I’m left of center, I admit it. And I don’t just mean what hand I hold a pencil in (left, of course). Those who know me personally are raising their eyebrows at me in a “yeah, so now you’re going to reveal the sky is blue?” sort of way. I wear my liberalism on my sleeve sometimes. Truth is, I keep my politics off this blog as much as possible. It usually gets me in trouble.
I find it hard to restrain myself this time of year. First let me repeat what I said in the title…this isn’t a war on Christmas. I have no problem with Christmas. It’s a beautiful holiday to watch from a distance and I’m sure it’s even better for those who believe and celebrate it with their families. I did find this entirely biased view of Christmas history from a Jewish site an interesting read, but I digress.
I have no problem with Christmas. My problem is that for a country that has no national religion, we have a funny way of showing it. Don’t tell me that it’s the “holiday season” and that it’s all pagan and not about Christ. No matter how the holiday began Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and wreaths are religious icons associated with the holiday celebrated as the birth of Jesus. There is no such thing as secular Christmas. I know it’s an important time for Christians. I’ll even swallow a private business owner decorating his or her store for the holiday. But holiday trimmings should not be visible in any way shape or form in public buildings. If my tax dollars paid your salary or bought you your desk then I don’t want to see a Christmas tree in your lobby.
Above all else, do not stick a menorah next to the Christmas tree and think that it makes it okay. It’s worse. A menorah is meant to be lit by Jews on certain nights of the year accompanied by prayers. It is not decoration. Chanukah is not the Jewish Christmas. It’s a minor holiday. It’s fun and we celebrate it every year, but we don’t miss school or work for it.
This week in school, Emily had to decorate a paper doll and talk about her family holiday celebration. Of course the language was slanted towards Christmas/Chanukah without actually using those words. Very P.C. But Emily missed the undertone completely. When asked to write and talk about an important holiday in her family she wrote about Rosh Hashana. Dats my girl!
Regardless of how this time of year offends me as a Jew, I’m more offended as an American. Christianity and Judaism are just two of the many religions in this county. If we can’t give equal time to the symbols of all beliefs (even those who don’t believe in God at all), then we shouldn’t be displaying the symbols of any in publicly-funded places. Keep the national observance to truly national holidays such as Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year’s to name a few.