FBC Dallas’ ‘GrinchAlert’ site garners national media attention

DALLAS?At the time of year when “Happy Holidays” supplants the traditional phrase of “Merry Christmas” for many businesses across the United States, First Baptist Church of Dallas launched a website on Dec. 6?GrinchAlert.com?where consumers may register their compliments or complaints about which seasonal greeting they hear at stores, or read in merchants’ advertising.

On Dec. 9, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member church, appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” program and CNN’s “American Morning” show, touting the site. He was scheduled to appear again Dec. 12 on “Fox and Friends.”

Jeffress announced the site’s launch on KCBI FM (90.9), the church’s 100,000-watt radio station, saying that the naughty and nice lists would be broadcast every morning at 7:40 until Christmas Day.

“I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday,” Jeffress said in an FBC press release dated Dec. 6. In the release, Jeffress noted his motivation to create the site after observing that several businesses nationwide reportedly have removed Christmas trees and are avoiding the traditional Merry Christmas verbiage.

“People around the country are tired of political correctness,” Jeffress told the TEXAN in a Dec. 9 telephone interview. “The website is a positive effort to encourage businesses that it’s OK to say Merry Christmas.”

GrinchAlert.com features a “naughty” and a “nice” list, and allows the public to submit reports regarding businesses that apparently prefer “Happy Holidays” in consideration for the naughty list, and those that employ “Merry Christmas” for the nice list. All submissions are screened before being posted on the site.

With approximately 70 “Grinch Alert” reports already, the ratio between nice and naughty is 10/1, respectively. Businesses throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and across Texas are listed on the site, with entries also from Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.

Alaska Airlines made the nice list as one site visitor posted the following: “I flew Alaska Airlines on my way back to Dallas after Thanksgiving. When they served me my meal, I was really impressed to see a small card on my meal tray that had a Bible verse on it. Not sure if they do this just around Christmas and Thanksgiving time, but I was really impressed!”

Businesses on the site’s naughty list include Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Target, and Barnes & Noble. The city hall of Crowley, Texas, is listed as naughty for a sign on the building that reads, “Happy Holidays.” Another site visitor reported that the city council of Tulsa, Okla., voted to substitute the word “Holiday” for “Christmas” in the title of its annual “Christmas Parade of Lights.”

“I realize we live in a pluralistic society, where everyone doesn’t recognize the spiritual value of Christmas the way Christians understand it. But the world as a whole does recognize the significance of the coming of Christ,” said Jeffress, noting that the world’s calendar is based on the birth of Christ. “That’s one reason why Christmas is a unique season and deserves everyone’s recognition.”

Citing a popular children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, Jeffress said the title “is not ‘How the Grinch stole Kwanzaa or Hanukkah,’ but ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas.'”

GrinchAlert.com also has a Facebook fan page.

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