The War on Holidays

Ah yes, the fairly recently-deceased Andy Williams…I inserted that song by that artist here because he’s the most old-timey, Christianisty singer I can think of offhand.

But listen to the song.  He’s not singing “Merry Christmas.”  He’s singing…GASP…”Happy Holidays!”  And he’s not singing about creches, but instead about all the secular Xmas (more on that word later) symbols of Christmas that there are, and then some. Heavens, what’s Fox News going to say.  Well, this song predates Fox News by decades, as did Andy Williams.  And Fox News has never said anything.

The fact is, time was that “Happy Holidays” was not considered shocking or anti-Christian at all.  Nope, back then, people tried to keep “Christ” out of “Christmas” by wishing each other “Merry Xmas.”  Problem is, in some language or another, “X” refers to the savior. This was back in the 1960’s, however, when no one bothered to look at that language to find out what it referred to.  It was a very different world back then.  Honest.  All this Christian shit didn’t whip itself up into its present full-fledged frenzy until the 1980’s or so.  (That’s not to say it didn’t exist, but I will tell you that back then, a man considered to be an arch-conservative — Barry Goldwater — warned of dire consequences if any of those religious whackos got into government.  50 years later…)

In those days, religion and politics didn’t mix; in fact, in polite company, they weren’t even discussed.  In fact, one of the (bogus) concerns about John Kennedy was that he was Catholic and might be beholden to the Pope.  But when priests insisted on getting involved in anti-war activities, the Vatican shut them down.  Hard to imagine, but true. Anyway, the 1940’s through the 1960’s were the decades when Christmas was stripped of whatever Christianity it had.  It is not a recent development, trust me.  And no, there is no “war on Christmas.”

Mind you, I have friends in countries that are largely Christian, such as Australia, who inform me that it is now illegal to wish someone “Merry Christmas” in public.  Since the wingnut revolution is in its infancy in that country, it’s hard to know if this is true or just misinformation.  The point is, however, in the U.S. it is not illegal, nor is is likely to become so.  Christmas is too profitable to do away with.

However, Fox News is fussing and fuming and turning purple about the phrase “Happy Holidays.”  Let’s clarify something here: (1) there are not just one but MANY festivals of light — and Christmas is a festival of light, as it has deeply Pagan roots — around the winter solstice.  And although the U.S. remains largely Christian, a lot of Christians aren’t particularly Christian and the remainder of the population celebrates all sorts of stuff like Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so forth.  And you can’t always tell what someone is celebrating by looking at them.  So, “Happy Holidays,” which means “Happy HOLY days,” is a good alternative to taking a wild guess.

What Fox News is going after here is not a “war on Christmas,” since there is none and even if there were, it is hardly symbolized by the use of “Happy Holidays.”  No, what they are after is promoting religious discrimination against those who celebrate other holidays, or those who just think Christmas is one big fat overblown pain in the ass.  Like the true bullies they are, Fox News projects their intention onto others; thus, the bogus “War on Christmas” has been born. The trouble is that these attempts to control what everyone says and thinks chip away at our true freedoms, which are freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  All the whining in the world can’t disguise the minefield that has been created, especially for those of us who must deal with a diverse public.

From me you will hear Happy Holidays if I don’t know you.  You will hear Blessed Yule if I do.  The vast majority of people are okay with that. And for those who are not, I only ask them to turn off their TV set.  Thank you.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: