A Salvation Army bell ringer says she was assaulted after wishing donors “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
The incident reportedly took place outside a Walmart store in Phoenix, Ariz. Kristina Vindiola says a woman hit her and then went inside the store. She told the manager who called the police, WXYZ.com reports.
"The lady looked at me,” Vindiola said. “I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, 'Do you believe in God?' And she says, ‘You're supposed to say Merry Christmas,' and that's when she hit me."
Vindiola says the woman hit her arm then entered the store. Customers nearby reacted to the incident in mixed ways.
"I've finally gotten used to 'Happy Holidays' and it's a ‘Happy Holiday' or a ‘Merry Christmas,' I'm good with either one," one woman told the news outlet.
“I say ‘Merry Christmas' to most people,” a shopper who works for a public school district said. “At work when I'm sending emails and to be politically correct it’s ‘Happy Holidays’ because we're supposed to."
"I'm a Christian," another said, “and that is what it means to me, you know it's a celebration of Christ's birth.”
Wishing people “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is a constant source for debate. Last December the Pew Research Center polled Americans and asked which greeting they preferred businesses used -- 57 percent picked “Merry Christmas” and 27 percent selected the less religious term.
In Texas, the state passed the “Merry Christmas Law” that allows someone to use the greeting along with Hanukkah and other religious greetings in public schools, the Associated Press reports. Christmas trees, menorahs and nativity scenes are also allowed as long as there is more than one faith represented.
"I'm proud to stand in defense of Christmas and I urge other states to stop a needless, stilted overreaction to Christmas and Hanukkah," the law's sponsor, Houston Republican Dwayne Bohac, said at a news conference Monday.
"A Winter Party; I don't even know what that means," Bohac added. "We can celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, those are the traditional holidays Americans celebrate."
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