It’s becoming an anti-Christmas tradition: Christians being made to feel that by celebrating their religion at this time of year they would offend people of other faiths.
Every year at this time, news surfaces of some politically correct group or individual in a position of some authority who sends out the ‘Holiday’ memo warning staff or co-workers not to put up any Christmas decorations or to include the word “Christmas” in their ‘Holiday’ greetings for fear of offending people of other religious faiths.
Who are these people that complain about Christmas decorations and traditions?
This year, according to a report in Montreal’s La Presse newspaper, a memo from Marc Simoneau, head of Service Canada in Quebec, advised staff that Christmas decorations should not be displayed in places that the public would see or have access to at its 118 Quebec offices.
In the uproar that followed, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley declared in the House of Commons that there is no national directive to ban decorations, overruling Simoneau’s directive and further asserting that, as for the federal government, “we like Christmas”.
Although Quebec is traditionally a Roman Catholic province, it is known to be fiercely secular especially in matters related to the public sector. However, here in Ontario, the same political correctness (or is that Scrooge-mindedness?) emerged at Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, which banned Christmas decorations in their school buses. How’s that for teaching tolerance to the approximately 32,500 students it serves in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board?
Why does respect for others have to be interpreted for Christians as refraining from displaying their religious traditions, especially since we tolerate other religious practices in Canada? Are tolerance and accommodation of religious differences only one-way?
We are asked, as a plural society, to exercise tolerance for all, yet it seems somehow appropriate to call for the removal of the word Christmas from the time of year that has the most joyous meaning for Christians.
Part of the problem is that Christmas has become so commercialized that people easily lose sight of the deeper religious significance of it and therefore find it easier to try to cast the religious origin of Christmas aside. This is wrong.
It has become acceptable to play up the secular aspect with fictions such as Santa Claus and his elves at the North Pole, and wreaths, lights and even the Christmas tree which, although enhancing the season, have nothing to do with Christianity.
In recent years, city hall even debated whether to call the Christmas tree a ‘holiday’ tree, and the same foolishness has humbugged the White House in Washington DC.
After all, what is the meaning of Christmas? It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. This is the time of year when Christians remember and celebrate the birth their Saviour, the greatest hope for their salvation.
The Spirit of Christmas, with includes the traditions of giving and sharing, is a joyful one. So, people of many different faiths – or no faith – can also enjoy the sense of goodwill to all that the Christmas season represents. It is a positive, happy time of year for those who allow themselves to get into the cheerfulness of the season.
Christmas is not about trying to indoctrinate others. Choosing not to celebrate Christmas is a personal right, but do not censure those who chose to celebrate it either as a religious or a secular event.
For us at Share, the holiday will always be Christmas.
So, we wish a Merry Christmas to every person who takes time each week to stay connected to our community through this newspaper. We also wish the best of the Christmas season to our many advertisers, without whom this newspaper would not be possible.
Merry Christmas also to the staff and friends of Share. May we all experience the joy and fellowship of the season – in the spirit of the season, without doubt “the most wonderful time of the year.”