Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Enlisting in the War on Christmas

When I woke up this morning, there were ships as far as the eye could see. The fleet had sailed in overnight. I watched as they loaded into their Higgins boats and amphibious landing craft, and now they are nearly to shore. But we will all fight to our last breath. We will take our beliefs to the grave. We will never be defeated in spirit.

Yes, the time of year is upon us again. The time when we are placed in the middle of a never-ending battle to the death: The War on Christmas. Fox News is on the television, droning on about their latest findings about which companies do and do not allow their employees to say "Merry Christmas." The ACLU has legions of lawyers at the battlements, prepared to fight off any perceived assault on what they believe to be the world view of the defenseless. Everyone has battened the hatches and armed themselves to the teeth. Careful liberals, Fox is watching you for war crimes. Don't get too cocky, Fox, Keith Olbermann has you in his sights. Gotcha!

But when did we transition from the tried and true cornerstone of democracy, "While I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it," to "While I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the point of offense to my delicate sensibilities to say it?" Have our skin really grown so thin?

I have a hard time believing that a Christian wishing someone of another faith, or no faith at all, a Merry Christmas in the television department of Best Buy is really going to alter their system of beliefs. Nor do I fear that one person's decision to be an atheist should play any role whatsoever in another's choice of faith. Yet, faithful and faithless alike still take to the streets and do battle every year. Both sides love nothing more than to evangelize their point of view.

But what if, just what if, an atheist said "Thank You," when someone tells them Merry Christmas? What if a Christian said "And to you, too!" when a Jew wishes them a Happy Hanukkah? If all are comfortable in their beliefs, they should not feel the need to belittle the other for a greeting that is really only meant to convey good will. Should stores, businesses or government bureaucracies require their employees to convey such a greeting? Of course not. But is it the end of the world if they do?

Here's hoping for a day where liberals and conservatives alike can find a way to avoid taking offense to things that have no real effect on them or the people they are wont to protect. Until then, I look forward to many more meaningless arguments about whether it must be called "Winter" or "Christmas" break. Enjoy the season.

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