Archive » December 16, 2010
IT'S JUST MY OPINION
By Harris R. Sherline, Contributing Writer
Why do we allow a vocal minority to dictate how we are permitted to celebrate or even acknowledge some of our most cherished traditions? Specifically, at this time of the year it’s Christmas. When you try to please everyone, you please no one. Putting it another way, when you try not to offend anyone, you are bound to offend almost everyone. And, that seems to be the situation with Christmas.
I, for one, am sick of it. Not Christmas, but the people who are attacking our most cherished traditions. And, where is the “silent majority?” Why aren’t more people standing up and telling the vocal minority on the Left to get lost? Instead, we see major corporations, educators, the media and our so-called political leaders routinely capitulating to the forces of political correctness. Once again, we are being subjected to the never-ending onslaught of politically correct efforts to do away with another of America’s historical traditions. Led by the ACLU, the warriors of the Left, who believe in nothing and want to prevent those who do believe in something from exercising their own rights. The ACLU is suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything religious out of all public displays.
The American Family Association reported that this year the city of Richmond, Va., agreed to rename their annual “Christmas” parade the “Dominion Holiday Parade,” at the insistence of its corporate sponsor, Dominion, an energy company. However, after receiving thousands of emails and hundreds of letters of protest, the city reversed its decision and voted to change the name to the “Dominion Christmas Parade.” My question is, why couldn’t they have made that choice in the first place?
Following are some of the ways to celebrate the “Holiday” season that are currently considered acceptable:
• It’s OK to celebrate “The Holidays” in our public institutions, as long as they do not appear to advocate a particular religious belief, especially Christianity.
• It’s OK to wish people “Happy Holidays” but not “Merry Christmas.” By the way, what Holiday would it be if not Christmas? The last time I looked, the word was based on the name, Christ.
• It’s OK to celebrate Kwanza, an artificial, made-up tradition, in our schools.
• It’s OK to celebrate witchcraft.
• It’s OK to acknowledge Muslim beliefs, but not Christian. I could go on, and no doubt you could add more examples to the list, but my point in writing this is to express my resentment in general about the dispute over Christmas that has been taking place in America in recent years, and about the right of Americans to publicly celebrate their traditions. It might help understand my perspective if you know a little something about my background:
• Start with the fact that I am Jewish, and I do not celebrate Christmas.
• Second, I grew up during the depression and World War II, a time when American values were clearly understood and openly supported by just about everyone.
• Third, I am well educated, was formerly a professional practitioner (as a CPA), and in the past 50 years I have owned and/or operated a number of businesses, my own as well as those of clients.
• Fourth, I have not had any formal religious training and do not attend religious services. I am what is referred to as a secular Jew, although I do believe in God.
• Finally, my wife is not Jewish. So, given my background, why should I care about Christmas? Because I appreciate the value of Christian moral teachings, that’s why.
Furthermore, I believe that freedom of speech (and expression) should include everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, not just a vocal anti-religious minority.
Our nation was founded largely by Christians, whose values and teachings provide much of the basis of our legal system and traditions. I grew up in that environment, and it never hurt me in any way. As a matter of fact, I believe it was a good thing that Christian traditions and values were present in our schools, and I would like to see them return again.
Preventing people from openly expressing themselves, even under the guise of being fair and equitable, simply forces them underground. They may no longer say what’s on their minds, but that doesn’t change their beliefs. The result is a simmering hostility that’s likely to erupt one day in ways no one expects or wants. You can’t keep a lid on a pressure-cooker forever.
If it becomes acceptable to prevent people from observing certain time-honored traditions, such as Christmas, it can easily become equally acceptable to silence others when they speak out about such issues as educating their children, the justice system and the death penalty, same sex marriage, gays in the military, universal health care, social security, taxation, or a host of other concerns they may have.
As noted earlier, I support Christian values. I grew up, was educated and worked in a society that had strong Christian influences, and in the eight decades of my life no one has ever tried to force me to believe as they do.
So, my inclination when the few try to silence the majority is to tell them to shut up and get lost, which brings me back to Christmas. Although I resent the actions of the politically correct minority who are attempting to prevent others from observing Christmas and want to remove every last vestige of Christianity and Christmas from public life, my wife and I do not observe the holiday ourselves. Our reason, however, has as much to do with the excessive commercialization of Christmas as our religious beliefs. I’m not bothered that Christians want to celebrate the birth of Christ, and I don’t mind that their celebration has been intricately woven into the fabric of our culture. In fact, I support both. What I do mind, however, is turning Christmas into nothing more than a marketing opportunity. It seems to get worse every year, and the venal displays of greed and avarice that are demonstrated by businesses and consumers alike are extremely offensive to me.
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved Read more of Harris Sherline’s commentaries on his blog at opinionfest.com