December 25 is now history, and the combatants in the "Christmas wars" have laid down their arms until next year. But the issues are far from resolved, and the conflict is far from over. Look for the guns to sound again come next December.
The problem with a ban on "Merry Christmas" is that it doesn’t go far enough. To be consistent (though that is a rare virtue these days) we should consider banning all holidays that might offend someone. Looking at my 2006 calendar, I find many holidays at which some might take offense.
New Year’s Day is an observance of the Gregorian calendar, an offense to those who don’t accept the Gregorian calendar, who don’t accept Jesus Christ as the central focus of human history, and who are offended by a calendar named after a Roman Catholic Pope. Let’s ban it.
January 16, Martin Luther King Day, is offensive to racists. Some might say racists deserve to be offended, but what right have we to be judgmental? Besides, the day is also used to celebrate the birth of Robert E. Lee, and this is offensive to Yankees. And if that weren’t enough, King’s full title is Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. We can have a holiday honoring a reverend! Have we forgotten separation of church and state? Let’s ban it.
February 2, Ground Hog Day, could be offensive to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and others who think it is demeaning to ground hogs and also to those who think we should celebrate (or demean) another animal instead. Let’s ban it.
February 12, Lincoln’s birthday, is offensive to Southern secessionists and also to northerners who think Lincoln usurped powers in violation of the Constitution. Let’s ban it.
February 22, Washington’s birthday, is offensive to those who think Jefferson should have been our first President, and also to those who think the War for Independence was mean-spirited. Can you imagine how an Englishman must feel if he has to be in the United States on George Washington’s birthday? We could balance Washington’s birthday with Benedict Arnold Day, or King George III Day, but that could offend others. Let’s just ban it.
Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays have now been combined into President’s Day, February 20. But this offends anyone who is offended at anything that any President has ever done, and also offends those who didn’t realize that every President was born on Monday. Let’s ban it.
March 1, Ash Wednesday, offends all who do not want to observe the events leading to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and also to those who are allergic to ashes. Let’s ban it.
March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, offends all who are not Irish. It sends a message of exclusion to those who are not Irish, causing them to believe that, at least on March 17, they are second-class citizens and not fully part of society. It also offends Scots who insist that St. Patrick was really a Scotsman, and it offends Englishmen who object to the work of St. Patrick in Christianizing Ireland and developing a written legal code for Ireland in advance of anything England had at the time. Let’s ban it.
March 20, the first day of spring, is the day the pagan Celts and Germans celebrated the equinox with bonfires, orgies, sacrifices, and other pagan rituals. They haven’t done much of this for over a 1,000 years, but a non-pagan might be offended, so let’s ban it.
April 1, April Fools’ Day, demeans and degrades fools. It has also been designated a special day for atheists. Some theists might feel excluded by this, and likewise some atheists could be offended by the designation of a day that shows them for what they really are. Let’s ban it.
April 2, the day Daylight Savings Time begins, offends those who don’t want to get up an hour earlier (or later), offends those who object to any interference with God’s time, and unduly burdens those who complain that the extra hour of sunlight burns the grass on their lawns. Let’s ban it.
April 9, Palm Sunday; April 13, Passover; April 14, Good Friday; April 16, Easter. Obviously offensive. I will not say why, because even saying why could offend some because it would involve the mention of God. Let’s ban them.
April 26, Administrative Professionals Day, sends a message of exclusion to those who are not administrators or who are unprofessional, and also is a burden on those who are required to buy flowers for administrative professionals or take them to lunch. Let’s ban it.
May 14, Mother’s Day, sends a message of exclusion to men, lesbians, and all who are not mothers. Let’s ban it.
May 20, Armed Forces Day, endorses violence and sends a message of exclusion for those who didn’t have the courage to serve their country. Let’s ban it.
May 29, Memorial Day, sends a message of exclusion to those who didn’t have the good fortune to die for their country. Let’s ban it.
June 14, Flag Day, offends flag burners and their ilk. It could even lead to patriotism. Even worse, it could lead someone to say the Pledge of Allegiance, with that repugnant phrase "under God." Let’s ban it.
June 18, Father’s Day, demeans women and gays, and also demeans fathers because the day usually doesn’t produce as much revenue at the cash registers as does Mother’s Day. Let’s ban it.
June 21, the First Day of Summer, is the pagan summer solstice (see March 20) and is discouraging to skiers and others who prefer cold weather. Let’s ban it.
July 4, Independence Day, offends those who don’t like the sound of firecrackers. Even worse, can you imagine how this day demeans those who can trace their ancestors to Tories? Observance of this day could lead impressionable young people to read the Declaration of Independence and be exposed to such offensive phrases as "the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God," "All men are created equal," "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world," and "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence." Let’s ban it.
August? My calendar shows no holidays during the month of August. This is blatant discrimination against the month of August, and also offends those who shudder at the thought of having to work all month while getting ready for another school year. Also, the hot days of August are often called "dog days" because the constellation Sirius rises and sets with the sun at that time; this could offend dog-lovers, or cat-lovers, or somebody. Let’s ban the whole month.
September 4, Labor Day, offends those who don’t belong to labor unions, and also sends a message of exclusion to those who don’t want to work. Let’s ban it.
September 17, Constitution Day, honors 55 dead white males, sends a message of exclusion to those who favored the Articles of Confederation, and could encourage impressionable young people to read the Constitution and learn of its limitations on governmental powers. Let’s ban it.
September 23, the First Day of Autumn, is the pagan autumnal equinox (see March 20) and also coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Let’s ban it.
October 2, is the Jewish Yom Kippur, a holiday that burdens those who lack the self-discipline to fast and lays a guilt trip on people by suggesting that they have sins to atone for. Let’s ban it.
October 9, Columbus Day, discriminates against Norwegians who want to honor Leif Ericson as the discoverer of America, and also demeans Native Americans who objected to being discovered. Let’s ban it.
October 29, the beginning of Standard Time, offends those who don’t want to drive home in the dark and those who now have less time to get a suntan. Let’s ban it.
October 31, Halloween, establishes the pagan religion and sends a message of exclusion to those whose religious beliefs prevent them from dressing up as witches, ghosts and goblins. This isn’t so bad, since those who object are mostly Christians and therefore outside the protection of the First Amendment. But the Roman Catholic Church as made October 31 All Hallows Eve, and it is also Reformation Day, the day Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses. Some churches even hold Reformation parties on Halloween night! Let’s ban it, and ban the 95 Theses as well.
November 1, All Saints Day, sends a message of exclusion to sinners, even saved sinners. Let’s ban it.
November 7, Election Day, discriminates against those who cannot vote, will not vote, or get out-voted. Besides, talk of "election" sounds too Presbyterian. Let’s ban it.
November 11, Veterans Day, not only sends a message of exclusion to those who did not have the courage to serve their country, but also is sexist since most veterans are men. Let’s ban it.
November 23 – Thanksgiving? Thanks to Whom? The offensive religious implications are obvious, not to mention the fact that Thanksgiving is associated with the Pilgrim oppressors of Native Americans. Let’s ban it.
December 16, the First Day of Chanukah, is offensive to the descendants of Antiochus Epiphanes, discriminates against those who can’t spell Hanukkah or pronounce Chanukah, and against those who prefer darkness to the candle light of menorahs. Let’s ban it.
December 22, the First Day of Winter, is the pagan winter solstice. (See March 20, June 21, and September 23.) Since pagans insist that paganism is a religion entitled to the protection of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, it should also be subject to the prohibitions of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, though admittedly that would be applying to the Constitution a logic that the courts are reluctant to use. Let’s ban it.
December 25, Christmas Day. The offensiveness of this holiday is too obvious to mention. I shouldn’t even have used the word "Christmas." Let’s ban it.
December 26, the First Day of Kwanzaa, sends a message of exclusion to non-Africans and to all those who don’t know what Kwanzaa is and are too lazy to find out. Let’s ban it.
December 31, New Years’s Eve, offends those who do not believe in celebrations that involve drinking and revelry, sends a message of exclusion to all those whose idea of a wild night is putting a scoop of real coffee in with the decaf, and also implies recognition of the Gregorian Calendar (See January 1). Let’s ban it.
So we see that every holiday listed on the 2006 calendar can be offensive to someone. In fact, the very word "holiday" comes from "holy day" and is therefore an establishment of religion.
To avoid giving offense, therefore, we must ban all holiday observances. But since the Constitution doesn’t say this, we need to amend the Constitution. But maybe not. The courts seem to think they can amend the Constitution just by re-interpreting it.
Admittedly, we will lose much of the richness of our cultural heritage, and life will be much more banal and unexciting. But at least we won’t offend anyone. Except those of us who like holidays.
Or maybe there’s an alternative. Why don’t we all just lighten up a little, and not look for things to be offended about? Last week I ran into a Jewish friend while shopping; we shook hands, talked about old times, and wished each other Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Whether it be Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan, or Winter Solstice, why don’t we all celebrate our holidays and be enriched by each other? Now, doesn’t that give tolerance and diversity a new twist?