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Thom Barker: There is no war on Christmas

Thom Barker
Thom Barker - Submitted

There is no war on Christmas.
Out of respect, I waited until after the holiday to bring up this topic.
Christian Persecution Complex (CPC) is the unfounded belief that the true victims of persecution in North America are members of the Christian majority and their religious liberties are somehow under attack.
That is not to say there are not places in the world where Christians truly are victims of persecution, and worse, but that just makes CPC so much more aggravating here, where Christians remain the most privileged societal group.
CPC is always lurking, but it most prominently rears its erroneous visage just after Halloween as the jingle bells and mistletoe start to appear along with proclamations of keeping the Christ in Christmas. It is especially evident on social media where well-meaning memes offer the tiding of Merry Christmas then try to guilt you into sharing by continuing with something along the lines of “I wonder how many of my friends will be brave enough to share this?”
Personally, it is not a matter of courage. I do not share guilt trip memes of any kind on the principle of eschewing emotional blackmail. I do, however, wish pretty much everyone I know Merry Christmas despite my own atheism. That is a combination of habit, respect for the majority and the fact Christmas has become just as much a secular holiday as a religious one.
The idea that anybody is trying to stop anybody else from wishing others Merry Christmas—or, by extension, practicing their Christianity—must be a complete and utter fabrication of paranoid minds or disingenuous opportunists.
Yes, some corporations choose to say Happy Holidays instead, but that’s a business decision of being inclusive. The holiday season runs from roughly the beginning of November until the middle of January. It includes American Thanksgiving, Hannukah, New Christmas (Dec. 25), Old Christmas (Jan. 8), Kwanzaa, pagan celebrations around the Yule and solstice themes and probably myriad other religious and non-religious events I don’t know about nor have the space to list.
And yes, some governments – those that respect our Constitution and Bill of Rights at least – choose to be generic about it because democratic principles require governments to be neutral on matters of religion. The other choice would be to be inclusive of all religions, but the problems with that are it is unwieldy and usually ends up excluding those 25 per cent of us who have no religion or no specific religion.
Conflating those things with persecution of Christians, or even the ability of Christians to properly practice their religion, however, is beyond ridiculous. Religious freedom is one of the most fiercely protected rights we have. It applies to all religions and the non-religious equally. I think sometimes Christians get confused that extending equal freedom to minorities somehow infringes on the freedom of the majority. It does not, and actually sounds really stupid when you type it out.
To be fair, many of the strongest voices against the Christian Persecution Complex are devout Christians.
“You are embarrassing the faith because it would appear that you can’t even endure what essentially amounts to someone no longer being the popular girl in school,” wrote Christian author Benjamin Dixon on the website patheos.com. “Sure, there was a time when Christianity was the ‘in’ thing. Everyone was a Christian and gays and lesbians were relegated to the hidden corners of our society. Coincidentally, this was the same time when black Americans had to drink from segregated fountains – but I digress. It was an easy time for Christians. Now, however, our faith is no longer the unspoken cultural norm for our broader society. We’ve had to make room for gays and lesbians, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, and every other belief and lifestyle under the sun. This has made many Christians uncomfortable and I suspect this discomfort equals persecution in their minds. The nerve to equate the two in a world where other Christians are being beheaded for simply loving Christ is asinine!”
I couldn’t have said it better, or perhaps even as well, myself. Besides, it carries so much more weight coming from a Christian, doesn’t it?
I think Christians might have a legitimate complaint, though. Christmas was essentially a religious holiday that has been co-opted into an increasingly commercial one. Whose fault is that, though?

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