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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fact-checking false statements about Christmas

24

December

Yep you read that headline right -- politicos tell falsehoods even about Christmas. So let's take a walk back into the PolitiFact archives and recap some of the best whoppers about Christmas:

Starbucks cups: Joshua Feuerstein who bills himself as an American evangelist and social media personality said in a November video that Starbucks took "Christmas off of their brand new cups." Going back over 10 years, we could find no proof that the words Christ or Christmas have ever appeared on a Starbucks cup. If they weren’t there in the first place, you can’t say the company removed them. Pants on Fire!

Congress: Jon Stewart said in 2011 "When the country was founded, Congress had exactly the same attitude about the sanctity of Christmas celebrations that a 7-Eleven does today: 'Yeah, we're open.'" Stewart, ridiculing Fox News' coverage of the "War on Christmas," repeated a claim by the History channel that Congress met nearly every Christmas Day from 1789 to 1856. The ACLU makes the same claim, based on a magazine article. But daily records show the complete opposite, with just one exception each for the House and Senate. Pants on Fire!

Holiday trees: A chain email in 2009 stated that The Obama White House is renaming Christmas trees "holiday trees." A White House spokeswoman said that ""The trees in the White House will be called Christmas trees, and the tree on the Ellipse will be called the National Christmas Tree. There will be no name changes." Pants on Fire!

Merry Christmas: Newt Gingrich said in 2011 "No federal official at any level is currently allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas.’" Guidelines in force for the past 15 years give substantial freedom for personal religious expression in the federal workplace, and neither those guidelines nor federal law includes anything like an outright ban on a federal official saying, "Merry Christmas." Pants on Fire!

Christmas Tree Tax: In 2011, then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (now the governor) said "Obama has (a) new Christmas tree tax." An industry group called the Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force wanted to pay for a national marketing campaign with a proposed 15-cent assessment on growers and importers of Christmas trees. So Obama wasn't behind the idea. Mostly False.

Textbooks: Fox News' Gretchen Carlson said in 2010 the Texas State Board of Education is considering eliminating references to Christmas and the Constitution in textbooks. The board was hammering out changes to state curriculum standards, not textbooks. Second, the board was not considering removing Christmas from a list of various religious holidays. And third, the board never considered removing the Constitution from history textbooks or the state's curriculum. Pants on Fire!

[Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2015 10:53am]

    

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