Here’s something I find ironic. Conservative Christians tend to support Israel wholly and unconditionally. Whatever Israel wants, they believe Israel should get. And yet, these same Christians adamantly oppose including Jews in a simple holiday greeting.
Jesus himself would have celebrated Hanukkah. But if, instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” I say “Happy Holidays” to include goodwill to Jews (and fellow Americans of other faiths), people will frown, and some will accuse me of participating in the War on Christmas.
At the end of his press conference a few days ago, I noticed that President Obama said “Merry Christmas.” If he had said “Happy Holidays,” the conservative media would be pillorying him. And their hand-wringing would seem incredibly petty to me…and no doubt to lots of other people, Christian and non. It’s a made-up, contrived grievance which plays well with the conservative base and really gets them riled up. The result is a bunch of indignant Facebook graphics.
Living in a country which was founded on celebrating pluralism, it seems intensely American to NOT exclude other faiths from well wishing. America is not about excluding faiths, about putting one religion above another. As a Christian, I’ll tell you that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and no other religion offers a path to heaven. But as a citizen of the USA, which has always invited diversity, I am totally fine with living amidst other religions. And as a nice guy, I don’t mind wishing them well on the holidays important to them. It seems both Christian and American.
Though, frankly, I’m not sure I’ve ever said “Happy Holidays.” I’m a “Merry Christmas” kind of guy. And thankfully, nonChristians who have been hearing “Merry Christmas” all their lives, including getting bombarded with it during this time of year, don’t seem to get all bent out of shape about it. Minority religions seem to “get” the concept of pluralism a bit more clearly than the Christians, who command a distinct majority in American life and don’t think any other religion should be acknowledged.