12.07.2005

I'm sorry, December 25th is what?

That's correct: Christmas.

Personally, as an intellectual Christian, I don't find the whole politically correct "winter holiday" business terribly offensive. On the contrary, I find the notion of being PC about December 25th to be hysterical.

Let's think for a minute: people came to this country for freedom, both from and for many things. That includes, obviously, religious freedom. Now, does it strike anyone else as a little off that we are free to celebrate any holiday we like, any way we like, but we are inundated with PC thinking, told that we shouldn't mention by name the holidays we are free to observe? I understand that, historically, our government has gone out of its way to avoid officially endorsing any religion (and that, given the nature of republic/democratic government, such is a good idea), but if you choose to live in a country that allows its populace an obscene amount of freedom, it seems to me you also forfeit your right to cry "foul" when other people living in the same country (including the leaders who defend the rights you have) publicly celebrate a holiday that you don't.

Seems pretty simple to me. "Freedom" means the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints (obviously this is a case of amphiboly, but I'm using freedom in a pretty loose sense, referring generally to the supposed ideals of the united states constitution). It does not mean you are compelled to prevent (read: restrain) others from doing (within reason) what you don't.

That said, let's have Christmas sales, let's have 8-day Chanukah sales, let's have Kwanza sales, let's even have Satanist new year sales every March. My point is, let's have them all; but, at the same time, whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukuh, Kwanza, or any other holiday, don't be a pussy: let other people celebrate their holidays, too.

Only the weak-minded man is offended (intellecually) by another man's right to celebrate as he sees fit.

7 Comments:

Blogger Thin Black Duke said...

I find this whole "war on Christmas" business absurd. You're right: "Freedom means the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints." So, it doesn't matter whether Target wishes me a "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." I'll still be celebrating Christmas like I do every year. And if you're Jewish, and you would like for me to celebrate Hanukkah with you, I'll do that too. I'm just that type of guy. The point, I think, is that someone is wishing you good cheer. Does it matter what faith, if any (or inclusive) the cheer is coming from? I'd rather have someone sincerly wish me "happy Kwanza" (although I think it's a bs holiday) than have someone forced to say "happy holidays" or "merry Christmas" and not mean it.

1:27 PM  
Blogger matt said...

exactly.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

more and more I think we'll see things move away from including everybody to including nobody. the days of inclusive math book word problems, in which jamal buys seven chickens with an average weight of 1.8 kilograms, are over. it's the age of the second person, names, and the names of holidays, don't mean as much as they used to.

8:43 AM  
Blogger matt said...

"it's the age of the second person, names, and the names of holidays, don't mean as much as they used to."

sadly, i think you're right, which only makes me think that restrictions on the use of names in general should become more and more meaningless. rather, i think the truth is that names are meaning less is an indication that they are becoming functionally useless because of restrictions, and lose meaning through disuse (or, at least, become so marred in the public eye that disuse becomes inevitable).

in any event, given this view of things, it would appear that the crappy christmas movies on lifetime ("television for idiots") are right: it really is the spirit of christmas that counts most...

10:58 AM  
Blogger a.b.smith said...

hmmm, I understand where you all are going. And I agree that the freedom we have not only should probably go on, but also promotes some sort of degradation in those things we hold as meaningful. Unfotunately religion is one of the prime cases of this. Yet, I think the silly thing about the Christian response is that they (we) want freedom for ourselves and noone else, but there are costs to freedom (like meaninglessness) that many of us disregard until it starts to affect us personally. But I think the real ignorance of Christians today is that we don't believe that God (and Christ) is relevant (or at least important) enough to promote him instead of spending all our time fighting things that aren't Christian.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Agree with you completely, Matt. Christmas never took place in the marketplace. In fact the rampant commercialization has only detracted from the spiritual holiday. Rather than worrying if clerks at Target are saying "merry Christmas" perhaps Christians should go somewhere where the holiday is truly being celebrated--among the poor or in a church or within their own hearts.

10:29 PM  
Blogger matt said...

andy: i completely agree. to waste time, as christians, fighting that which is outside our belief system is just that: wasting time. rather, by our example and by our voices, we should be promoting that in which we do believe.

patry: personally, i enjoy very much the thought that if i am remaining true to the spirit of christmas (i don't care for that phrase, but it's pretty close, i suppose) christmas is being celebrated wherever i am. my hope is that christians will celebrate in that way and embody the spirit of christmas for everyone to see.

3:39 PM  

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