Posts Tagged ‘War on Christmas’

“War” is over, if you want it

I work in customer service (tech support for an Internet-related service), and for what it’s worth, we’ve never been given any official instructions or guidance about the whole “Merry Christmas” vs. “happy holidays” thing. We’re allowed to say whatever we think is appropriate (and most likely to get the customer to fill out a survey saying they liked us, rather than saying they didn’t).

But I’ve noticed something interesting, in this first part of the holiday season — so far, I don’t think anyone’s wished me a “Merry Christmas,” but several customers have wished me “happy holidays.” I don’t know if that’s because they suspect they might be talking to some Hindu at an Indian call center who has a really good accent (I’ve actually had an Indian customer congratulate me on my excellent American accent, assuming I was working in India),¬† or just showing the customary respect (respect for the person being addressed, and for diversity and tolerance in general) that to me is implied by the use of that inclusive phrase. But it seems like an encouraging sign. Maybe the media-hyped, wingnut-targeted “War on Christmas” is seeing an early armistice. (cartoon via Engineer of Knowledge)

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Sunday Sermon: Who Would Jesus Boycott?

Let’s say you’re a fine upstanding Christian organization, and you decide to put “Christ” back in “Christmas” (and take it out of “Christian”) by disobeying Jesus and casting judgment.

And let’s say that in this stone-throwing campaign, you’ve tried to ruin a business because you thought they didn’t use “Christmas” in their advertising , but it turns out they’d already used it before you called for the boycott.

What do you do when it becomes obvious that you’ve borne false witness? Why, declare victory, of course.

That’s what the AFA did in its yearly “Naughty or Nice Christmas List” after falsely claiming The Gap didn’t mention Christmas in its ads after it had already run ads mentioning Christmas.

(pic via Zen Comix)

Season’s greetings

‘Tis the season, not only for corny holiday cliches, but for bickering about the proper way to wish people a happy merry whatever.

Here’s a suggestion: Let’s try to have one consistent standard. If you don’t want to hear Christians whining about being greeted with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings,” then don’t whine about people greeting you with “Merry Christmas.”

Not because it’s the same — it’s not. There’s a big difference between being inclusive (e.g. “season” or “holidays”) and being exclusive (referring to one specific religion’s holiday, e.g. “Christmas”).

But the principle is, if someone’s trying to be nice, do you give them some credit for that, or do you sneer at their attempt just because it doesn’t measure up to your standards, or meet your preferences?

On the other hand, if you want to preserve the right to complain loudly and vociferously about¬† being wished “Merry Christmas” (and you don’t mind that you’re playing into every negative stereotype about atheists being “strident” or “militant” or “politically correct” or whatever), then understand that other people have just as much right to complain, just as loudly and vociferously, about being wished “happy holidays” or whatever.

Sure, complaining about insufficient inclusivity isn’t the same as complaining about insufficient exclusivity, but free speech is free speech, even for people who are wrong or stupid or bigoted or whatever. So pick a standard, and stick with it.

(pic via Atheist Holiday Greeting Cards — collect them all!)

Sunday Sermon: Another holiday song

Yes, I know, you’re thrilled. But sometimes I just get on a writing jag, and I can’t help it. So here’s another little song lyric parody, about the so-called “War on Christmas” — so called by pretty much the only large group of people getting pugnacious about the whole tempest in a tinseled teapot.

The tune is from the Greg Lake song (lyrics, official video), “I Believe in Father Christmas” (which in turn takes the melody of the instrumental interlude from Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije”). Fun facts from Wikipedia: 1) The B-side of Greg Lake’s single is titled “Humbug”; 2) Lake said in an interview that his song isn’t anti-religious, and that he himself doesn’t like people saying “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Go figure.

I Believe In Merry Christmas (Or Whatever)

They say there’s a War on Christmas,
They say there’s no peace on earth,
If Christians can’t keep pretending,
We all believe in some virgin birth
Some people say “Merry Christmas,”
Like it’s a challenge, a gauntlet hurled,
And they think they’re oppressed, and they act so distressed,
If they can’t control the rest of the world

We’ve got secular songs for Christmas,
Songs of snowmen and one-horse sleighs,
But some folks are far from jolly,
If you wish them “Happy Holidays”
They think there’s no room for Christmas,
If there’s anything else as well,
Either Christmas or naught, is how they think it ought
To be done, or you can just go to hell

I wish you a merry Christmas,
Or Solstice or Festivus,
Or Hanukkah, Eid or Kwanzaa,
If you’re OK with the rest of us
For holidays ’tis the season,
So this little wish I pen,
Umoja, Shalom, Mubarak, Ho Ho Ho,
Whatever, and ever, Amen.

Putting the “X” back in Xmas

atheist_christmasIs it time for the War on Christmas already? It’s not even Halloween!

Well, maybe not just yet (although I’m sure I’ll be nice and busy in a month or so), but there’s already a minor stir across the pond about a book that, among other things, addresses how atheists can try to get along with other people during the holiday season (hence my interest).

Ariane Sherine, the creator of England’s atheist bus campaign, has a new book out, “The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas.” It’s a collection of essays from atheists ranging from Richard Dawkins to Simon Le Bon (yes, of Duran Duran).

The book has made a bit of a splash across the pond, in English newspapers the Guardian and the Times, and a Guardian blogger (apparently himself an atheist) mentions the book in a column suggesting that atheism (or at least “New Atheism”) is classist. Sherine herself attempts to set him straight.

As for myself, I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea to look down on people of another class (even a “higher” one), but at the same time I don’t think it’s our fault that atheists tend to be better educated than theists, or that better educated people tend to make more money and occupy higher positions in society (though it’s worth noting that I’ve got 2 college degrees and I’ve been unemployed for 10 months now).

At any rate, being smug or arrogant is never polite, even when it’s justified.