Finally some good sense is beginning to prevail in the Western world as according to a Rasmussen Report, Americans recently polled reveal that they would far rather hear and issue the greeting ‘merry Christmas’ than they would ‘happy holidays.’ It seems that the days of political correctness are slowly but surely coming to an end – or at least being ignored by the average man and woman on the street – and you can colour us happy as a result.
Christmas is an ancient and traditional Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, however its origins may be steeped in pagan ritual for all we know – and simply because the very nature of the festival is one of positivity, of giving and sharing, of families, love and even regeneration, the celebration of Christmas has bridged cultural, religious, social and ethnic divides.
The celebration of Christmas has spread around the world to the point at which it is now a festival enjoyed in some form or another on all continents of the globe. Expatriates have been responsible for the spreading of the traditional Christmas celebration in some parts of the world, but elsewhere a celebration at this particular time of the year that focuses on anything and everything from the secular trappings of the festival such as gift giving, to specific celebrations that reflect different cultural, religious or national traditions is common.
In spite of these undeniable facts, there are those amongst us who for years have entered gamely into the sport of ‘Christmas bashing’ in the name of political correctness.
In Birmingham in England Christmas was ‘rebranded’ Winterval to ensure that it was an inclusive festival that did not alienate non-Christians. In Dundee in Scotland Christmas was cancelled and replaced by the Winter Night Light Festival where there were intentionally no references to the story of the Nativity so as not to offend those of alternative faiths. This year there has been public outcry as the Capitol Building in Washington has banned all holiday related symbols and displays after it allowed atheists the right to a display last year. The atheist display stood alongside the traditional Nativity and angered Americans across the nation – therefore this year the Governor of the state, Chris Gregoire has banned all non-government displays from inside the building to get around all arguments. In so doing however, she has given in to pressure from both minority atheist groups and those who believe that the erosion of the Christmas festival is right despite the fact that America is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian traditions.
Since when did freedom of speech and expression become a crime in nations such as America and Great Britain?
Since when did it become appropriate for those of the Christian faith to be made to feel ashamed of their religious holidays?
And since when did it become acceptable that we should be a people who have reverential and courteous respect for faiths such as Islam and Judaism, but who have to accept Christianity being treated with such disregard and such contempt?
The absolute irony in all of this is that it is politically correct Christians who are guilty of mocking, disrespecting and denying Christmas – it has absolutely nothing to do with those of alternative faiths complaining that they find our festival offensive. In Birmingham there have been no anti-Christmas tree riots by Muslims, in Dundee there have been no anti-baby Jesus demonstrations by Buddhists, and in Washington as far as we know none who follow the Wicca religion have been caught burning Santa Claus at the stake.
In forcing the acceptance of the politically correct will upon us when it comes to the celebration of Christmas – or lack thereof – we are being forced to deny this festival and to turn our back on the religious connotations that Christmas has.
Now, there was a time when it was feared that the increasing over-commercialisation of the Christmas festival would ultimately be responsible for the erosion of the religious connotations of it, but it seems that some intrinsic international Christian fear of offending others of alternative religions has taken over and is forcing the biggest hush-hush of them all.
But where did this fear come from?
Well, there is no denying the fact that despite nations such as America and Great Britain being very multi-cultural in terms of the demographic make-up of each country, and of people from all walks of life and all religions living and working together in such locations, there is absolutely no meeting of people’s minds when it comes to the way they thinks about their own faith’s religious festivals or holiday periods. Christians celebrate Christmas. Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Muslims celebrate Ramadan. And so on…
However, perhaps if the Muslim minority in America tried to make Ramadan as big a commercial deal as Christmas or the Jewish minority in the UK tried to make Hanukkah as big a national celebration as Christmas, the Christian majority in each country would naturally feel very alienated and perhaps even aggrieved. Therefore, one suggestion is that the fear that has brought Christians to be over-politically correct and to be the biggest bashers of Christmas comes from not wanting to over dominate others because Christians themselves do not want to be over dominated by other religions’ celebrations and beliefs.
When you look at it in this way it is understandable at least – but why can’t we celebrate Christmas, accept that others have their own religious holidays that they would like to celebrate and just get on with it. Expatriates living around the world who celebrate Christmas find that they are welcome to enjoy their festivities. And whilst they might find it hard to get their hands on a Christmas tree in Saudi Arabia, a Christmas pudding in Turkey or a Turkey in Pakistan perhaps, the fundamentals of this joyous festival can be recreated around the globe. Gifts can be exchanged – tokens of love and appreciation – good food can be shared, thanks can be given, carols can be sung and time can be shared with family, friends and loved ones.
These are the fundamentals of Christmas that supersede any argument about religion, and these are the fundamentals of Christmas that are welcomed, accepted and celebrated by people from many religions, nations and ethnic groups; therefore these are the fundamentals that should be promoted, and because they go hand in hand with celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we should not be embarrassed about that fact.
If we all spent some time living and working abroad in other cultures and with people from different religions, perhaps we would appreciate individual differences and understand that we can all live together harmoniously and still do our own thing.
Escape From America Magazine.