Saturday, November 26, 2011

The War Against Christmas

Here was my bad attitude this morning, just waiting for me to somnolently turn to Facebook with my coffee. There it was again - a post by a self-proclaimed Christian urging others of like belief to eschew the term Happy Holidays and righteously say "Merry Christmas."  And boycott Target or someone.  And share the post, of course.

I don't mind if people want to indicate connection by a shared vocabulary.  But I am not sure sometimes that everyone understands: America is not a Christian nation.  This is true despite the fact that since our founding there have always been the religious that are not content with being religious, as Jesus suggested, praying in secret, but have to pray openly. Now it's on the Facebook highway.  Their crusade is long-standing enough that Wikipedia notes ---
some Christian and non-Christians have claimed that an affront to Christmas (dubbed a "war on Christmas" by some) is ongoing. 
I know, if it bothers me I could be more selective in my "friending." Too late now, and also, you never know, do you?  And yes, I know I can "hide" people who get to being annoying.  And I do.  Then at some point I think of them and bring them back out of hiding.  In this case, that will probably be after the holidays.

Don't think I don't have problems with the secularization of Christmas.  I love the centering on the miracle of birth amidst poverty, the idea of the divine in our midst.  I end up in tears singing "Silent Night" in the candlelight service.  I was fit to be tied one year when the reins got loose at my church, and the Christmas Eve service featured "Jingle Bells" and the Christmas choir concert featured "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  I don't go to church for this, and I don't think the children particularly benefit from it - they can see this on TV and at the mall.

But I do accept that Christmas has been secularized for quite a number of years now.  I grew up with it, with the ads for a fat Santa having a Coke at the fireside.  When I was five, I thought Christmas was about getting presents.  This is life in any society that has abundance and freedom of retail.  But read Wikipedia - the very date of Christmas is thought to have origins in pagan winter festivals. Look at it that way, you could say that the Christians degraded the pagan impulse. Yet I don't see my pagan friends agitating to boycott everyone who sells artificial Christmas trees and yule logs.

And if you really think those of us who wish our Buddhist, Muslim, Unitarian, Jewish, etc. friends "Happy Holidays" are involved in a war against Christmas, I invite you to look at history and the wars against religions.  Take the current Chinese oppression of the Falun Gong - go ahead, read about it.  And think about what freedom of religion really means, and let the rest of us have it.  Then put some cookies out for Santa.  Or a Coke, for all I care.


  1. I don't get bothered by the "Happy Holidays" bit. Typically this is because you say it as you won't see most people again till after New Year's so I just think of it as one big holiday season all lumped in together. Now that being said, I don't ascribe to any religion, so these traditions and beliefs are not "dear to my heart." I do like the idea of family and good will toward man at this time of year, and a whole Good Kind Wenceslas approach to the season, so if someone says "Happy Holidays" that's fine by me.

    p.s. who doesn't WUV Santa???

  2. Karen, you bring smiles to my life. Thanks.

  3. They are doing this out of fear(Merry Christmas folks), so have some mercy.
    Without it, their lives apparently have no meaning. Relax with some hot chocolate with a candy cane stir stick...People do what they do, and there is nothing you can do to change this.