What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Happy Holidays!

Since I'm Jewish, I don't greet people with "Merry Christmas," although even if I were Christian, I still probably wouldn't greet anyone with "Merry Christmas" as I tend to avoid all contact with human beings. That's just me.

Have we gotten too PC this holiday season?

My answer may surprise you: yes, we have.

First of all, in public, people should be able to offer up a holiday greeting in any manner they'd like to. People say to me "Merry Christmas!" and I'll return the greeting. No big deal. They don't know I'm Jewish. I used to tell people that I was Jewish, but I've come to understand that people mean well when they say "Merry Christmas."

Even in public schools, I don't see why kids can't say "Merry Christmas" to each other. And if they want to put up some Christmas decorations, what's the big deal? I mean, what do flashing lights have to do with the baby Jesus? Nothing. Same goes for a Christmas stocking. It's a secular symbol of Christmas. If we were dealing with religious icons, that would be another story.

What has evolved over the years is the idea that no one should be offended. And while putting up a Christmas tree in a classroom may seem like an endorsement of the Christian religion, it's not. It's an endorsement of the corporate-fueled version of Christmas, which has more to do with Visa and Master Card than Mary and Joseph.

I guess the bottom line when it comes to the month of December is that you can't please everyone, and the elimination of all things associated with the month to avoid offending a group of people seems a bit extreme. And no, I'm not advocating the celebration of Christmas over other holidays. Chanukah, for instance, isn't really a religious holiday in the same way that celebrating the birth of Christ is. Chanukah commemorates a Jewish uprising against the Maccabees to reclaim a Jewish place of worship. Chanukah is actually a minor holiday. It seems to me it can be discussed without crossing the line into religious endorsement. The same would go for displaying a Chanukah menorah. Just don't light the menorah in the classroom. Lighting the menorah involves prayers, and we can leave the praying at home. I'm all for celebrating a secular holiday in public; and religious folks can celebrate the religious holiday at home and at their place of worship. Seems like a good compromise to me.


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