Get Religion continues its outstanding coverage of the Christmas wars with this piece about the White House and their "non-Christmas" Christmas cards. Ah, that the most powerful man in America, the leader of the free world, might shiver at the thought of the J-word.
Now I know some of you may be asking why I bring this up? Surely as a former politician I must understand the need to tread the middle ground lest anyone be offended. In the long run isn’t this just a tempest in a teapot, when there are so many other things about which we should be more concerned? Surely we must know where Bush personally stands.
True, although you notice how in that last sentence we come perilously close to that infamous phrase "personally opposed," as in, "I’m personally opposed to abortion, but…" (I’m personally all in favor of Christmas, you know, but…") Even so, with all the cultural outrages going on over Christmas I probably would have been inclined to let this one slide were it not for another post that appeared on Get Religion. This one quotes a "blunt editorial," of all things, in the Cincinnati Enquirer "defending public officials who take the controversial step of calling a Christmas tree a 'Christmas tree' in this troubled age:
Let’s be clear. Christmas is a holiday for Christians, when believers celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. Calling it what is, is not meant to slight those who don’t believe as Christians do.
Karen Dabdoub, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was right when she told the Enquirer: "Who are we fooling? The Jews don’t put up a tree for Hanukah; the Muslims don’t put up a tree for Ramadan. It doesn’t take away from my celebration of my holiday for other people to celebrate their holiday. I don’t want anybody’s holidays to be watered-down. I think they’re all wonderful."
Wow – I didn’t know there were still editorial boards that wrote such articles nowadays. It’s certainly not the kind of thing we’d read in the hometown Strib.
And I think this is the point of the matter. Christmas is what it is. It says so right on the calendar under December 25, or in the federal statute that declares Christmas to be a federal holiday. At the risk of sounding as if I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth (considering how much I’ve complained about the secularization of Christmas), the fact is you don’t have to be a Christian to acknowledge that December 25 is Christmas. And if you’re wishing someone a Merry Christmas, you’re wishing them well. It’s hardly meant as some kind of a slur.
Dabdoub has it exactly right with her comments. You don’t have to believe in the ACLU/Corporate America definition of "diversity" to appreciate the concept of what Tmatt, in his post, calls "civic tolerance."
But then, if we’re afraid to acknowledge Christmas as something special, if we treat it as unworthy of respect, then why should anyone else?