Saturday, December 10, 2011

An email conversation about Christmas

So I have debated about posting this but after part of the sermon at church tonight was nearly this EXACT conversation, I decided to go ahead. It is my blog after all. I had an email conversation the other day with someone that basically ended up being the "Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays" debate...which left me frustrated to no end. Here is the conversation, with names / organizations removed just to be somewhat respectful of the semi-private conversation.

The background is that the conversation started with my email to some co-leaders regarding a meeting we had scheduled last week. We are going to call the other person 'Frosty'.

Me: I've got a busy day tomorrow but if I can get it accomplished, I might try to do
some little "Merry Christmas from the {organization}" type thing for all the attendees

Frosty: I think the Merry Christmas should be Happy Holidays as we represent the entire
{organization}. Otherwise, I think it is a super idea.

(I will insert a side note that I get tired of people trying to take God out of the equation, and I get tired of all the 'being culturally sensitive' when we are a country that was founded as One Nation Under God. you'll get the point).

Me: I'm just going to be bold and say this b/c it's the mood i'm in. If i'm going to do something, it would say Merry Christmas. Even people who do secular based gift giving in December... they can deny it all they want...the celebration is because of the birth of Christ whether they want to proclaim it or not. So, I guess I'll just bring the freebie coupons. :)

Frosty: I think it is fine to say Merry Christmas, from yourself

At this point, I replied just to her instead of copying all the leadership in on it. It had become a personal conversation and was no longer about the agenda, right?

Me: I find it very aggravating that people are so concerned about not 'offending' anyone by saying merry christmas but no one seems to care about offending Christians by denying
them the usage of the phrase 'merry christmas'. Sometimes 'politically correct' is not all that great. I'm just saying. I'm pretty offended and upset about this entire conversation. Wanting to do a nice gesture gets 'tweaked' because of p.c. annoys me. Sometimes it's okay just to let something come from the heart without putting too much thought into the PC side of it. That's the way things go when they are from the heart. .

Frosty (copying the rest of the group in again!!): To the contrary, I believe that respecting other
people's beliefs and rights preserves our own. I am not trying to anger you. To me it is more
than political correctness. It is correct.


Finally a reply from one of the other gals to the whole group: "I think Merry Christmas is great!" (God Bless you friend!).

Frosty: I am not a Christian and do not want to be associated with any message that presents a non-secular, religious statement. So, please if you present a Christmas card make it voluntary to sign and do not associate the {organization}, with a religious denomination. We were committed to getting new people to join the {organization}.... To do that we cannot alienate our fellow {organization} present and future. I am Unitarian Universalist. My husband is pagan. I have friends that are Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Humanists, the list goes on and on. They are loving, caring people that are fantastic parents and responsible members of the community. It would be against my very core nature to openly offend their beliefs. How would you feel if you simply said, "Good day", to someone and their response is "Praise be to Allah." If it would in any way offend your sensibilities or change your perception of that person, then we have to agree not to make a religious declaration as a secular group. To say "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish person is insensitive. I don't understand why you can't just give a Christmas card from yourselves and not make it from the {organization}. I am not oppressing your rights as an individual in any way. Balanced relationships are based on mutual respect and valuing each individual's rights. I love and respect you as people and support you on your chosen spiritual paths.

Me: {I couldn't decide what else to say without being rude or unloving. So I said nothing. But I wore my "Got Jesus?" tshirt to the meeting that week. Passive aggressive move? yep, pretty much}
So here are all my thoughts on this conversation that have been rolling around in my head

1. I'm sad for her.

2. I don't think that 'respecting other people's beliefs' has to go with suppressing your own.

3. If a Jewish person says "Happy Hannakuh" or someone says "Happy Kwanzaa" to me, I'm not going to correct them, I'm just going to say Merry Christmas in return. And if someone says Happy Holidays... I'm going to say Merry Christmas too.

4. I think people fail to realize that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus... that came first...then the secular version came around much later. So the secular Christmas exists because the celebration of the birth of Jesus first happened. So whether you really believe or not.... a tree, gifts on December 25th, Christmas lights.... it's all there because that baby was born, whether you love or accept the gift of that baby or not.

5. Guess what. I love you whether you love that baby Jesus or not. I might pray a little extra for you. I may strongly desire for your heart to turn to Jesus. But I'm not going to deny my love of Jesus or my belief in Christmas just because it might bother you, and I hope you are going to love me anyway.

6. I think sauerkraut stinks something horrible. It is offensive to me. But I'm not going to tell someone they can't serve it in the cafeteria. I'm going to deal with it, and love them even if they are eating something icky.

7. Iowa State (my alma mater) has a longstanding tradition called VEISHEA. It started out as a celebration of the original colleges of study within the university. Now basically it's one big giant party weekend. When I was attending school there, one year VEISHEA parties got out of hand and there was some destruction that went on, etc. The next year the University proclaimed that it was going to be a "dry VEISHEA".... to which most everyone guffawed and said "You can call it whatever you want, but that is not going to change the fact that people are going to drink and party the third weekend of April in Ames...!" You can call it Happy Holiday if it makes you feel better, but that's not going to change what it is.

Whew. That's all I got to say about that. :) oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! :)


Rachael said...

YES YES YES YES. Amen. I agree with you. Am I thinking of the organization that you are speaking of? (you know what I mean)

Toye said...


Aunt Debbie said...

I could not agreewith you more Angie and I'm proud of you for sticking to your convictions. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

Jennifer Gragg said...

Hmmmm... Even as a Christian, I don't agree. If I know you celebrate Christmas, as I do, I would say Merry Christmas, but if I don't know what you celebrate/believe, I would simply say Happy Holidays. I say, live & let live, so if someone else believes differently than me, I don't think a thing about it. I didn't find anything "Frosty" said offensive. Guess I'm a "Frosty" too? :-(

Rachael said...

I would also agree with Jen in the "Live and Let Live". Why do other people make such a big deal and get all OFFENDED out of "Merry Christmas" cmon people. If someone believes differently than I do, as Jen said, I don't think a thing of it either. I just let them have the freedom of speech to say what they want and I don't whine about it.