The Christian Right is at it again. This time it’s about Christmas, or rather the lack of “Merry Christmas” in certain retailers’ marketing campaigns. Apparently the 80% or so of the country that celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday (to one degree or another) is feeling terribly oppressed by the folks who want to be more inclusive and use terms like “Happy Holidays”.
Boo hoo hoo! The poor oppressed Christian majority!
Give me a break. Nobody’s taking away your own private celebration of Christmas. They just want to make a little room in the public space to allow for the acknowledgement of traditions that might happen to be different from yours. Here’s a thought: In this season of giving, why not consider that approach - the acknowledgement of other traditions, or of no tradition – to be your Christmas gift to the 20% or so of folks in this country who don’t happen to share your religious beliefs?
Oh, and what’s up with wanting to shove the baby Jesus into the mall anyway? It’s as if the “Merry Christmas” advocates are saying that they really want corporations to exploit their religious beliefs in order to make a profit, and that if the corporations don’t crassly exploit those beliefs, they won’t spend their money there. Something tells me that if Jesus were given the chance to weigh in on this one, he’d probably go into driving-out-the-moneychangers mode and give a fiery sermon on the evils of conflating pseudo-religion with turning a profit.
It’s as if these folks don’t really take their own holy scriptures seriously. Not only that, but they don’t even get it when Linus tells Charlie Brown that Christmas isn’t about shopping malls and shiny aluminum trees – it’s about light and love coming into a dark and cold world.
For my money, I’d prefer that commercial enterprises stay the hell away from my spiritual beliefs and practices. I don’t begrudge them the right to make money in the marketplace; I’d just rather they didn’t exploit religion to do so. And I would think that other sincere people of faith, whatever their faith, would want the same.
I won’t even get into the fact that Christmas really is a replacement holiday, conveniently placed at the end of December to fill in for the big pagan blowout party known in Roman times as Saturnalia, and later on incorporating Druidic and Norse myths and practices to make it more palatable to the newly Christianized lands. Well, OK, maybe I will just a little…