Thursday, November 17, 2011

So It's That Time Of Year Again...

I received this today:


Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
not Happy Holiday !
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!
If you agree please forward, if not, simply delete.

While I will certainly delete this email, it is not like me to simply drop it and leave it at that. Maybe I should, and maybe blogging is not the most constructive response but it may be the more mature and healthy reaction rather than replying harshly to someone who "meant well."

Anyone who knows me knows that I find many reasons to oppose organized religion and do not personally believe in any sort of god, Christian or otherwise. That being said, over the years I have tried to become more open-minded - not in the sense that I will ever follow religious doctrine but in the sense that if someone wants to believe in something, as long as it does not harm the well-being of another or impact any of my rights, then fine. I can also recognize that *some* religious organizations genuinely attempt to help society without indoctrination and are also a great space for providing a sense of community to some. While I do not believe this springs from religion itself, there are kind individuals within these communities and I recognize this.

Taking this into consideration it is rather confusing that I also love Christmas and the holidays. I am not a fan of the commercialism around it but I also do enjoy walking by store window displays and looking at the decorations. I enjoy the music, the decorations, egg nog, parades, movies, and many of the aspects associated with this. This makes absolutely no sense, but I do. I also can make many arguments about the patriarchal religious background of Christmas such as having to worship a "Virgin" mother because of the belief that a woman who has had sex is somehow unclean or unworthy.

Again, all that being said, I still celebrate Christmas with my family because that is what they celebrate. I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday as they might but I still celebrate it as a time of year when my family gets together and has a day without work (except for last year when I was still marking exams and writing term papers) and to express gratitude for what I have - not to an invisible god but to those who love me and care for me.

With that rather long preface out of the way I can now get to my main point of contention with this email. I would never, never get angry at anyone wishing me a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, whatever. I do get angry whenever religious organizations and individuals feel the need to complain about how their rights are being eradicated through an attempt to be more inclusive in public. I shouted quite a few WTFs reading through the above poem.

Why is this issue addressed as a war against Christians? No one is outlawing "Merry Christmas." Stores are saying "Happy Holidays" to include a larger public and consumers, not to take away Christmas but to include it amongst other winter holidays because the same right to believe in a Christian god extends to everyone else to believe in whatever other god or goddess they want.

The poems bemoans the celebration of "cash, checks, and credit" but then looks to the stores as evidence that the "PC Police" are outlawing Christmas. WTF?!! If Christmas is not meant to be about consumerism why does it matter what the stores say? As for the PC Police, complaints about "political correctness" are often poorly masked complaints against it no longer being acceptable to be racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, or just hateful in general.

In the past, working in retail around the holidays, I have made an effort to be inclusive. If someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I wish them one back. If someone wishes a Happy Holiday, I do likewise. Christianity is not the only religion in Canada and the States. Please, please get over this. The Christians that recognize this do not forward emails like this. They recognize that they have a right to celebrate their religious holidays just as everyone else can celebrate their own religion. I will never tell someone to not wish me a Merry Christmas but emails like this make me very angry and frustrated.