Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Whatever. Did I Offend You?

Around the debate of saying "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays," a lot of the grousing I hear from Christians and others who advocate saying "Merry Christmas" revolves around the assumption that people are trying not to offend someone, and that people might be or are offended when one wishes them a "Merry Christmas."

I usually say "Happy Holidays," not because I am afraid of offending someone, but because I want to be inclusive of all people celebrating this time of year, whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Winter Solstice, Festivus, or Other. I know no one is going to be offended if I say "Merry Christmas." Never in my life has any person of a different religion from my own expressed verbal or nonverbal discontent after I wished them a "Merry Christmas."

However, if you as a Christian are getting upset at the people wishing others "Happy Holidays," the message you are sending is, "You are not validating my particular religious holiday, and therefore I am offended."

If you think inclusivity is a bad thing, is it because it you enjoy getting special attention for your particular celebration, rather than being lumped into a group?

Yes, you have the right to wish someone a "Merry Christmas," and if that person gets offended, so be it. But in my observances lately, the only ones expressing offense are the Christians who believe it is somehow wrong, or at least less right, to invite believers of other faiths into the celebratory fold.