Two Jewish Journalists Support Christmas
For those interested in the topic, both Jeff Jacoby and Diana West, both Jewish individuals, have also written pieces about the attack on Christmas. Mr. Jacoby's column is called "A Jew says 'Merry Christmas'", and he notes that he appreciates the Christmas holiday even if it has no religious significance to him.
I enjoy Christmas decorations -- and Christmas music, and the upbeat Christmastime mood -- and I say that as a practicing Jew for whom Dec. 25 has no theological significance at all. I have never celebrated Christmas, but I like seeing my Christian neighbors celebrate it. I like living in a society that makes a big deal out of religious holidays. Far from feeling threatened when the sights and sounds of Christmas surround me each December, I find them reassuring. They reaffirm the importance of the Judeo-Christian culture that has made America so exceptional -- and such a safe and tolerant haven for a religious minority like mine.
Like myself, he also disdains the anti-Christmas zealots who seem intent on ruining the holiday for the vast majority of Americans.
Every year these fundamentalists renew their assault on Christmas and its Christian meaning. Sometimes they claim the Constitution bars any expression of religion in government venues (it doesn't). Or they speak of "sensitivity" to those of other faiths. Or they couch their censorship in the language of "tolerance" and "diversity." Or they simply oppose any reference to Christmas at all. One way or another they end up demanding that America's vast Christian majority keep its religious feelings to itself. It's an outrageous demand, and it leads to outrageous results:
In Maplewood and South Orange, N.J., the school board has banned all Christmas carols, even instrumentals, from holiday concerts. In Denver, the city's annual Parade of Lights included German folk dancers, a gay and lesbian Indian group, and belly dancers -- but a Christian-themed float was banned because it would have included a message reading "Merry Christmas." In Southwest Florida, the rule against celebrating holidays is so rigid that one middle school principal told the Sarasota Herald Tribune: "You won't see any Christmas trees around here. We keep it generic." In New York City, official school board policy authorizes displays of "Christmas trees, menorahs, and the [Muslim] star and crescent" -- which it describes as "secular holiday symbol decorations" -- but prohibits depictions of the nativity. In Franklin, Mich., the annual Holly Day celebration has been renamed the Franklin Winter Festival. "Holly Day," the sponsors decided, sounded too Christmassy. "We wanted to try to make it more inclusive."
But there is nothing inclusive about silencing the 90 percent of Americans who celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christians, after all, have freedom of religion, too -- and that freedom shelters my faith no less than it does theirs. Christmas is a blessing for all Americans. May yours be filled with joy.
Ms. West writes about the anti-Christmas sentiment in Italy in her article entitled "Keeping Christ in Christmas" while noting that she (as a Jew) has no problem with the celebration of the holiday.
But why does a seasonal depiction marking the anniversary of the single-most significant religious, historic and cultural event in the Western world -- of which Italy remains a part -- offend anyone in the first place?
I don't get it -- and I'm Jewish. If "taking offense" is the issue, isn't eradicating the commemoration of Christ's birth -- and the universal ideal of peace on earth -- equally as likely to make Italian Catholics take offense?
Both are excellent articles and deserve attention.