Catholic League President: William Donohue's NYTimes Ad pleading for Diversity at Christmas.
So, this ad appeared yesterday in the New York Times"
Celebrate Diversity: Celebrate Christmas
The United States is 85 percent Christian, which means we are more Christian than India is Hindu and Israel is Jewish. Moreover, 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas. So why do we have to tippy-toe around the religious meaning of Christmas every December?
There is something sick about Friendship Trees, Winter Solstice Concerts, Holiday Parades and Holly Day Festivals. The neutering of Christmas extends to the banishment of Nativity Scenes from the public square, the expulsion of Baby Jesus from creches not otherwise forbidden, the banning of red and green at school functions, the censoring of "Silent Night" at municipal concerts, etc.
All of this madness is done even though 97 percent of Americans say they are not offended by Christmas celebrations. So as not to be misunderstood, it is important to recognize that the few who are complaining do not belong to any one religious or ethnic group - there is plenty of diversity to be found among the ranks of the disaffected. No matter, fairness dictates that their intolerance should not trump the rights of the rest of us. Diversity means respect for the traditions and heritages of all groups, not just hose which have been cherry-picked by the multicultural gurus.
To be excluded is normal. Mother's Day, Father's Day, Veteran's Day, Black History Month, Gay Pride Parades - they all exclude someone. The Olympic Games are a showcase of segregation - men are barred from women's sports - yet not even radical feminists call it sexist. Should all of these holidays and events be banned because some feel excluded?
By celebrating Christmas we are celebrating diversity. Don't let the cultural fascists get their way this year.
William A. Donohue, President
I thought I would post this ad and see what people thought about it.
Okay. Here's what I say: I agree with Donohue (!!!). Well, I agree that it's silly to take Jesus out of Christmas. I mean, we call it "Christ" mas, fer chrissake.
When I discussed this ad with my friend Jim Emerson (who sent it to me to begin with) he said, "Yeah, but you could also argue that the Christians took a perfectly good pagan holiday and made it about Jesus!" Which is also true.
But it kills me that Mulan can't sing any religious songs at school for Christmas. Everything is all about Santa (as if that is less religious than Jesus!) and holiday-time. Which I really hate. I love the story of Jesus' birth. A baby born in a barn, after a long trip? Born in the humblest circumstances and yet became a leader and revered? This is a great story. It's a myth, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great story. That means that if I want her to hear the Jesus birth story I have to take her to a church. Which sucks. I mean, this is the myth of our culture! Why do we have to pretend it is not?
I think it's silly to distinguish between myths-that-everyone-accepts-as-myths, being okay (i.e. Easter Bunny, Santa Claus) and the myths that people actually believe in as real (Jesus, Santa Claus...)
Plus, de-emphasising Jesus over Christmas inevitably leads to over-emphasis on Santa Claus, which means presents and THINGS and buying, etc.
So, I tossed and turned last night thinking this through. If I think Jesus is okay at Christmas, then what about crosses on government land? No. That is not okay. What about prayer in public schools? No, that is not okay. I think a moment of silence so the kids can be thankful should be part of the school day. Meditation, yes. Prayer, no. What about "under God" in the pledge? No. What about Bibles in schools? Yes! I think they should be reading the Bible and learning Bible stories along with stories from the Qur'an and everything else.
But I have to say, I really miss the story of Jesus being born in a manger. I love that story. And kids like it too, unlike, say the Fourth Of July, which is a really hard concept to understand for a little kid -- a baby being born in the barn is a fantastic story that should not be banned from the public square.
I really love that William Donohue rejects "political correctness" as well. He's right. We should be concerned with the facts and not whether those facts upset someone or not.
I listened to a speaker at a skeptic conference from Australia who said that he was amazed at all the hoopla surrounding Christmas in the states. Australia is highly secular and they sing about Jesus in school at Christmastime. Same thing in Sweden -- a highly non-believing population and they just go crazy at Christmas. The holiday lasts a month long and a lot of their celebration has to do with Jesus and the story of his birth.
Okay, I am thinking out loud here:
Maybe Easter is perfect example of my mixed feelings. I mean, the Christian Easter story: Jesus dying and then rising from the dead. Gawd - that's a great story too. It's much better then just symbols: eggs, bunnies, or concepts: fertility. On the other hand, I like all the symbols of spring at Eastertime - I like eggs and bunnies.
Maybe it's the writer in me that likes the details of the crucifixion story. It's a real story. Characters, events, surprising endings! And the bunny is just... well, a bunny. And... eggs. But in the end, when it comes to Easter, I like the religious story AND I like the symbols. But at Christmas, I think I just like the religious story the best.
But the point is, why can't it just be everything? I think it's a mistake for people like me (atheists) to argue that Jesus should not be taught and shown during Christmas in public schools. That's just the kind of thing that makes a lot of parents send their children to religious schools. I think it's a mistake not to have Jesus and a creche and the kids singing Silent Night.
When it comes to Christmas, even though it was originally a holiday with pagan roots, I like to be reminded of the story of Jesus. I think those garish Santa Claus' are creepy compared to a creche, which I think is beautiful and poignant. Maybe we should just pick 10 holidays and just go for it. Tell the whole story - whatever the story is. And just enjoy it, it's a STORY.
Well, I just thought I would throw that out there to see what people thought.