Wal-Mart bends to demands by Catholic League

Wal-Mart officials have restored the theme of Christmas to their Web site and rescinded outlandish statements made by an employee about the origin of Christmas after the Catholic League filed a series of complaints of discrimination.

"This is a sweet victory for the Catholic League, Christians in general, and people of all faiths," said Catholic League president Bill Donohue, according to a report by WorldNetDaily.com.

The controversy was sparked when a woman recently complained that Wal-Mart was replacing its "Merry Christmas" greeting with "Happy Holidays."

The woman reportedly received an e-mail response from a customer-service representative, which read: "Walmart is a worldwide organization and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than "christmas" which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with "christmas" red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world."

Wal-Mart spokesperson Dan Fogleman confirmed the original note was written by a Wal-Mart representative named Kirby. He responded: "We at Wal-Mart believe this e-mail between a temporary associate and one of our valued customers was entirely inappropriate. Its contents in no way represent the policies, practices or views of our company. This associate, who was hired less than three weeks ago, is no longer employed by our company."

Fogleman apologized for the employee’s comments, calling them "inappropriate and inflammatory."

Donohue pointed to the company Web site for an example of discrimination against Christmas. If the word "Hanukkah" was typed in the search engine, 200 retail items were returned. The term "Kwanzaa" returned 77. But when "Christmas" was entered, the message said: "We've brought you to our 'Holiday' page based on your search."

Donohue said Wal-Mart has also adjusted its Web site so that when a customer types "Christmas" in its search engine, the customer is taken directly to a site named "Christmas."

However, Wal-Mart says it will not change its policy of encouraging employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," Donohue reported.

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