“War on Christmas” Shames Others into Assent

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Is saying “happy holidays” really anti-Christian, or is it just pro the 5.1 billion non-Christians living on the planet?

The “war on Christmas” was a concept popularized by Fox News’ political commentator Bill O’Reilly, and placed into pop culture by controversies like that of the Starbucks holiday cups last year. The basic premise is that society is waging a war against the Christian religion via secularization of mass December holiday celebrations. But, the proprietors of this cultural phenomena should keep something in mind; Christians don’t have a monopoly on holidays in the early winter.

If we focus in on the United States alone, there are around 94 million non-Christians residing in the country. On top of that, during December, there are upwards of 45 holidays celebrated worldwide, including 14 celebrated in Christian religions that aren’t Christmas.

In fact, the celebration of the birth of Christ was placed in December as a political move by the church, despite Jesus’ likely spring birthday.  According to history.com “when church officials settled on December 25 at the end of the third century, they likely wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals honoring Saturn and Mithra. That way, it became easier to convince Rome’s pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion.”

So, why make such a big fuss about “winter break” and coffee cups that aren’t overtly “birth of Christ” themed? The only possible explanation I can come up with is this: some proprietors of Christian society, in the thousand year old tradition of religious one upmanship, want to suppress the celebration of non-Christ related holidays. Instead of aggressively attacking other religions, which tends to be received poorly on a global scale, they play like they are being attacked, shaming others into silence.

I am by no means saying that Christians should change anything they are doing in regards to celebrating their own holiday. However, when we live in a world that is rapidly globalizing, perhaps “war on Christmas”-ers should consider that mass media, multinational companies and everyday passersby have to cater to the plethora of religions practiced and holidays celebrated in December, religious or secular. For example, Starbucks has more than 24,000 stores in 70 different countries, which cover most all colors and creeds of people.

In a world where communication with three billion people, 68.5% of whom are likely not Christian, “happy holidays” isn’t an attack on anyone, rather a season’s greeting for the world.