Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ignoring the Obvious

The ‘politically correct’ mentality that leads businesses and local governments to avoid using the word Christmas annoys the crap out of me. Those who say that saying the word Christmas in connection with this time of year because it might offend somebody completely miss the point.

No matter what you believe or do not believe, Christmas is obviously named for a person, a very influential and well-known person. Whether Jesus Christ is your lord and savior, a messiah, a prophet, a historical figure or some random eloquent speaker from two thousand years ago with a good public relations agent, you can’t ignore the fact that his birthday is celebrated all around the world and that day is named for him.

Christians believe Christmas is a celebration of the widely-agreed-upon day of his birth (no existing document verifies an exact date). A large number of non-Christians acknowledge Christmas Day and the Christmas season as a time to celebrate peace, love, family and friends, things they all believe in whether they believe anything else he said or not. In America, Christmas is a federal, state and local holiday with religious roots that is now a commercial and government holiday inspired by religious themes of peace, love, family and friendship.

This year’s trigger for my annual rant on this topic is an ad for Target announcing their sale on Holiday Trees. What?!?! “Holiday” trees? They mean Christmas Trees, don’t they? I don’t think there is a tree for holidays like President’s Day, Labor Day or Memorial Day. Is there an Independence Day tree? Why would anyone not call a Christmas Tree a Christmas Tree?

I’m no religion expert, but I’m quite certain that Jews don’t celebrate Hanukkah with a tree and Muslims don’t celebrate Ramadan with a tree. If you are Jewish or Muslim, you are not likely to be interested in a plastic, triangular-shaped tree to be decorated, lit and displayed the corner of your family room for one month each year. So that sale isn’t really for you anyway; it’s for people who celebrate Christmas.

If you are not a Christian, are you really going to be offended by the word Christmas? If so, then I guess you’ll be at work December 25th each year while everyone else isn’t.

Being an American means you have the right to celebrate or not celebrate whatever you want. Public acknowledgement of our wide variety of beliefs and traditions is a good thing, an inclusive aspect of our multi-cultural salad bowl. Many groups of people, in the past and the present, celebrate around the time of the Winter Solstice. The Hopi Indians’ Soyaluna Ceremony, for example, is a sacred prayer-offering ceremony in which they pray for the New Year and wish each other prosperity and health. Hmmm, sounds like Christmas.

I believe it is important to not leave anyone out, but that does not mean ignoring anyone either. Avoiding saying the name of a celebration originally based on the dominant belief system that our country is formed on is ridiculous, especially now that the name is so much more inclusive than its origin.

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