While Christmas is a Christian holiday, it was not the original winter holiday and it is certainly not the only winter holiday celebrated by Americans.  However, there is an angry Christian population propagating a message of religious intolerance in backlash to the growing secular holiday movement in America.  Despite a prominent Christian campaign of religious superiority, Christmas actually evolved out of a combination of many non-Christian holidays that existed before the birth of Christ.  The reason for recent American emphasis on “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” is a desire to include everyone in the winter holiday celebrations.  It is not an effort to exlude Christians, rather it is recognition that not all Americans celebrate this season as the birth of Christ.  Christians are free to use the word Christmas as they please.  Yet, many Christians have elected to send out cards with more inclusive messages in order to honor the diverse beliefs of their friends and family.  Although some Christians are frustrated by the secular holiday concept because they perceive it as a misrepresentation of the birth of their Savior, it is merely the result of a growing market for non-Christians in America.   Christianity remains the most prevalent organized religon in this country, yet there are millions of Americans who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Ramadan, Winter Solstice and other winter traditions.  I think it is wonderful for Christians to focus their celebration on Christ in their homes, their churches and their personal lives, but to expect Christmas to be publicly represented as the ONLY national winter holiday in America is selfrighteous and exclusionary.  

   America has always been a diverse nation, and the rights granted by our Constitution extend to everyone, not just Christians.   Contrary to the assertions of some ego-centric Christians, we have not forgotten what this country was built upon, rather we have diversified to the point where non-Christian religious practices protected by the First Amendment have become more popular.  The foundation of this country rests upon a bedrock of personal liberty and religious freedom that prohibits any government interference in the practice of religious beliefs and customs.  How are the rights of Christians threatened by a commerical, media, and government movement toward a secular, inclusive winter holiday tradition?  Christians are not denied the opportunity to celebrate the birth of their Savior or even share their message of salvation with others.  They may decorate their homes as they choose and attend religious ceremonies in their places of worship.   The only thing that is changing is an emerging environment of tolerance in this country.  Politicians have molded their seasonal messages to appeal to ALL citizens, because they recognize that they represent a diverse populace.  Corporations that manufacture and sell products have made a concentrated effort to produce and market goods that appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike because that enables them to increase profit potential. 

No one is asserting that nativity scenes and reference to Christmas should be eliminated from American culture.  The current trend is to remove these Christian symbols as government sanctioned icons in a country where the Constitution prevents our government from making laws that “respect an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”  Some Christians assert that Christmas should be recognized as the only American winter holiday because our country was founded predominantly by Christians and Christianity remains the most popular religion in the country.  Yet, what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right.  The very purpose of creating a Bill of Rights in our Constitution was to protect the liberties of ALL people and prevent the majority from oppressing the minority.  While it is undisputed that our forefathers practiced Christianity and its influence is evident throughout their early correspondence, it is also undisputed that most of our forefathers were slaveowners who supported discrimination against both blacks and Native Americans.  To base any argument on the rationaliztion that “is has always been this way”, even if accurate, prevents our spiritual evolution as a nation and a species. 

A liberty-loving society is set apart from a theocracy by a professed and demonstrated separation between state and religion.  If American Christians desire to live in a theocracy, there are over 20 countries on the planet that maintain some variety of a Christian state religion.  America is NOT one of them.

Merry Christmas!

  http://www.history.com/minisites/christmas/viewPage?pageId=1252

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

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