Happy Merry
Political Correctness at Christmas
Well, t’is the season. And it is a season that has become so strangled by political correctness that people don’t even know what to call it or what salutations to use.So here is my solution: Use what makes sense to you. Our faiths and beliefs are integral to our self-identities. We should be able to claim them out loud. I am Christian. I say Merry Christmas. To you. That said, those to whom I make this proclamation of the season have several options:Return the favor. No matter their backgrounds, they can simply return the salutation. Merry Christmas to you they may say. If they are strong in their perceptions of who they are and is not prohibited by the tenets of their faiths, such kind greetings can’t possibly hurt them. After all, Jesus was a good guy. He lived by the Golden Rule and asked that we all do the same. Filmmaker Dan Merchant made a fascinating movie called Lord Save Us From Your Followers, which looks at how the American church is perceived by non-Christians. In it, among many other fascinating things, Merchant did an interesting experiment. Wearing coveralls covered with religious bumper stickers he traveled around the country doing man-on-the-street interviews in which he asked for responses to his garb. In each city he found that people respected Jesus immensely but were often squirrely about organized religion. So, in honor of Jesus’ birth, Merry Christmas should be easy. It honors a guy that everyone likes. Use your own. Reply to holiday salutations with your own. When I say Merry Christmas, greet me with a hearty, Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Solstice! Happy Festival of Lights. Or simply the best of the season to you!So when I see you on the street and you say Happy Solstice to me, I may do a solstice dance. If you wish me Happy Hanukkah, I will return the greeting. Though I would do so simply because of the reasons noted above, this is a holiday with which I have lots of familiarity. My family celebrated Jewish holidays with a local rabbi. And I attended Hebrew day school for nine months. Happy Kwaanza? I may ask which of the seven values we are celebrating on this particular day. Or, to any of these greetings I may say Merry Christmas! Make the season your own. I have friends who celebrated Semite Night on Christmas Eve when they all lived in Manhattan. They were two couples, one Jewish and one Muslim who found a way to joyously connect in across their separate customs in a Christmas-centric culture. Everyone must celebrate in their own way during this glorious time. Because t’is the season. And it’s a great season. Rather than deciding that we can’t celebrate anything, that we should not say anything, that we should not claim anything, we should be ourselves. And ourselves should be embracing and tolerant of others, something that is part of all of our traditions.So Merry Christmas, everyone!Can I get an Amen?