Monday, December 13, 2004

What's wrong with 'Merry Christmas'?

I've been overwhelmed in the last few days by articles both in the UK and the US suggesting that people should send out 'Happy Holidays' cards instead of 'Merry Christmas,' or reporting that workplaces should not display their Christmas decorations too prominently, etc. etc. etc. The most notable anti-Christmas move, of-course, came from Macy's, which suggested that managers avoid displaying "Merry Christmas" banners and have ordered employees not to talk about it.
The thought behind all this is that some people who are not Christians might be 'offended' because they are excluded.
Let me say that as a Jew, I am not remotely offended by other people celebrating their festivals. I accept that I am part of a minority culture, and do not want the majority culture to tone down their celebrations on my behalf. It would be different if I felt that I was in any way coerced to take part in celebrations which are not mine, or if I felt that I was being discriminated against because I am not taking part. But I'm not.
In the UK, at least, the country goes out of its way to mark Hindu and Muslim festivals, and indeed revels in their celebration. My entire office, for example, recently attended a Diwali party and everyone thought it was wonderful. I see no reason why Christians should be made to feel guilty about their own celebrations simply because they are the majority; religious freedom isn't just for minorities. Indeed, I find the suggestion that we might be 'offended' at this rather offensive in itself; how insecure and whiny do they think we are???

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