Magazine article The Spectator

Clash of Values

Magazine article The Spectator

Clash of Values

Article excerpt

Liberal columnists, especially in London, New York and Los Angeles, can't quite grasp why some Christians get upset about people saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Happy Christmas'.

'People who use the word holiday now face angry Christian protests, ' they assert. Well, if they have faced such protests, it's news to me. Most Christians I know simply snicker when the C-word is avoided in order not to cause offence. What reasonable people get upset about is being forbidden to say Happy Christmas themselves, or call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. Actually, I don't think I know of a single Christian who rubs his Christianity into non-Christians by wishing a Happy Christmas to a devout or non-devout Muslim or Hindu or Jew. Mind you, it might slip out, but no offence is ever intended. At least I like to think so.

But, let's face it, non-Western immigrants observe Christmas because we Christians observe it, not because they like it or enjoy it or are expected to.

Conversely, when we go to places like India or China or Saudi Arabia, we observe their religious holidays without protest. So don't look for a Saudi headline asking Muslims not to offend Westerners by not mentioning Ramadan.

On the contrary. Yet we Westerners feel that we might offend the people who have come to our shores when we use the Cword. Something very wrong here, as the shrewd detective said. What is even more wrong is the conniption the New York Times had over the commercialisation of Christmas. A jerk by the name of Adam Cohen wrote scathingly in the op-ed page about certain Christian commentators who have asked shoppers to boycott shops which avoid the C-word. What is wrong with that? Cohen might not like the word, but some of us do. Here's one of the reasons he gave for avoiding Christmas: 'In 1946, the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish children to sing Christmas carols was an infringement of their rights as Americans.' But America, like Britain, is supposedly a Christian country which allows freedom of religion to everyone, and the price for that freedom is a carol or two on 24 December. No big deal, as far as I'm concerned, but very big to the Big Bagel Times. Never mind. When radical Islam conquers the West, Adam Cohen will no longer have to put up with carols, but he'll have to bang his head rather hard on the floor five times a day facing Mecca.

And there is more good news. The Muslim quarter for the London 2012 Olympics will include a three-storey mosque which will hold 40,000 worshippers, making it the largest mosque in Europe. …

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