Faith Based Support Groups - Why is this ok?! (Christianity vs free speech rant)




Pint Sized Terror
12-01-2010, 10:21 AM
And I forgot about the faith-based forum. Maybe this should be moved there...

It's not actually Christianity vs Free Speech, more like Church vs State vs a lot of other things that don't make sense.

I am a Christian. I celebrate Christmas. I understand that Christmas and a plethora of other holidays I celebrate had older non-Christian roots. I'm ok with that. I still celebrate the holidays as a Christian because, well, that's what I do. That's when I celebrate.

Anyway, every year I get more and more tired of people complaining over the use of the word Christmas. Or Nativity displays. Or any other Christian-based displays of faith. ESPECIALLY because there are publicly-funded institutions *coughSmithsoniancough* that are willingly displaying images of Jesus Christ. The only difference? The things they are willingly displaying are directly offensive to Christians. Jesus being eaten by ants.

If a community can't call their annual Christmas-based vendor's market Christmas Village, and CITY HALL decides they have to name it Holiday Village, what right does anyone else have to display disparaging images of Christianity?

Ohhhh yeah. The whole "free speech" thing. Except I hate the fact that free speech only applies when you're tearing Christianity down, and you're told to stuff it if you are celebrating Christianity. I understand that no one wants a religion, ANY religion, shoved down their throats. It even irritates me when random people come up and shove flyers for their Christian-based church in my hand, or preach to me in the mall AND I'M CHRISTIAN. I get it. It's irritating. But so is getting told that my church isn't allowed to display a Nativity scene on their property. Or that I can't say Merry Christmas. My neighbors are Israeli Jews, and they wish me Happy Hanukkah. I say, "Thanks. You too." Why? Because they're wishing me well during their celebrations. I don't get all offended.

UGH!!!


bargoo
12-01-2010, 10:30 AM
You are so right !!

Aclai4067
12-01-2010, 10:36 AM
Interesting perspective. I never hear anyone complain about the display of Christmas-related decor. I hear a LOT of complaints about companies saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." There are actually people who boycot companies that don't say Merry Christmas.


BuxomPrincess
12-01-2010, 10:39 AM
Pint.....your location says NC, but your post screams of what Philly is dealing with right now. It's making me upset. There seriously needs to be a separation of church and state. The government needs to stay out of our bedrooms and our holidays. I am afraid to say Merry Christmas anymore because I've been brainwashed that it might offend somebody! Really....why do we have to be afraid that something like that offends others.

They interviewed a woman today at the Christmas Village in Philly today, she is actually Jewish. She said, "I have no problem saying Merry Christmas, or having the sign say Christmas Village."

I'm not a very religious person, but I do believe in God. If you want us to have tolerance for everything and everybody else.....please don't take away what I was raised to believe in.

bargoo
12-01-2010, 10:40 AM
Oh, I hear a lot of complaints about Nativity Scenes and the like. And some stores don't allow their employees to say Merry Christmas, they must say Happy Holidays !

Pint Sized Terror
12-01-2010, 11:03 AM
Oh, I hear a lot of complaints about Nativity Scenes and the like. And some stores don't allow their employees to say Merry Christmas, they must say Happy Holidays !

Same here. There was a big uproar here last year because an employee was written up for saying Merry Christmas.

I was shocked senseless yesterday when the gate guard on base said, "Have a blessed day." I almost teared up. You just don't hear stuff like that anymore.

And yep, part of my issue is from what's going on in Philly. We went through something similar in my home town. They used to do this really elaborate Nativity scene with real actors and animals, and one year someone destroyed the set Christmas Eve. They had it anyway, but then a bunch of anonymous letters started showing up in the newspaper about how it was offensive to people who didn't believe in God so that was the last year they did it. Then, they stopped calling the parade the "Christmas" Parade, and started calling it the "Holiday" Parade. The schools stopped doing a Christmas Party, and instead started Holiday Parties. I understand about the schools. Not all the kids in my class celebrated Christmas, and it made me uncomfortable that they couldn't take part. They couldn't take part in the Holiday Party either, though. We used to pray before ball games, but we don't do that anymore either. In fact, 2 kids were suspended because they prayed before a game anyway, off by themselves. Yet the coach was one to say God****t.

Last Easter a church did a re-enactment of the last days of Christ. They had someone dragging a full-sized cross down a very busy highway with members of the congregation following, yelling at the actor playing Jesus. It was very bloody, and it scared my kids quite a bit when they saw it from the window of a restaurant. No amount of "It's ok" and explaining worked. They had nightmares for weeks. :( So I do believe in some discretion on the part of the PEOPLE. Not the government though.

Coondocks
12-01-2010, 11:20 AM
Can some one explain to me why this is offensive?
Im honestly curious why some one would be offended at hearing Merry Christmas or seeing the word some where. I've never met anyone who has taken offensive so I've never actually asked I guess.
We've gone over to 'Happy Holidays' for the most part here, not so much because anyone has been offended or upset by it, more so to include everyone in a broad way.

nitenurse
12-01-2010, 11:32 AM
i agree with your post , some people are just so easily offended or maybe they just want to whine about something

vdander24
12-01-2010, 11:37 AM
AMEN!!... Oops! I mean great point! I think it is idiotic for there to be such a problem with Christian terms. Why can't people just be open to the idea that somebody else's view may not be their own...

ALTHOUGH..... I guess after hundreds of years of people having christianity shoved down their throats, people feel like they need to stand up.

Too many "christians" use their freedom of religion beliefs, to judge others, including other "christians"

Rosinante
12-01-2010, 11:38 AM
I used to always wonder why it was OK to say Happy Hannukkah but not Merry Christmas. I mean either religion may be mentioned or may not - why pick on just one to demonize?

It's not quite to that point here in the UK but in many cities, like the last one I lived in, local charity shops were forbidden to put nativity displays in their windows, in case local Muslims (a huge percentage of the population) were offended.
This is the same city where, when I was involved in re-ordering (internal reconstruction) of the church building, I was told that the only way the local council could be seen to support our move to make the building more accessible to all sectors of the community would be if we agreed that the church could be used as a medressa (teaching of Islam to Muslim children).

If a Christian Had complained about the Eid and Diwali city lights; or if Christians had demanded a Sunday School within a practising mosque, we'd have been told we were racist.....

The Really annoying thing is that I have never met a single Muslim who Was offended by Christians being Christian, or who Wanted to teach their children in a religious building consecrated to another faith.

I condemn racial and relgious intolerance utterly and equally - but the sort of directives that get thrust upon us are by Politically-Correct-Gone-Mad officials, who have no idea that they are actually worsening a situation by trampling all over one group's feelings at the expense of another's.

Rant ends. I'll go back to writing the Christmas sermon ..... ;D

GradPhase
12-01-2010, 04:02 PM
Can some one explain to me why this is offensive?
Im honestly curious why some one would be offended at hearing Merry Christmas or seeing the word some where.

"Merry Christmas" doesn't offend me.

"Christmas Market" slightly offends me.

"I think it is idiotic for there to be such a problem with Christian terms. - Vdander24" and "some people are just so easily offended or maybe they just want to whine about something - nitenurse" highly offends me.

Maybe it's not the message itself that's so offensive (though it's without a doubt highly exclusive of the public if you turn a HOLIDAY market that's supposed to be open to ANY faiths into a strictly Christian one), but the deliberately offensive mentalities behind "defending" Christmas festivities that makes people so angsty.


I think nativity scenes outside of churches are absolutely beautiful. I think live reenactments are brilliant from the "Christian perspective" as well as just a fantastic nod toward history, and community involvement.

I do not think having a religion shoved down my throat when I'm trying to make a business transaction is okay - no matter what religion. If the CEO of YOUR company only gave you Ramadan off, NOT Christmas, or instead of saying "Merry Christmas" strangers constantly told your children "Happy Muharram" every time you entered into a building (which could be upwards of 15 times a day, and if your children understood what it was they were implying) - wouldn't YOU start to feel a little excluded, or overwhelmed??


Why is it that so many Christians are offended by an INCLUSIVE Holiday Market? Or an INCLUSIVE Holiday Work Party?

Bootsie
12-01-2010, 05:40 PM
Why is it that so many Christians are offended by an INCLUSIVE Holiday Market? Or an INCLUSIVE Holiday Work Party?


Oh well I guess I just as well put my 2 cents in this, I don't think that Christians are offended in Holidays it is the fact some are told not to say Merry Christmas, or have anything to do with God at times, or put things of God up in Church yards ect... That is not freedom, who ever is making a big deal of our worshiping of Jesus Christ and celebrating his life and trying to stop us , plainly needs to mind their own business. If we can let them have their freedom to say what ever they want and do what ever they want, we to should be able to say what we want, after all this is America, land of freedom, am I wrong?

No one has ever told me I better not say Merry Christmas, are not to mention my Lords name but if they did they better get ready to hear what is in my heart. I speak what is on my mind and I love him dearly and I will stand up for him.[B] I wish Jesus a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

flashfacts
12-01-2010, 06:15 PM
Honestly, I don't think there would be near as much problem for some people if Christmas didn't take over most aspects of our cultural and social experience for a month, and sometimes longer depending on where you live. Like Eskinomad said, its 15+ times a day, but not just for a few days, or even a week, it a month of solid CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! WHY DON'T YOU CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS!

But as for businesses having their employees say Happy Holidays, as long as they aren't forcing you to say it outside of work, then its not really about you, the person, its about you the public face of the company. At work, if you deal with costumers, you are a representative of your company, and your company may choose to present itself secularly. Which means that its public face (you the employee) are asked to support and reinforce that. Other companies choose to integrate religion a lot into their public face, which is their right. But on the flip slide, some companies decide not to, and as an employee, I don't think its that bad to follow that on company time, in front of costumers. And to be frank, some companies might feel its a way to avoid problems with more aggressive employees who might try to evangelize. I know that is not the majority of Christians by any means, but even one can lead to bad word of mouth.

Christmas can be exhausting because of how long and intense it can be, so I think people in general are more touchy. You don't get this near as much around Easter, because the holiday comes and and it goes, so people who celebrate can celebrate, and everyone else can just go on with their lives. That's just not true for Christmas

vdander24
12-01-2010, 06:45 PM
"I think it is idiotic for there to be such a problem with Christian terms. - Vdander24" and "some people are just so easily offended or maybe they just want to whine about something - nitenurse" highly offends me.

Maybe it's not the message itself that's so offensive (though it's without a doubt highly exclusive of the public if you turn a HOLIDAY market that's supposed to be open to ANY faiths into a strictly Christian one), but the deliberately offensive mentalities behind "defending" Christmas festivities that makes people so angsty.

Eskinomad -I really did not mean offense, and truly, I agree with your point. Thank you.
I should have been clearer. " I think it is idiotic for there to be such a problem with (fill in the blank, here) terms "

I have a set of values and beliefs that I follow. That being said, I am absolutely fine with, and interested in, others beliefs. So if there were a "Hannuka, Kwanzaa, or Winter (Pagan)"Decorations, public celebrations, or demonstrations, I would not have a problem with that either.
I also would NOT be offended if someone wished me a Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hannukah, or Seasons Greetings.

(This is my soap box now... so feel free to disregard)

To be direct, The "Christmas" we are discussing is a commercial one, not the faith-based one. (In My Opinion only, please don't attack) The Christian Christmas is what generates most Christmas money. Unfortunately Hannukah, Kwanzaa and other ventures don't make the money, so they don't get as much attention. (Again, IMO, only)
The "Christmas" Christians are defending is the faith-based one, because maybe they are trying to stop the commercial one that has taken over, and othe people of faith dont realize that the "Christmas" they see in the mall has little to do with a different faith.

I know my view seems cynical, and it is, but what I have learned is to appreciate this time of the year in as many ways as possible.

GradPhase
12-01-2010, 06:48 PM
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Oh well I guess I just as well put my 2 cents in this, I don't think that Christians are offended in Holidays it is the fact some are told not to say Merry Christmas, or have anything to do with God at times, or put things of God up in Church yards ect... That is not freedom, who ever is making a big deal of our worshiping of Jesus Christ and celebrating his life and trying to stop us , plainly needs to mind their own business. If we can let them have their freedom to say what ever they want and do what ever they want, we to should be able to say what we want, after all this is America, land of freedom, am I wrong?

No one has ever told me I better not say Merry Christmas, are not to mention my Lords name but if they did they better get ready to hear what is in my heart. I speak what is on my mind and I love him dearly and I will stand up for him.[B] I wish Jesus a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


This isn't about not celebrating your God. This is about not forcing your God on other people - regardless of who your God is.

Yes, you should have the freedom to put whatever in your lawn that you see fit, just like Atheists have the freedom to put whatever they want on a billboard, disclaiming any Gods exist. But just because we have the freedom to do it, doesn't mean it's in everyone's best interest. Most people in America would argue that it is not in everyone's best interest to put a huge billboard up that says "Jesus Christ is a Big Fat Lie". But they have the right. And Christian's should have equal right to put up a nativity scene, I absolutely agree.

I guess what I don't understand is why it's offensive that people are arguing that it's better to say "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings". For the sake of everyone getting along well - during a time that is stressful for a lot of people, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jewish alike - why does it have to be a battle? Christmas in your homes, and churches, and private schools, and Holiday for the general public, and public schools.

The "Christmas" season sees more suicide attempts and successes than any other time (followed closely by Valentines day). While it's a warm, fuzzy holiday for a lot of people - it certainly isn't for everyone (foster care kids, the elderly, recently divorced people, kids of divorced people, people with dysfunctional families, people who are unemployed, the homeless, the list goes on, and on...). Wouldn't it, arguably, be in fact the MORE Christian thing to do, to host something thats open to all denominations, to encourage a solidarity between people, to help one another regardless of their personal beliefs during the holiday season?

Freedom of speech in America, sure. But we're also well known to believe in the concept of "United we Stand, Divided we Fall", no?

GradPhase
12-01-2010, 06:55 PM
To be direct, The "Christmas" we are discussing is a commercial one, not the faith-based one. (In My Opinion only, please don't attack) The Christian Christmas is what generates most Christmas money. Unfortunately Hannukah, Kwanzaa and other ventures don't make the money, so they don't get as much attention. (Again, IMO, only)
The "Christmas" Christians are defending is the faith-based one, because maybe they are trying to stop the commercial one that has taken over, and othe people of faith dont realize that the "Christmas" they see in the mall has little to do with a different faith.

I know my view seems cynical, and it is, but what I have learned is to appreciate this time of the year in as many ways as possible.


While I absolutely agree with you on the commercialization aspect of it, I disagree that people of other faiths don't "see it", and that the commercialization doesn't affect them. I know several Jewish families that have "Christmas trees". I know several Hindu children that want the latest and greatest "Christmas" toys out. I think it's a big fight right now in the majority of religious families to get away from the greed and materialism that the holiday season brings with it - and get back to the faith that brought it there originally, again regardless of which description of God that family chooses to worship. It's a battle being fought on all fronts, and it seems that the "Christians" think it's only them.


I really don't mean to attack here, either. I attend Christmas mass, put up a Christmas tree, and volunteer Christmas day with Christian-run organizations. But I think a little bit of acceptance, and education for the "other side" of the debate could really go a long way....

vdander24
12-01-2010, 07:01 PM
Well Said...

lizziep
12-01-2010, 08:01 PM
I think that the idea is that government run places have an obligation not to represent any one religion. By displaying any one religions paraphenalia they are essentially stating that they support that holiday/religion/etc to the exclusion of any others.

As a non-Christian I believe that people should be able to say whatever they want, put whatever they want in their own space, Churches should be able to post Nativity scenes on their own property, etc. But so should every other religion be allowed to do those things.

The fact is that Christmas for the majority of people- Christians included- is not so much about Christ but about the tree, feast, presents- the things that we are sold and that are shoved down our throats starting BEFORE Thanksgiving. The secular version of Christmas is everywhere and if I were a Christian I do not think I would support it or want to have any part of it.

I don't care if people say "Merry Christmas" to me, but I also wouldn't say it to someone who's religious beliefs I did not know because I am conscientious of it and I don't want to offend others. It's a courtesy. Just like I wouldn't go around telling people "Happy Winter Solstice" "Merry Meán Geimhridh" or "Happy Yule" etc because I don't know if that will offend. I like Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays because it IS inclusive.

Side note, for some reason it does bother me when I see the "Jesus is the reason for the season" signs. I know it shouldn't bother me, and I'm not entirely sure why it does- but it just does.

Bootsie
12-01-2010, 08:42 PM
I totally agree,Eskinomad. You know what the best part of the internet is? I don't care what you look like, your religion,or if you are religious,if you are rich or poor ect.. I like everyone the way they are and that is what Christmas should be like too., that is the way life should be. I don't like the way stores start in October celebrating Christmas, it makes me feel bad because I can not afford to buy everyone one something. You know we are not even giving the gifts this year except for my Mother in law and my niece at my house, for the family lost 2 this year and we are so thankful for just being here enjoying each others company, making precious memories. That is the best present of all!

spixiet
12-01-2010, 08:52 PM
As someone who would describe herself as an atheist, I have absolutely no problem with Christmas. I have no problem with Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Eid, the Winter Solstice, Easter or any of the many other religious holidays celebrated by American citizens. If someone says Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or God Bless You, I say "Thank you," and I am genuinely thankful because I see it as another person wishing me well. However, I definitely make a point every year of looking up the start of Hanukkah (tonight, in fact) in order to say Happy Hanukkah to the school secretary on the day it begins, because I know she gets annoyed that everyone says Merry Christmas to each other, but they seem to ignore her holiday.

What I can't stand is that fact that the celebration of Christmas has become a month-long (if not longer) period of time when my students all talk about what they hope they get, and how mad they'll be if they don't get it. I get upset when Thanksgiving gets ignored and stores put out Christmas decorations after Halloween. I get upset that in our society, the commercialization of Christmas has eclipsed the actual religious observation of the holiday in so many families.

lizziep - I agree with a lot of what you said. And, personally, I'm not fond of "Jesus is the reason for the season," because it feels like selling things and making money has become the reason for the (extended) season - not the celebration of Jesus' life.

BuxomPrincess
12-01-2010, 09:35 PM
This just in from Philadelphia....

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2010/12/01/nutter-%E2%80%98christmas%E2%80%99-returns-to-city-hall-village/

I believe this story is part of what started this discussion.

GradPhase
12-01-2010, 09:55 PM
I'd bet if they'd made it "Winter Village" instead of "Holiday Village" that it would have pacified everyone. Enough snowflakes, cider, and pretty lights and it would have gone over better.

Holiday Village sounds like a gas station and a cheap motel.

Though the minority here, I'm sad at their decision.

EZMONEY
12-01-2010, 11:58 PM
:( Sad isn't it?....people getting all :tantrum: upset because somebody wished them a Merry Christmas....the nerve! :yikes:

Don'tcha just wanna :rollpin: smack that Salvation Army elf :elf: out there freezing :shocksn: his butt off ringing that damn bell....for what? To collect some guys hard earn $$$$ for somebody down on their luck....kids to feed...the nerve of some people :faint:

And what is with ALL these stores? :?: Are you freakin' kidding me? Are they ALL owned by Christians?....All they want is your $$$$...setting up their displays and merchandise before :haphal: these days....you'd think they were all just trying to sell stuff and make a living in this hard economy....geesh....what is wrong with people? :shrug:

There is a big difference folks between the Christian :angel: CHRISTmas, the Santa :clause: Claus Christmas and the Holiday :snowglo: I Want To Play Too Christmas.....

These issues will never go away :no: People will never get along :no:

The closest we came was :cry: 9/11 :cry: And even then 1/2 the world :cheer3:

As for me and my family we will do what we usually do....we will celebrate a :bday2you: We will exchange one, drawn name, :gift: gift between our family and friends on our annual CHRISTmas Eve party....we will go to :angel: church, much like we do all other weeks of the year....then on CHRISTmas Day we will sit down as a family and decide where we want to "help" someone/cause with the $$$$ we used to spend on each other. Something we have done since my children became young adults.

For years I have decorated my house with a sign....last year I wasn't able to do it as I was still recovering from hernia surgery. Yesterday two people stopped to ask if I was going to put it up....they said they missed it last year, this morning a gentleman passed and asked me if I could please put it up this year...he actually thought that I had moved since it wasn't up last year :D I put it up today....my neighbor came over with her granddaughter and thanked me, said she loved seeing it from her house.

But folks, that's what I do :)

Whatever you choose to do I hope your day is special :hug:

bargoo
12-02-2010, 12:29 PM
Gary, you are always the voice of reason. I can't improve on your post . I like your Christmas Decorations and if I lived in your area would enjoy driving by during the Christmas Season.

ronni62
12-02-2010, 01:54 PM
ditto what Bargoo said:)

Bootsie
12-02-2010, 02:09 PM
Oh Gary just love your post!

annie175
12-02-2010, 03:40 PM
Gary rocks once again.

Sunshine73
12-02-2010, 03:55 PM
*sigh* Every year this happens and every year I want to pull my hair out and bang heads on both sides of the religious fence.

For the record, I'm Christian. I work as a church secretary. My entire life this month revolves around everything and anything Christmas related.

Having said that, as far as I'm concerned you can be a Pagan, a Wiccan, or heck, worship the flying spaghetti monster if it makes you happy. Put up a Nativity set, put up a Menorah or put up a sign telling me I'm stupid for believing in God at all. Wish me a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwaanza, A Merry Winter Solistice, Happy Holidays or a Merry Christmas - to me it's all good because my faith is strong enough to be exposed to other ideas, thoughts, and religions (or lack thereof) without becoming shaken or otherwise invalidated.

Just my humble opinion.

ArcticFrogs
12-02-2010, 06:17 PM
I am an atheist (husband and I both are). While I mean no direct disrespect to anyone in particular in this post, and am not really meaning to antagonize or upset, I am trying to speak my mind as clearly as possible. I will not apologize for my thoughts or feelings, but as they do not coincide with the mainstream, someone is bound to be offended. That's fine with me, but know that my purpose was to speak my mind and express my just-as-valid thoughts, not to offend.

Also, it's incredibly long for someone's second or third post as a n00b on this forum...*shrugs*


lizziep - I agree with a lot of what you said. And, personally, I'm not fond of "Jesus is the reason for the season," because it feels like selling things and making money has become the reason for the (extended) season - not the celebration of Jesus' life.

It is offensive because it simply isn't true. The phrase "Jesus is the reason for the season" blatantly ignores (and therein excludes) any other holiday that is not based around the alleged (if it happened, there is debate as to the time line, even in non-secular circles) birth of christ.

For one quick example of many, Yule was celebrated towards the end of
December/beginning of January, depending on the lunar Germanic calendar (I think, but I'm not pagan. Feel free to check me.)...and Yule was only set to December 25th when the christian (Julian) calendar was adopted.

(I understand that the OP has expressed understanding of this, I guess I'm just clarifying)

One religion's "success" does not magically exclude others. While everyone is free to celebrate the season as they see fit, and while jesus may indeed be the reason for the season for many, it is not the only reason that people celebrate during this time of year. I have many christian friends who also consider the phrase to be obnoxious (they understand the history of their own religion).

The season is not celebrated solely due to the birth of a single religion's deity. The "reason for the season" is love. Peace. Goodwill. The reason for the season is hope. Love. In any and all of it's many, many forms.

That being said (and trying to get back to the main idea behind the thread), people have the right to offend and be offended. One of the greatest parts of humanity is our ability is to constantly learn from and adapt to each other, to understand that there is not always (and, in fact, is very rarely) one correct way/thought/method/belief/idea.

To quote the OP:

"Except I hate the fact that free speech only applies when you're tearing Christianity down, and you're told to stuff it if you are celebrating Christianity"

This simply isn't true. Do you understand why it seems that the "free speech thing" comes into play when "you're tearing christianity down"?

It is because free speech is serving it's purpose: the concept of free speech is the need to protect the smaller voice. The voice that doesn't have huge financial backing, the voice that isn't supported by countless charities and donation plates and 10% tithes. The voice that goes against the grain, that doesn't have the safety, support and luxury of mainstream acceptance.

The smaller voice is no less valid than the vocal majority and yet, it must fight incredibly hard just to be heard. The minority has the right to be seen and heard, to challenge what is comfortable and normal, to exist and offend and not be simply ignored or washed away, drowned out by the sea of louder, stronger voices.

So, why does the "free speech thing" come up when a controversial subject seeks light? Because that subject is challenging the majority, and if it is not protected by law, those who already have the ability to be heard at will (the christian masses) will simply sweep it under the rug.

Just because something (in this case, art) isn't agreeable to you (you being general, not anyone specific here) doesn't make it any less valid, any less of a piece of art.

Something you hate has just as much of a right to exist and be seen, taught, and understood as something you love.

People have the right to be offended by anything that challenges their beliefs and likes, what they hold true. However, people do not have the right to censor something offensive from the entire world. Censor your own lives, and let your voice be heard as to why you are offended, by all means...but the decision of what is "appropriate" is extremely subjective, and is simply not the decision of one to make for another.

You have the right to be offended by material, not to take the offensive material away. On that same note (admittedly, a bit less heated than the art debate), I'm bothered by the "Jesus is the reason for the season", but I have absolutely no right to demand that the sign be brought down...to tell that person to "shut up, what you think/feel bothers me and that just cannot be!"

I was raised to say "Merry Christmas"...(my hometown is heavily drenched in christianity, and even though my parents are non-religious, they were raised in christian homes) but changed of my own accord when I was five or six to "Happy Holidays" when I learned that there was more than one holiday in December and that just acknowledging my own was selfish and not in the spirit of the holiday. How simple it can all seem when we're young.

Ooookay. Veering back out of that tangent (yikes), and back again to the heart of the matter...a lot of public places opt to say "holiday" in greetings and event titles because it is much more inclusive than "christmas". If the event is being held in a public venue, then City Hall has the right to DEMAND that the vocal majority (in this case, Christmasfolk) does not get to exclude the minority (nonChristmasfolk).

It's the free speech/art thing again, but on a smaller scale.

I shouldn't have to deal with a sparkle-light cross (however pretty) or a nativity scene when I go to the DMV. Or a public school. While I'm not fond of the music in chain stores (Fred Meyers, Joann's Crafts, so on) this time of year, I understand the market appeal and bite my tongue.

As far as individually owned shops are concerned, you have the right to do whatever you wish. Perhaps you will lose customers over that nativity/menorah/little doggie in the window, or perhaps you will gain some...but it is your right to display.

What I'm not understanding is this: WHO is telling your church that you cannot display a Nativity scene on their property?! It's a CHURCH! The nativity is an important element of your celebration. If it is on the church's property (or, lets be fair...if the church is leasing land/in a leased building, it is still obviously established as a place of worship and should be treated as such)....there is no good reason that I can think of for you to be denied the RIGHT to display something so relevant to the celebration of your religion. I'm interested to hear the reasoning behind it.

Everyone has a right to and deserves to celebrate this season in whichever way they see fit. I will end this incredibly long-winded spiel by, oh yes, quoting an ENTIRE post. It makes sense, and sums up my ideals and sentiments well:
"Merry Christmas" doesn't offend me.

"Christmas Market" slightly offends me.

"I think it is idiotic for there to be such a problem with Christian terms. - Vdander24" and "some people are just so easily offended or maybe they just want to whine about something - nitenurse" highly offends me.

Maybe it's not the message itself that's so offensive (though it's without a doubt highly exclusive of the public if you turn a HOLIDAY market that's supposed to be open to ANY faiths into a strictly Christian one), but the deliberately offensive mentalities behind "defending" Christmas festivities that makes people so angsty.

I think nativity scenes outside of churches are absolutely beautiful. I think live reenactments are brilliant from the "Christian perspective" as well as just a fantastic nod toward history, and community involvement.

I do not think having a religion shoved down my throat when I'm trying to make a business transaction is okay - no matter what religion. If the CEO of YOUR company only gave you Ramadan off, NOT Christmas, or instead of saying "Merry Christmas" strangers constantly told your children "Happy Muharram" every time you entered into a building (which could be upwards of 15 times a day, and if your children understood what it was they were implying) - wouldn't YOU start to feel a little excluded, or overwhelmed??


Why is it that so many Christians are offended by an INCLUSIVE Holiday Market? Or an INCLUSIVE Holiday Work Party?

vdander24
12-02-2010, 06:28 PM
Sunshine 73 - HERE HERE!

Thighs Be Gone
12-02-2010, 06:51 PM
Devil's advocate here.

I am okay with the term "holiday." I would hate for anyone to feel excluded. The word "Christmas" doesn't offend me but may I say--in many contexts I find it ignorant. (I said MANY not ALL). Certainly a church displaying a nativity is appropriate. On a town square serviced with tax payer dollars? Probably not. I also don't wish people "Merry Christmas" unless I know them. For me to assume they celebrate Christmas would be way too presumptious for me. I am so blessed to have a plethora of individuals with different beliefs and celebrations all around me. I celebrate all of them with all of them! :) Except for my Jehovah's Witness friends that offer me random gifts at odd times as I do them.

Also want to add:

I have an extremely broad view of Jesus and who he was and what he means and what he represents and is represented by. Also, I recognize and respect that others have other views of him as well. I think if he was interpreted in a similar fashion by others, Christmas wouldn't be as controversial.

Everyone has a right to and deserves to celebrate this season in whichever way they see fit. :


YES!

GradPhase
12-02-2010, 07:33 PM
ArcticFrogs, Sunshine73, Thighs_Be_Gone, let's be friends <3

I hope everyone (even Gary ;)) has a wonderful WinterChristmaQuanzaHanukka, with their families, friends, or whomever it is they choose to love, or be loved by this season.

And I appreciate the mods for not shutting this down ;)

ArcticFrogs
12-02-2010, 07:50 PM
ArcticFrogs, Sunshine73, Thighs_Be_Gone, let's be friends <3

I hope everyone (even Gary ;)) has a wonderful WinterChristmaQuanzaHanukka, with their families, friends, or whomever it is they choose to love, or be loved by this season.

And I appreciate the mods for not shutting this down ;)

Absolutely. I wasn't meaning to pick a fight or anything, and tried to make that clear.

Whatever it is that makes you happy, I hope you have it in abundance this season.

(...and besides, there's Festivus for the rest of us! *grins*)

lizziep
12-02-2010, 08:38 PM
I like what sunshine had to say here:
"Wish me a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwaanza, A Merry Winter Solistice, Happy Holidays or a Merry Christmas - to me it's all good because my faith is strong enough to be exposed to other ideas, thoughts, and religions (or lack thereof) without becoming shaken or otherwise invalidated. "

and everything input by Arcticfrog.

I just wish people didn't take themselves so seriously. There is room here for all of us to celebrate no matter what we believe in and people who think there aren't just don't understand the entire point of the season and I think that is sad.

And I say that knowing that the side I'm on is the one that whines and complains and is offended the most by public displays of christianity. We need to lighten up and accept the fact that there are way more of them than there are of us and they ARE in fact the majority. That doesn't mean that our voice should not be heard, just that we need to pick our battles and the battle of Christmas just doesn't seem that BIG to me in the grand scheme of things.

And a Happy WHATEVER to you all! ;)

EZMONEY
12-02-2010, 10:46 PM
I really don't understand why it seems so many people get upset just hearing the words "Merry Christmas".....

When people wish "Merry Christmas" to someone it isn't to take away from any other holiday that may happen to fall in December.....

I am having a great time reading the posts here :) And I thank those of you that have given me a computer :hug:....right back at'cha!

It has been my experience in life to realize that most people that celebrate Christmas are in fact, not Christians.....

The Santa Claus Christmas is what is celebrated...

I have to admit my family growing up celebrated the Santa Claus Christmas....

My family, wife and kids, celebrates both....the birth of Christ Christmas and the Santa Claus Christmas....

they are different but there is the overlap of "goodwill toward men"....

several years ago I was working with my cousins on the day after Christmas. One of them said to me "Well I wonder if all the atheists took yesterday off?"....to him, the atheists had no right to take the day off for Christmas....yet he felt he did....now this is a guy that has never stepped foot in a church....was always on my back for "giving" to my church with comments like "all churches want is your $$$"....

anyway....he has always celebrated Christmas....as has his father/mother...his kids.....

they all think pretty much the same thing.....they can celebrate it because they are not atheists....although they could not tell you anything about Christ other than Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus...

they probably even think that is the actual day ;)

I really doubt that Jesus really cares who or how someone celebrates His birth...His love for us is much larger than that....

He isn't concerned about the day...He is concerned about the "forever" for us...

each and every single one of us....

even if you don't believe :hug:

Martina
12-03-2010, 12:37 AM
(I just read the original post, I'm about to read the rest of the thread in a minute)

As a Wiccan/former Christian, I see the other perspective. And as a Wiccan in the middle of the bible belt who has been told that I am "evil" by people who don't really know what Wicca is, I can tell you the other side of things.

I used to live in Atlanta, where we have people from all around the world and people of all faiths living together. And now I live in the bible belt. In neither place have I ever seen the events as you've described them.

I've never stopped anyone from expressing their Christianity, from putting a nativity scene up, and I've never once told anyone they could not wish me a Merry Christmas. And yet-- I cannot freely display (I could in Atlanta, but not here) my own religion-- because in this area if you are not Christian (there is no one of any other faith here) and you display what you are, you are either beat up or run out of town.

I have no issue with Christianity. Its a wonderful religion. I do have issue with people trying to convert me back-- because I don't need saving. My religion is a wonderful religion and if people would learn about it from reliable sources, they'd see how wonderful it is. (EDIT: I do not try to convert anyone either)

And yes, as you mention, Yule is where the Christmas traditions come from. I wish that more people like you would remember that. HOWEVER-- that doesn't mean that I'm trying to take away Christmas.

I can't answer for anyone else, but as for me I think freedom to practice any religion you choose is a wonderful thing. And I'd love to have the freedoms you all do, without the threat of violence. I'd like to practice without people trying to convert me-- because I don't try to convert anyone.

ALL religion is a good thing. Practicing religion is a good thing. And people that don't have a religion-- that works for them and that is fine too.

There are eight Pagan religious holidays. Yule is one of them. Yule/winter solstice predates Christianity, and is where most of the Christmas traditions come from. And I'm not asking for Christmas to be removed from anywhere. I practice Yule in my own home with the people I love, and that is where is matters most-- with the people you love. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Yule, and Ramadaan are all celebrated in December, and we all celebrate them with LOVE-- and really, isn't that all that matters?

krampus
12-03-2010, 01:47 AM
I haven't read every post but these are my two cents.

I've never met anyone who is actually offended by the use of "Christmas" to denote Christmas. It's borderline stupid to refer to a church pageant as a "holiday pageant" when in fact it is a religious event. I'll bet this whole "controversy" was thought up by some cheeky secular agnostic type just to get right-wingers riled up over "The War On Christmas" and cause furors and frustration among the general population.

lizziep
12-03-2010, 02:03 AM
i hope it wasn't thought up by a cheeky secular agnostic - my guess is that it was thought up by a bitter former christian.

and Gary- to a certain extent I do kinda agree that the non-christians should be given the choice to work or not. when i worked somewhere that was open on Christmas day I volunteered to work so that the people who it meant the most to could have that time off. it was the right thing to do. Even now in my job we are closed that day, but there are a lot of ppl that want the time off around the holidays to be with their families, go to church, whatever- I never ask for that time off. I don't need it and it won't bother me to work.
Now if everyone wanted the autumnal equinox off and I couldn't get it, i'd probably be peeved. :D

krampus
12-03-2010, 02:12 AM
Hmm yeah bitter former Christian is a better option.

As someone who is obsessed with "the season" but isn't Christian, I suppose I couldn't really care less. It does grind my gears hearing my mother, the same woman who said "NO!!!!" when I asked if God was real as a kid, complain and argue tooth and nail against the phrase "Happy Holidays." Way to be a hypocrite, mom! :D

GradPhase
12-03-2010, 03:42 AM
several years ago I was working with my cousins on the day after Christmas. One of them said to me "Well I wonder if all the atheists took yesterday off?"....to him, the atheists had no right to take the day off for Christmas....yet he felt he did....now this is a guy that has never stepped foot in a church....was always on my back for "giving" to my church with comments like "all churches want is your $$$"....

anyway....he has always celebrated Christmas....as has his father/mother...his kids.....

they all think pretty much the same thing.....they can celebrate it because they are not atheists....although they could not tell you anything about Christ other than Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus...

they probably even think that is the actual day ;)

I really doubt that Jesus really cares who or how someone celebrates His birth...His love for us is much larger than that....

He isn't concerned about the day...He is concerned about the "forever" for us...

each and every single one of us....

even if you don't believe :hug:


I love how as you're reading this, it goes from big long sentences with capitalization, from a man, to itty bitty sentence fragments without capitalization that reads as being a little bit meeker and sneakier. Gary - you're our very own Tiny Tim! Too cute


.......Maybe I just read it funny, though..

EZMONEY
12-03-2010, 09:09 AM
I love how as you're reading this, it goes from big long sentences with capitalization, from a man, to itty bitty sentence fragments without capitalization that reads as being a little bit meeker and sneakier. Gary - you're our very own Tiny Tim! Too cute


.......Maybe I just read it funny, though..

:D You outta see me w/o spell check! :D Angie used to "ride" me for my speech....double negatives....like I really know what those are! She gave up finally....I am a lost cause :)

Her and my daughter threaten to ban me from FB with the stuff I say :D

Stay warm kiddo :hug:

EveLHaelf
12-04-2010, 04:46 PM
Great thread!

Joycelyn
12-04-2010, 10:18 PM
I love that we couldn't say Merry Christmas at my last job, that the Christmas party could only be called a holiday party even though we had a huge Christmas tree, and that at City Council (I work for a city in CA), a Rabbi was invited for Hanukkuh prayers, but they did away with the Reverends' blessings. Nice.

Crazy world we live in.

EZMONEY
12-05-2010, 09:30 AM
I love that we couldn't say Merry Christmas at my last job, that the Christmas party could only be called a holiday party even though we had a huge Christmas tree, and that at City Council (I work for a city in CA), a Rabbi was invited for Hanukkuh prayers, but they did away with the Reverends' blessings. Nice.

Crazy world we live in.

So this party wasn't really a Christmas party, you just had a :tree: there.... makes sense it wouldn't be called a Christmas party.

EZMONEY
12-05-2010, 09:27 PM
:D I was cleaning up my counter space earlier this afternoon and as I went to throw out my invitation to our company's annual Christmas party, held last night, I noticed it said....Holiday Dinner :)

It was, as always, in a very nice restaurant. Christmas carols and music was in the background, there was a Christmas tree with decorations in the lounge area of our celebration, Christmas cards were handed out with $$$ gift cards, gift wrapped presents were handed out. The women had on their Christmas outfits, I wore my Christmas tie with the three wise-men and star on it.... Everyone was wishing each other "Merry Christmas".....

a good time was had by all :)

I guess it really doesn't matter what we call it does it? As long as everyone has a good time :xcheer:

I am so happy PINT SIZED started this thread, we have had them every Christmas and it gives us all a chance to share our feelings.

I think people are adjusting to "Happy Holidays"....even our local parades are being asked by a select few to change from Christmas parade to Holiday parade....it may happen...it may not....doesn't matter really....

one thing is for sure....

:tree: Christmas isn't going anywhere! :gift2:

totsandfries
12-06-2010, 12:00 AM
I am a non-religious person, but my family celebrates the religious Christmas. I have personally never been offended by a Happy Kawanza, Happy Hannukah, or a Merry Christmas, to me they are just wishing me well in their own way. I always just say thank you, you too and go on my way.

Although like some previous posters stated it is a bit offensive for me to hear Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

But to get back on the original topic, I think that any church/house/ or privately owned anything should be able to display anything they want during the holidays. I will say that public places should just leave it at Happy Holidays to be more understanding of people who may celebrate something else.