Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is the "War" on Christmas Just Beginning?

Every year a few crackpots with nothing better to do declare that there is a "war" on Christmas. Usually, someone in a store says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, lumping the two holidays together in one easy greeting. In addition someone, somewhere pushes the envelope on a nativity scene location or some over the top Christmas celebration at a public school. Then the Bill O'Reilly's of the world crank up their tired old argument that some nebulous group is trying to kill the Christmas season.

I have news. This country is changing rather rapidly. There is a growing population of religions other than the Christian religion. The Asian population is expanding, along with people from the Middle East and Africa. Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, they are all here in large numbers. The Jewish population has been here all along, but has generally been ignored by Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus. There are those who follow no religion. Some may still celebrate the season, but could care less whether someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. They will, however, object to having a particular tradition forced upon them in some way, whether it be a work, at school, or at play.

Finally, there are those who may follow the basic tenets of Jesus' teachings, while realizing that the Christian Bible was written by and for an ancient people and much of it has no real bearing on today's world. It is these people who have retained their ability to think and reason on their own and have been driven away from organized Christianity by its extremist Fundamentalist elements. They know that there is no "war" on Christmas. They also understand that the country will be changing in the future and that nothing is this world remains constant.

In order to survive as a nation this country must realize the change that is happening. We must accept that it will never be as it was prior to 1960, a nation with a majority of white, Western European protestants and Catholics with a few Jews thrown in. Our traditions are changing and they must, ultimately, embrace the new traditions of the new comers. There must be a melding of cultures that will, if we allow it, be for the best. If we fight it, however, with such nonsense as the war on Christmas and an attempted repression of non-Christian religions, we will fall hard and fast. The cancer of hatred and oppression from within will destroy this nation as surely as an attack from an outside enemy.


Doug B said...

Excellent! You have it exactly right. Our country has been changing and many backward thinking people just don't want to accept it.

Diane J Standiford said...

People always want the good old days back. Well, only if those days were good for THEM. It is pure human selfishness. Shame on them for pushing away people who could use some god, some faith, in their life. They are NOTHING like Christ. Xmas to them, Happy Holidays to the rest! (And celebrate each day as you wish, as long as you hurt no one and love, love, love.)

Vagabonde said...

I really liked your post. Last year when I heard all this talk about the war on Christmas I decided to research the “origins” of Christmas – is it mentioned in early Christian writings for example (nope.) What I found really surprised me. I bought a book called “The Battle for Christmas” by Stepen Nissenbaum – a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He explains that Christmas came from pagan feasts. Actually the Puritans of colonial Massachusetts had outlawed the holiday. Even Baptists in times past condemned the holiday, and if you celebrated it you would get a fine. To this day Jehovah's witnesses and some other fundamentalists perceive it as contrary to Christian teachings, and not without reason. They remark that Jesus was born in the spring anyway. It became popular in the late 1800s only, as a commercial holiday. The reason it was not celebrated as the birth of Jesus, was that this date was fixed in Rome in the 4th century in order to overshadow the profane ceremonies for the Birthday of the Invincible One (Mithras) which had always been celebrated on 25th December for thousands of years. The early Christian scholars knew that too, but most people are not aware of it. Christmas is now for the first time being touted as a strictly religious observance in a big way (above all in the US) but that was not its origin. You cannot “go back” to what was never there. So Christmas is a historical holiday that belongs to everyone. The Christian people can celebrate it as a religious holiday, but as you say, a country made of so many diverse people has to give the freedom to others to celebrate it their way.

stephen fox said...

Little off topic but want to give you a heads up on MTN top mining links and video in 21st religion discussion at faith and practice.
You'll want to see great link to feature story in Louisville Courier over the weekend.

And have a Merry Christmas and your followers as well.