Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

November 25, 2012

HOPKINS: Merry holiday!

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Welcome to the holiday season. I hope you and your significant other have the best holiday ever.

There’s nothing like the holiday season. The schools are preparing for their holiday concerts, the stores are offering holiday specials and soon we’ll hear people out on the streets singing holiday carols.

My wife and I will soon decorate our apartment with symbols of the holiday and we’ll cut down a ceremonial green tree and decorate it with ornaments representing the season.

I’d like to use the “C-word” to describe the holiday, but every year it seems that it’s more and more taboo. We don’t want to offend anyone and hurt their feelings.

Ahhh, to heck with it. Merry Christmas!

Yes, with Thanksgiving behind us it is now officially the Christmas season. It’s the time of year that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, even if He seems to have faded into the background in favor of store specials, Santa Claus and Christmas songs playing nonstop on the radio.

Yet despite the prevalence of Christmas-related items all around us, there is a deliberate absence of what this particular holiday is all about. The reason? To the liberal elite — who control mass media — it’s not cool to be Christian. They’ll claim they’re being all-inclusive, but what they are really doing is encouraging the rejection of religion.

I’m not sure when it began, but I can recall hearing “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” when I was in elementary school, in the late 1970s and early 80s. That was in television and radio advertisements, as well as some station identifiers (”Happy holidays to all of you from WXYZ-TV.”)

A hint that the political correctness was seeping into our society goes back to the 1960s when Charles Schultz’s first Charlie Brown TV special was nearly nixed by network executives because of the heavily-Christian references throughout. To Schultz’s credit, he didn’t budge and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” became an instant hit. It endures to this day because it harkens back to the charm of the past and lost innocence.

Most Christmas television specials today deal with nonsensical stories that are centered around Dec. 25 but don’t touch the religious aspect. In many cases when there is a religious reference, it’s used in a farcical way for a cheap laugh.

Christmas cards? Real Christmas cards can be difficult to find. My wife and I went out to buy some Christmas cards this weekend and we found plenty that suggested greetings for the season and the holiday. Even the ones that dared to mention Christmas on the front apparently were penned by an author who lost his nerve for the inside, reverting back to the safe “holiday season.”

School boards were swept up in the political correct 1990s, changing “Christmas concert” and “Christmas break” to “Holiday concert” and “winter break.” Some of you may remember that, locally, the Williamsville School Board caused an enormous ruckus in the early 90s when it made “Christmas” a taboo word. After the furor of that subsided, other school districts — like Dominos — fell.

When I was in elementary school, we had Christmas concerts. Sometimes there was a reference or two to Hanukkah. No one minded, no one objected. As kids, we didn’t care. We knew a little about Hanukkah, and were told that was what people of the Jewish faith celebrated. To us it was cool; probably because it was different. (Yes, the children didn’t mind, but obviously adults did. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.)

Municipalities have been scared half to death by threats of lawsuits from the ACLU who claim religious bias or government sanctioning of religion.

I wonder what will fall next to political correctness.

Santa appears to be safe, even if he’s really just a modern version of the Three Kings. There’s too much marketing focused around Santa to take down the jolly old elf.

Perhaps the bell ringers with the Salvation Army? Many people don’t seem to realize that the Salvation Army is a faith-based organization. Wait until you read in our upcoming issue of Faces & Places what an atheist said to a bell ringer who wished him “Merry Christmas.”

Maybe it will be displays on private property. I read a letter to the editor a few years ago in which the author was complaining on Dec. 30 that Christmas was over and it’s time for people to take down their displays. Never mind that the Christmas season continues to Jan. 6, the day that the Three Kings arrive.

Does a ban on private property sound far fetched? I don’t think it is. There are people still trying to keep the 9/11 “cross” found in the ruins of the Twin Towers from being displayed at the memorial site in New York City. They seem to have forgotten that the memorial is privately owned and operated. The operators of that site should be free to do as they please. Yet, somehow this is being debated in the courts.

So, Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy it while we can because there may be a day in the future where we won’t be able to express our feelings, or will have had our feelings eliminated by mass marketing and political correctness shaped by the left.

John J. Hopkins is the managing editor of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. His column appears on Sundays. Contact Mr. Hopkins at john.hopkins@lockportjournal.com.

John J. Hopkins is the managing editor of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. His column appears on Sundays. Contact Mr. Hopkins at john.hopkins@lockportjournal.com.