Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays, Damn It!

What's all this nonsense I hear from political candidates and radio talk show hosts upset about how "Christ is being taken out of Christmas"? One radio DJ lamented that he hated to hear "Happy Holidays" said to him at the check-out line. "Say Merry Christmas, Damn it!" he said on air, and loudly proclaimed that he says so to those people. And then there is presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, neo-conservative extraordinaire, and his pal Mitt Romney, who refuse (like the current president) to recognize that there is a separation between Church and State, endorsing "Christian values" as a political agenda and, to paraphrase Mr. Romney, people who aren't of a prominent faith would not be included in his presidential cabinet (as if Mormons are so prominent - little more than Muslims, to whom he was really referring). These same pundits are getting torqued all out of shape because certain town squares have decorations of all faiths instead of just Christian on the town Christmas tree.

Well excuse me for being an atheist.

I have close friends who celebrated Hanukkah, and other close friends who celebrate Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice, instead of Christmas. Saying "Merry Christmas" doesn't get them bent out of shape, but it isn't exactly a meaningful compliment to them, is it? "Happy Holidays", general as it is, at least gives some measure of pleasant holiday feeling.

Now, I celebrate Christmas. Not because I apply any belief at all to the idea of virgin birth, God, or miracles, but because it gives me a good excuse to celebrate the meaning of love, friends, and family, and to express that true blessing with gifts and, of course, massive quantities of glorious food.

Nobody's taking "Christ out of Christmas" for the Christians. The neo-cons just want to maintain control. But our government is at least giving some measure of our constitutional right to be protected from others' religious intolerance by either keeping religious symbols out of the public square or being all-inclusive, and those (like myself) who work in public relations sorts of positions are being tolerant and inclusive by using a more generic yet still festive greeting. In my job, I work with people from cultures and religions from all over the world. If I say "Merry Christmas" to all of them, I'd bet at least a third of them would shrug and say thanks even though it had no real meaning to them, and some of them would be outright offended.

To you, my merry blog reader, I extend my warmest holiday feelings. However you celebrate the season, please go out and party hardy, open your gifts, and keep your family in your thoughts and arms at all times.

But if you wish to challenge yourself, and those you should happen to meet in public, I'd like to extend also this special assignment: Greet everyone you meet or respond to them with "Happy Solstice" and see what the result is. Sure, you'll get some odd looks and the occasional evil eye, but most people will probably give a wary thanks and shrug it off. Maybe a few of them will stop to think about how very personal the holidays are to each different religion, and thus how very special their own celebration is. Maybe, just maybe, there will be one or two who embrace diversity. At the very least, the "fake" feeling you get by doing this assignment will highlight how much the season means to you and how personal it is to you and your loved ones.

Happy Holidays!

P.S., if you are wondering what the heck this image is about (which was on my favorite holiday card sent to me this year), visit information about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and His Holy Noodly Appendage HERE or HERE.

Image taken from HERE.


Anonimo said...

Rat, that was a really good post. As an atheist, I have fought the Christmas celebration for some time, now. Recently I realized the mistake I was making. I am atheist, but I still love my family and friends, so why not just enjoy the atmosphere and celebrate while everybody is? So, for you, enjoy your holidays and your family.

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