Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Christmas" versus "the holidays"

You know, I'm getting very weary with the religious right acting all persecuted because decent people just want to be polite and not assume that everyone is Christian. I've always felt that wishing people "Happy Holidays" was just good manners. But no, the fundangelicals think that we're "stealing Christmas" if we don't specifically use the word in our greeting. Here's an article by a Unitarian that makes a really good point. It's called, "'Christ' or Christmas? WWJD?" . Here's an excerpt:

Ah, I see that the religious right is at it again, demanding that stores display signs saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”, and boycotting those that do not comply with their demands. Knickers are in a twist over President Bush sending out Christmas cards that read “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, and some people have reported throwing theirs away as soon as they saw its more generic message, since Bush claims to be an evangelical, born again Christian, and by gosh, ought to know better than to wish people “Happy Holidays”! The gauntlet has also been thrown down at the White House to rename its decorated tree a “Christmas tree” instead of a “holiday tree”. Could President Bush be harboring secret religious tolerance toward non-Christians by his actions this year? Perish the thought! His allies on the Religious Right won’t settle for anything less than a completely total Christian theocracy in this country!

I fail to understand why these same Bible totin’, Bible quotin’ people won’t stop for a minute to consider their demands for Christmas to be put back into the season when the bigger picture seems so lost on them. They keep making these religious demands for Christianity to be taught as science in the guise of Intelligent Design, for religious documents to be displayed in public buildings and for other blatantly Christian symbols to be part of everything from city seals to courthouses. Do they for one minute think that by doing this, that society will suddenly experience mass conversion to Christianity, thereby becoming upstanding and moral in the way they imagine? Have any of them ever opened their Bibles to see what hypocrites and Pharisees they have become? I may be a Unitarian Universalist now, but I was raised Roman Catholic, know the Bible and I see first hand that the message of the Christ has been lost on far too many who claim to be so-called “Christians”.
So it seems to me that rather than waste tons of money and energy on worrying about whether we call this time of year “Christmas” or just the “Holidays”, I would suggest instead that these same people who are getting their knickers in a twist over that whole issue go to some social service agency, sign up to volunteer and spend a day in a soup kitchen doling out meals to the homeless, or sort clothing that goes out to the needy, or spend time in a nursing home visiting some lonely elderly people whose family might live too far away to visit regularly, or go to a prison and talk to some of the prisoners and make them feel a bit of dignity despite their incarceration. Social service agencies have experienced massive budget cutbacks in these cruel times we live in that seem to so favor the well heeled, and as a result, more and more people are falling through the cracks of “the system”. If people truly want to put the “Christ” back in Christmas, remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Pay heed to the words of Matthew 25: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”


Let us never forget that Christmas is not in the Bible. Christians simply appropriated a pagan holiday. Why Christians feel they should have exclusive rights to the season is beyond me.

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