Presidential press secretary Scott McClellan today responded to a question about why the president’s traditional Christmas party for journalists had been changed to a “Holiday Reception,” saying the Bushes “welcome people of all faiths.”

At the White House press briefing, WND asked McClellan why this year’s invitation to media representatives did not reference, as it has in the past, Christmas.

“Given the recent statement by Speaker Hastert emphasizing Christmas, I am compelled to ask why the Bush White House has eliminated Christmas and replaced it with the world ‘holiday,'” queried WND.

“This is a time to welcome people of all faiths, and all those who are celebrating the holiday season,” McClellan responded. “The president just yesterday dedicated the National Christmas Tree to our men and women in uniform. … And all of us can take part in different ways to celebrate the holiday season and remember those who are in harm’s way and remember those who have lost their lives over the course of the past year.”

As WorldNetDaily reported, at last night’s tree lighting ceremony, Bush did not refer to Christ, though he made a joke alluding to him:

“Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy – and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming. Glad you made it. I know you’ve got a lot of commitments this time of year. By the way, we have a lot of chimneys at the White House if you’re looking for something to do.”

In dedicating an evergreen in the White House Blue Room this week, first lady Laura Bush referred to it as a Christmas tree.

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