Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas vs. "holidays"

After reading the post from Radical Atheist on Thursday last week, I thought that there was no way we could be retreading this debate again this year. Apparently I was wrong. I opened my Omaha World Herald this morning to find the following letter to the editor:

True Spirit of Giving
It's time for America to wake up and realize that there is an ideology that is slowly eating away our traditions and beliefs. It's political correctness that began with Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin under the name partiinost meaning ideological purity.
Substituting "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas" and eliminating any reference to the birth of Jesus are perfect examples of political correctness. Traditionally, we celebrate Christmas by giving gifts to others to commemorate the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus Christ.
But what if for just one Christmas, every Christian gave money to charitable organization instead of buying presents? As the economy slipped, I believe we would find every business scrambling to wish us all a very "Merry Christmas."
If it were done for more than one Christmas, maybe we would eventually see elected officials gladly dedicating Nativity scenes on public properties, judges beginning to rule against the American Civil Liberties Union and the nation once again recognizing its traditional Judeo-Christian heritage.
Val Black, Shenandoah, Iowa

I'm now taking responses to the following question: Have you ever heard mindless drivel like this before? I think that it must be concentrated in this part of the country, at least that's what I've got to believe if I'm going to keep going. Anyway, I penned my response to the editor, below.
Val Black's December 2nd plea for more Christianity this time of year strikes me as non-sensical. The derivation of the word "holiday" comes from the middle English term for "holy day". Therefore, it is religious to say either "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays". Although perhaps that is a little too "politically correct" for Val Black to wish happiness to anyone if you can't prove they are Christian.
As for gift-giving during this season, it might surprise Val to learn that this tradition (along with many, many, others) was adopted by the Germanic tribes of Europe in the middle ages to mimic or replace those of pagan holidays at the same time of year. Luckily, we live in the United States of America, where we don't have to worry about "elected officials gladly dedicating Nativity scenes on public properties" or "judges beginning to rule against the American Civil Liberties Union" without a hearing. Yes, how lucky we are to live in this country where we have a separation of church and state and all are free to worship (or not!) as they see fit. And wishing "Happy Holidays" to someone does not make you a communist on par with Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin.
One would think that there are far greater things to be concerned about than someone inadvertently offending you by wishing you happiness in a format you deem inappropriate!
I would dearly have liked to write more, but they try to keep the submissions to about 200 words. Really though, the arrogance involved in this mindset staggers me every year. And what a manufactured controversy! Does anyone besides Bill O'Reilly and his followers really care about this? To say to everyone else that "IT DOESN'T COUNT UNLESS YOU SAY 'CHRISTMAS'!" blows my mind! The train of thought has to go something like this:

1. I am a Christian, therefore
2. Everyone must believe exactly the things that I do, therefore
3. Christmas has to be celebrated a certain way, because it's traditional to me, therefore
4. Anyone who varies from the way I want things done is a COMMUNIST & therefore Evil
5. And I will solve this by writing to my local paper- they will help me enforce conformity to my will!

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