‘Merry Christmas’ is intolerant

Tue, 12/30/2008 - 3:35pm
By: Letters to the ...

As a response to Bishop Epps’ article in The Citizen’s Dec. 27 and 28 issues, I have read and enjoyed your commentaries in The Citizen for some time now. However, after reading your article, “Keep the Mass in Christmas,” I feel compelled to do something I have never done before – send a written response to an article I disagree about.

Your entire premise is built on the fact that you seem to believe that because we are in the “Bible Belt,” public stores must recognize “our Christmas season.”

The idea that this is “our Christmas season” is absurd. There are many people of different religions that also found and make up “our” community, many of which worship and celebrate other holidays than Christmas.

To make a statement that public stores need to bow down to your religion and celebrate your holiday is wrong. Some of the stores that you even name were not even found by Christians. Home Depot as well as Best Buy (and even our beloved Starbucks) were founded by people of the Jewish faith.

The fact that you state that you say, “Merry Christmas,” to everyone, despite knowing that they worship another religion, because you feel that this is the ”Christmas Season” is a sad acknowledgment of your religious intolerance.

Your call for a take-back of the “Christmas Season” is not wanting to just have the holiday on Dec. 25 anymore, but you want to take the entire season for Christianity. That is very sad and selfish, not to mention factually wrong.

As a bishop, you know the origins of the Christmas holiday and the historical fact that other religions had already been celebrating the season prior to the Christian religion later rewriting history and claiming it was Jesus’ birthday, even though it is widely known and accepted by almost all historians that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25, and that the date and season were chosen due to the ending of the Roman holiday named Saturnalia.

This makes your statement of “reclaiming our season” even more ridiculous and very one-sided.

As I wrote before, I have read your opinions in the past and have found most of your commentary to take a big picture, common-sense viewpoint. However, this article is preaching for the intolerance of others and is against the Christian spirit that you are trying to celebrate. I sincerely hope you rethink your position.

Jeff Gevertz


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Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:27am.

We are getting too upset over one day out of the year.

My grandmother like most older wiser people had some very sound advice: "If you are living your life right everyday will be like Christmas and if you aren't living right one a day a year won't bail you out."

Whatever religion you believe in celebrate it with all of your heart, and practice your religion the whole year, not just one day.

If you know your neighbor celebrates Hanukkah when you see them say Happy Hanukkah, if your neighbor celebrates Christmas say, Merry Christmas. If your neighbor is atheist say Happy Holidays. We are making this a whole lot more difficult than what it really has to be.

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:43am.

I think the rub is that everyone has securlaized a religious holiday. It wasn't a big deal when strong Christianity was practiced by the vast majority of people in this country. There really was a great commonality of thought. Times have changed and Christianity has become more "feel good" and consumer-based. The strong believers then get offended when it is jammed down their throat that we must worship a Saturnalia (without the overt sex) called Christmas--and be okay with it? This is an exaggerated example that treads upon a slippery slope.
Is it okay to change the meaning of MLK day to a celebration of Segregation, then tell the affected populace to shut up and take it? To change November 11th to Oppression day, to heck with the Vets (which I am one) and their feelings?

Strong and bible-based Christianity is on the wane, but I would be careful with majority-based thoughts around getting along and changing meanings. A pogrom is a great way to eventually all get along as well. I wouldn't recommend it.

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Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:13am.

Why rant on and on forever about a subject that a small amount of tolerance and respect for other beliefs would cure? Should folks be so offended by the mere sight or sound of a religious belief contrary to theirs be subjected to the sights and sounds of those whose task it is to defend that right, they may not be as sensitive.

I offer an article by Ben Stein:

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a Nativity Scene, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says "Thou Shalt not Kill, thou Shalt not Steal", and "Love your Neighbor as Yourself." And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Submitted by loanarranger707 on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 8:06am.

Christmas is just a holiday, of religious origin, and I know many Jews who gladly give and receive Christmas gifts at Christmas. Most people, Christian or not, celebrate Christmas. You can also celebrate Halloween without believing in witches, as it is a way, for kids at least, to have fun and receive free candy.

Arguing that we should put the Mass back in Christmas is ludicrous. Arguing that we should put Christ back in Christmas is also ridiculous. People who have the least little bit of education in foreign languages know that Christmas is called Noël in French, Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian and Weihnachten in German. No hint of Christ or Mass in there, though the Pope is German and the Vatican is within Italy.

So to the religious zealots among us, I say, give it a rest. Let us have some peace. Like “peace on earth.”

And I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Submitted by dollaradayandno... on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 8:49am.

Trying to jam it and cram it down the throats of retail stores and courthouses simply aggravates the majority of the world who are not Christians!

They want everyone else to do it due to their own insecurities! I was raised a Christian, raised my kids as Christian, and think it is as good or better as an opiate for the masses as any other "religion," but I do detest those in a store telling me they wish me a "merry Christmas!" I know they aren't sincere and do it out of habit or instructions.

What does it mean anyway, "merry Christmas?"
Wouldn't "I love you," especially at this time of the year, be more logical? Leave the Creator and Christ, and Muhammad, and Thor out of it!

We have started enough slaughtering wars over religion to have learned to keep it out of politics.
By the way, I expect Father Epps is aware of all of the names of Christmas (or most anyway) but his duty as he sees it is to assure his flock and others that he wants everyone to adhere to his beliefs to assure their soul's salvation--I understand that.

Submitted by loanarranger707 on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:17am.

Happy New Year!

Whenever your birthday comes up, Happy Birthday!

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 9:24am.

"it is as good or better as an opiate for the masses as any other "religion," but I do detest those in a store telling me they wish me a "merry Christmas!"

Wrap yourself in Marx. He has been proven right in so many other instances...

It is interesting that you raised your kids in such a cynical manner. If you don't believe, why do it? Christianity as thought and crowd control... I guess that is the current fashion of thought.

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 1:31pm.

"If you don't believe why do it?"

Believe what? Do "it?"

Who said I didn't believe? What?

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 2:45pm.

LA made a statement that I found interesting. If you do not believe in the teachings of Christianity, then why "raise your kids" with that belief? If you do not believe it, why teach it? If it is merely an "opiate" for your family and the masses, then why don't you just drug them with ritalin for the same effect?

Why the multiple logins? It is annoying when you reply with another login on a posting from another. I wasn't sure that Git Real was right. I guess this is a partial confirmation.

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 8:48am.

By the same token, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr day is just a holiday. It is even more of a blow off as it is always conveniently on a Monday. Let's just take the day off and buy sheets and pillowcases, maybe even a mattress or two and not worry about the origin of the day. Let's not discuss any of the backstory, let's just use it as one of our normal 10 holidays off each year. To heck with what it represents! (yeah, go try to sell that one)

It is convenient to secularize the day as it suits your purposes, as it suits the purposes of most people anymore. Entymology is a funny thing. Please look up the entymology of Christmas and see what it says.

Yes, let's have peace if we can get it...but remember, it is not within our innate hearts for peace

Submitted by mcg on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 2:46pm.

In your message to loan arranger, you talk about "entymology." Entymology is the study of insects. I think you meant "etymology" which is the study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words.

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 3:51pm.

I know both and had an active blog day today. Didn't catch it. Wow, am I chagrined. Thanks for the correction.

Submitted by ishmael07 on Tue, 12/30/2008 - 7:48pm.

Read Sinner by Ted Dekker. It paints a pretty picture of what forced "tolerance" will do to the world.

The whole premise of Christianity is that Jesus preached that following him was the one and only way into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Therefore, it would make sense to call it the Christmas Season. If you don't celebrate the holiday, just correct whoever says "Merry Christmas" to you.

Submitted by doctor515 on Tue, 12/30/2008 - 8:44pm.

Are you honestly saying that because you feel that Christianity preaches that it is the one way to heaven (something that almost all religions believe) that we should make it the Christmas Season and tell people we know who are not Christian to have a "Merry Christmas"????

I guess than under that thought process, you have no problem with the holidays being called the Huanakah Season, since the Jewish religion preaches that they are the one way to heaven. I guess you also have no problem if every store and person greats you with a "Happy Hanukah" even if they know you are Chrisitian.

It is not forced tolerance. It is simply respecting other people and their beliefs and not thinking that yours is the only religion.

Submitted by ishmael07 on Tue, 12/30/2008 - 11:01pm.

I see your point.

I think that the days that are strictly leading to Christmas with no other holidays being held (for example: say Hanukkah ends a couple days before the 24th and Kwanza starts near New Years) those should be Christmas. I'm not saying to force religion down people's throats.

And under this same thinking, during the strictly Hanukkah days, it should be the Hanukkah Season.

We can have multiple religions, I just believe that Jesus is the one and only way.

Submitted by dollaradayandno... on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 9:09am.

I'm sorry, but your statement, "we can have multiple religions, I just believe Jesus is the one and only way," is self-contradictory!

Maybe they all can have a "one and only way?" Or maybe, just a way!

The word "believe," doesn't make it true for others. Your confidence in Jesus doesn't keep a Hindu from his "belief."

Anyway, maybe it is time for a new "Bible" discovery that will refute Muhammad and The New Testament! We did that with the Old Testament when the New Testament Canons were highly selected by a group of "scholars."

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Submitted by The Wedge on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 9:18am.

Your wishing for commonality is a wasted wish.

The statement of "we can have multiple religions" is a statement of fact, not belief. It is provable. I can name twenty off the top of my head. It is not a belief. The next statement, "I just believe Jesus is the one and only way" is just that--a belief. It is not a fringe belief-it is shared by many, including me. And the New Testament certainly didn't refute the old... But you knew that... what canard will you trot out next?

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