The Knights of Columbus' annual campaign reminding millions of Americans to “Keep Christ in Christmas” is in full swing with radio ads, signs, billboards, Nativity scenes and Christmas cards.
“In a society where Christmas has often become shorthand for shopping, many who celebrate Christmas can lose sight of its true meaning,” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said Dec. 15.
“Those who celebrate Christmas give gifts to each other because it is the day on which we celebrate the greatest gift: God’s gift of his son to the world,” he explained.
“Christmas is about 'peace on earth toward people of good will' and we think that’s a message worth remembering.”
The campaign's list of initiatives this year include English and Spanish-language radio spots encouraging people to remember Christmas in various ways, such as helping those less fortunate. The Knights of Columbus have also sent a public service announcement to television networks and hundreds of local broadcast stations and cable systems.
The global Catholic fraternal order has led the “Keep Christ in Christmas” program since the early 1960s. It was originally organized by the Christian Mothers of Milwaukee, which later became the Council of Catholic Women.
Last year, the public service announcements reached more than 38 million television viewers and 34 million radio listeners.
Locally, Knights of Columbus councils have been busy placing billboards and signs, sponsoring Nativity displays or selling religious Christmas cards.
The national organization also encouraged the councils to hold a Christmas tree or Nativity scene lighting ceremony on the first Tuesday of December. The Supreme Council has erected a nativity scene on the Green in New Haven, Conn., near the organization’s headquarters and is organizing a “Posada” Christmas procession on Dec. 20.
In New Jersey, however, a “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner sponsored by a local council in the town of Pitman garnered opposition from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.
A local man complained that the banner hangs from two town-owned light posts over a street and was posted by members of the town’s fire department.
The town mayor Michael Batten told Fox News that a similar banner has hung over the street during the holiday season for the last half century. He says the present banner hangs on private property above a county road and will remain posted until he hears otherwise from the town’s attorney.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told Fox News that the controversy is “politically correct nonsense.”
“We're trying to remind Christians that Christmas is a religious holiday,” he said. “It's not about shopping. By keeping Christ in Christmas, we're just underlining the first six letters in the word Christmas. That's the message we're trying to remind people.”
In 1995, the Knights of Columbus won a U.S. Supreme Court case that secured the right to display a crèche on the Town Green of Trumbull, Connecticut.