1) Christmas is a pagan solstice holiday that was appropriated by Roman Christian autocrats several hundred years after Jesus died. Jesus was supposedly born in the spring. The Christmas tree was also adopted from pagan celebrations. [these statements are paraphrased from other sources]. You are alleging a supposed “war” -in which you imply that Christians are being persecuted for their faith– over something that didn’t belong to you in the first place.
2) No one is forbidding you to say “Merry Christmas,” unless you are a state employee or teacher in an institution or organization that has respectfully adopted “Happy Holidays” in order to acknowledge that the winter holiday season also includes holy days for several faiths other than Christianity. In that case, you can still say Merry Christmas until you’re blue in the face when you’re not at work.
3) You, and your religion, are NOT being persecuted. You are not forbidden from practicing your religion, or observing your chosen holy day. You are not going to be arrested for saying Merry Christmas, or having a Christmas tree in your house. A suggestion that you may want to acknowledge and respect other faiths by offering a polite and inclusive “Happy Holidays” to people whose faiths you are uncertain of, is by NO MEANS persecution.
Persecution is when people are rounded up and systematically executed for their beliefs (i.e. the Holocaust). It’s when people are forbidden to don their articles of faith in public institutions (i.e. muslim women and girls being forbidden to “cover” with their traditional headscarves in school or at work). It’s being forced to say the prayers of or claim allegiance to another faith (i.e. the Crusades, in which thousands or possibly millions were killed for not being Christian or converting to Christianity). It’s being made to celebrate the religious holiday of a faith not your own (i.e. American school children who were not Christian being taught about and celebrating Christmas–and only Christmas–until the last ten or twenty years).
4. “Happy Holidays” is not offensive. To ANYONE. That’s the whole damn point. Even if you say Happy Holidays to an Atheist who celebrates no holidays at all, they’re going to be grateful for the well-wishes and probably also for the respect shown by not assuming their Christianity by saying Merry Christmas (or assuming their Judaism by saying Happy Hanukkah, etc.). The only people who are offended by being told Happy Holidays are the ones who have made a conscious choice to be offended by it, either out of veiled bigotry or inflexibility to societal change (“in my day, we said Merry Christmas”).
5) The “War on Christmas” was created by Fox News and other conservative media outlets. They did not do this because they actually care about Christmas. They did it because they care about MONEY, and fabricating a passionate religious debate over a complete non-issue will put millions of ducats in their bank accounts. The longer and more successfully they can manipulate people into getting angry and indignant about something that’s not actually a big problem (unless you’re a bigot, in which case showing respect to people of other faiths is downright painful to you), the more money they will make. The additional bonus of the War on Christmas whine-fest is that it’s completely distracting the attention of millions of Americans from the things they should actually be worried about, like the systematic elimination of our Civil Rights, the complete corporate control of our government and economy, the alarming depletion of the natural resources our species depends on, and the unforgivable destruction of our planet.
6) I find no small amount of irony in the fact that many of the same people who are complaining that they’re not allowed to be publicly Christian enough, are the same people who are trampling each other in department stores around the country in order to get the most coveted (and often expensive) Christmas gift items. Explain to me how that is Christian behavior? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be about selflessness, humility, and Love thy neighbor, etc.?
Don’t whine to me about not being allowed to celebrate Christmas when you’re actually celebrating American Express and Macy’s. Seriously.
I remember the stories about Christmas that I was told when I was a kid, and most of them were about giving to those less fortunate. The characters in the stories were POOR. And the presents they got were things like clothes, and food, and blankets. Occasionally, they got a handmade toy. Those stories weren’t about iPods and Nintendo systems and Tickle Me Elmo dolls. And they certainly weren’t about greedy, materialistic people fighting each other about completely unnecessary things to add to their already unconscionable material excess.
On that note, I would like to wish my few readers a happy winter holiday season, no matter which holidays you choose to–or not to– celebrate. I, personally, will be celebrating Christmas although I am essentially an atheist. I will be giving gifts that I have handmade, had already, or traded with other artists to obtain. My family will be eating a pot luck Christmas dinner, with fresh venison I got in trade for the main course, and we will celebrate Christmas–I hope– with the television off. We will probably not be doing too much praying or Praise Jesus-ing, because the celebration of Christmas is more about family than it is about religion for us.
I hope that wherever you are, and whatever holiday you’re celebrating, that you’re warm and healthy and happy this holiday season.