COLUMN: War on Christmas blown out of proportion
Thanksgiving is over, if it was truly recognized in the first place, we find ourselves thrust into the war zone that our secular society calls “the holiday season.”
Along with the usual materialism, we will begin to hear of the so-called “War on Christmas.” Every year, there is always controversy over whether one should say, “Merry Christmas,” “Happy holidays” or “Season’s greetings.”
There is usually a lawsuit of some sort regarding the legality of displaying a nativity scene, whether on public or private land. There have been lengthy debates on calling Christmas trees “holiday trees” and Christmas break “winter break.”
Both sides have blown the controversy out of proportion.
In 2007, in Fort Collins, Colo., green and red lights were permitted on the outside of city buildings, and only secular decorations were allowed inside.
Nativity scenes have been forbidden at Texas Tech, but trees are permitted with the official statement, “We’re not saying it’s a holiday tree because it’s a Christmas tree, but we choose to do a tasteful tree that really anybody can embrace.”
In Tehama County, California officials attempted to banish Santa Claus from office displays but were successfully protested.
These are only a few examples of this war, but they show that political correctness has extended from banning public religious displays to even banning secular symbols of Christmas like Santa Claus, reindeer, evergreen trees and red and green decorations.
Simply because these symbols point to a Christian holiday does not mean they promote a public endorsement of Christianity.
I have no problem with decisions to display menorahs and stars and crescents alongside manger scenes and Santa Claus on public property for a display of superficial unity between the three major religions.
But there is no reason why private groups should not sponsor their own religious holiday display.
It is their money and their right to express their beliefs, so it is their right to choose to display a nativity scene if they so believe.
In regard to the greeting “happy holidays,” both secular and religious-minded people would do well to keep in mind that the
etymology of “holiday” comes from the Old English haligdaeg, literally holy day, which usually means a religious festival or a day of
I am not offended if someone wishes me “happy holidays,” since I assume that person is wishing me happiness on the holiday I celebrate, which is Christmas.
For political correctness “holiday” should backfire since it promotes the recognition of an individual’s religious holiday, specifically the ones celebrated in December. “Season’s greetings” might be the most euphemistic, but if it were not commonly used during December, then it might be mistaken to be useful in the
summer, spring and autumn as well.
I find giving the appellation “holiday trees” to decorated evergreens, real and fake, a bit ludicrous and ripe with denial. Everyone knows it is a Christmas
tree. It originated in Germany, a Christian country, so it has a Christian
OU can set up its usual “holiday” tree display and proclaim its symbolism of cultural diversity and unity, but it really is a way of disguising the spirit of the season in which God has proclaimed “peace on earth to men of goodwill.”
I will embrace the spirit of goodwill, but please do not tell me that those decorated pines are not Christmas trees. A rose by any other name is still a rose.
Christmas is a long-standing part of American culture, even when it has been stifled under the rampant materialism that has made our society and economy so vulnerable.
Any attempt to euphemize or make Christmas politically correct suggests shame of the culture of the supposedly 80 percent Christian population and misguided cultural inclusiveness.
I do not have a problem with wishing members of other religions joy on their respective holidays, but to presume all December holidays are the equivalent to Christmas is insulting to both Christians and Jews and those others who celebrate holidays in December.
The Jewish feast of Hanukah is not nearly as significant as Yom Kippur or Passover.
We would respect all religions more adequately if we did not try to make them equal to each other.
I will not be offended and boycott Wal-Mart if anyone wishes me “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings,” and I will be equally happy if I hear “merry
And I do not expect OU to display a crèche.
However, I am all for prominent nativity scenes on church grounds — and my front yard.
I will celebrate Christmas this year with the lighting of my advent wreath, decorating a Christmas tree with my family, re-telling stories about Santa Claus and going to Christmas mass.
I also will wish happy holidays, the season’s greetings, a happy Hanukah and a merry Christmas to all.
Sarah Rosencrans is a zoology and biomedical science junior. Her column appears every other Tuesday.