ABC News: Christians Aiming to Boost Religion

In California, a group called the Committee to Save Merry Christmas is boycotting Macy’s and its corporate parent, Federated Department Stores, accusing them of replacing “Merry Christmas” signs with ones wishing shoppers “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.” The organization cites “the recent presidential election showing political correctness is offending millions of Americans.”

Though in so many places PC is over the top, putting Christ back into Christmas shouldn’t mean Give December to Christ.
Happy Holidays is an appropriate greeting when one is not sure of the faith practiced by a particular person. It gracefully honors all. I don’t see a problem with that in an inclusive society.
Sure, Christ was actually not even born on December 25, and the Christians conveniently appropriated the story of Mithras to allow pagans to convert more easily, but forget about when Christ was actually born, Christians have chosen Dec. 25 for the honors. Why do they forget that other religions had their holidays first at this time of year? Hannukah has always been 8 days because it is symbolic to the celebration. Why 12 days for Christmas? To make it bigger than Hannukah? What about other winter celebrations such as Kwanzaa, Yule (the Winter Solstice), Ramadan, St. Lucia Day, or Omisoka? Why do so many Christians send Christmas cards with Santa, stockings, candles and candy canes on them? What are they celebrating? Aren’t those cards early attempts for PC among various Christians when you aren’t sure how religious the receiver is?
If you want to put Christ back into your own life, you are welcome to. Why should everyone else have to be polite to Christians at Christmas when groups like those in the article have no desire to be polite to people of other faiths?
Oddly enough, if those Chistians who feel GWB put Christ at the helm take a look at the White House holiday decorations (directed by First Christian Lady, Laura Bush) they would note the utter lack of Christ or allusions to his birth. Santa’s, reindeer, candy canes and Frosty the Snowman but no angels or stars (PC decorations even in public places).
I think a lot of what’s going on is bizarrely overheated. Although I choose to say “Happy Holidays” out of respect for the religious and secular diversity of my area, I’d NEVER be offended by a “Merry Christmas” wish. I don’t stop and think “that’s a Christian thing, don’t say that” or any such nonsense. Yes, political correctness can be a pain, but so are false pretenses of anti-Christian bias, the off-tune carol being sung so obnoxiously in certain Fox-y regions of the media this season. When Bill O’Reilly tells Jews who don’t care for Christmas excesses that they need to move to Israel, is he behaving in a particularly Christian manner? Is he the victim of bias? Obviously not.

And speaking of the whole “not allowing Salvation Army bell ringers in front of certain stores” thing. The general public sentiment appears to be “that poor charitable organization, how can those stores be so cruel?” which was exactly the reaction the media is clearly aiming to elicit. Nary a mention is made of the fact that the Salvation Army, a few years ago, threatened to stop assisting homeless people in places like San Francisco if those places continued to insist on domestic partner benefits for contractors doing business here, an openly homophobic threat, hardly charitable or Christ-like in spirit. Although I’ve never regarded the bell-ringers as much more than a seasonal nuisance that doesn’t hurt anyone besides retailers who have to put up with the incessant handbell noise and passersby who endure they cynical “happy holidays anyway” comments to those who don’t drop coin, but in this case, I couldn’t help but wonder, “why should the city of San Francisco, of all places, or any place for that matter, grant special rights to an openly bigoted religious organization? Why shouldn’t business owners be able to forbid solicitation on their grounds?” These aspects are completely glossed over and ignored in the press, as is the fact that in recent years, some bell-ringers have been caught pocketing some of the donations. Just put a happy-Christmas-face on the whole thing, pander to the aeons-old, easily aroused martyr complex, and boom! … you’ve got an easily digested issue to get riled up about … except that all things considered, it’s an oversimplification. Who’s the real Grinch? The chain stores that are under no obligation to provide space for religiously-affiliated charity groups with questionable ethics, or the supposedly charitable group that threatens to discontinue their service to the most needy of persons because someone, somewhere is getting something close to equal rights? “Faith-based” shouldn’t be synonymous with “hate-based,” especially when it comes to medical care and general assistance to the needy.
The whole political correctness thing is getting to be a huge pain in the butt. If I want to say Merry Christmas I will. It’s mostly a reflex for me from hearing/saying it growing up. If I want to say Happy Holidays, it won’t be because of someone elses perception of what this season is. I’m not a Christian, but that doesn’t color how I see other people, and I refuse to be afraid to do something because someone SOMEWHERE may be offended. I think people should be allowed to celebrate it any way they choose and others need to let that happen. If someone wants to put Christ in their Christmas, more power to them. If someone wants it out, fine but don’t demand that of others.
Hypocrites on both sides.

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Categories: Miscellany


backspin · December 18, 2004 at 11:22 am

how about saying merry christmas AND happy holidays?

TW · December 18, 2004 at 10:53 pm

First of all, thanks for dropping by my site and complimenting my insane family (and my insane me). Always appreciated.
About the Salvation Army. I understand that in today’s litigious society that if you let one group solicit you have to let all groups. I’m glad I don’t have to run the charity gauntlet to get to the store. I give to certain causes once a year, every year, and to others as they come up. I don’t need the bell-ringers to help me out. They don’t offend me, but I’m not offended by them not being there either.

mysticcowboy · December 20, 2004 at 3:09 pm

Would it be too obnoxious for me to say amen to your sentiments, sister? 😉

I actually am for the underlying principle of putting ‘Christ back in Christmas’, that is, if it means living according to His example. Unfortunately, as you point out so well, that isn’t what is going on here. Let’s face it; many of the vocal ‘Christian Conservatives’ bigots, unable or unwilling to see past their own narrow biases.

If I consider Christ as an example or even a principle of love, compassion and forgiveness, then Christ in Christmas is good. If I remember that this time of year is rich in religious (no matter what religion) meaning and tradition and use the Christian symbols as a metaphor, Christ in Christmas is good. If I want to separate from commercialism and pathological buying, Christ in Christmas is good. If I use Christian biases to exclude others, Christ in Christmas is just another form of bigotry.

I’m reminded of G.K. Chesterton, who said, “It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.”

Mystic Cowboy · December 20, 2004 at 4:50 pm

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

Emboldened by their Election Day successes, some Christian conservatives around the country are trying to put more Christ into Christmas this season. This is according to an AP – ABC News Story Christian Conservatives Are Trying to Put Religion Back…

Mystic Cowboy · December 20, 2004 at 5:03 pm

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

Emboldened by their Election Day successes, some Christian conservatives around the country are trying to put more Christ into Christmas this season. This is according to an AP – ABC News Story Christian Conservatives Are Trying to Put Religion Back…

Watermelon Punch, the Blog · December 24, 2004 at 1:48 am

Nativity Scene on a Styrofoam Cup (Holiday Styrofoam Cup Art)

I would like to say “Merry Christmas” to all! And a most specifically directed ‘Merry Christmas’, not just to Christians, but to all Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Wiccans, and most especially my fellow Pantheists. Chloe’s Christmas tree spo…

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