Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hi, folks. Now that the madness of the Holiday Season is over -- or at least, there's only one Holiday left -- we can start getting on with the responsibilities of the new year and maybe look back sensibly on the follies of the old. A friend sent me a picture of a photoshopped Han Solo holding, instead of a ray-gun, a menorah; under it was the logo "Put the Han back in Hannukah". To that, my buddy added: "Put the Saturn back in Saturnalia and the Soul back in Solstice." *Snerk* Cute, but it made me think.

Yes, I'm really tired of professionally-offended self-styled Christians who whine that there's some sort of "war on Christmas" because so many stores put up signs saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Xmas", or city govts. that won't let them put up creche scenes in public parks. The truth is, there's no enemy here but cheap laziness.

The very first phrase of the very first sentence of the very first amendment to the Constitution clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". That means that govt. and law shall not play favorites among religions; whatever the law allows or forbids to any one religion, it must equally allow or forbid to all of them, every last one, including the Pagans and the Atheists and the Satanists. That means that if your city council allows the local Christian church to put up a creche scene on the courthouse lawn, it must also allow the local Jewish synagogue to put up a large-size menorah -- and the Muslims can put up a super-sized scroll showing some quote from the Koran, and of course the Pagans can decorate an evergreen tree with lights (hardly likely to upset anybody these days), and the Buddhists can put up an image of Buddha sitting under a tree contemplating a light, and so on. And your local toy/gift store should put up signs celebrating everybody's end-of-the-year celebration -- which can run into much more money than just one sign saying "Happy Holidays".

So the traditional "Happy Holidays" shortcut isn't a "war" on anybody's religion; it's just a lazy/cheap shortcut. If anybody's going to complain about its cheap non-specificity, then we all should.


Merry Xmas, Happy Hannukah, Jolly Solstice, Joyful Kwansaa, Merry Sir Isaac Newton's Birthday, Glorious Bodhi Day, Happy Boxing Day, Pious Ramadan, Lusty Saturnalia, Jolly Hogmanay, Happy New Year, Merry Twelfth Night -- and a partridge in a pear tree!

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish


Tom Dickson-Hunt said...

The issue is the professionally-offended people who say that being greeted with any holiday except their own is an affront. And anyone who's that confused in the head, or malicious, I've just about given up on.

Antongarou said...

the main problem I have with that and I saw on many internet communities is culturally Christian people saying "Happy Holidays" only on Christmas eve or Christmas itself. You want to be inclusive?Fine, it's a good sentiment but do it *right*, otherwise what you're doing is making yourself feel good while basically telling everybody else "you don't really count, only we count"

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Tom. True, I wonder if the professionally-offended are trying to force everyone else to convert, or just fishing for lawsuits.

Hi, Anton. I don't see any problem with being all-inclusive, even if just plain "Happy Holidays" is quicker and easier. Howdja like my holiday greeting at the finish? Did I leave anybody out?

--Leslie <;)))><

Antongarou said...

the problem is not with the greeting, it's with the fact I and others observed that culturally Christian people tend to offer that greeting only on *their* holiday's eve rather then offering it for a large part of the "season".

Aya Katz said...

I think it is good to distinguish between what the government must not do, and what a store, citizen or merchant can or may do.

The government should not and must not establish any religion, and therefore should not put up a monument or decoration particular to any religion.

But a merchant? They can say happy holidays, if that is what they choose. Or they can pander to the religion of their choice. It's not like a pagan store has to pay tribute to Christianity or a Christian store has to give equal time to Islam, and so forth. Since it's private, they can do whatever they want.