A friend recently posted on Facebook a Peanuts cartoon image by Charles Schulz together with the words “It’s really strange. America is the largest Christian Nation in The world, and we can’t say “MERRY CHRISTMAS”!!“ * Unfortunately, this statement suffers from a number of inaccuracies.
The United States does, indeed, have the highest number of individuals claiming to be Christian, which is 65% of the population. However, according to wiseGEEK, the countries with the highest percentage Christian population at 98% are Ecuador, Armenia, American Samoa, and Greece.
Secondly, the USA is not a Christian nation. The Constitution is a secular document and the founding fathers deliberately created a separation of church and state. They knew that when there was an alliance between the two it created oppression and tyranny.
Thirdly, no law has said that we cannot say “Merry Christmas.” Some states have made laws which they claim “protect” Christmas, and one even passed a law ensuring that everyone has the right to say “Merry Christmas,” but no law has suggested that you cannot.
So, why does my friend feel the need to express such a defensive position when they are not, actually, under attack? My guess is that Christians in general are feeling threatened by friends and neighbours who are now more vocal in their expression of other faiths or of atheism. Until quite recently, most non-Christians just kept quiet. In the last decade or so, more people are making it clear that they don’t feel obligated to stay in the religious closet.
Of course, some television channels and personalities are doing their best to stir up paranoia and fear, and that makes all of us more likely to be suspicious of our neighbours. It’s a shame, really. Christmas is about loving and sharing whether you believe in the virgin birth or not. It’s a time for thinking about others, giving and receiving gifts, eating good food, and visiting family. If that’s not merry, I don’t know what is.
Christians borrowed the winter holiday from the pagan festival of Yule, which was an ancient tradition to create light and warmth in the winter. So, people of all faiths and non-believers, too, are free to say “Merry Christmas” whenever they like. Anyone who might object is clearly not in the spirit of the season, and they haven’t accepted that it’s really a secular holiday with religious trimmings. It’s an attempt at merriment in the dark, cold, winter, and we call it Christmas. Have a merry one, everybody!
*(Emphasis and capitalization in the original.)
Ah, but you are wrong, Ann. By thinking that Christmas is a secular holiday you are heading straight to an eternity if burning in hell. Right.
Sent from my iPhone
I still think of Christmas as a religious holiday. I understand that it has to a large extent been secularized & have mixed feelings about that. I think it is really difficult for people – even devoted Christians – to keep the focus on the birth of Christ. But it can be done. What I don’t understand is what you focused on. It makes me absolutely crazy when people whine about the Happy Holidays thing. If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I smile & say Merry Christmas to them. If someone says Happy Holidays, I return that greeting So what??? I really don’t get it!
I agree with your conclusion, Judy. What we call it really doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how we live the opportunity to celebrate.
I’ve always wondered why people who claim to have such faith have a need to not only convince everyone else they’re right, but to belittle and demonize those who do not feel the same way. If I know for certain I’m right and you’re wrong, I have no need to convince you of anything or to marginalize your belief.
Sadly, there are people on all sides of this issue who choose to claim victimhood instead of simply believing what they believe and allowing others to do the same – and adding bit of general civility and decency to the mix.
Civility and decency: that’s what I want for Christmas!
And God bless us (whoever she is:), everyone!
Wishing you and your family a very merry fillintheblank, gpicone!