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Thursday, December 01, 2005

I Should Have Known

There's been a lot of stories in the news recently about "Holiday Trees." Boston's "Holiday Tree" was correctly returned to a "Christmas Tree." Ditto the US Capitol's "Holiday Tree." A Lowe's store in Austin had a banner that said "Holiday Trees" in English, but "Arboles de Navidad" in Spanish (oops). Looks like those annoying Christians are making their displeasure known, and it's making people rethink their pc ideology (or, at least, how that ideology affects their bottom line).

With all of these stories, Mark Caesar of Austin's KLBJ AM did a little research on what other cities call that evergreen tree that gets decorated with lights and ornaments every year in the downtown area. Chicago and Reno still have a "Holiday Tree." Atlanta doesn't even have a name for their tree.

Well, I'll see their Holiday Trees, and I'll raise them a "Moon Tower Tree." Yeah. Austin's tree is called The Moon Tower Tree. I don't know why I was so surprised. This is the same town whose mayor signed a proclamation for Transgender Day last month.

I realize that I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but... it needs to be said. Those evergreens with the lights and ornaments are not Hanukkah Trees or Kwanza Trees. They're not even Eid Trees. The only prominent religion that uses evergreens with lights and ornaments as a symbol for anything is Christianity, and that symbol is attached to the celebration of Jesus' birth. You may have heard of that little known Holy Day. It's called CHRISTMAS. (Yes, I know that the use of evergreens in religion goes back far before Jesus walked the earth. I'm talking about what it has become, not where the idea came from.)

Jewish groups are not offended by the term "Christmas Tree" (and I bet they're more than a little concerned that the menorah will soon be known as "The Holiday candelabra." You think I'm joking about that?) Most Muslims in the US are probably not offended by Christmas trees, anymore than they are offended by anything else we infidels do. Let's see... Christians (self-professed- I'm not judging their salvation- that's FAR above my pay grade) make up at least 75% of the population of the US. Other religions make up about 3%. That leaves 14% who have "no religion," with true atheists making up 3% of that group. (5% of respondents didn't answer the question.) So, 3% of 14% is... 0.4% of the population are atheists. And it is the atheists who whine the most about religion being "forced" on them (Barry Lynn notwithstanding, of course.) Let's say that 25% even pay attention to anything to do with First Amendment issues.

So... local, state and federal officials and business owners had to make a decision. Offend .1% of the population by calling something what it is- Christmas and Christmas trees. OR, offend upwards of 80% of the population by trying to be "sensitive to the feelings of all... diversity and all that, don't you know." Obviously, many of these people chose poorly.

Why did they choose poorly? Because religious people are nice. They don't want to make waves. Live and let live. Or something like that. Well... it doesn't look like the Christians are just going to take it anymore. Christian organizations are boycotting retail chains that won't even mention the season, much less the Reason for the Season. Walmart backed down. Target is still in the hot seat. So is Sears. (K-Mart is being boycotted, but for different reasons.) Costco and BJ's wholesale chains are Scrooges as well. Kohl's is big into "Holidays" but not "Christmas" (I really need to talk to my sister about that.)

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Always has been. I love almost everything about it. The Way of Lights. The smell of pine. Gingerbread. The Story. Angels. Shepherds. Egg Nog. Decorations. The way a child's eyes light up. My John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together cd. Sleigh bells. It really annoys me when I hear that people (companies, governments, whatever) are so sensitive to diversity that they forget what the season is all about.

Think about it. Many atheists still celebrate Christmas in some fashion. They don't give Hanukkah gifts- they give Christmas presents. Why do we need to get rid of that horrid "C" word just because it offends Barry Lynn's (lack of) sensibilities?

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