The War on Christmas
Controversy continues to surround the celebration of Christmas and is unearthed in the perspectives apparent when examining government, media, advertising, and cultural issue both at home and abroad.
In recent times this has been restricted to concerns about Christmas themes such as Santa Claus and the giving of gifts as opposed to the real reason for the season professed by Christians, namely the birth of Jesus.
Current controversy is centred in western countries such as the United States, Canada and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom and Ireland. It originates from a contrast between the holiday's social and economic role and its strong association with Christianity. This is particularly so in an increasingly multicultural and religiously diversifying society. In recent decades, mention of the term Christmas has declined and been replaced with holiday. In addition, many retailers are asked to greet their customers with Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings rather than with the traditional Merry Christmas. This is becoming more apparent when studying responses from individuals using social media platforms to communicate with others. Quite obviously, the term holiday is at war with the word Christmas.
The problem for some of the intelligentsia is that many of the symbols and behaviours the west associates with Christmas predate the birth of Jesus and are therefore not necessarily directly associated with Christmas. Note, for example, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly wreaths and yule logs, all have pre-Christian origins.
Christmas Day is recognized as an official federal holiday by the United States government, yet many groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argue that government-funded displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the U.S. Constitution, namely the First Amendment. This denies the establishment by Congress of a national religion.
A controversy regarding these issues arose in 2002, when the New York City public school system banned the display of Nativity scenes, but allowed the display of supposedly less overtly religious symbols such as Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and the Muslim star and crescent. The school system successfully defended its policy in a court of law.
Since the Eighties, there have been several instances in both the United States and Canada when official public mentions and references to Christmas trees were renamed holiday trees for various reasons.
One of the most prominent Christmas tree controversies came in 2005, when the city of Boston labelled their official tree as a holiday tree. The subsequent response from the Nova Scotian tree farmer who donated the tree was that he would rather have put the tree in a wood chipper than have it named a holiday tree.
In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland there have been some minor controversies, one of the most famous being the temporary promotion of the phrase Winterval. In November 2009, Dundee city council was accused of banning Christmas because it promoted its celebrations as the Winter Night Light festival, initially with no specific references to Christianity.
What is the real cost of replacing the term Christmas with holiday. Who wins and who loses?
Christmas is a predominantly, but not conclusively, western term or festival.
Turn your attention to the east for a moment and remember the service personnel who are battling for their country. You probably have the choice of whether to use the word Christmas or holiday because of the men and women fighting a war there.
In the Middle East people are tribal and governments are either theocracies or dictatorships. The Sunny and Shiite Muslims all look towards Islam. The radical Islamists terrorise and intimidate using the extremities of Sharia Law to enforce their will. Some countries intend a worldwide Caliphate. Under such a Caliphate no other religion would be tolerated and everyone would be subject to Sharia Law. Once strong governments and dictators are removed there will be a political void and an opportunity for the radical Muslims to take over and forward their goal of the worldwide Caliphate.
By 2025, the Muslims will be one half of the population of Europe and it is likely that there will be further erosion of the word Christmas.
Of course, that’s not a problem if you are happy for the word holiday to replace Christmas.
The Muslims do have a festive period at the end of December to celebrate the birth of Jesus, don’t they? And a global Arab Caliphate would surely turn a blind eye to the term Christmas or holiday wouldn’t it?
Here in the UK, I have friends who are Muslim. I also have friends who follow Buddha as well the doctrine of Christianity. I know much of Hanukkah and accommodate all these competing religions and life styles in my day to day living. I don’t see them as competitors. I see them as neighbours.
But in the years ahead you will have to make decisions. It’s your choice.
I prefer to allow my neighbour the right to decide because I am conscious of his need. But if you throw away Christmas you will throw away your freedom to decide upon choice and will have unconsciously contributed to the great but slow movement of the extreme Arab Caliphate as they move gradually from the east to the west. Behold the unconscious war that is fought every December by the socially expedient, the misinformed politically correct, and the Intelligentsia still seeking intelligence.
For me, I have only one thing left to say as elements of my family battle the Arab Caliphate in a land far away from my Christmas Tree....