Friday, November 30, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wish someone a Merry Christmas these days and you risk a lecture on political correctness. It seems that Happy Holidays is the preferred greeting, though holiday is starting to take a beating as well. It seems that Holiday is short for Holy Day. Perhaps it would be better to just keep our good wishes to ourselves. If we don't make someone's day brighter, at least we won't be making it dimmer either.

Personally I think that the political correctness police have got the whole thing backwards. The usual reasoning goes like so: We wish someone Merry Christmas, they might not be Christian. If they aren't Christian they might be offended that someone had the temerity to wish them a Merry Christmas. So it is better to water the whole thing down until no one could possibly be offended. I almost always hear this arguement from Christians, or post Christian Atheists. I have never been told off by Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Baha'i, Buddhist, or pagan.

There are a lot of problems with this approach, but the one that I don't hear talked about is that giving up on Merry Christmas breeds intolerance. That's right, by giving up our Merry Christmases we are spreading intolerance not understanding. If I give up saying Merry Christmas and any allusion to the Christmas Story that wasn't written in the last hundred years, then I am also tacitly telling my friends of other faiths that I don't want to hear their stories. After all it is only fair that if I give up Christmas that they should give up Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Solstice or whatever. Our society becomes as interesting as a turkey dinner after it has been put through a blender.

I figure I am going to wish people a Merry Christmas, and I hope that they will feel free to wish me whatever it is they want. We will be surrounded by celebrations of light and joy that will last for months, not just until Boxing Day. It is a good thing to be sensitive to people of other faiths, but that doesn't mean giving up our own. Rather it means listening to their stories as well as ours. We end up richer, not poorer for the exchange.

Think about it.

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