POSTED ON DECEMBER 5, 2012:
Xmas? What the X is Xmas?
Keep Christ in Christmas, for Christians and Jews alike
Every calendar says that Dec. 25 is Christmas Day. Banks, post offices, and other government buildings are closed on Dec. 25 because it's Christmas Day. Every level of government and most businesses allow their employees to have Dec. 25 off because it's Christmas Day.
Every year in December when we start to celebrate Christmas, the language starts to change and you begin to wonder where Christmas is. Christmas seems to have vanished. Now it's the holiday party, holiday parade, holiday sales, holiday decorations, and holiday cards. But it's not just a holiday -- it's Christmas.
We have plenty of other holidays that we would never think to change the names of. But because Christmas has the word Christ in it, people don't seem to stand up for Christmas anymore because it might offend someone. There's absolutely nothing offensive about Christmas.
Instead of standing up for what's right, some believe it's better to be "politically correct," which means removing Christmas from the season. All it takes is for a small voice to complain about their child having to sing a Christmas song or drive by a nativity scene in a city park and the courage of some public officials starts to melt. Instead of fighting for Christmas they settle for a happy holiday.
As Mark Cantora wrote in American Thinker, "the politically correct pols, after breathless apologies and massive mea culpas, respond to these ridiculous complaints by removing any semblance of religious connotation from their respective Christmas traditions. The overreactions are so hyperbolic and so overzealous that the end result is not merely 'Christ' being removed from Christmas."
Over the years when this controversy has raised its head, many fear to openly proclaim the religious significance of Christmas. The reason for this confusion is often generated by "separationists." Separationists are those who believe that openly celebrating the religious meaning of Christmas violates the U.S. Constitution by blurring the line between the roles of church and state. Their claims are generally based upon the mistaken belief that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is violated if the government acknowledges the birth of Jesus as the historical reason for celebrating Dec. 25.
The fact is that no court has ever ruled that the Constitution prohibits Christmas carols, Christmas displays, Christmas parades or Christmas greetings in public settings as long as the religious items are included along with secular symbols of the holiday season.
In fact, there are numerous places in the Constitution that protect the right to keep Christmas in the season. It starts with the establishment of freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. Including a religious component along with secular symbols in public holiday displays and concerts does not violate the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court has stated that what is referred to as the Establishment Clause requires neutrality, not censorship.
But this fear of recognizing and actually saying Christmas has gone way beyond government activities. More and more, commercial businesses seem afraid to say Merry Christmas or Christmas sale or Christmas wrapping or Christmas gifts. Even local media seems afraid to use Christmas in their promotion of the season. It's always the hapless happy holidays.
Since the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays can overlap each other in December (but not this year), what's wrong with saying "Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas"? Instead of recognizing both holidays by their name, we throw them both out. That's a cop out.
Some fear that if they use the word Christmas they will offend our Jewish citizens. But Christmas as a Christian Holy Day poses no problem for Jews whatsoever. They too have their religious holidays and celebrations but you don't see them afraid to say Happy Hanukkah. When Christian holidays are observed by Christians as Christian holy days, neither Christians nor Jews question why Jews are not celebrating. They don't celebrate because it's a Christian religious holiday. Both Christians and Jews have a long history of important and significant events they celebrate. To remove that recognition for either is tantamount to extinguishing important parts of their religious and cultural history.
It's important to remember that it was the United States that became the first country in the world to accept Jews as citizens. And many came from Russia and Poland and Prussia seeking the religious freedom this country offered for everyone. And part of that freedom is being able to express it with no offense to anyone, Christian or Jew. The same can be said for others who have come to America.
Early on, one of the greatest fears of the Jewish people was that their culture and history would be assimilated and lost in America, which was founded upon Christian principles and beliefs. But today, some in government and business believe that if we proclaim and pronounce this is the Christmas season we are taking something away from our Jewish citizens. In fact, it's just the opposite.
Cantora, a Jewish writer, said: "Put Christ back into Christmas -- if not for the Christians then for the Jews. Do it to help prevent Jews from disappearing, through assimilation, off the face of the Earth as a unique, proud, and distinct people apart." By proclaiming this is the Christmas season, we are acknowledging and respecting the peaceful separation of religious differences in this country. Taking the word Christmas out of the season doesn't help the Jewish community. It forces the assimilation they have long fought against.
Now is not the time for us to lay down Christmas and surrender to a small percentage of Americans who are hostile towards Christianity and who want to eliminate all things religious, including Christmas, from our national life. Tolerance doesn't belong to only one side of our social agenda. There are times when the minority has to be tolerant of the majority, especially when it's an expression of joy, peace, and goodwill.
Certainly there will be those who will challenge putting the word Christmas back in the holiday season. But backing down is an unhealthy sign of political compromise. Keeping Christmas in our holiday expressions is absolutely worth the fight.
The majority of people would like to see more Christmas in everything, not less. It's not just the 25th day of December that we celebrate. It's what it represents that's good about America and her people.
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