In a misguided bid for respect, Right-wing evangelical Christians carry on their annual tradition of whining
By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
A private company founded and run by a Jewish guy doesn’t print symbols of a Pagan holiday on red-colored paper cups intended to hold a beverage invented by Muslims. But the cups don’t say “Merry Christmas,” so, naturally, right wing evangelical Christians are outraged.
We refer, of course, to the ridiculous manufactured outrage over this year’s Starbuck’s seasonal coffee cup.
Who stole the reindeer?
In years past, along with the company’s logo – a mermaid – the Starbuck’s cups have featured snowflakes, reindeer and even a stylized caroler in a “Santa Claus” hat. This year the logo stands alone.
The fringe religious right loves to generate political rage, page views and audience shares with its annual bellowing about a supposed “war on Christmas.” This year is no exception, but the pickings are apparently pretty slim.
I mean really … a chain-store coffee cup?
The big whoop always orbits around the claim that, at this time of year, people should be greeting each other with “Merry Christmas,” instead of something more inclusive, like “Happy holidays.”
Seizing yet another opportunity to grab the spotlight, Donald Trump, currently the leading GOP buffoon and presidential wannabe, said if he is elected, he will force everyone to say “Merry Christmas.” He added: “You can leave “happy holidays” at the corner.”
“Merry Christmas” misses the point
I have no idea why Trump, or anyone, would try to turn a friendly greeting into a political fistfight. Doing that seems to mock and diminish the spirit of the season. It would be interesting to learn how he proposes to pull this boast off, but I doubt the matter will ever get that far.
Imagine if every holiday ginned up that much umbrage from its fans. But let’s not give the “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” crowd any ideas.
I personally have no problem with people saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” as they choose. Any pleasant greeting deserves a pleasant reply, not a combative challenge.
That said, there’s plenty of rationale for using the “Happy holidays” greeting because December is truly a season of holidays! The month is cluttered with holidays, most of them religion based.
Christmas is but one of these, and it derives much of its texture from far more ancient celebrations. Unlike in their early days, Christians can freely observe their holiday. But they should not be proprietary about the time of year. Their religion preaches inclusiveness. Noisily pursuing wedge issues damages that moral stand.
Here is a small sample of December holidays:
- Bodhi Day: The Buddhist Day of Enlightenment is typically celebrated on or near December 8.
- Christmas: One of the most widely observed holidays, this Christian tradition is celebrated on December 25. It is a celebration of the birth of Christ, but derives and is adapted from a mixture of holidays celebrated by ancient religions.
- Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: The Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun is an ancient Roman holiday celebrated on December 25.
- Hanukkah: The Jewish Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication lasts eight days.
- Krampusnacht: In Germanic culture, the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas brings a nocturnal visit from a devil named Krampus, who punishes bad children.
- Kwanzaa: This week-long celebration extends from December 26 to January 1. It honors West African heritage.
- Malkh: This winter solstice festival, traditionally held on December 25, belongs to the Vainakh people of the North Caucasus region in modern day Russia and Chechnya. They predominantly practice Islam today.
- Modraniht: Traditionally celebrated on what is now Christmas Eve. The first written mention of this Anglo-Saxon Pagan festival dates to the 8th century The Old English name translates to “Night of the Mothers.”
- Pancha Ganapati: The five days of this Hindu festival end on December 25.
- Saturnalia: The Roman festival of the winter solstice, which occurs on or near December 20. It includes family gatherings, partying and private gift-giving.
- Yalda: This ancient (4th centery BC or earlier) Iranian festival is held on the longest and darkest night of the year – typically December 20-21.
- Yule: Spelled Jul in Scandinavia, this is an ancient Germanic and Nordic Pagan celebration extending from late December to early January. The “Yule log” and the practice of Caroling come from the Yule tradition. So does the Christian concept of “Christmastide.”
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and a happy Holiday Season to all!
Michael W. Dominowski is a contributor to Not For Hire Media.