Thursday, November 6, 2008

The holiday jeer comes earlier and earlier each year

Halloween was less than a week ago, and Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday season, is still several weeks away. However, the first true sign of the holidays is here--the local News and Record has published its first "war against Christmas" letter. This first missive (more are sure to follow) is directed at retailers.

Some tidbits:
In the past few years retailers have been reluctant to acknowledge the reason for this shopping season -- Apparently, the whole sections of stores devoted to Christmas ornaments and decorations, Christmas cards, creches, etc.; the Christmas songs and carols blaring on the loud speakers, and the Christian churches every few blocks fail to get the message across.

Why shouldn't that employee say or hear the words "Merry Christmas?" It would be common courtesy -- Why shouldn't employees say "Happy Holidays," which would be a more common courtesy (i.e., a greeting appreciated by and applicable to everyone)?

The politically correct don't want Christ or God mentioned in promotions in or outside their stores -- Far from it, the politically correct are not reaching into homes and churches to stamp out Christian worship.
The letter and more generally the myth about the "war against Christmas" are really about one thing, putting some Christians' beliefs squarely in the face of others, regardless of how the recipients might feel. Rather than respect the many types of religious belief (and non-belief) that are present in our society, these busy-bodies would rather impose their particular beliefs on everyone.

The whole movement also reflects a sad and peculiar insecurity. After all, a person who was genuinely secure in his or her beliefs wouldn't need those beliefs acknowledged. And surely that person wouldn't need to demand extra acknowledgement beyond knowing that his/her belief was already shared by a majority of society, already fully protected in private worship, already enshrined in official holidays, and already reflected in the types of goods being offered in stores. A genuinely secure person wouldn't need more, right?

At one point the Romans threw Christians to the lions; now, merchants cater to their every shopping whim and wish them "Happy Holidays." The equivalence in persecution is pretty easy to see.

So a little earlier than usual and at some risk of giving offense, let me say "Happy Holidays" to all and "lighten up" to some.