Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

If tolerance requires saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” then I submit it is better to say nothing at all. Saying “Happy Holidays” supposedly enables us to spread the holiday cheer without making implicit assumptions about another person’s religion or background. Offering such a wish, however, does assume that the person is celebrating some holiday this time of year. While this may be a safe assumption for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and some blacks, there are many individuals (Hindus, atheists etc.) for whom this is not a holiday season. Those who don’t celebrate any major holidays this time of year are equally likely to be offended at being wished happy holidays as a Jew to whom one mistakenly says “Merry Christmas.” These non-holiday celebrators deserve just as much consideration as non-Christmas holiday celebrators. Therefore, if cultural sensitivity demands that we wish those people whose faiths we are unsure about “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” it even more strongly requires that we say nothing at all.


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