Thursday 23 December 2010


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.....


  1. Dundee banned the word 'Christmas' from last years festivities although to be fair they've re introduced it this year after an outcry. I've got the leaflet from last year if you would like me to photograph it and copy it to you Tris ?
    It doesn't matter whether muslims and other faiths were offended about 'Christmas' or not as our multicultural society is happy to be offended on their behalf. The result is effectively the same. Less Christianity in our society.
    When you go back for a mosque visit Tris could you ask your muslim friends whether they swear allegiance to Allah or to the UK for me ?

  2. Aye Dundee made a mess of things last year right enough and even had the quiet Indian population complaining.

    Each should be allowed to celebrate their festivals as they wish. Have to admit I've never been invited to any other religious festival even though I have friends of differing religions. We tend to live and let live where religious celebrations are concerned, although some do give cards and gifts at Christmas. They say it's a good excuse to spoil and be spoiled. :)

  3. I used to live next door to a young muslim family, every year the first Christmas card I received was from them. I in turn always popped a card through their letterbox and despite not celebrating Christmas it sat respectfully on their windowsill.

    The only complaint I could have was the smell from their cooking, it was mouthwatering and nearly had me at their back door begging for any leftovers.

    Merry Christmas everybody.

  4. No Jesus, there's no need for you to send me the leaflet that you so carefully kept. I'm sure you would not tell a lie.

    As far as the second part of your little jibe is concerned, I’m perfectly happy to do that. But the answer may be something along the lines of paying unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s. You sound just like Norman bloody Tebbit, and that, I assure you, coming from me, is not a compliment.

    What was it he said? Ask them who they support at cricket... Dick wit!

    Incidentally I swear no allegiance to the UK. It is a dreadful state and I dislike it. I wouldn’t get my backside off a chair for any of it, its government or its royalty, and if someone blew the bloody lot up tomorrow I'd laugh like drain. So if you're looking for "traitors" you've got one in me.

    I am, on the other hand intensely loyal to Scotland.

  5. That was more or less what my Jewish mate said, when I said to him... I guess you won't want anything for Christmas then SR...

    That'll be right, he replied. ;)

  6. LOL Anon, I know what you mean. The smells from our local Indian restaurant drive me mad some nights, especially as I'm telling myself that my body is a temple. (Have you seen Angkor Wat?)

    If someone gave me an Eid card, or a Diwali card I would treat it in the same way as I treat Christmas cards. That is, that I am not a Muslim, Hindu or Christian, but I'm glad to share my friends’ and family's fêtes.

  7. tris said..

    " if someone blew the bloody lot up tomorrow I'd laugh like drain"

    Don't worry. They will and no you won't.

    There was mainly pain and suffering on 7/7 and tears at the 7/7 inquiry.

  8. With respect "jesus" don't tell me what I will regret.

    To compare people blowing up parliament with something that happened to ordinary people in on the streets of England's capital is in any case to compare used cat litter with diamonds.

  9. Oh and while you're there "jesus", have you cisited Baghdad recently and seen all teh kids with their arms and legs blown off by Butcher Blair. Or have you visited Afghanistanand seen any of the villages where Western troops bombed wedding parties?

    It's not only London that suffered you know.

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans are dead and wounded.

    And all voted for by the English government.

  10. Fascinating article Tris! I had assumed that the Christmas holiday aspect of the religious culture wars was more or less confined to "only in America."

    Here, while a Midwesterner of the Christian faith or tradition will very rarely encounter a Muslim or a Hindu, he will quite frequently have friends and coworkers who are Jews. My Jewish friends seem to not be at all offended when I slip up and thoughtlessly wish them "Merry Christmas." Long ago, "Happy Holidays" cards came into wide use here. But more recently a spoken "Happy Holidays" has become preferred by some over the traditional "Merry Christmas." The use of the "holidays" term has even become the corporate policy of some large store chains in their advertising and displays. This has infuriated some fundamentalist Christian groups, who have even mounted or threatened boycotts. And some big chains caved on the issue. Stores like Macy's, Target, and Wal-Mart now have "Christmas shops" again, instead of the "Holiday shops" they had for a while. (I'm not offended by such things one way or the other, but "holiday trees" instead of "Christmas trees" always did seem sort of silly to me.)

    In America, the issue of religious iconography takes on a constitutional dimension. The colonies were settled by people of various religious associations and beliefs, most notably in our earliest history, the Church of England dissenters of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. And when it came time to write a constitution for the new republic, the founding fathers wanted nothing to do with any sort of "official" religion. So the "Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment to the constitution came into being which specified that there would be "no law respecting an establishment of religion." Over the years, this prohibition of an official state religion has been interpreted in the very broadest terms by the US Supreme Court, such that the mere mention of religion in a municipal, state, or federal governmental context has been challenged, and quite frequently disallowed.

    Most recently, Christmas displays on public property (such as city parks or courthouse lawns), and which have the slightest suggestion or reference to Christianity, have been challenged and removed. Of course this infuriates conservative Christians, for whom such things as the Supreme Court's removal of non-denominational religious devotions in the public schools remains a very sore point. In the state educational systems, the traditional Christmas holidays have commonly become simply the winter break between semesters, and the Easter holiday has become a Spring semester break.

    So I take it that even absent any sort of constitutional issue, the content of holiday displays is sometimes a contentious issue in Scotland and the UK, for cultural and religious reasons? Such sensibility might seem odd to an American who, notwithstanding a knowledge of the historical context, finds the very idea of an official Church of England, or a Church of Scotland, to be anachronistic and really somewhat bizarre in the modern world. Logically, how could people who tolerate something like an official state religion worry about the iconography of a holiday display? Or am I misunderstanding the issue? Or perhaps simply being an obnoxious know-it-all American advising you on matters of faith?

  11. "They are disheartened and sometimes horrified by the way that some of their fellow Jews treat Palestinians."

    Unacceptable and anti-Iraeli statement, Israel has every right to defend itself.

  12. I think Winterval is much cooler name. It's even a pun. Also it's worth a name change not to avoid offending people but to challenge the cultural hegemony of Christianity. Perhaps a move to where every seperate festival is given air time, because as you yourself pointed out, learning about the other religions was interesting and eye-opening.

    And Dean, leave it out. Not what the post was about at all. I thought you were above knee-jerking and selectivism.

  13. Ah Dean, if you read it again you will see that it says "SOME of their fellow Jews..."

    Can I infer from that that you think that every Jew in Israel treats Palestinians fairly?

    Do Palestinians have any rights?

    I'm not anti-Israel and I'm most certainly not anti Jew Dean, as I said two friends, one English (yes) and one Swiss, are Jews; the Swiss one is even the son of a Rabbi.

  14. Danny

    Thanks for your comment, which deserves a longer reply than I have time for at the moment. I will reply later this evening. ;¬)

  15. Laz. I think it's a perfectly OK name, but to be honest, I think that Christians should be allowed to have their festival and celebrate their saviour's birth.

    What I don't understand is why Christians have allowed their festival to be hijacked by the gluttony and greed that is Christmas today.

  16. tris

    I didn't support the war in Afghanistan or Iraq. The wars wouldn't have gone ahead without the support of Scottish MPs so I'm not sure why you're blaming it on the 'English government'.
    I seem to remember it was a Scottish Defence Minister who said he expected no shooting in Afghanistan.I believe it's another Scottish Defence Minister who is still maintaining the slaughter today. Unless you voted UKIP at the last election then you were supporting this 'English Government'. It's where SNP MPs are quite happy to sit in between troughing.

  17. Tris - What I don't understand is why Christians have allowed their festival to be hijacked by the gluttony and greed that is Christmas today.

    It is not a Christian festival Tris - The Christians copied the Egyptian Sun god Horus, Dionysus of Greece, Buddha ad Krishna of India, Mithra and Zoroaster of Persia, Quetzalcoatl of Mexico ect etc etc all of whose gods had exactly the same story as Jesus from hundreds to thousands of years BC.

    People just accept what they are being told by liars and conmen and follow the religious rubbish like the sheep that they are whilst the leaders of these religions live the good life at their expense.

    It is time that the lies of religion were thrown out of schools and the kids taught the true story of how all these religions are just copies of Pagan myths nd that it is all to do with worshiping the Sun and the Zodiac, nothing more nothing less, and maybe we can end this annual greed madness and hatred towards other humans that religion brings.

    An excellent book to start with for those intrested in the facts is 'The Christ Conspiracy - The Greatest Story Ever Sold' by Acharya S.

  18. I had to share this with you. My English Jewish friend has just told me:

    We're having Jewish Christmas Dinner on Boxing Day - when everything's been reduced.

    What a joy to have mates like him that never stop making you laugh!

  19. Well JW, the bulk of the Tories and Labour voted for these wars, were actually drooling at the mouth about them, so I rather imagine that they would have gone ahead with or without the Scots.

    As far as I am concerned the parliament in London is an English parliament, and even if the war minister was at that time a Scot he was a Scot bought and sold for English gold. The truth is that in a parliament of 650 people 527 are English. They can overrule everything. It is an English parliament with 59 Scots, 40 Welsh, 18 Irish and 6 Cornish members. Do we count for anything, 123 of us against 527?

    No. If all the Celtic nations wanted something the English could outvote us by 4-1.

    I’m not saying that that is wrong, but when I talk about the English parliament I’m talking about the one in England, in its capital comprising mainly of English MPs, English Lords and god only knows what the royals are, but I suspect they have become English, whatever they started out as. They certainly don’t sound Celtic.

    Would you like to explain your troughing references...

  20. Yes Billy, I do realise that, but it has been adopted these last years by Christians.

    As Danny says above it is pretty weird to have a state religion. One which presumably the Chick could change to tree hugging when he gets in.

    Was it Lenin who called religion the opiate of the people?

  21. No Danny, it’s here too. We always do what you guys do, just a matter of following blindly! 

    Christmas has become a three and a half month festival of spending often breaking people financially. Kids want more and more, and I suspect that as parents very often both working have less and less time to spend with their children, the compensate for their lack of attention by spending up to and possibly more than £1000 per kid on presents.

    Of course we have had all the garbage about Winterval, and Happy Holidays, from a pile of local government officials with far too much time on their hands and nothing much else to do than worry that because they are offended by other religions (although of course they would never admit it) adherents of other religions will be offended by mention of Christianity. So no trees (nothing to do with Christianity, but imported to these islands from Germany by Prince Albert), no tinsel (which of course existed in great quantities in Palestine of 2000 years ago)... NOT, etc, etc.

    It is almost NEVER immigrants or other religions that make any reference to these things and as Subrosa said above, sometimes they too have hit out at the stupid political correctness that drives this kind of idiocy.

    I too find it ridiculous that there is a state religion. The Church of England is the official religion of England. The Church of Scotland not so in Scotland... from Wiki...

    “Although it is the national church, the Kirk is not a "state church", and in this, and other, regards is dissimilar to the Church of England (the established church in England). Under its constitution, which is recognised by acts of Parliament, the Kirk enjoys complete independence from the state in spiritual matters. The British monarch (when in Scotland) simply attends Church (she is not, as in England, its Supreme Governor).”

    BTW ... I think that Billy makes some interesting points above!