DALLAS -- First Baptist Church of Dallas is making a list this Christmas, and lots of people will be checking it.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress, the church's pastor, announced Tuesday the launch of www.GrinchAlert.com. There people can post on a "naughty" list names of businesses that aren't acknowledging Christmas through store displays, advertising and greetings to customers.
"Too many businesses have bowed down to political correctness," Jeffress said. "I thought this would be a fun way to call out businesses that are refusing to celebrate Christmas."
The website also features a "nice" list for recognition of businesses that do observe Christmas.
The pastor reported the launch on KCBI-FM (90.9), the church's radio station, and said the station will give early morning updates on which businesses are listed.
Jeffress said First Baptist has not set standards for naughty or nice and does not plan to monitor the site to protect businesses owned by non-Christians.
"We're simply providing a forum," he said. "People may post whether they believe a business or organization ought to be on the naughty or nice list. We're not making that determination."
The website brought swift criticism from William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.
"The appropriate thing for Christians to do at this time of year is to find new and more effective ways to extend the love and peace of the season to others, not to insist that such enterprises as commercial businesses put up Christmas trees," Lawrence said.
Jews weighed in too.
"Rather than honoring Christmas, this kind of campaign feels meant to remind me -- and people like me -- we are second-best members of this society," said Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis of Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound.
Dennis added: "Christmas currently has, and will continue to have, virtual hegemony over the cultural, religious and economic life of Americans at this time of year. I realize every movement needs an issue to rally around. How about 'Love your neighbor as yourself?'"
Kelly Shackelford, who leads the conservative Liberty Institute in Plano, praised the First Baptist Dallas effort. "This is about freedom, free speech and voting with your pocketbooks," said Shackelford.
But the church's use of "Grinch" with the website upset Donald Pease, a Dartmouth College professor and biographer of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, who wrote "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
Pease said the story is about "enabling the heart to grow larger" and that the author wanted to "draw the deepest sense of fellowship" out of the holiday.
"Ted Geisel would have loathed, I believe, this usage of the Grinch story to somehow sharpen axes or to reconsolidate some kind of opposition," Pease said.