The War Against Non-Christians

By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about the so-called War on Christmas. Because, you know, Christians in America are an oppressed group. Unlike Jews, Muslims, pagans of various stripes, or atheists. It’s not like their God is in the pledge that children have to speak every day… oh, wait, it is. Well, it’s not like the majority of their religious holidays are national holidays… oh, wait, they are. Uh. Er. They’re oppressed, really! I mean, prayer in school has been outlawed, evolution is taught in science class, the god-given commandments are not allowed to be in public buildings, and now… now they have to put up with “PC” phrases such as “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” being said alongside “Merry Christmas”. If this continues, people of other faiths (or lack of faith) might start thinking that their beliefs are equal to those of the God Warriors!

I, myself, became a casualty of this vicious war when I was dealing with a credit card issue just a few days ago.

I was on the phone with the representative and after we had resolved everything she said, “Ha… Merry Christmas.”

I replied, “And a Happy Holidays to you.” Truth be told, what I really had wanted to say was, “Where the hell do you get off assuming that I celebrate Christmas?” But, really, it might not have been the rep’s fault. From the way she started saying something else, it sounds like it’s company policy. And that, my friends, is just not cool.

In other related news, my mom was at Safeway today getting a bunch of stuff for dinner (we’re celebrating my sister’s b-day ’cause she’s in town and so mom is making the main course, I’m making soup, and my sister’s fiance is making her cake) and she wanted to pick up a nice holiday card for her friend. Safeway stocks Hallmark cards, by the way. Row after row had “Merry Christmas” but nary a “Happy Holidays”, “Season’s Greetings”, or even “Happy Hannukah” was to be seen. She searched and searched and searched and, just as she was about to give up, the person working that area (described as “a nice old lady”) asked her if she needed any help.

“Why, yes,” she said as nicely as possible. “I’m looking for a holiday card, but all I see are ones that say ‘Merry Christmas’.”

“Oh,” the employee said, “Let me help you find one.”

So, she searched and searched while my mom (in a still nice, but loud enough voice to attract attention) talked about how she was so surprised, since she’s never had trouble finding a proper holiday card before. After a little bit, the employee asked mom why a Christmas card wouldn’t just suffice.

“So you’re saying that I should give my Jewish friends a Christmas card?!” was Mom’s response.

Abashed at her suggestion when it was stated like that, the employee replied, “Oh, no. Of course not. We’ll find something suitable.”

At the point where she was venturing into the generic “Thank You” cards, my mom had to gently tell her that, no, she didn’t want a card that said “thanks”; she wanted a holiday card. When none were to be found, she told the employee that it was all right and she’d just see if she had any left over from last year. At that point, a few other customers had been looking over the shelves (as most of us will do when someone is having trouble with something) and coming up empty, as well. Thanking the employee for her help, mom checked out with her purchases and came home sans-holiday card. With any luck, the employee will tell her boss that they lost a customer because of the lack of appropriate holiday cards.

I’d just like to give a big “thumbs down” to Safeway/Hallmark for excluding me, my family, and our non-Christian friends with your Christian-only holiday cards. I’m sick of being excluded by the wingnut branch of Christians who think that inclusive language or policies are an “attack” on Christianity. No, idiots, the attack is on the groups you’re trying to exclude.

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6 thoughts on “The War Against Non-Christians

  1. By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about the so-called War on Christmas. Because, you know, Christians in America are an oppressed group.

    In my opinion, it has nothing to do with being an ‘oppressed’ group at all. It has everything to do with trying to take the religious aspect out of a religious holiday. Okay, yes, a lot of people celebrate it with nothing at all to do with the religion and wouldn’t know any of the significance behind most of it, but it is about the Christian faith. You know Christmas.

    I don’t even think it’s a PC thing. I am all for being PC and including the other religious celebrations this time of year (Jewish, Bahi, etc.), but I wouldn’t expect them to be down played, what I expect is for them to be included as they are. It is not PC in my view to say “Happy Holidays”, that is just covering all your bases so you don’t leave someone out. PC is to say “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah”. Now, if you are saying “Happy Holidays” because it is less of a mouthful and includes all the ones you may not know/remember, well, that’s fine, but I think trying to force people to only use “Happy Holidays” if they are actually celebrating Christmas is not right. Same way as forcing someone to use “Happy Holidays” if they celebrating Hanukah. So long as you are expressing what you are celebrating with whatever significance it has to you, then I think everyone else should just stay out of it.

    I was on the phone with the representative and after we had resolved everything she said, “Ha… Merry Christmas.”

    Now, here, see, again, I just don’t find there to be an issue if she was celebrating Christmas so wished you a nice one. I am sure in this case it was just a company thing, and in the interest of having no clue who their customers are, yes, “Happy Holidays” probably would have been better to cover it all. I look at it as if someone wished me a “Happy Hanukah” I would not mind. I would take it as them wishing me holiday cheer in the form that they experience it.

    I’d just like to give a big “thumbs down” to Safeway/Hallmark for excluding me, my family, and our non-Christian friends with your Christian-only holiday cards.

    Actually, it was probably the store, not Hallmark. I say that because there are a crap load of Hanukah ones on our shelves down here. Okay, well, not as many as the Merry Christmas, but there are options. Yes, they should have had some, but my guess is the manager just did not think to stock them, especially if the area is not one with much demand for them. It’s all about what they can sell.

    My point being that I think it is an issue to try and remove the religious (and Christmas/Hanukah/whatever are religious, no matter how commercialized they have become) significance of any faith’s holiday, whatever that is. PC is to sit there and list them all. Generic greetings are a nice way to be safe if you don’t want to list or have no clue, but I don’t think it’s rude to wish someone whatever you celebrate and if you get wished a merry/happy something you don’t, well, I just don’t think it’s anyone trying to force something down your throat. It’s just the time of year and people being nice and cheery for like the two weeks out of the year that most people don’t seem to hate the rest of the human race.

    (and totally aside- why the hell can’t I copy an entire article so I can paste it into a more convenient editor for responding? It only lets me copy one paragraph at a time or it just highlights everything but the article)

  2. Buffy, you missed the main thrust of my article, which was a biting critique on the so-called Christians who are using Christmas to try to rally conservatives by using the rhetoric of oppression to get people incensed about a holiday that is in no way, shape, or form under attack in the United States. Furthermore, it’s a holiday that not all Christians celebrate, and during a time of year that has festivals from several different faiths, including the ones that spawned Christmas itself.

    And, yes, I am fucking annoyed to hear “Merry Christmas” now because they’ve made such an issue about it that companies have started making it policy to say that instead of a generic term that includes everyone. And, furthermore, firing anyone who doesn’t comply with those kinds of restrictions.

    It’s not about not wanting anyone to say “Merry Christmas”, it’s about not bullying people into saying it. And that is what O’Reilly and his God Warriors are trying to do.

    Re: Copy/Paste bug – I have no idea why the problem is occuring. It’s an IE problem that I haven’t been able to sit down and try to fix yet. Also, it appears to have happened only with a newer version, as my laptop (as of the last time I checked) could highlight stuff fine. Sorry about the issue, but in my opinion it’s just another strike against IE and it’s crappy construction. I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

  3. Copied from the government website USINFO:

    USINFO delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture. This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs

    (Excerpt from Federal Holidays: Christmas):

    Most Protestants and Roman Catholics and some Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. Before the 19th century, many Americans worked on Christmas, but in the industrial era the holiday began also to honor universal values, such as home, children and family life, and to incorporate secular customs like exchanging gifts and cards, and the decoration and display of evergreen “Christmas Trees.” Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday in 1870. In 1999, a federal court acknowledged these secular aspects in rejecting a claim that the holiday impermissibly endorsed and furthered a particular religious belief.
    States and private employers are free to adopt their own holidays. Six of the federal legal holidays—New Year’s Day; Washington’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Thanksgiving and Christmas—are observed nearly universally throughout the public and private sectors. States sometimes observe holidays not recognized by the federal government. New Jersey, for instance, observes Lincoln’s Birthday, Good Friday and Election Day; Virginia celebrates Lee-Jackson Day, honoring Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan (“Stonewall”) Jackson, and the Day after Thanksgiving, affording state employees a four-day holiday weekend.

    Seems to me that O’Reilly, Fox, Falwell and other Christian fundamentalists are waging their war in all the wrong places. Doesn’t it make more sense to confront Congress and the Supreme Court for officially proclaiming Christmas to be a religious and secular holiday rather than targeting U.S. citizens?

    BTW, while researching this topic I came across some great websites. There’s the company that produced the movie “The God Who Wasn’t There.” Also on this site was the director’s Blog, which in turned linked to a refreshingly sensitive ctitique of the movie by a Christian: (“nice Christian criticism of the movie”) The site is still under construction and a little hard to navigate at the moment, but worth some effort.

  4. It’s not about not wanting anyone to say “Merry Christmas”, it’s about not bullying people into saying it.

    Yes, and see that I agree with. It should be choice to say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” or whatever you want. Policy to say something is okay, I think (being the season and all), but not to limit them to only one thing and/or firing them for not compling with it.

    However, from your article I did not get that as the point (it seemed to me to only be about being annoyed that people were wishing you, as a Jew, a Merry Christmas) at all. I only know it from 1)Mom’s rant and 2) your reply. I recommend (and was interested where that info came from anyway) either an addition to that post, or a follow up one that specifically addresses that (as I think it’s valid) issue.

  5. It continually amazes me how Christians in this country see the inclusion of others, in accordance with Jesus’ message of tolerance, as an attack on themselves. If they were actually the minority and actually getting dissed, they would want the same sort of respect non-Christians want for their beliefs. Instead, they claim the godless atheists at the ACLU want to take away Christmas and ruin it for everyone. Everything is twisted in the view of these people, and if we don’t read their minds for what holidays they celebrate, we’re malicious fiends. What happened to that whole message of peace on earth and goodwill to all people? Even people who don’t look or think or worship like you?

    It’s not like Christmas is even the only Christian holiday of the season, or that it falls on the same day for every sect (I’m thinking of Greek and Russian Orthodox, specifically). As I recall, the big celebration in many countries is at the Epiphany, two weeks after Christmas. What would Jesus do? I’d like to think he’d smite their asses with a stern, “Cut it out dudes! This is not what I meant!” As I recall, the only biblical story he got really angry during was when people were misusing the temple to serve themselves instead of God. This strikes me as in the same vein.

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