A panel discussion on NBC's Today Show about hiring others to do Christmas chores became sidetracked on Tuesday after one of the panelists blamed the stress that comes around the holiday season on religion.
"I don't like the religion part," said NBC's Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman during the discussion. "I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up ... I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful."
Snyderman's comments came after Star Jones said she wouldn't mind receiving help with setting up Christmas decorations, but she couldn't "out-source" religious observances, like prayer, that are a part of the holiday. The panel, which also included Matt Lauer and Donny Deutsch, laughed at Snyderman's seemingly unexpected comments, and Jones continued the conversation.
"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," said Jones.
She later added, "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 has been the chief medical editor of NBC News since September 2006. She is also on staff at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and previously served as the vice president of consumer education for Johnson & Johnson.
Many people who heard Snyderman's comments have taken to social media to express their feelings. Some have said they are no longer a fan of Snyderman's because of her statement, while others are grateful to her for sharing her point of view.
"'Religion' does not make Christmas stressful," Tracee Short Anderson said in a post on Snyderman's Facebook fan page. "In fact, if we got down to the core of what Christmas is all about there would be NO stress. It's the shopping and parties and other 'holiday' commitments that get in the way. Happy birthday, Jesus should be our focus."
Amy Markham, on the other hand, said in a post that she supports the medical editor's statement: "Thank you for being a voice for those of us who see Christmas as a time for family, community and connection with no need to honor the birth of a 'savior.'"
Tuesday's show wasn't the first time Snyderman made anti-religious comments on television. Late last month she insisted people aren't sure of whether to say "Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," reports Media Research Center news analyst Kyle Drennen. She also said Thanksgiving is a great holiday because "there are no presents, there is no religion, and you really get to give thanks."