Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The War on Christmas

It seems fair to say that in recent years there has been a move towards making the last month of the year more inclusive in terms of holiday related nomenclature. The basic idea seems to me a good one. Although most people in the US celebrate Christmas, a significant number of people celebrate other holidays like Hanukkah and Kwanza instead, so let's just say "Happy Holidays" when addressing broad audiences or if we're not sure what someone's holiday of choice might be.

This offends some people who value the Christmas holiday particularly highly, and some of those people have now called this difference of opinion a "War," which is a rather inflammatory word choice.

There are indeed some people on the left who are too easily offended by Christmas references, and that leads to silly things like Home Depot selling "Holiday Trees." It strikes me as odd for the left to be so terrified of a word. We don't want the FCC all up in our business about what we can say on cable, but let's make a stink about the wording on retail signage during December.

At the same time I find it equally odd that the right is so insistent on seeing their holiday of choice acknowledged by public and retail establishments. I recently heard someone declare that Home Depot was "anti-American" because of the Holiday Tree issue. If ever there was a barometer that the red-blue culture war has reached a fever pitch, it's the equivocation of being overly politically correct to being fundamentally, philosophically opposed to the very existence of the United States of America.

Militant atheists need to relax. If someone says "Merry Christmas," just take it as the act of kindness it was meant to be and wish them a happy something in return. If the school wants to have a Christmas pageant, consider how lucky we are to live in a place where schools are worrying about what to call the pageant instead of worrying about whether or not the water’s clean enough to drink or what to do with the kids who will become orphans before the end of the school day.

The fundamentalist Christians need to relax too. No one’s trying to spoil Christmas. Consider this thought: if Jesus came back tomorrow, with all the suffering currently going on in the world in the wake of so much disaster, would He be more concerned about the homeless and poor struggling through the winter months as heating costs climb through the roof, or about what verbiage was scrawled on the little orange signs at Home Depot? Just a thought.

And to all a good night.