Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PC and Religion Don't Mix

Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Merry Yule! Did I leave anyone out? I want to be sure I include everyone because Jews are offended by Merry Christmas, and Christians are offended by Happy Holidays.

I'm sure you've all heard this debate. I'm going to take a blog-day to be political, go make a warm cup of tea and have a seat, this doesn't happen very often. I'm going to start by making a few points:
1) I believe in the separation of Church and State.
2) I believe in freedom of religion for everyone.
3) I believe in freedom of personal expression.
4) Political Correctness is an oxymoron. This therefore makes professional politicians morons, but we knew that already.
5) In all places where you is used, it means a generic you. In all places where I or me is used, it is a generic I. Nothing here is directed to, nor should be considered from any individual person unless otherwise noted.
On to the dish.

One religious front says we should all celebrate Christmas, one says we should celebrate what we want, which makes me offended by your celebrating something else. It makes no difference that the birth they are celebrating is believed to have occurred in the spring, or that the actual reason for the season is the Winter Solstice or a lamp that stayed lit for eight days when it should have gone out in one. In fact, by that logic, Christmas is only holiday that doesn't really belong here.

Why is it that Rabbis are offended when someone says Merry Christmas? Why are Christians offended when someone doesn't say Merry Christmas?

For a retailer, the generic terms Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings are the best way to go, they (as in retailers) follow different rules than the rest of us. And these terms include everyone and exclude none. Most people in the United States have some kind of celebration during this time of year, so it is wise to choose a blessing that includes them all. Season's Greetings = "Whatever this season means to you, I hope you are filled with it." Happy Holidays = "Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you have a joyous one." What is in there for anyone to take offence to?

Here's the big one: Merry Christmas = "I hope your celebration of the birth of Christ is happy." No, that does not mean something to everyone. It means something only to those who celebrate the event in question. One thing to keep in mind is that these are the majority of our nation.

I'll put this to you; instead of greeting me or wishing me happiness with something that means something to me, why not wish me happiness with a blessing that means something to you? I want a Jew to wish me a Happy Hanukkah. I want a Christian to wish me a Merry Christmas. I want to hear Happy Kwanzaa from my African-descended friends. And by gum, if a coven wants to run around screaming Happy Yule, I want them to!

The point of this and any holiday blessing, you see, is to take something that is important, loving, meaningful, and everything else that it is to you and share it with me. This is a part of you, something that has meaning in your life. What a wonderful thing it is to take a piece of that and give it to another person, wishing nothing in return but responding in kind. How much of that other person do you learn by one blessing that leaves their lips and is directed towards you? This is the embodiment of perfect love and perfect trust; no matter what words you use, your holiday greeting says "This time of year is important to me, I hope you are enjoying it too." This time of year is not about others accepting what you believe, it is about connecting with people.

And while I'm at it, if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas and you have no idea how important such a blessing is to them: Be gracious! Who cares if it means nothing to you? Why can't you just accept the blessing for what it is and say 'thank you?' Does that hurt? Instead of saying 'I want to be greeted this way' accept that someone thought enough about you to greet you at all, and they thought enough about you to give a part of them to you. Oh, how truly blessed you are to receive such a wonderful thing. Gratitude, friends, is what you give in return, and perhaps a heartfelt wish from you to them.

We enjoy so much freedom in this country. Think of the people who live in a place where Christianity is not the majority. Can they say Merry Christmas without fear? In this place, we say what we want, believe what we will, and live among many differences. Let us celebrate that! Have a Happy Everyday!

Why should one person hide their beliefs just because another may or may not believe the same thing? Freedom of religion applies to everyone. You are free to practice something that is not what the majority follows, and I am free to say Merry Christmas or Happy Yule as I choose.

Forget PC, whatever happened to freedom of expression?

I know this debate has been around for years, but the sheer volume of it this year is painful to me. It is one rare point where my mother and I agree. Say what you mean. If a Jew does not appreciate being wished a Merry Christmas, wish them one anyway if that is what you believe. The love you share with others will be felt by them whether your words have meaning to them or not.

The divine within me bows to the divine within you.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I would lke to add that Winter celibrations also exist all over the world & include many other
celbrations. I find most disturbing is the bigotry & narrow minded behavior that for some is common. Slaming others who are different is not American as it is suposed to be in theory but sadly is far to often the case. Happy Hollidays for me is a way to wish from my heart to others a wish for thier happines for Thanksgiving & New Year which we most all share & what ever your Winter Celibration is that you have a happy one


Speedshark said...

Hey there, and Happy Holidays! :-) I totally agree with ya about all this holiday business. It seems to me that some people are forgetting that they are NOT the only people on the planet, not to mention that their religion/faith/belief system is not the only one around, either. Being Buddhist, I don't personally care what holiday greeting someone says to me, but considering most people that I associate with know my beliefs, they should not get upset if I don't say 'Merry Christmas' or whatever. This just brings up a memory of something that happened earlier this year with a ULTRA-Christian women that I work with who, upon finding out that I was Buddhist and no longer Atheist, had the audacity to roll her eyes and give a big "HUFF!" at me. If I were NOT Buddhist, I would have probably slapped her silly! Anyway, hope you are having a happy-whatever, and I'm terribly sorry to hear about your accident. Hope you're feeling better. Take care and Namaste!!

Scott (Rhi's fiance... Don't forget, you gave your approval!!)

Fyrecreek said...

An nun who wrote an article on National Catholic Reporter had this to say, "But however differently Jews, Muslims or others may regard Christmas — from a religious holiday that they do not celebrate to a winter festival that they might — they are all aware that it exists, and it cannot be considered offensive to mention it." Well said, Sister!

You can check out her words at She's an interesting read and it's too bad more of them don't think that way!

Namaste to you, Scott, and I haven't forgotten! Good show, by the way! =)