Holiday cheer without the word Christmas

by Beacon Staff • November 30, 2005

Political correctness has hit a new low. With Americans obsessed with calling janitors "sanitation workers" and trash men "garbage retrieval specialists," it was only a matter of time before the shadow of political correctness once again fell on Christmas. The latest battle of the PC mavens is being fought right in our own backyard. This week, an announcement on the City of Boston's Web site drew fire from many Christian groups when the city referred to the annual lighting of its Christmas tree as a "Holiday Tree Lighting."

The elimination of the word "Christmas" from the announcement was particularly disgusting to religious zealot Jerry Falwell.

The good reverend has so far e-mailed 500,000 followers, urging them to support the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign" conducted by a conservative legal organization affiliated with his ministry.

As a result, city officials have removed the reference from the Web site. This battle, however, is not about the Christian celebration of Christmas. If the city had put up a nativity scene, it would have been inappropriate because of the separation between Church and State.

The raising of a Christmas tree, however, is now synonymous with universal symbols like reindeer, Santa, candy canes and snowmen. The Christian holiday has long lost its luster in the wake of a consumer-driven crush, perpetuated by advertising and big business.

Moreover, the Christmas tree does not even have its roots in Christianity. Using a fir tree in a festival can be traced back to celebrations of the gods Saturnalia in Rome and of Odin in Scandinavia, which both predate Christianity. Therefore, the use of a Christmas tree as a religious symbol is laughable.

The association of the holiday season with a Christmas tree is the same as the association of the Easter Bunny with Easter.

No one should consider the images of these holidays to be offensive because the spirit behind them is not religious-it's American.

Like Thanksgiving or Halloween, Christmas is associated with American values today, more than it is with religion.

Those who see this as a troublesome issue are only seeking to further divide the nation along religious lines and turn American traditions into despised holidays.