Saturday, December 18, 2004

Merry Christmas - Those Forbidden Words

Lilleks was talking about how clerks seem to be stunned when you wish them a Merry Christmas in his collumn the other day:

Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive. But when I wish a store clerk "Merry Christmas!" they often appear stunned and flummoxed for a moment, as if I've just blabbed the plans for the underground's sabotage of the train tracks in front of the secret police. I've said something highly inappropriate for the public square, and I almost expect a security guard to take me aside on the way out. He'll lead me to a small room. He has no enthusiasm for this; it's the end of his shift, and he's done this a dozen times already today. But policy is policy.

I've noticed this phenomina too. As I was listening to Michael Medved on the radio he was discussing how he as a non-Christian had no problem with people wishing him a Merry Christmas. To Michael, it wasn't so much a religous greeting as it was a wish of good tidings around an event that has become part of the American culture.

While this is all well and good I suppose, the fact is we are celebrating the birth of Christ and I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong with recognizing this wonderful event. If you are a non-Christian, what is the problem of someone wishing you a merry Christmas? Can you not accept the greeting in the good faith in which it was intended?

I had no idea how far this had gone until I went out to buy cards the other day. - yes I'm a bit late, but I'd fatally shock friends and family if we got cards out before the 23rd or so. Anyway, when Mrs. Pursuit got home, she saw the cards and said, "oh you got the Christmas kind".

The Christmas kind? It is the Christmas season isn't it? At this point Mrs. Pursuit explained to me that others had thanked her in the past for sending out Seasons Greetings cards, and applauded her cultural sensitivity.

Frankly, I was stunned. I ask you, what is culturally sensitive; thanking someone for denying their own religous holiday so that you aren't put in an uncomfortable situation, or accepting the greeting of "Merry Christmas" with the grace and dignity of a trully multi-cultural person.

We'll be sending the Christmas cards this year.

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