Christmas Greetings, and the World Is Insane

Last year at about this time I ranted about attempts to eliminate the vestiges of Christmas from Western society lest the easily offended be offended. I am an agnostic and these efforts and their successes then offended me; they still do. The long Judeo-Christian history and culture of the United States have contributed greatly to our heritage and behavior. As they are progressively diminished we all suffer.

Today, most think "Merry Christmas" is ok, but "most are still likely to say 'Happy Holidays' rather than risk offending someone." Still:

As Americans crowd stores nationwide, most still prefer being greeted by signs that say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.” According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, just one-out-of-four Adults (24%) like “Happy Holidays” instead. Sixty-nine percent (69%) prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.”

Nina Totenberg recently apologized on NPR for referring to a Christmas party.

Last year, I began the article with a quote from a piece of satire. This time that seems unnecessary.

Here is an anti-Christmas sampler for 2010 -- but first a word from our sponsors Abu Dhabi:

An Abu Dhabi luxury hotel that boasted an $11 million Christmas tree decorated with gold and gems admitted Sunday it may have taken the holiday spirit a bit too far.

A statement from the Emirates Palace hotel said it regretted "attempts to overload" the Christmas tree tradition by adorning it with premium bling including gold, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones from a hotel jeweler.

Returning to the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has warned school officials in Tennessee that wishing folks "Merry Christmas" is bad and that they should instead wish them "Happy Holidays." It apparently did so in response to "a number of complaints" about school party activities. A secret amendment to the First Amendment prohibiting offensive speech has apparently been disclosed by WikiLeaks. Happy Saturnalia, ACLU. Commerce Claus Santa Claus has some pretty coal lumps wrapped up for you in plain brown paper; don't burn them, they emit carbon dioxide. But you already knew that.

A bank in Texas affiliated with JP Morgan/Chase was directed by corporate officials to remove a Christmas tree from the lobby. The tree had been donated by a friend of the bank manager:

[To] ensure that everyone who visits Chase branches feels welcome and comfortable, the bank's policy is to use only decorations supplied by the company.

"We appreciate the thoughtful gesture from [the donor] ... " Hassell said. "Unfortunately, we're unable to keep it [the tree] on display for the remainder of the holiday season." JPMorgan Chase ensures that decorations are "something everyone is comfortable with, regardless of how they celebrate the season," Hassell said.

Nor are Christmas trees permitted in Orlando, Florida, toll booths:

Holiday decorations of any kind have been banned from all toll booths along the 460 miles of toll highways run by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, which is part of the Florida Department of Transportation, a local spokeswoman said. ... The ban was put in place several months ago after some motorists complained about decorations. ... "Some Christian organizations complained about Halloween decorations," said spokeswoman Christa Deason.

Turnpike leaders have now decided to ban holiday decorations of any kind, she said. The Florida Turnpike does not spend any money on decorations for any holiday.

An examiner for the Federal Reserve Board ordered a bank in Perkins, Oklahoma, to remove all "religious signs and symbols."