And we really mean it! This is a holiday season. Where I live, days are short, cold and extremely beautiful. We’ve picked up 20 cm of snow, yet the sky is clear. This is the best of winter.
I am not a Christian. I was not raised as such and am not a believer. For the record, I have some extended Jewish family and my father was raised – and abused – in the Irish Catholic tradition.
So this is an argument in defence of so-called ‘political correctness.’ For people from the monotheistic tradition, the apparent birth of Jesus is extremely important and I am thrilled to celebrate this alongside them. Honestly, ‘Merry Christmas’ does not offend me. Nor does Hanukah and nor does Ramadan (I actually fasted for that month once in Turkey and enjoyed it immensely).
One’s faith is deeply personal and clearly important. I respect this – until such point as it trespasses on the rights of others. Freedom is an overused word that is so poorly understood. It would seem my rights end, where yours’ begin. In terms of our physical environment, this is a shared responsibility.
With regard to ‘Happy Holidays’ please do not suggest YOU are under some sort of attack because I may not share a specific – and clearly narrow – worldview.
I am thrilled to have a plurality of friends and acquaintances. In my broader social circle, I am close to devout Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus and Animists. For the most part, I do not share those belief systems, but I do know we share far more in common than what separates us.
I also know we live in a world of historical denial. Many of the texts of those faiths actually defend slavery! Humanity is sharing a rather small planet gripped with environmental abuse and overuse. The least we can do is be honest.
Our world is torn apart by poverty, injustice, misogyny, racism, corruption, abuse, and profound inequality. This is a fact. We are barely emerging from the oppression of colonialism and somehow continue to have hereditary monarchs.
As a privileged white male, I am repeatedly ashamed to encounter angry white men who think the conceived ‘war’ on ‘Merry Christmas’ is somehow a thing! If the reactionary white guys feel they have some reason to be angry, then every other group must be f***ng furious!
When I am told the message of Jesus or Mohammad is one of love and compassion, I would love to see it. We could climb into the obvious scriptural debate, but collectively this is an understood reading of the gospel. Act like it.
Take a moment this holiday season to think about those who are really in need. Forget colour, gender, ethnicity or nationality. Think of us all sharing this one planet.
I will always strive to respect ‘politically correct language’ as it reminds me of my privilege and opportunities. I did not choose where I was born and nor did anyone else, yet privilege has been handed down through structure, and if one really cares about freedom, they should respect the individual.
During the Charlotteville fiasco, I saw many posts that read (to some degree): “all slaves and all slave owners are long dead, let’s move on.”
OK. But I know people who went to segregated schools. I also know many wealthy people who inherited their wealth. Privilege – just as pain – has an echo. Denying such fact is an absolute denial of truth and belays the angry guy who would clearly be a failure in eyes of his faith.
So before lecturing me on ‘Happy Holidays’ please take a good look at your own beliefs and how you actually apply them.
Merry Xmas & Happy Hanukkah