Every year about this time America goes to war, not a shooting war, but a culture war over saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Usually those on the right, whether evangelicals, Catholics, conservative politicians and of course Bill O’Reilly pronounce that the seculars, the atheists, the progressives and of course the liberal media have bowed to political correctness and replaced Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays.
This year the war has become even more intense as the left in their desire to bow to inclusiveness have christened the traditional Christmas tree with the name a ” Holiday Tree.” The right immediately pounced on this new title as further proof that the war on Christmas continues as the left finds new ways to take Christ out of Christmas.
Now before anyone reading this gets the notion that I am going to come to the aid of the ” Happy Holidays” and ” Holiday Tree” people, let me say that ” Merry Christmas” is my choice for a greeting when I meet others and calling a Christmas tree a Holiday Tree is just plain ridiculous.
But let me remind the war on Christmas people that beneath all the furor over how we greet people during this season and what we call a Douglas fur with lights and ornaments there is a not so subtle refusal to recognize that this country is becoming increasingly diverse and that there are millions of Americans who do not celebrate Christmas or have a Christmas tree in the family room.
Sure the majority of Americans are steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but let’s not forget the Jews, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Muslims and all the other religious groups that don’t believe Jesus was born the Son of God in Bethlehem. Although I don’t have hard numbers and admittedly would have a difficult time presenting proof, but I also could include with the religious minority all those so-called Christians who could care less about the sacred nature of Christmas and worship instead at the altar of Wal-Mart. It just could be that the Judeo-Christian majority is in fact a minority, overwhelmed by a diverse America filled with non-believers and holiday consumers, not Christian warriors out to save a religious holy day.
So during this season of Christmas I as a Christian will continue to say Merry Christmas and say it proudly to my family and friends, and I will continue to sit comfortably in my family room looking at my beautiful Christmas tree. But I will also remember that America is not what it was fifty years ago when diversity meant different ethnic groups that worshipped as Catholics or Protestants. America today is a country where we should be smart enough and sensitive enough to recognize that there are many different people living among us and that the religious character of the season has lost out to the big box stores. If conservatives want to go to war to save Christmas, let them fight against rampant consumerism and debt inducing spending on stuff, not against those out there who understand and appreciate the differences at work in our ever changing society.