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Raleigh Church Campaigns For More 'Pro-Christmas' In Triangle Stores

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RALEIGH, N.C. — At Fig's Market, some products in the store say "merry Christmas," but the store window displays do not.

"We definitely don't want to offend anybody," said Fig's Market co-owner Jill Kucera. "We want everybody to celebrate the holiday that suits them and we want to be open to everybody."

But Pastor Patrick Wooden believes being "open" closes the door on Christmas.

"The way I see it is retailers want to make Christmas money without acknowledging Christmas," Wooden said.

So, his church, the Upper Room Church, is doing its own acknowledging.

To grab the public's attention, the church is putting on a media blitz that includes advertisements in the newspaper, on the radio and on television -- costing the church approximately $11,000.

The advertisements even encourage shoppers to patronize businesses that use the phrase "merry Christmas."

Critics argue the Upper Room Church should have spent the campaign's $11,000 on helping the poor, but Wooden said the money is well spent. He adds the church helps the poor locally every week and has also donated money to hurricane victims.

Some storeowners also call Wooden anti-Jewish, anti-Islamic and anti-Buddhist, but he says he is simply being pro-Christmas.

"If there was a store that had merry Christmas, happy Hanukah, happy Kwanzaa, season's greetings and the like, I would have no problem spending my money in that store," Wooden said.

And if the stores do not?

"If they don't, as Americans, it's their right," Wooden said.


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