We go through this every year and, unfortunately, it gets worse every year. The War on Christmas (and more generally, any religion's affiliation to wintery holidays) is pandemic. I personally think it's disgusting. Naturally, I plan to tell you all the reasons why the loony, lefty, liberals are ruining the good natured, spirit of giving in the United States.
But first... some facts. Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee, an independent, is spewing his non-denominational feces by calling the tree in the front of the state house a "holiday tree." He says that it goes back to the state's roots in 1636 as a haven for tolerance. It seems pretty intolerant to me to not allow Christians to declare their love publicly. Does having a "Christmas tree" mean that Jewish people cannot put up a menorah? If that is the case, then we have a clear case of partiality and the tree should disappear. However, if Jews are free to put up their religious candelabra than I see no conflict. Besides, does any other religion use a tree as a symbol of religious celebration? A tree ONLY belongs to Christmas, just as a menorah ONLY belong to Judaism. There is no overlap. Holiday tree attributes the use of a conifer to multiple religions, which is untrue and waters down the meaning for Christians. How is that tolerant? Tolerance, to me, means that everyone gets a chance to practice how they see fit. A tree is, and has been, a widely accepted practice for many years. What if my tree is placed in a traditional spot in front a window where it can readily be seen by passers-by? Will that be considered a public place and offensive to some even though it is in my home?
How about upstate New York that banned both Christmas and Hanukkah? This is not in an effort to diminish favor for one or the other. This just cancels all holiday spirit. In the same area, teachers are discouraged from saying Merry Christmas. What if the student is Christian? Then they can wish that student well on his or her chosen holiday and Happy Hanukkah to the Jewish students. In order to reach a true level of equality shouldn't we be teaching, and moreover breeding, tolerance for all types of celebrations rather than ignoring their very existence?
I don't understand why we can't embrace all of them. Share the love of your particular holiday while learning about someone else's. I'm all for sending Christmas tree sugar cookies to my Jewish friends in exchange for some macaroons. I once got a Hanukkah card for a friend that had some Matzah and Manischewitz wine on a table with a card that said "For Santa" and inside it said "Just because the guy got the wrong house, doesn't mean he should starve." I thought that was funny. So did he. The point is that I have trees, he has candles. I believe it was Jesus' birthday and so does he - we just see Jesus' role in the world differently, but the Jews don't deny his existence as a person. We all get along. We all have fun. My friend Alan would typically come to my house on Christmas Eve and I'd be at his house for one night of Hanukkah.
Let's also not forget that government regulation and religious infringement by the left aside, Christmas very often has little to do with its namesake, Christ. Santa is not regarding as St. Nick in most circles. Toys r' Us and Hallmark have a majority share in the holiday at this point. It's about cheer and joy and sharing and gratitude and... honestly, shopping. It's commercialized and consumer-centric more than anything. Watering down the holidays by removing the names will make it more about the greeting card than the message it contains. We absolutely CANNOT say Christmas and ignore other holidays. I've focused on the Christmas and Hanukkah here, but I know there are others. Give everyone an equal share and move on. Getting rid of the source of all holidays does nothing but cannibalize their true meanings and further distance us from history, culture and a deeper sense of giving and joy. It makes it more about commercialism than it already is.
I believe that separation of Church and state means that the state will not endorse any one religion over another nor will it use any religious dogma as its guiding principles for law or judgment of the people over which it presides and governs. It doesn't mean that we cannot publicly embrace all religions and celebrate, as a means to love our neighbors, any religion that they may subscribe to. Anyone who sees religious symbols during a holiday time as blurring the line of the separation is mutating the intent of it to suit their needs. It's a disgusting molestation of celebrators during an important time of the year and needs to be completely suspended.
So, to the Christians I saw Merry Christmas. To the Jews I say Happy Hanukkah. To everyone else, insert religion specific greeting on your special day, whatever that may be. Feel free to let your flags fly and represent yourselves and your beliefs and escape religious persecution and diminution this holiday season. Let's take this country back to its real roots of freedom of expression and religion they way it was designed.