1. A clerk
at a department store tells shoppers "Happy holidays"
instead of "Merry Christmas."
2. A store
renames Christmas trees, calling them "holiday trees."
No. 1 is a reasonable and praiseworthy attempt at inclusiveness,
since the clerk does not know which shoppers celebrate Christmas
and which do not.
2, however, is a gutless and ridiculous dodge of the obvious,
buying into a new level of politically correct absurdity.
and nonbelievers work themselves into a lather over the Christmas
Wars, rational distinctions like this can be lost.
be found in examining the roots of various holiday pronouncements
and an assessment of their motivation.
extremism made sensitivity a bad word, "Happy holidays"
was a nice greeting that one could offer safely to Christians,
people of other faiths and complete nonbelievers.
as if "Merry Christmas" was a brick to the head of those
not recognizing the enormity of Jesus' birth; "Happy holidays"
was simply a wish intended to find its target irrespective of
in the last decade, as sensitivity became hypersensitivity and
inclusiveness became jargon for pathological social engineering,
the cursor moved.
wish to broaden a holiday greeting morphed into obnoxious condescension,
seeded by the most intolerant wings of the secular left.
the invocation of "Christmas" was a perceived affront,
and a new phony right was born – the right of religious
minorities to never have to endure any reference to the social
or economic activities of the majority faith.
eradication of "Christmas" from the lexicon of retail
commerce and school pageants has lighted a righteous fire in those
who fairly ask: Is the mere acknowledgment of Christmas in our
daily lives now elevated to the First Amendment-volatile level
of, say, forced Bible study in public schools?
The sad answer
is yes, by some. But the good news is that these people are nuts,
and they are losing.
large cities and stores of every size punting the ridiculousness
of "holiday trees" and calling them what they are: Christmas
districts have even awakened to a fresh reality about Christmas
concerts: a choir or a band performing "Silent Night"
is neither a purveyor nor a victim of religious indoctrination.
the baseless complaining that poisoned the well of Christmas tolerance
came not from Jews or Muslims, who generally seem quite unbothered
by Christmas imagery, but from churchless busybodies who just
can't stand to see society give the slightest nod to a season
sparked by the birth of Jesus.
to this is understandable, but defenders of Christmas need to
refrain from engaging in their own lousiness born of oversensitivity.
you know that 'Xmas' is an atheist plot to de-emphasize Christ?"
bleats one e-mail campaign, ignorant of a religious abbreviation
dating back centuries. "If a clerk says 'Happy holidays,'
complain to a manager," exhorts another stupid spammer just
looking to pick a fight.
battle is to make advertisers and schools comfortable with the
C-word again. Seeing it in store signs and catalogs and hearing
it from the lips of third-graders in a Christmas concert are not
the drumbeat of proselytization; it is the acknowledgment of this
season's central wish of peace and good will.
and customs of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and any other prevailing holidays
should always be welcome in the public square. It should not be
too much to ask to extend that same tolerance to the holiday celebrated
by the vast majority of Americans.