During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about hiring people to do Christmas chores like decorating the tree or buying gifts, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman suddenly broke into an anti-religious rant: "I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up....I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's take-the-Christ-out-of-Christmas commentary was prompted by fellow panelist Star Jones explaining: "I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray." When Snyderman launched into her attack on faith, Jones countered: "That's the only reason for me to have the holiday....We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part."
Moments later, Jones was still giving Snyderman a quizzical look, causing Snyderman to react: "Look at you." Jones replied: "I'm sitting here, in my head going, 'Jesus is the reason for the season and you don't like the religious part.' Okay."
During a November 27 panel discussion on Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered if Christmas was becoming too commercialized: "We ask the question, as Charlie Brown did so long ago, isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is really all about? Has it just gone crazy?"
In response, Snyderman fretted: "Well, the fact that you just said 'Christmas,' I think, is the hot-button item because people say 'Happy Holidays,' they don't know what to say." A puzzled Guthrie replied: "Oh, that's a whole other story."
Snyderman then described what she liked most about Thanksgiving: "...one of those great American holidays where there are no presents, there is no religion, and you really get to give thanks."
Give thanks to who exactly?
Here is a transcript of the December 11 exchange:
MATT LAUER: Is it okay to out-source your chores during the holiday season? We're all stressed. Holidays are supposed to be a fun time, but they also can cause stress. You can go to Craigslist and other places and you can hire someone to do just about anything, fill out your Christmas cards, buy your Christmas tree, pick out your gifts for your friends and family members. Does this cross some kind of sacred holiday line?
STAR JONES: I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray.
NANCY SNYDERMAN: I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up.
DONNY DEUTSCH: There you go, no more religion!
JONES: That's the only reason why – that's the only reason for me to have the holiday, quite frankly.
SNYDERMAN: No, I don't like the religion part. I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful and – I don't.
JONES: We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part.
SNYDERMAN: No, I want the green trees and it smells good and everyone's happy.
LAUER: Okay, I didn't see that coming. I did not see that coming.
DEUTSCH: Yeah, no more religion. I'll tell you one thing that I have a problem with, is that people judging how you're supposed to spend your holiday.
SNYDERMAN [POINTING TO JONES]: Look at you.
JONES: I'm sitting here, in my head going, "Jesus is the reason for the season and you don't like the religious part." Okay.
SNYDERMAN: I think you have to decorate your own tree, I think you should make your own dinner, I think you should buy your own presents.
DEUTSCH: Says who?
SNYDERMAN: I do, the non-religious one.