Christmas Time is Here

Everyone remembers those famous lines from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special that airs every year on TV. It is the opening song and lyrics to that special where everyone’s favorite loser discovers the true meaning of Christmas. And yes I said the word “Christmas” four times now. That is because that is the time of year it is. It is not the “holiday” season. It is not some word made up to combine all the different cultures so we can feel politically correct when we talk to each other. It is Christmas time.

You might have noticed that the lights are up in the yards, the sales have begun, and the children are excited for the first snowfall of the season anxiously awaiting those snow days that mean no school and fun times (assuming you do not live in south Texas like me). Last year there was a real drive to move away from the phrase “Merry Christmas” and this annoyed me to no end. Christian teenagers were not allowed to pass out candy canes that explained the meaning of Christmas at their schools. And nativity scenes on church ground were challenged as being on “public property” and therefore a violation of church and state. While I will not go so far as to say that Christmas was under attack like some other high profile right-wingers, I will say that this shift was noticeable and that it annoyed me.

Why did it annoy me? Well to begin with, I am a Christian and to me Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. I am not trying to get all preachy on you, but I want to make sure that everyone understands where I am coming from so that they can fully understand my frustration. If this is not what the Christmas season is about to you, then no biggie, but that is what it is about to me. I am already annoyed with the over commercialization of Christmas, but that does not bug me so much, I think mainly because it is something that comes with the territory. No, what annoys me so much about last year’s movement to be politically correct is that we feel this need in our society to be this way.

It seems that a person can not say what they feel anymore because someone, somewhere is going to be offended. We have become so wrapped up in this “we can not offend” mentality that things that have just been second nature have become “wrong” and last year saying “Merry Christmas” became one of them. It did not matter if you were Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or even Agnostic you understood that the term “Merry Christmas” was a way of saying “Have nice holiday” or “Have a great time and enjoy the season” and that it was not meant as an offensive phrase in any way shape or fashion. But, because we have to be accepting of all cultures, the phrase “Merry Christmas” was deemed politically incorrect and unusable in retail outlets across the nation. You had to say things like “Happy holidays” or “Happy Hankwansmas” or something like that.

People often complain that the Christian right is taking away everybody’s rights in this country. But the more I see, the Christian right actually has the smallest voice. Sure, we can get a lot of press because every news outlet likes to point out what those “whacky Christians” are up to today but really we lose just as many rights as the next person everyday. And often times it is not done through legal means but rather through the disease of political correctness. It is not political correct to talk about religion on a government funded property, more specifically it is not politically correct to talk about Christianity on a government funded property. Think about it. If a Muslim teenager was walking around talking about their religion in a public high school in any kind of open form this would be encouraged, but if a Christian teenager did the same thing they would not only be severely punished but discouraged from doing it again. And please do not tell me that this is not the case, I have experienced first hand in public schools.

But I digress, what I really want to know is who is deeming certain phrases as “politically incorrect” because really all they are doing is diminishing everyone’s ability to speak freely. You can say this because this group will get offended but you can not say this other thing either because this other group over here is going to be offended. Well, you know what, the beauty of free speech is that I can say something that might be offensive to someone but they are free to speak something that might be offensive to me. That does not mean that we should limit what we can an can not say to each other. Open dialogue should be encouraged, but so should understanding. I think that is where the problem comes from, not from the phrases we speak but the lack of ability for people to understand that when someone says something that what they are saying is simply nothing more than their point of view and that it is completely okay to have a different point of view.

On a good note, Macy’s announced earlier this month, along with other retailers, that they were moving back to saying “Merry Christmas” in their stores and found that last year they actually lost sales because of the changes made due to political correctness. The phrase “Merry Christmas” comes with the season and when the public stopped saying it on large scale I think people in at least some small way did not feel like the the holiday season was really there. I don’t know, I am just speculating.

How do you feel about this issues? And you are not limited to the “Merry Christmas” issue. I would like to know what you think of political correctness as a whole.

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