Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Have Yourself a P.C. Christmas

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Have Yourself a P.C. Christmas

Article excerpt

I sincerely wish that you may enjoy the holiday and/or celebration of your religious, ethnic or socio-political choice over the coming weeks whenever it/they may fall and whatever it/they may be so named . . .

Now if this card still makes someone angry, the hell with 'em.

When a friend of mine sent the card bearing that message, I thought it was funny. Now I'm not so sure. "Merry Christmas," it seems, is turning out to be bad form - maybe even illegal.

A Loudoun County, Va., principal, apparently stung by a lawsuit that accuses him and several other school officials of unconstitutionally encouraging student prayer, recently asked the school's newspaper staff not to use the word "Christmas" in its late December issue.

The stores are full of cards that, while not as circumspect as the Dale cards specimen cited above, are careful to eliminate the last vestige of meaning, religious or secular. No manger, of course, but also no Santa Claus; not even a holly leaf, lest that evoke the dread Xmas.

Friends who used to give you a hearty "Merry Christmas!" now offer a generic "Season's Greetings" or, if they're supercareful, "Have a good one." It's too much.

Of course I know Christmas is a specifically Christian holiday and this country, being home to adherents of every religion, and of no religion, should be careful not to enforce a particular view on anyone. Still it does seem to me that there is some difference between "Merry Christmas" and religious intolerance.

What I'm talking about may be as much a matter of etiquette as of constitutional law. It is a poor host who, no matter how agnostic, cannot allow his guest to offer a pre-dinner grace; it is an ungrateful guest who, however irreligious, would challenge his host's quiet thanksgiving. And it is a hopeless sorehead who would take offense at a hearty Christmas (or Hanukkah or Ramadan or Kwanzaa) greeting. My only requirement would be: no argument, no proselytizing. It is bad manners, not a noble affirmation of faith, to make one's friends and colleagues uncomfortable. But it is a species of intolerance to require the religious to make a secret of their beliefs. …

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