Here’s my take on the Christmas/Holidays issue: Bah, humbug.
And it is humbug, an artificial, entitled aggrievement of the right, a dangerous division put about by people who want to take what should be a gentle wish of good cheer and turn it into a partisan battering ram.
I make it my personal business not to be offended by other people’s religious beliefs. If someone were to wish me Happy Hannukah or Blessed Kwanzaa or even Super Solstice, that’s great. The more good wishes coming my way, the better, I say.
However, Mr. Bill O’Reilly (the one they call the big, fat liar) has decided to bolster his sagging ratings by inventing some kind of bogus liberal war on Christmas. Rally the troops, he cries, and boycott any business that doesn’t acknowledge this nation’s Christian founding by wishing you a Merry Christmas, damn it.
And there you have it. Shouldn’t he be advising you to avoid churches that refuse to use the C word? No, it’s the businesses who are at fault for not recognizing your deeply held belief in Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.
This is crazy talk. Businesses are in business, and their business is to make money from customers who may or may not be Christian. The crazies cry that anyone who might be offended by a Christian greeting is free to shop elsewhere, but folks, that’s not what this country is about. Separate economic, political, and educational systems for different religious sects is what you get in places like Iraq.
If you want to cling to the idea that this nation was founded by Christians as a Christian nation, you will want to follow that idea to its very roots: the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, they outlawed it. They saw no connection between the birth of Jesus Christ and the licentious feasts and gift-giving of the homeland.
And you know what? They were right. There is no connection. We celebrate two entirely separate holidays on December 25. One is a religious commemoration of deep significance to a majority of believers in this country. The other is a great social festival that has become vital to the economy of retailers everywhere. They happen to have the same name, but they have nothing to do with each other, unless you count the tenuous connection of “peace” and “good will.”
So the next time you manage to get yourself all offended because a place of commerce hasn’t acknowledged your religious beliefs, you need to ask yourself: exactly where are you worshipping?