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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reason For The Season

Reasons for the season...

Current mood:contemplative

I am reposting this from a website I post was a lot of typing, so I thought I would share here:

At a karaoke forum I haunt, a friend of mine posted the following:

MERRY CHRISTMAS VS HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Our Constitution states Freedom of Religion, NOT Freedom From Religion. I read somewhere that 90% of Americans believe in some form of God, regardless of their religion. Next year I am thinking of banning products from companies that only wish Happy Holidays and not Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas or some form of that. One store changed it's policy and started printing christmas and/or santa claus in all it's ads after the store stated that it would not because they did not want to offend anyone. The power of pursuasion using the all mighty greenbacks. What is your view point on this growing debate?

As I had strong opinions, I responded and figured I would move the topic here, for posterity, reflection and to hear the views of some of you who are not at that forum, LOL!

My reply:

I love ya, but I could not disagree with you more. Here is an opposing viewpoint from the view of a business owner.

1. Religion should not enter into the marketplace unless you deal with a religious demographic. When you specify your religion or alienate anothers religion, you cut down on potential customers.

2. You state 90% of people believe in some god...but not the same god. And all people who may believe in the same God do not use the same religion to do so. So where do you draw the you boycott companies who do not recognize Christian Christmas or do you go as far as to say you only want to do business with Christians? Where does that leave the others in your demo or business relations...the Jews, the Chinese, The Muslims...the Hindus or any of the thousands of others who worship and are decent people and businessmen...who simply do not recognize "Christmas" or maybe even "Christ" himself. Are you judging them to say that they are wrong and only those who follow Christ are right? Again, that will alienate people.

3. What faith people chose to follow is personal and should not be used to market their wares.

4. Seasons Greetings is an appropriate greeting considering the growing # of people who do not celebrate Christmas yet do get involved in Holiday activities, Christmas parties or have a need to buy gifts in December. Jews do not celebrate christmas as a rule, but they spend a lot of money on gifts in December dont they? If I am JCPenney, I am not going to limit my marketing to Christmas.

5. It is Christian doctrine to affiliate with other Christians and to spread the gospel to Non Christians when possible. The zealots who start these boycott campaigns against innocent companies who try to be PC and play fair are just that...zealots...and they are the ones that give Christianity and all organized religion a bad rap.

6. Constitution: does provide freedom FROM religion specifically. If you remember that is why all the folks hauled ass here in the first place... Not being religious is an expression of your religious freedom. If we begin chastising those for their faith, we are right back where we started from, full circle.

7. And the research on the history of Christmas and you will find that Christmas as we celebrate it has nothing to do with Christ or religion. It genesis have nothing to do with Christian faith and in fact is Pagan in origin. The true Christians actually banned the celebration and to make a long story short it has only been since the mid 1800s that we have begun our rituals similar to those we do today, and all of the rituals are contrived for the market place based on corporate marketing, and ideas from authors such as The Night Before Christmas, etc... The entire holiday and all of its icons are corporate, or old pagan rituals resurfaced.

So if anyone eschewing Christmas offends you as a Christian, do some research and see just how Christian the holiday really is in origin...and it is all so watered down now, it really does not matter.

What matters is whether or not you accept Jesus as your savior or not. And that is personal and not fodder for judgement.

His response:

I attempted to state in the clearest terms in my original message, but left a couple of things out. I do have jewish friends, I wish them Happy Chunachah (sp), my christians friends, Merry Christmas. I believe that Muslims celebrate their Holy month in November into December and I am basing that on when the onslaught of the Taliban started and when it started, but that is for a different discussion. Let me attempt to retort your previosu message.

1. I do understand your point of view on losing potential customer due to specifying one religion over another or singling one out. These are the same companies who do not mind losing the potential customers who they are alienating by not even showing a Santa Claus as they have in previous years in their ads. Case in Point: Coke did not run their commercials stating that Santa Cans or Trucks are coming.

2. I would like to boycott companies who totally eliminate all religious or "Santa" greetings by the company. I do not judge other people based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof. I do not need to know if they are religious or practice a religion, that is not my business. Once again, I am not out to alienate anybody, but think of all the businesses that loss addition funds because of NO religious references. ie santa.

3. Your right. What faith people choose to follow is personal and I do not need to know> If they make it an issue, then yes I would know, but I will not ask them.

4. If someone does not believe in a christmas, but celebrate this important holiday, then they should not be hypocrites. If you do not believe in christmas, then you should not celebrate this holiday with gifts. This is should not a pick and choose, type of holiday. Jews do not celebrate christmas, they celebrate Chunakah. There is also Quanzaa, but don't just jump into the holiday shopping dash and celebrate this holiday if you do not believe in this holiday. JC Peny could also market for the other holidays that I listed plus the others that I did not list.

5. I am christian but do not speak about my religion unless I know where the other party stands. I do not speak about two things in public, religion and politics. I must know where the other person/party stands on the topics before I will get into these topics. So sorry, but I do not consider myself a zealot in any manner.

6. The conststution states Freedom of Religion, plus there is a seperation of Church and State. No government body shall endorse a specific religion. ( that is the jist of the statements.) We hauled our asses here because we were forces to follow one religion and we did not have the freedom of religion, just this religion. If one is not religious then yes that is their freedom and they have that right.

7. I realise that the genesis of the holiday was supposed to be in the spring and was changed around quite a bit, but I celebrate the spirit of this holiday and what this holiday represents to me, the birth of my saviour. I am not asking anyone else to believe what I believe in. You say this holiday is watered down, and I say it is commercialized.

It is because of these PC lawyers and others who are out to make a name for themselves, that they have taken Under God out of the pledge of Allegience. These are the same people who want to take In Gode we Trust off of all federal currency. Now, I ask you Harry, when do we as Americans take a stand and say enough is enough. If 90% of American are religious, when do their voices get heard over the 10% who want no references to any god anywhere?
My reply:
Plat, you are going in a couple of different directions on some paths that dont reach the same destination. Here are a few random comments while reading your post...

First, Santa is not in any way a religious icon and has nothing to do with the celebration of the birth of the Lord. Santa Claus is actually a bastardized pronunciation of a European legend. Santa Claus is actually just the mispronounced version. He is also the conglomeration of many characters world wide. Do you know where the Americanized version of Santas appearance was created? Coca Cola. The celebration of Christmas using Santa Claus and gifts is not becoming commercial, it always has been...that is what it was developed to be. Santa Claus, trees, stockings, gifts...all have nothing to do with the Christian celebration of Christ's birth.

Second, the spirit of the season is different for each person...some revel in religious belief and celebrate Jesus birth, others simply reflect on family and home, others use it as a time to give to others and show charity, or others celebrate based on their individual customs and practices.

A company who serves all of these people is actually being more serving by saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings". These salutations not only encompass Christmas, but all the other celebrations under one umbrella. For a corporation to merely push Christmas is not only alienating to those who do not celebrate, but also not as good for business.

By saying you would boycott companies who ignore "Santa" or religious connotations of the holiday, you are persecuting the company for not believing or celebrating Christmas. That is your right to do that, but it is their right and all of our rights NOT TO CELEBRATE christmas or NOT to follow a faith.

I repeat, freedom of religion encompasses freedom from religion. We all have the right to worship or celebrate without interference, and those who choose not to worship or celebrate should get the same freedoms.

As to the hypocrisy of celebrating a holiday you do not believe in, I agree, BUT examine what the person is celebrating. Athiests can celebrate Christmas because Christmas as we celebrate it in America is not about Jesus. WHat makes it about Jesus is the belief that Jesus is your saviour, the praise to him and the things you do in his honor. You do not give gifts in his do not put trees up or hang stockings or drape your house in lights or put inflatable snowmen on your roof in HIS honor. These are not religious acts or symbols...especially Santa.

Zealots are not necessarily bad just means that they embrace their beliefs with ZEAL. Many Christians are not offended by the use of Seasons Greetings, because it does indirectly address Christmas. It is the zealous christians who take offence that the word Christmas was replaced, and rather than accept that some do not share the same beliefs as them, they label the offenders as WRONG and initiate boycotts or letter campaigns until the parties change their ways and return to the Christian way of thinking. That is just wrong, and again, that is not fair to the company who choses to be fair to all.

No government shall endorse a religion means that we are all free to choose any religion or no religion. And religion has no place in marketing a secular business....and santa is not a religious icon.

The holiday IS watered down and commercialized. And the fact that someone is offended religiously that Santa does not appear shows me that by example. Kids today have no idea what the symbolism of Christian Christmas is...they just know Jesus and presents are the reason for the season...but cant tell you why trees are put up, or stockings or who this Santa guy is and why we worship HIM in December.

You said "but I celebrate the spirit of this holiday and what this holiday represents to me, the birth of my saviour. I am not asking anyone else to believe what I believe in..." but you contradict that statement. You are not asking anyone else to believe what you believe, you merely are advocating a boycott of those who do not share your beliefs. Those are contradictory statements.

To be rational, one would get irate if someone bashed their religion, or boycotted them for it, but be tolerant of others who do not share it.

I am sure all of the Shintoists in China who made your Christmas decorations have some in their house, LOL! But they will take the money.

You ask "Now, I ask you Harry, when do we as Americans take a stand and say enough is enough. If 90% of American are religious, when do their voices get heard over the 10% who want no references to any god anywhere?"

My answer....1st, I have made many religious arguments over the years at the forum, but I challenge you to find anywhere I have posted my belief. Why? Because, like free speech people say, I may not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. I am in the minority that believe in religious tolerance...I am tolerant of anyones religion and will never say anyones religion is wrong. Most people think their religion is the only correct one and spend their time correcting the rest of the world.

Americans have been saying enough is enough as long as there have been Americans...that is why we came to America. We flee persecution and strove for diversity in thought and freedom in speech. What you are looking for is a turnaround in that goal. Think out of the box Plat...if 90% of people believe in God, you are assuming they believe in the same god. What if my God is different than yours? Am I silly to praise Ganesh, the boy with the elepant head? And you can laugh at that belief while claiming the baby of a virgin arose from death after 3 days? Or dispute Buddah? Or the multitudes of other deitys praised in the US??

Suppose Coke put out a special can for the Wiccans in October before they put out the Santa can in December. How tolerant would you feel? Suppose your city put up pentagrams on the light poles in October? Hey, the Pagans have the right to celebrate too, right??

But it is the commercialized version of Xmas we have adopted...and as soon as we leave Jesus out of the picture, we offend the the cost of offending everyone else...and the majority of the population of THE WORLD is not Christian. There are a lot of other do we give them all the same chance that we are asking for Christ at Christmas, or do we just remain silently tolerant??

So I guess references to God are OK as long as it is the right god....and not to mention how many different avenues there are to give that praise....SOOooooomany do we please them all??? With tolerance. Not boycotts.

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