Monday, December 20, 2004

So this is Christmas?

Over at his blog, my friend Chris wrote about something else over the weekend that piqued my interest: conservatives trying to bring back the "Christ" in Christmas. We stand on opposite sides of this debate, but I think it's interesting to look at the different viewpoints.

Do we need to be reminded that Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth? Is that getting lost underneath an avalanche of consumerism? I think the holiday season has been this way for a long time, and I'm wondering why conservative Christians feel the need to pick a fight about it now. Did the election results, with their supposed "moral values" mandate, give them an inflated sense of entitlement?

In Raleigh, NC, a church shelled out almost $8,000 for a newspaper ad imploring Christians to only support merchants that say "Merry Christmas" in their advertising and signage. The pastor of that church, Rev. Patrick Wooden, was also profiled by the Los Angeles Times, where he let this little nugget slip:

"There's one group of people who get bullied all the time, and that's Christians," said Wooden. "I know what it is like to be bullied. It is apartheid in reverse — the majority is being bullied by the minority."

Wow. Maybe I'm taking this quote out of context, but did the reverend (who's black, by the way) just compare the "plight" of Christians in this country to apartheid? Did I miss the moment where Christians became an oppressed majority in the United States? I wonder how Nelson Mandela feels about this?

Maybe I'm not getting it, but I don't see what's wrong with trying to be more inclusive during the holiday season. Is it P.C. overkill? Maybe. Are retailers trying too hard not to offend anyone? Surely. Is this really a bullying tactic to Christians? Considering the prominence of Christmas in this country - regardless of whether the religious origins of the holiday are addressed - I find that hard to believe.

Happy Holidays, everyone! The culture war continues.