12/22/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Klym ~
For my fellow Ex-C'ers who are following the case of the anonymous whiteboard posters (see my previous article "Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays"), here is the essay I posted on the teacher's lunchroom whiteboard in response to Christian complaints of feeling marginalized because of the cancellation of the traditional Christmas sing-along at our school:
Happy Holidays and/or Merry Christmas?
Happy Holidays is an all-inclusive well wish that is perfectly appropriate for this season of the year. It excludes no one regardless of race, creed, or culture. It wishes all human beings joy and kindness during the holiday season. It's kind of like an all-purpose greeting---it covers all the bases and should insult no one.
Merry Christmas is also a proper greeting, but by no means is it the only appropriate greeting for this time of winter solstice and the celebration of new light and life. Merry Christmas does, however, narrow down the greeting to address a particular religious group, but it is still a bright and cheerful well wish that is a tradition of the season.
So why do those who choose to say Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holidays feel so marginalized? True, in a public school that is funded by the federal government we must be careful not to break the law of separation of church and state. Public schools, by their very nature, are secular places of employment. Public schools are open to children of all beliefs. So Merry Christmas can be joined by other religious greetings, such as Happy Hanukkah, or a meditation from the Buddha's teachings, or a Native American blessing, or a secular greeting of Happy Holidays; such is the privilege of living in America, the cultural melting pot of the world. In this 21st century, diveristy is a good and wonderful thing----why not embrace it and thrive in it? Build bridges, rather than walls, between ourselves and our fellow human beings?
It really doesn't matter to me. I feel just as blessed by either greeting---Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or even Bah Humbug, for those who don't particularly care for the holiday in the first place. (At times I do feel a bit "Grinch-y" at this time of year!)
From your school counselor,
Klym (my real name was signed here)
"May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you have peace and joy.
May you know love."
A Metta Buddhist blessing
"Honor the Sacred.
Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we share the Earth.
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, swimmers, crawlers,
plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty."
Native American Elder
"Blessed are you, Hashem our God, King of th Universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, And brought us to this season.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord."
(End of article)
So, there you have it. My attempt to balance the scales, to bring to the faculty's attention that we live in a diverse world, and to remind them that the Christian point of view is not the only voice out there. I wanted them to understand that other religious beliefs are as worthy of their consideration as their own beliefs; and hopefully to open their minds a bit to the freedom that is available to those of all beliefs, or no beliefs at all.
The result of my post was unremarkable. A couple of my friends at school who are liberal Christians commented favorably on it. My atheist teacher friend wanted to sign his name to it. Other than that, nothing notable happened. I wasn't tarred and feathered and forced out of town by torch-bearing fundies. No one came forward to sign their names to their anonymous postings about the "War on Christmas". I didn't change the world. But, maybe some people were forced to rethink their attitudes. Maybe it made them even more sure of their belief that Christmas is under attack. Whatever the case, I feel better about myself. I feel more true to myself, and even though I did not "come out" as a non-theist, I think my colleagues now know that I am an advocate for free-thinking, and for the children on our campus who are not Christians. I am happy with that for now.