Already this year I have been confronted with the alleged effrontery of saying Merry Christmas. It seems that every year around December the ghost of Christmas holiday past rears its ugly head to guilt the majority of us who like to say Merry Christmas. The rationale being used is that such language is offensive to those who are Jewish, etc. Well, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that the majority of Jewish people are offended by Christmas anymore than I am offended by Happy Hanukkah.
Ben Stein, a famous Jewish actor, writer, and commentator, offered a unique perspective on the whole issue of Christmas in an article that he wrote a few years ago. Here are his thoughts:
Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:
I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.
If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.
If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.
I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
I must agree with Ben. Should we say Merry Christmas? Absolutely, and shame on anyone who is too squeamish to do so. This is the United States of America not the united states of Hollywood, or the united states of PC, or the united states of Berkley. Here we say Merry Christmas!