Dec 302007

I had planned on a slow work week leading up to the holiday, and had attempted to be somewhat ahead of the game when it came to preparing for the holidays, but it didn’t work out that way. For that reason, I never got around to really writing anything about the holiday, but I could not let pass without comment this whole “war on Christmas bullshit” that seems to crank up every year. An example is a commentary on CNN by some guy named Roland Martin. Obviously, he perceives some concerted attack on Christmas by…well, he’s never clear about that other than categorizing the enemies of Christmas as “politically correct idiots”.

Let’s see, there is an entire retail industry Dependant on the giving of gifts as part of Christmas. I’m no expert, but I don’t believe gift giving is a huge part of the December holiday observances of Muslims or Jews. Of course, the giving of gifts and the whole Santa thing is completely unrelated to supposed reason for celebrating Christmas, and to his credit, Martin points out that this should be curtailed.

But what is wrong with stores putting up Season’s Greetings signs. Good heavens, I’m sure they want to attract all the customers they can, not just Christian customers. And what’s wrong with my sending out cards that say Happy Holidays. Some of those go to Jewish friends and some to other non-Christian friends. As a member of humanity, I owe them the respect of not forcing my beliefs on them.

So to Mr. Martin (and Bill O’Reilley who thinks he single=handedly defeated the enemies of Christmas last year) and all the others with little else to do but conjure up some imagined war on Christmas, let me offer my point of view (as if you could stop me anyway).

First, the God I worship as a Christian does not really need me on the ramparts defending him or his son. He’s so much bigger than that. He created this infinite universe (through an evolutionary process by the way), so think my saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas most likely won’t have a very significant impact on him/her.

Second, and I’ve done some biblical study on this for a Sunday School class I taught, Jesus would most likely be appalled that we were “celebrating” him anyway. He never expected the focus to be on him, as he perceived himself as only the person a new message from God. Not to diminish the importance of Jesus as savior for those so inclined, but Jesus himself was clear that focus was on God, and not him.

Third, Martin and others always try to get themselves off the hook of bigotry by saying we should respect those non-Christians around us, but the in the same article seem to be saying that I should be wishing Jews, Muslims, Wiccans,, a Merry Christmas. I suspect he’d be offended if a Muslim friend wished him a Rousing Ramadan.

I use all the holiday greetings at various times, and try to be sensitive and respectful of the differences in the people around me. I owe them that. And despite being a Christian, I have the intelligence to be able to extrapolate the wishes offered by the store clerk who says “Happy Holidays” to mean they are wishing me a Merry Christmas, and the Jewish person behind a Happy Hanukkah all at the same time. It’s not a real stretch, and I have never ever felt my sensibilities threatened. I’m sorry the beliefs of Mr. Martin and the others are so weak they can’t go a day during December without being reminded it’s “Christmas” for Christians.

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