Enough With The Christmas Controversy
by Ernest Barteldes
With the Holiday season in full blast (in the United States, we begin counting after Thanksgiving all the way to New Years’ Day), we are once again confronted with the PC Police, who once again is battling the widespread use of the word “Christmas” in this country in favor of more the more inclusive term “Holidays.”
Those who defend ‘censoring’ the word Christmas defend that there are many other holidays going on in December (the most prominent being Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) and that using solely the Christian term would arguably offend those who do not profess the Christian faith. Other more civic-minded individuals are against using the term in places like public schools and official government buildings when the First Amendment forbids the establishment of a national religion – for instance, nativity scenes have been banned in New York public schools since 2002, though less religious displays (such as Christmas trees) are freely used.
I personally think that this controversy is bogus. Though I have the utmost respect to all religions (and those who prefer not to follow any specific creed), we must remember that the United States is mostly (if not officially) a country formed by followers of the Christian faith – whatever their denomination might be. But just because we have a diverse population, it doesn’t mean that we have to throw our traditions to the wind in order to please certain groups.
I am a staunch defender of the maxim ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do.’ If one chooses to leave his native home in order to look for greener pastures, one must not only accept but also embrace (as much as possible) the traditions of their new homes. After all, no one should live insulated and isolated, living as if they had never left their native lands (one issue that the anti-immigration lobby has is that new immigrants refuse to fully integrate as Americans). That doesn’t mean a Buddhist that relocates to the Bible Belt would be forced to join the nearest Baptist congregation, but that person would need to understand and accept the local customs – just as I would be expected to do if I decided to move a foreign land.
Though I would never join Fox News or the Catholic league in their idiotic boycotts of Wal-Mart, Best Buy and The Gap (who have – gasp – used the term Happy Holidays in their stores), I will continue to send Christmas cards to friends and family – and continue to wish a Merry Christmas to all – after all, this is the whole spirit of the season.