Glass Half Full
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

…to all the people who think the holidays are about coming together as a family, a society, and a world. Bah, humbug to all the people who think keeping the government from favoring your religion over all the others is taking it away from you. Do you really want to go there? What if the government endorses one denomination, one that your denomination disagrees with on matters of doctrine? What if the majority in this country suddenly became Islamic, or Mormon, or Jewish, or Hindu, or Buddhist? Would you insist on religious displays reflecting the view that just happened to be held by the majority then, or would you prefer the government not take a stand and instead protected your right to disagree?

If you choose to boycott businesses that chooses to be inclusive, that is certainly your right. But businesses that put up “Seasons Greetings”, or no holiday message of any sort, are not evil, any more than is a business which chooses to proclaim “Merry Christmas” or “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It’s a decision the business has the right to make and take the consequences.  You can shop there, or not. But, thanks to our secular government, they must serve you if you choose to shop there and have money to spend. You can boycott them, but they can’t boycott you. Think about it, and ask yourself if you want this to change, if you want a religious test applied to individuals.

The Campaign to Save Christmas, or the proclamation of a War on Christmas, is nothing but narrow-minded hatred and bigotry, unworthy of Jesus or what Christianity claims to be about, and certainly not the reason for the season. There were celebrations around the Winter Solstice long before the early Church attempted to co-opt them by declaring it the Time of Jesus’ Birth, a fact for which there is in fact no evidence. Christians don’t “own” the season, and as long as some of them oppose the human and American ideals of freedom, charity, and hope, the rest of us, including Christians who aren’t threatened by practicing the actual principles of the religion, can rejoice.

As an atheist, I don’t celebrate Christmas as a Christian does, but I say “Merry Christmas” to people who say it to me, because I believe the spirit of the season outweighs the particulars of any one cult. I also reply with a “Happy Hanukkah” to anybody who assumes from my slightly-Jewish looking nose that I am a member of that community even though I am not and never have been. If a Muslim ever said “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak”, I would happily respond in kind rather than throw a fit about it, because the prospect of one human being reaching out to another in a spirit of fellowship and community is more important to me than the particulars of the religious tradition they follow, so long as they are coming from a position of mutual respect. If you ask me, that is the true reason for the season. Respect my right to believe what I believe, and I will respect your right to do the same.

 If I don’t know what belief or non-belief a person holds, and the mood strikes, as it often does, I’ll say or write “Happy Holidays” or Season’s Greetings.” If that offends you, I feel sorry for you, unless your name is Bill O’Reilly and you are just fanning the flames for the ratings. For you and your ilk, I move beyond pity to contempt.

People who respond in kind with a “Happy Holidays, or even a smiling “Merry Christmas,” give me hope. People who scowl and disapprove because I don’t believe what they believe, take that hope away. Christmas isn’t being “taken” from you by the fact that there are non-believers. By not embracing it’s true meaning, you are throwing it away yourself. 

  1. greyfan posted this