This time of the year it's easy to make predictions: fitness center, health club and smoking cessation program memberships will increase in early January and a spate of 'legal' cases will occur objecting to creches, Nativity scenes and other religious displays associated with religious events celebrated this time of the year during the ‘Happy Holiday’ season. As of this writing, immediately before Thanksgiving, it has already started in California.
One of our strengths and reasons for our continuous growth and improvement for all residents is the USA is a multicultural society with new groups continually adding to our multicultural mix. I find it ironic that we can celebrate different nationalities and numerical minorities, but object to public displays of different religions. Religion is a central part of American life. Reality is the dominant religions in America are European based. This does not mean the First Amendment to the Constitution is moot; however, the First Amendment prohibits an official Government sponsored religion, such as the Church of England in Great Britain.
The objections to religious displays this time of year by some type of political correct osmosis modifies public school music programs. In addition, public acknowledge of religion has made Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka (best to spell it phonetically), etc., transformed into the innocuous 'Happy Holidays', when it is a Holyday.
I am not excessively religious but best associate with Judaism as one of the Abrahamic religions due to its statements on deportment and being 'old school’. I grew up in a dominantly Jewish neighborhood and we learned and sang Christmas carols. It did not effect our mental status or modify or beliefs.
In my over six decades of holidays celebrated this time of the year I have seen holidays mutated from their root meanings. Hunuka (different spelling again) mutated from a minor Jewish holiday with token gifts of small candies to children into 'the Jewish Christmas' with large conspicuous gift buying. Christmas mutated from a celebration of a key event for Christians with family closeness and small gifts within the family into a 'buy now, pay later' event with psychological stress on individuals and increasingly divorced from its true significance.
We need to remember a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’. Singing a song that has a religious theme or viewing a religious symbol on 'public' properly will not alter your belief in the Trinity or Moses or make you feel inferior. It is a recognition of the beliefs of others in a multicultural society.
One of the worst bosses I ever had once said at an advisory board meeting I attended 'Why would someone send a Christmas card to a Jew?'. He did not get it and did not understand we should respect the beliefs of other.
We need to respect the religious beliefs of others, even it they have no religious beliefs, as we are multicultural. I refuse to reply to 'Happy Holidays' with ‘Happy Holidays’; I'll say 'Merry Christmas, Happy New Year' or 'Happy Chunuka' (note different spelling) or both as appropriate. 'Happy Holidays' is vacuous.
One of my favorite quotes is from Karen Armstrong and especially germane this time of the year: 'As soon as the prime duty to respect the divinity enshrined in other human beings is forgotten, "God" can be made to give a divine seal of absolute approval to our own prejudices and desires.'
This quote also applies to those who use a doctrine, be it atheism or a political doctrine as their source of approving of others. We must remember there is something beyond neurobiology enshrined in others, even if we have atheistic beliefs and need to respect how those beliefs are displayed in our multicultural society.
To all my readers, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year' or 'Happy Chunuka' or both as appropriate. Not ‘Happy Holidays’.