It seems that Canada is moving ever closer to the secular paradise of non-believers, atheists, buggered humanists, amoral and immoral liberals, fagged-out leftists and schizophrenic agnostics. To be PC is so darn holy to the chattering classes of t his great country that even my own family members have fallen prey. Some of them have become finger-wagging intolerant berks.
Christmas is the next victim of the holier-than-thou claque. In my youth, growing up in the Kensington market, what the new arrivals called the Jewish Market, Christmastime was just that. Our landlord, a rabbi, did not interject “Happy Hanukah” whenever a Merry Christmas was thrown his way. He smiled broadly when invited to inspect our manger scene. Even the synagogue on St Andrew Street put up a meek-ish ostentation by pinning something green at his doors. Today, we have turned away from the cheerful Merry Christmas to the innocuous “Happy Holidays”. Anodyne and irritating.
Watching Michael Coren on CTS cable network (Dec. 19) I began to appreciate that perhaps it is a conspiracy promulgated by the high and mighty like MacDonalds, the über-managers at the Gap, in cahoots with a multitude of national and multi-national firms which do not want to be seen to be pandering to the Christian majority – the same majority to which they belong, the same which spends the filthy lucre at their emporia. Why, you may well ask, the Christian element from Christmas? Clearly, their businesses might well belly flop with too much Christian content. But I wonder if the lowly small café down the street is in on the same conspiracy. The owner goes to the same church as I do but, yes, Happy Holidays on the front window. No, I suspect it is a much deeper process going on in North America and indeed the industrialized west. One theory may well be that the very processes set in motion by the Renaissance and French Revolution – the very same processes’s which shape our world view are, unfortunately the same processes which are helping us devour ourselves. We are the Ouroboros.
Perhaps the reason the Christmas is going the way of the dodo is because of the myriad of incredibly aggravating apologists like Marilyn Churley,(1) a former cabinet minister in one provincial government or other is to blame. She blames the Christians themselves for all the ills of mankind. Everyone, according to her, born after Christ, and carrying a cross around his neck, is in league with the devil. OK, perhaps I have injected a little too much intelligence in her thought process but the thing is that her anti-Christian bias is shared by well meaning social activists who shed crocodile tears whenever they see a child from a Muslim family subjected to onslaughts of “Merry Christmas” from his Christian classmates. Insensitive, you bet. The children, I mean. Let’s not ponce about – children are a mean savages, and most especially Christian children.
But back to the likes of Marilyn (may I be this familiar?) She claims that we have brought it on ourselves, what with all the raping and pillaging we have done since the time of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great -great -great -great grandfathers. She, in her twit-ish twitter means that because Christians have been raping and pillaging non-Christians and other-Christians alike, immediately after the death of Christ, have no one but ourselves to blame for this anti-Christmas backlash.
As Mr Coren rightly points out – she is free to verbalize her petty and indeed incomplete thoughts, precisely because Christianity gave birth to the society in which she lives, the same society which permits her the freedom to express herself publicly – no matter how silly she sounds. This is the same religion which has taught me to turn the other cheek when the Churleys of this world slap me hard. She has a point though, the Christianized west is very much an Ouroboros?
The anti-Christmas hysteria took on a new twist yesterday when a teacher in Ottawa managed to dislodge the word “Christmas” from a Christmas carol because she, in her unfathomable wisdom, thought it might offend the other non-Christian children in her class. The Ottawa School Board was quick to point out on national television that Christmas was indeed alive and well in Ottawa schools but was quick to add as was all other faith-holidays. My comforting words to the teacher are: chins up – you were born in the wrong place and time – had this been post WWII Russia, you would have received a medal of some kind from the Ministry of Pravda.
Frankly, I have not noticed this anti-Christmas backlash (probably because I live in northern Europe) simmering in North America. Sure I notice that every time I come back to visit family, how Christmas is not what it use to be.Then again, nothing is.
Unfortunately, public agencies too are out to remove Christianity form Christmas. A few days ago, my inattention turned to irritation when, during the CBC broadcast on Radio 2, a singer belted out a well known Christmas Carol which has never included “Happy Hanukah” as part of the libretto – until then. This programme featured Christmas concerts from several European countries and Canada. As you might have guessed, the Europeans put forward and true formulae of religious music with a few good does of Bach and Händel. The odd man out was Canada with a collection of Christmas carols in a modern jazzy rendition with a flair of a je ne sais quoi. Fair enough and well-meaning, no doubt. However the singer’s forceful rendition were meant to highlight that Canucks are not high-brow Alleluia Chorus ponce Europeans – nay, we are a peace-loving, multi-cultural, racially harmonious hyphenated citizenry which is firmly entrenched in the present globalized world with no time for the sentimental claptrap of the distant past. No, unlike the Europeans, we are not stuck in the baroque world of Händel. My question to the CBC though is: do Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or pagans, for that matter, interpolate Christian text into their music – for the sake of keeping Christians sweet?
Emasculating our own beliefs and traditions -the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind – is not the way to show our respect to non-Christians. Muslims did not come to Canada because they thought, “Gosh, gee, that will be a good place to emigrate to because Canada is good Muslim god-fearing country, full of mosques and …oh shops are closed on Friday and oh..oh … they use the Muslim calendar…” Jews did not come to Canada with the conspiratorial aim of transforming this into a second land of David. They all came here with eyes open. I suspect that they even like the fact that this is (or was) a Christian country where they have are free to bow to their own god without fear.
Maybe we should just get rid of Christmas. It will avoid all this embarrassment and hand-wringing at this time of the year. Non-Christians and those who feel guilty about being born into a Christian family will have no reason to feel left out. Then there would be no danger of offending anyone, including especially, ourselves. Oh, the children. Bah, humbug. Ah well, they will get over it. All you have to do is sing them a ditty : “You better not pout, you better not cry.”
For my part I say, have a Merry Christmas(1), a Happy Christmas, a joyous Christmas! Celebrate the true meaning of this gladsome festival. Lest you have forgotten; Christmas is the celebration of Christ’ birth in the tiny village of Bethlehem – the same Christ who came to save wretches like you and me.
And remember that Christmas is indeed about faith, hope and charity.
(1) She brought to mind the old phrase: one brick short of a outside loo.
(2) Christmas is a contraction of Christ’s Mass, Middle English, Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse