December 18th, 2009


Taking Christ Out of Christmas

Being raised a Catholic, I was told that the "true" meaning of Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Christ. I blindly accepted this explanation. Later, as I started questioning religion, I saw that the holiday was hijacked from the Pagans (like most religious holidays.) I tended to re-embrace the holiday as a more general celebration of family and friends as well as a time to reflect on life in general. I didn't even mind the commercialism although it is rapidly approaching the level of "ABSURD" especially with the season now starting in September and October.

Anyway, I digress. There has been a cry on the Religious Right that Christmas is being hijacked by atheist liberals. They want to keep "Christ" in Christmas. That's all good and well, but this is also the time of the Solstice and Hanukkah. So saying "Happy Holidays" DOES seem more appropriate since different people are celebrating different holidays.

So a couple of things have happened at the office which I think are really pushing the limit on the separation of Church and State. First, a co-worker forwarded an email to the entire office which explained the religious symbolism to "The 12 Days of Christmas." This REALLY offended me. Had he sent it to just myself, I could have replied with a firm "NOT APPROPRIATE!" as well as forwarding it to our personnel person. Since he forwarded it to the entire office, however, I just decided to wait to see what would happen. I was glad to see that he DID get reprimanded for inappropriate use of email.

The other incident happened the other day as our division was exchanging small gifts. We all get stockings which are hung in the hall. You then drop in small gifts to everyone in the division. I hit up Costco and bought an assortment of candy bars. Someone else put in a lottery ticket. Someone else put in a small puzzle. This gives you an idea of what is normally given. Well, one co-worker gives all of us a nicely wrapped gift. From the shape and feel it's obviously some sort of book. We all unwrap the gift and discover that he has given us all paperback Bibles. You could feel the tension in the room as everyone held their little book. Now on the one paw I wanted to raise heck because I felt it was an inappropriate gift. On the other paw it was a gift. He was not proselytizing. He was not forcing his religion upon us any differently than someone forcing gambling on us with a lottery ticket. One could simply give the gift to someone else or even toss it. I guess I am just finding myself much more sensitive to religious issues like this because of all of the crap the religion seems to be responsible for today, be it supporting the killing of gays in Uganda or the more general idea that religion should be spread through the sword.