Sunday, November 23, 2008

War on Christmas, 2008 edition

In his Wall Street Journal column on Nov. 20 Daniel Henninger opined:

And so it will come to pass once again that many people will spend four weeks biting on tongues lest they say "Merry Christmas" and perchance, give offense. Christmas, the holiday that dare not speak its name.

This year we celebrate the desacralized "holidays" amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin -- fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man's theory: A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.

If your tolerance of ignorance and stupidity is strong enough go ahead and read the entire column. Henninger claims that his concern is that people are turning their backs on religion and all its virtues when they choose to say ‘Happy Holidays’ rather than ‘Merry Christmas.’ That is an incredibly stupid and ignorant argument, but I am calling Henninger dishonest rather than ignorant and stupid because I don’t think he really cares very much about religion.

First, no Christian is refraining from (or being asked by others to refrain from) saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at home, in church or when addressing non-strangers they know will not be offended. Second, it would be hard at this point for any Christian to ‘desacralizing’ Christmas any more than it already is. Read this for more about that.

I think Henninger’s real concern is that being forced to modify his speech and actions to accommodate other people’s feelings will drain him of his vital forces and undermine his will. He thinks that for America to remain strong militarily and economically he and people like him must not turn into wusses and pansies, which he thinks would be the result of having to censor his speech out of concern for anyone else.

How can Henninger claim that acting out of a concern for the feelings and sensibilities of your neighbors is turning away from Christianity and the virtues of responsibility and restraint? Well, as I said earlier, I don’t think he is really very much concerned with Christianity or with honesty, either.


Matt said...

wow, that article is pretty... funny.

every year the tired argument comes up, and every year my response is quite simple - saying "happy holidays" to a stranger while out & about is just plain ol' polite, while guessing a stranger's religion and greeting them accordingly is not. it's funny that the "dereligionizing" argument is thrown at those of us who are actually accepting of more "religiousosity" (hey, if he can make fun words, so can i).

i kind of sped-read his words. is he actually saying this type of speaking is actually aiding the economic woes of the country? if so, wow. that is some sheer stupidity. my favorite correlation does imply causation illustration is "We've seen a decrease in the number of pirates during the same time we've seen an increase in global warming. Therefore, global warming is caused by a lack of pirates."


Dave Barrett said...

Yes, he really was suggesting that saying 'Happy Holidays' was a cause of our economic problems. I didn't get into that part of what he wrote so I am glad you pointed that out.
Isn't it kind of amazing that the Wall Street Journal printed that?!

Daniel said...

Conservatives have always been very selective in which pieces of their imagined picture of the past they choose to “conserve.” In the flow of time with its unending chain of cause and effect, they want to grab on to one moment in the chain and say, “This is the end product of all ‘progress’ and the changes that come afterward are a degeneration from that [moment of] crowning good.”

Through most of the Christian era the birthday of Jesus has not been celebrated. Indeed, since the date of birth was moved from spring to the winter solstice and arbitrarily fixed at Dec. 25, large segments of the Christian community (those who felt they were conservative) looked upon celebrating Jesus on one day instead of on all days as less than religious and holy. Then, when most accepted the prayerful observance of Jesus’ birth, “conservatives” were horrified at the addition of pagan symbols such at the evergreen tree. Today, “conservative” Christians have Christmas trees in their churches and yet decry the addition of further symbols and customs. And today, while conservative Christians praise our country’s history of religious freedom, they complain bitterly and totally irrationally when our government will not promote one religion’s holiday over all other religions, and can not understand how their neighbors deserve to be spared religious harangue.