:

    Sure, I’ll cheapen the things you believe to be holy and sacred by paying you lip-service from my atheist mouth and then laugh at your inability to reason while putting your cash in my pocket.

  43. Lexasaurus says:

    The AFA was just designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, so I hope businesses won’t feel obligated to follow AFA’s whims any more than those of the KKK. As a Christian, I’d be just as happy to keep the “Christ” part of Christmas out of stores and businesses. Jesus didn’t have a great opinion of moneylenders, anyway.

  44. PsiCop says:

    So now the AFA assumes the power to force companies to place Christmas trees in all of their facilities … whether they want to or not? Who granted them that authority?

  45. Amelia Subverxin says:

    Must remember to put Mr. Wildmon and the AFA on my card list for the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s birthday.

  46. HIcycles says:

    Wow. I’m surprised by the hate in the comments.

  47. GearheadGeek says:

    I’m no particular fan of Chase, but they haven’t (yet) screwed me over as they have several other Consumerist readers. Still, if the AFA says Chase is evil, I think I’ll go on a campaign to support Chase and get everyone I know to open an account there. The AFA represent some of the worst aspects of religion, and don’t remind me at all of the inclusive, love-thy-neighbor Christianity I was raised to believe in.

  48. Duckula22 says:

    I hate all these Pleasantville phuckers.

  49. Kibit says:

    These people seem to have A LOT of time on their hands. I’m not the least bit offended by Chase’s decorations. I am offended by their business practices, but that is a completely different issue!

    Does this organization realize that Christianity is not the only religion out there? Actually the problem is that they do not care that their actions are/can be offensive to non Christians. They don’t care that many people do not celebrate Christmas.

    My family celebrates Christmas, but I don’t force anyone else too.

  50. Levk says:

    Really.. they worried about a tree… really? my my my what a waste of space this AFA is >> not there problem not there money so they should not be telling anyone what to do.

  51. EverCynicalTHX says:

    I don’t care for the bible thumpers ay AFA any more than I do the asshats that have a problem with the word Christmas being banted around. One word to both groups – STFU!

    • ccooney says:

      You know who has a problem with the christmas word being used so much? Christians, that’s who. The whole reason for ‘happy holidays’ is a christian group that complained about the commercialization of christmas. Now another nominally christian group is complaining it’s not there.

  52. framitz says:

    I’m certainly no fan, but maybe Chase is trying to be more ‘politically correct’ by not using any religious symbols in their holiday displays.

    Maybe Mr. Wildmon and the AFA should move to Saudi Arabia for Christmas, and put up his decorations in a public place there. I wonder if he would be publicly executed in chop chop square or just go to prison for a very long time.

    People that try to shove their beliefs down other peoples throat are the worst sort of hypocrite in my book

  53. KrispyKrink says:

    Christmas Trees are a huge fire hazard this time of year, defiantly not something you’d want in a bank. Good on Chase.

    If the AFA wants to wrap themselves up in the rampant mindless consumerism of Christmas go home, that’s what it’s there for.

  54. Gizmosmonster says:

    Under the theory of “know thine enemy” I get these AFA emails.
    My little anti-Chase message explained a bit more:
    Dear Gizmosmonster,

    According to the Star-Telegram, a local Texas businessman had assembled and decorated a 9-foot-tall tree in the lobby of the Chase Bank Southlake Boulevard branch in Tarrant County as a favor to the manager, who is one of his clients.

    The branch manager was quickly told by the bank that the tree had to go. She later showed the businessman an e-mail from JPMorgan Chase saying that the tree had to be removed because some people were offended by it.

    According to internal Chase documents the American Family Association has received, Chase says every bank has “received approved holiday decorations in your December One Box. These are the only (emphasis in original) decorations that may be displayed in the public areas of your branch. If you have any other decorations…please take them down.”

    Chase provided decorations…four small window stickers with lights printed on them. That’s it!

    According to the employee, “At work, Chase expects us to perform like company-programmed robots and not share the spirit of Christmas with our customers. We’re real people and our customers are real people, but Chase has put chains on our individuality and our ability to share the spirit of Christmas with our friends and neighbors who bank with us.”

  55. AuntieMaim says:

    The AFA succeeded at putting the “Christmas” back into Dick’s, but when will someone finally stand up with me to put the dicks back into Christmas?

  56. steamboatdevil says:

    I find odd that Chris managed to leave out an important part of the story. The story was a Chase customer put up a Christmas tree and corporate made them take it down.. Every other article I have read has this bit of information. Folks were not trying to make Chase put up a tree in every branch they just did not see the harm in this single tree.

    I think Chris left out this key part of the story on purposed to get people even more fired up…. pretty lame in my opinion but that is what Consumerist seems to do these day.. very little consumerism and lots of opinion..

  57. HalOfBorg says:

    Wow – a group that (among other things) supports Christmas is against a business that doesn’t want Christmas decorations!! Who would have thunk??

    *yawn*

    Next you’ll be telling me that sometimes pro abortion or gay rights groups go into churches dressed all weird!! THAT will be the day! Or that anti-abortion groups protest outside clinics.

    Never ceases to amaze me that people get all upset when a group defends their side of an arguement, even if it is only partly related.

    As far as war on Christmas, I don’t like it when a company tells employees “thou shalt not” OR “thou shall”. I DO hate when I go into a store and see pine trees being sold as “holiday” trees. Call it what it is. Couple years ago I couldn’t find a single decoration of any sort in Lowes that had the word “Christmas” in it’s name or on it’s box.

    The whole ‘separation of church & state’ thing is a crock too. “Congress shall make no law” – means states get to decide. Churches tax exempt? Bullshit – tax ‘em like the rest of us.

  58. tfcocs says:

    AFA, it is not all about you.

  59. ronbo97 says:

    It’s all about a fringe group of nutjobs seeing how far they can go before someone delivers a major smackdown. Dick’s should change their name to limp-Dicks for even acknowledging the AFA.

  60. Draw2much says:

    As a *conservative* Christian, I’m immensely embarrassed by these people. I for one don’t care who has a tree up or not. I also don’t care if people say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Nor do I care when someone writes “xmas” instead of Christmas.

    Why? Because the holiday has nothing to do with the Christian faith. There’s no commandment in the Bible that says “Thou Shalt Celebrate Christmas”, ya know? So it ultimately *doesn’t matter*.

    Seriously, it would only take some logical thinking for a minute to figure this stuff out. ~_~

  61. sendbillmoney says:

    I think we should all boycott the American Family Association for failing to pay proper respect to the reason for the season. Chase has the exact same kind of tree that Jesus had, right?

  62. psm321 says:

    Shoot, now I’m having second thoughts about my plan to close my Chase account due to new fees. I wonder if Chase secretly paid the AFA to rail against them?

  63. KathleemB says:

    Seeing as the Christmas tree is a holdover from ancient pagan celebrations, I’m not quite sure why the AFA is so up in arms about this. But, Solstice is the real reason for the season, anyway.

  64. gman863 says:

    This is the first news item about Chase that has improved my opinion of them in history.

    I am fucking sick and tired of having Christmas shoved down my throat every time I walk into a store to make a purchase. While I respect the fact there is a market for inflatable Santas and Chia Pets, one day soon I swear I’ll lose it and start projectile vomiting when Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” plays for the 20th time that day on a store’s Muzak system.

    If Chase gives in, it should be done with the same “middle finger” approach Dodge used against PETA over the ad with the chimpanzee: Either shoot an ad with an invisible Christmas tree or start a holiday ad campaign entitled, “JESUS SAVES by Earning Chase Rewards on Credit Card Purchases”.

  65. houstonspace says:

    I love how the Christian Right uses the term ‘Judeo-Christian’. They do it so they can gloss-over 1500 years of Jewish hatred and persecution. I bet I know what they really think of Jews.

    Also, Christmas trees are pagan, not Christian (or Jewish). Christians and Jews aren’t even supposed to have a cut-down and decorated tree, ahem:

    From Jeremiah 10:2-5:

    “10:2 Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

    Apologists have tried to explain that this passage is about idol worship only. This is absurd, they are clearly talking about a solace tradition of non-Jewish pagans – a tradition I might add that predates Judaism. Other might say that this is old-Testament and it doesn’t apply to Christians. This is also garbage. The Ten Commandments are old testament, and I doubt anyone on the religious right would say that those law don’t apply.

    again, Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 – “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

    “The Law” he was referring to was the laws in the Old Testament. That includes the rule on shellfish, cloven-hooved animals, working on the Sabbath, which slaves one is allowed to own, and of course – the cutting down and decorating of trees – everything.

    The Bible is the best selling book that almost one had read.

  66. houstonspace says:

    I love how the Christian Right uses the term ‘Judeo-Christian’. They do it so they can gloss-over 1500 years of Jewish hatred and persecution. I bet I know what they really think of Jews.

    Also, Christmas trees are pagan, not Christian (or Jewish). Christians and Jews aren’t even supposed to have a cut-down and decorated tree, ahem:

    From Jeremiah 10:2-5:

    “10:2 Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

    Apologists have tried to explain that this passage is about idol worship only. This is absurd, they are clearly talking about a solace tradition of non-Jewish pagans – a tradition I might add that predates Judaism. Other might say that this is old-Testament and it doesn’t apply to Christians. This is also garbage. The Ten Commandments are old testament, and I doubt anyone on the religious right would say that those law don’t apply.

    again, Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 – “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

    “The Law” he was referring to was the laws in the Old Testament. That includes the rule on shellfish, cloven-hooved animals, working on the Sabbath, which slaves one is allowed to own, and of course – the cutting down and decorating of trees – everything.

    The Bible is the best selling book that almost one had read.

  67. chwebb1 says:

    Wow, these guys are complete nutjobs. They seem to hate anyone that isn’t a Christian. Way to be accepting, and to not alienate everyone, AFA! Just in case you want to see how much of a nutjob these people are, you should look here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Family_Association. So basically, any other religion, sexuality, or anything that isn’t Christian is evil. Great!

  68. gtm773 says:

    similar holiday policies at Citi this year.

  69. DragonThermo says:

    As difficult it is for me to say, but +1 to The Consumerist for the last paragraph of the article.

    As I recall, Jesus was no friend of the bankers and even in early Christianity charging interest on a loan was evil.

    I would expect banks to be the last place one would find to recognize Christmas.

  70. cassiopia1177 says:

    Somehow I’ve ended up on these people’s e-mail list. The things they get their knickers in a twist over amazes me. They are boycotting Home Depot because they gave out plastic cups to kids at a gay pride event (the same ones they give to kids at all sorts of events – not some special Homo-Depot cups), and that somehow means that teh gay will be passed out to the kids too. They also like to claim victory over things just because they said it was wrong – even if it doesn’t change anything. Amazing. Tim Wildmon is a perfect example of the kind of Christianity that drives people away – and I’m the WIFE of a Christian minister! (the wife of a female minister, in the Metropolitan Community Churches denomination, but still….)

    Ignore these loonies. They don’t represent ANYONE.

  71. Urgleglurk says:

    Will someone give the AFA something useful to do? If indeed, such a thing exists.

    AFA was recently (and I think justifiably) named as a hate group by the SPLC. Why does anyone pay attention to them anyway? it’s like paying attention to Westboro “Baptist Church.”

  72. akronharry says:

    All of you out there don’t get it. The AFA is basking in the limelight because fools like us actually write an opinion regarding what the AFA has said. Negative publicity is publicity and all this does is give them the feeling of credibility in their own minds. The bottom line is ignore them and maybe/hopefully they will go away. Maybe the media will get the message and quit talking about them too. I doubt that but hey, I can dream.

  73. HoneyB says:

    “It’s just bad business for any company to show this kind of disregard for our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

    ummm… Jewish people celebrate Chanukah…. they don’t celebrate christmas… freakin’ idiots