I don’t belong to any church and I don’t consider myself to be religious, but that does not mean that I can’t respect religion and its adherents’ different beliefs. Over the last few days I’ve received Christmas greetings from a variety of people from different faith backgrounds:
Firstly, a close Hindu friend, currently working in Muslim Dubai, who, while at university here, explained a great deal to me about his faith. He is devout without being fanatical and one of the kindest people you will ever meet.
Then emails from several Muslim friends. They are gentle, peaceful people, one of whom took me to his Mosque and explained the tenets of his religion, so very far removed from the demented and distorted views held by the mad mullahs.
My mother is a Protestant Christian and I have been to church with her and, of course, over the years we have often discussed religion and her beliefs as they affect her daily life. She is a kind, good giving person and it’s hard to believe that she is of the same faith as the likes of Paisley or Terry Jones, who are so filled with hate for anything that is not them. They are not even on the same planet.
I have two close friends who are Jews. And once again they are kind and generous people, who always send Christmas cards. They are disheartened and sometimes horrified by the way that some of their fellow Jews treat Palestinians.
I have never once heard any Muslim, Jew, Agnostic or Hindu suggest that they were even slightly offended by the mention of Christmas, a Christmas tree, cards, carols or nativity plays. Au contraire, every single non-Christian person I know is perfectly at ease with Christmas. (Some may be against the blatant commercialism of Christmas; the fact that some retailers do 20% of their annual business in December at the price of so much misery and hardship!)
But every year out comes some “do-gooder” who thinks that we have to curb the festivities because it might offend someone of another faith. What absolute nonsense. We should never curb any of our traditional festivals for fear of upsetting others.... for the simple reason that we won’t.
So let’s have an end to the politically correct council officials who are being politically INCORRECT by blaming people of other or no faiths for being stupid, narrow minded bigots who object to Christians enjoying their festival! We’re not!
And at the same time can we please stop believing all the stories we read in 'The Sun' or 'The Daily Mail' on this subject. We don’t believe them about anything else, so why this?
Mostly when people are reported to have banned Christmas, they haven’t. Sometimes though, they have involved other people in the festival period along with Christians. And Christmas has been adapting for years. Where in the Bible are Santa Clause, Pine Trees, Shop till you Drop, Office Parties, Obligatory Drunkenness, Gluttony, Mistletoe, Turkey, Debt... (and worst of all Brussels Sprouts)? So starting the Winter Festival (which was here before Christianity) with Diwali and ending it with Christmas lights, is no bad thing.
Most ministers or priests understand this, but you can bet your life that the silly papers will have a pet nut-job priest who for a few quid will happily give a statement to them bemoaning the demise of Christmas, taken over by political correctness because of 'foreigners'.
Nah lads, it was taken over by commercial greed long, long ago and somehow that’s been missed.....