Neither Your Holiday Nor Mine
I love Facebook and Twitter. I love to see what writers and celebrities I’m into are doing. I love to see what old friends from past lives are doing. I love to see what colleagues in the world of writing are doing. I love to see what my close friends, whom I never get to see enough of, are doing. But I abhor that this time of year all the people, many of whom I respect–if not outright love–who feel the need to verbally attack people who are, for the most part, trying to keep America…well…America. These people–again, whom I respect, like, and sometimes even love–seem to feel that saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is somehow un-American. This is very disconcerting to me. You see, because of the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, the United States has no national religion.
Go back and reread that.
Yeah, the United States has no national religion, which means it’s not a Christian Nation, as many would like to believe. But it also means it’s not a Hindu Nation, Islamic Nation, Atheistic Nation, or any other kind of religious (or lack thereof) nation. There is no “War Against Christmas” as Fox News would have you believe.
I could go into the facts about how Christianity co-opted an already established, popular Pagan holiday to celebrate its King Of Kings, but the Believers wouldn’t listen. And I can’t speak for Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, or any other well-known Atheist about Christmas, but I know that for me, this time of year is marked by several holidays, some Christian and some not, and why shouldn’t we, in the United States of America, be able to adapt said holidays for our own uses? Does it matter that I celebrate Christmas but don’t believe that Christ was God’s son? Isn’t it enough to believe in the things that Christ is said to have said, which is basically, “Treat each other well”? Why can’t I wish my multi-cultural friends “Happy Holidays” and not feel ashamed? I wouldn’t presume to call a woman I’ve just met “Mrs.” or “Miss,” it’s “Ms.” In other words, saying “Happy Holidays” is a simple act of courtesy.
Notice I’m not trying to convince you of my beliefs, nor am I undermining yours. Notice that I’m not shoving my choice of holidays down your throat? Most of the people who post things like, “I’m gonna say ‘Merry Christmas’ not ‘Happy Holidays’ ’cause I’m Amurrican!” fail to notice that this country was founded on the beliefs that everyone should be able to come here and celebrate their own beliefs. It’s as insane to me as the people who say, “This is America and we speak English!” Tell that to the Sioux and Wampanoag and all the other Native Americans who were displaced and stolen from.
I don’t want to ruin your Christmas, but all I want is for you to consider my Christmas, and my friends’ Chanukah, and Kwanza, and other holidays. It’s wonderful that you have faith–I wish I did–but I don’t see why you need to be so damn militant about it. We’ve all seen what happens when people try to force their beliefs on others, and it’s never pretty. Just ask Holocaust survivors, and 9/11 survivors.
Happy holidays, friends. I truly mean it.