The “war on Christmas” is not being waged by Jews, Muslims, the government, or even atheists or the political left. I’ve never met a Jewish person who had a problem saying “Merry Christmas”. I’m happy to wish them a “Happy Hanukah”. My Islamic friends back in London got me a Christmas card and a gift. Most atheists I’ve met celebrate a secular version of Christmas, and just see it as a day off from work and a time to have fun. I occasionally hear rumors that the government is making it illegal to say “Merry Christmas” in a public place, but I have yet to see any evidence of this. Christmas is actually a Federal Holiday, so clearly they aren’t the culprit. As for the political left, as much as they loathe the open expression of religion, I have yet to hear of moveon.org, or even the radical feminists denouncing Christmas. So let’s ask ourselves, this sudden discomfort we have saying “Merry Christmas” – this sudden reaction by cultural warriors (myself included) to the “war on Christmas” – who is causing this? Well, where do you hear the more secularized “Happy Holidays” most frequently? Do you hear it from President Obama, or former President Bush? Do you hear it from your friends of other faiths? Coworkers? Maybe the coworkers…maybe. But you usually hear it either on TV, or at retail stores. On TV, you hear it on commercials, or the news.
That means corporations are the culprit! Massive retail stores who have spent decades, if not centuries turning a sacred time a year into a cheap expression of materialism and instant gratification, who now go out of their way to make their employees work on Thanksgiving Day (because Black Friday just wasn’t enough for their greedy hands) – these massive retail stores want their employees to say “Happy Holidays” because THEY fear that people of other faiths will be offended. Besides, they want Jews, Muslims, Hindus, whoever to also buy their junk. I feel sorry for the employees, often forced to work on Thanksgiving Day now, and pushed into saying “Happy Holidays” knowing that someone like me might get offended at the watering down of our celebration of the birth of Christ. It’s gotten worse. Due to our most justified reaction, this year I’ve noticed that retailers nervously just say “have a nice day”. If they say “Merry Christmas”, they fear they might offend religious minorities. If they say “Happy Holidays”, they fear they might offend us devoted Christians.
So here is my advice. To retailers, unless your company forbids you from saying “Merry Christmas”, just say “Merry Christmas”. It’s OK. Religious minorities are not going to be offended that in a predominantly Christian country, where Christmas is a Federal holiday, people are wishing each other “Merry Christmas”. If I went to Israel, I would not at all be surprised to hear people wishing each other “Happy Hanukah” and I would happily join in. To the rest of us, just calmly wish our friends in the retail sector a “Merry Christmas”. Don’t say it with politically righteous indignation. Say it calmly and naturally. We won’t win this culture war by fanning the flames, and causing a previously benign element of religious minorities to feel under attack. They aren’t the enemy. The corporations are the culprit. They may be able to control what their employees say, but they can’t control us. And I’m sure that if you wish the retailer a “Merry Christmas”, they will sigh in relief and probably say it back. If I were in Israel, and witnessing a culture war by corporations against Hanukah, I would eagerly wish all my Jewish friends a “Happy Hanukah” not only as a warm wish, but in solidarity with them to protect their sacred holidays. To my friends of other faiths, remember, this doesn’t just affect Christians and our Christmas holiday. We live in an increasingly globalized economy, and if corporations can do it here in America, it won’t be long before they’re doing it everywhere. So let us stand in solidarity against the greed of these multinational corporations. Remember that the retail employee is just earning a paycheck, and they more than anyone deserve a warm, calm wish for a “Merry Christmas”.
The first minute is an example of an atheist who has no problem saying “Merry Christmas” and getting into the spirit (Stefan Molyneux, one of my favorite atheists, and libertarian)
PS. A link to my favorite Christmas song (You won’t see this one coming)