Posted by: Jim the Restless | December 3, 2009

‘Tis the Season

Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season

Holiday Warriors Unite!

I am a non-believer, an atheist and agnostic. Yet I decided long ago that there is no reason not to celebrate the winter holidays. Actually, there are many good reasons to celebrate. I have a wonderful wife and kids, good friends, life, liberty, love. All these things are worth celebrating on their own merits.

I am also a curious person, and have learned that gift giving, decorating, feasting, and togetherness are traditions that transcend cultural boundaries. Celebrations of the seasons and human accomplishments are as old as our species.

I also understand that this is a deeply spiritual time of year for many people. No one is trying to take that away, or to prevent them from celebrating their beliefs. However, the most important holiday traditions practiced around the world cross cultural, national, and religious boundaries. They are universal concepts that can and should be shared by all.

The act of acknowledging that our traditions and celebrations draw from multiple cultures and beliefs, as well as secular influences, is not an attempt to demean one particular group. It is easy for a group accustomed to a position of dominance and majority status to feel threatened when a minority begins to speak out. It is irrational, however, for such a group to fear. It is also irrational for that group to claim that challenging their privileged status is equivalent to repression of their beliefs.

Those who ascribe religious significance to the winter holidays have never been prohibited from celebrating according to their beliefs within their homes or churches or other private property. And no has made any attempt to do so. The controversy stems from the use of government or publicly owned property to promote one belief above others.

The problem with this is, if one group is allowed to use public property to promote their beliefs, every group must be allowed the same privilege, morally, legally, and ethically,. The public square is then turned into a competition of proselytization. This benefits no one, and causes an unreasonable burden on the government. More importantly, it gives the government greater control over whose message is treated better. Will a Catholic council member give his church the prime location for their display? Will the local Baptists, who have fewer representatives on the council be relegated to a back corner of the property?

The solution is simple. A secular display that does not promote any one group over the other is allowed. Those who wish to promote their interpretation and version of the holiday are still 100% free to do so on private property. This is fair and equitable. Unfortunately, there is a very vocal group who are not happy with fair, they want to be treated special. They want privileges other’s will not get.

The supposed “War on Christmas” is nothing more than intentional misinformation, hyperbole, and outright lies.

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Responses

  1. I actually disagree. I have no objection to a Christian display this time of year, and I’ve actually come to oppose the idea of a secular display. It seems to me that by disallowing a particular group from expressing themselves according to their traditions rather defeats the purpose of allowing them to put up a display in the first place. It doesn’t make much sense to require someone to celebrate everything just to celebrate their own holiday.

    I would prefer that instead of putting up our own display this time of year, we enjoy the season, and then make sure that Darwin’s birthday is appropriately given a public display.

    I also have to admit to really enjoying Xmas. My decorations have been up for almost 2 weeks now…

    MichaelV

  2. But… even on public property?

    A religious person or group can put up (depending on local ordinances) 12 manger displays & 42 crucifixes on their own private property if they like. By the same token, I can put a sign in my yard that says “there is no God” (though I would never bother).

    Religious displays on public property can only mean one thing- someone trying to show the ascendancy of one religious cult over all others, a clear constitutional no-no.

    There are very good reasons why secular traditions have sprung up around religious holidays. Maybe a sensible solution to “the war on Christmas” would be to merge the religious icons with the secular… think “Santa Christ” 🙂


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