Nothing in this any reader here doesn’t already know. But its nice to see in print and it’s well said. Thank you Lorne and the National Post of Canada.
href=”http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/12/23/lorne-gunter-chipping-away-at-christmas.aspx” target=”_blank”>Posted: December 23, 2008, 6:00 PM by Kelly McParland
Lorne Gunter, Full Comment
Every year at about this time, there is a new batch of news stories detailing how the forces of political correctness and atheism are attempting to stamp out all public references to Christmas.
The same people behind turning your neighbourhood school’s Christmas concert into a Winter Family Festival would be appalled by the arrogance of any small band of Christians seeking to expunge all references to Diwali — the Hindu festival of lights — from public institutions in New Delhi or public mentions of Ramadan in Riyadh. Still, they cannot see the arrogance of their own attempts to impose minority secularist beliefs on the mainstream culture in Toronto or Regina or Halifax.
Typically, they explain away their actions as efforts to protect non-Christians from being offended by overt references to a distinctly Christian festival. But whether or not they will admit it, their campaigns are nearly always selfish attempts to shield themselves from messages and symbols they dislike. The feelings of non-Christians are typically nothing more than a cover.
Indeed, non-Christians are seldom behind movements to have Nativity scenes pulled from public squares, Christmas carols replaced with holiday songs or “Merry Christmas” substituted with “Season’s Greetings.” The culprits are most often anti-Christians — people of little or no faith who have grown tired of all the jollity and goodwill this time of year.
Elsewhere this week, I wrote about this same subject — the annual efforts to chip away at Christmas. My piece provoked many strong, negative responses, typical of which was one I received from a reader in Edmonton who wondered why she and her family “have to be confronted with all this Christmas crap everywhere we go?”
Well, you’re confronted with it because it is a free country. No one (thankfully) can make the malls and department stores stop hanging wreathes and playing canned Christmas tunes, just as no one (thankfully) can prevent my cranky correspondent from venting her disgust.
Her belief, though, that she should be able to live her life without ever confronting “Christmas crap,” is typical of the obnoxiousness of modern human rights thinking. It holds that certain favoured groups should never face messages with which they disagree. This has led to the distorted notion among members of politically correct groups that they will never be truly free until people with whom they disagree are made to shut up, or at least relegated to speaking their minds only in private.
No doubt my atheist e-mailer views herself as a paragon of tolerance, the epitome of enlightenment. And I am certain it is difficult to live one’s beliefs (or lack thereof) when the culture all around is giddy with Christmas spirit.
But just imagine how devoted Christian, Muslim and Jewish parents feel when trying to keep their children chaste in a culture soaked through with sexual messaging and imagery.
In a society that values free expression, we all have to put up with views with which we disagree, sometimes overwhelming views. That’s the true meaning of tolerance.
A lot of modern rights advocates have convinced themselves that tolerance means agreement and affirmation, not merely acceptance. That’s a great theory until someone in authority — such as human rights commissioners — has the power to establish a hierarchy of tolerance and your views are on the bottom rung.
Tolerance means exactly putting up with all the Christmas crap and Hanukkah crap and Kwanza crap and even atheist crap, so that others will put up with whatever crap is your crap, too.
Campaigns to forbid candy canes from schools (because they represent the shepherd’s crook and Jesus was the shepherd and so candy canes are religious symbols) or to remove Christmas lights from the trees and buildings in public squares may seem tolerant, when in truth they are merely the latest form of intolerance.
The notion that these campaigns are altruistic efforts to shelter sensitive non-Christians from the theological imperialism of the dominant culture around them is just the latest excuse the intolerant minority is using to impose its own secular theology on the rest of us.
So here is an act of sedition: Merry Christmas.
And while we’re at it: Peace on Earth and goodwill toward all people.