Renaming Holidays

Scanning through the news this morning, one cannot help but notice the flurry of debate over the use of ‘Christmas’ versus the use of ‘Holiday’ this season. Everyone is trying so hard to be politically correct and all-inclusive that we find ourselves avoiding anything that might smack of intolerance (whatever that _really_ means). The trouble that I have with this is that in doing so, the emphasis is taken away from the meaning of the holiday. Christmas was originally established as, yes, a _Christian_ holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Over the years it has, of course, become greatly secularized and commercialized and some of the religious and spiritual emphasis of the day has been replaced by a more mythical, magical focus.

But if we are going to rename Christmas in the interests of not offending anyone, then let’s just take this to its logical conclusion. We should rename (or disband) MLK Day, because much as we might wish otherwise, there are still racists who are offended by black people. Valentine’s Day should become Romance Day or Heart Day or something else in order to escape the eroticism that it symbolizes. Presidents’ Day — let’s face it, they were all crooks and dishonest politicians, something that offends the sensibilities of anyone with a brain. Maybe we should just forget about this one. I’m surprised that we there hasn’t already been a suggestion to rename Good Friday and Easter because of their Christian symbolism. I mean, we can’t have holidays that are specific for just one group now, can we? Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, July 4th, any holiday relating to the military and war should be renamed to something less confrontational. No one likes war, and there are many who are outraged by the existence of such outdated institutions like armies, so obviously something needs to be done.

The point of all this is simply that people are offended by Christ and by Christianity. The only holiday, the only terms that have become ‘required’ changes are the ones that have ‘Christ’ in them. Even though these have been the established terms for hundreds of years, they have now become offensive and preachy and in-your-face pushes for religiosity (they’re not). What’s ironic about this is that if this sort of thing had been suggested for another religion, it would have been put down as intolerant and discriminatory. There is a definite double-standard in our culture, one that specifically targets Christianity (though not always exclusively, to be fair). The mentality seems to be that whatever is in the majority needs to be brought down in the name of fairness. Or it could be that Christians just aren’t well-liked (sometimes with a degree of justification). Or it could be that people feel convicted and threatened by Christianity (or more specifically, by Christ and the idea of God and His existence) and so retaliate in this way. Or it could be a combination all these factors and more. Whatever the case, because Christianity is the predominant religion (or predominantly claimed religion) in America, it is viewed as being unfair. I am always amazed at how few voices it takes to get action, especially in cases of religious ‘discrimination’.

Personally, I don’t care what you call Christmas — it will be, for me, always the time to celebrate the birth of my Savior. I think that all the hubbub is ridiculous in the extreme, both by the people trying to replace it and by those trying to defend it. America is a country of religious freedom, where people are welcome to practice their beliefs as they see fit. It is also a country of democracy, representation of all, majority vote rules, etc. and so forth. If you really want to settle the debate, put it to a vote. Of course, then you would have people calling for a recount. You just can’t please everyone all the time.

One thought on “Renaming Holidays”

  1. Jim, there was a recent uproar at Auburn University over whether it was the Christmas tree on the grounds, or the Holiday tree. They interviewed students and others from both sides of the issue. But you know what was painfully absent? There were no interviews with Jewish or Muslim students who rights were being “protected” in renaming the tree! I would lay odds that nobody even asked someone of another faith if they even cared. Have you ever heard a Jew say it should be called it a Hanukkah tree? Seems to me that if folks were using their brains just a little they’d say, hey- why not ask a Jew or Muslim what kind of appropriate holiday display would honor them and then find a place to put it. I think that. culturally, we’ve become so totally irrational we can no longer think rightly at all.

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