John Gibson Hypes A ‘War on Easter’, Announces Easter Bunny Under Attack

As sure as April showers bring May flowers, so too does Fox News every year around this time announce that there is “a War on Easter.” Last year, Bill O’Reilly suggested the Easter bunny was “under attack.” After embarrassing himself and his colleagues, O’Reilly eventually acknowledged, “There is no attack on Easter.”

This year, John Gibson is carrying the “War on Easter” mantra, hailing it today as “an incredible development.” Gibson cited efforts by the city of Walnut Creek, California, to rebrand the Easter bunny as the “spring bunny.” “Is this political correctness gone too far”? Gibson wondered. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/easterwar.320.240.flv]

The truth is there is no “war” on Easter. Like the alleged “War on Christmas,” right-wing pundits stir such controversies in order to raise money and suggest that “secular progressives” are at war with Christianity.

Walnut Creek’s changes were made five years ago. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Chuck Nevius said, “Walnut Creek is flabbergasted that they are in the cross hairs of a national controversy.” Fox News has tried to sensationalize local events such as these to try to create a national firestorm where none exists.

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GIBSON: You might call it the War on Easter. Ever heard of the spring bunny? What about the spring egg hunt? Well that is what several California towns are calling what used to be the Easter bunny and the Easter egg hunt. Now there’s an objection coming from somebody in Walnut Creek, California, a suburb of San Francisco.

The question is why does the word Easter have to be expunged? Is this political correctness gone too far? With me now the San Francisco columnist who has been looking into this incredible development. What did you find Chuck? Has Walnut Creek banned the word Easter?

CHUCK: It has become a flashpoint for Easter controversy. And no one is more surprised than the residents of Walnut Creek. As you may know, they actually made this change five or six years ago. And frankly, nobody said peep, if we can use another Easter term. A guy wrote a letter to the editor in the Contra Costa Times, a small paper out there in the east bay. And little by little this has become a national controversy.

GIBSON: I understand there are several towns in northern California that have done this. Have you figured out why it is that somebody decided you could not call this bunny the easter bunny?

CHUCK: Technically, the reason is, we are using public money and we cannot do something that is strictly religious for a single religion to promote that. Now if you can explain to me how a rabbit works out with the whole Easter thing and the egg, that would be difficult for me to explain. It is the buzzword of Easter that’s causing all the problem.

GIBSON: Well that’s just it. There really is no religious connection between that bunny and the Christian celebration of easter other than the fact that it is spring, renewal, and rebirth. So has Walnut Creek decided that they are fully behind this notion of being so inclusive you cannot say the word Easter as attached to that bunny — is this political correctness gone too far?

CHUCK: I think they were blindsided, they had no idea this would be a problem. They surveyed 10 cities around the area in Contra Costa county. Eight of them do something like an egg extravaganza or an egg hunt. It has gone back as far as 10 years. I think more than anything, the whole Christmas controversy, I have not written a book on this like some people, the Christmas controversy has heightened awareness. I think we are a little hair trigger with the whole thing. When you throw in the idea that it is the Easter bunny — oh my gosh, what’s wrong with the bunny — that is what is setting everyone off. Walnut Creek is flabbergasted that they are in the cross hairs of a national controversy.

GIBSON: You might want to call them and tell them that at the White House they have an Easter egg roll.

CHUCK: Right, and you might point out that the Lion’s Club and some private clubs have it. Churches have it all the time. They just feel — as the city of Walnut Creek — they can’t promote it.

GIBSON: Thank you and be sure to have a nice Easter.