Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I still call them "Christmas cards"

When I was new to the Pagan movement, I was militant about saying "Yule" instead of "Christmas." I managed to train one of my sisters to employ the same usage when speaking to me; the other one never really noticed.

This year, we are enjoying this hyped-up controversy over the "war against Christmas," in which elements of the nation's religious majority strike the pose of persecuted victims.

One voice of reason is Ed Quillen, the only Denver Post op-ed columnist who lives outside the Denver metroplex. In today's column he writes:

The impulse not to say "Merry Christmas" comes from good intentions. The theory is that non-Christians might feel offended. I've yet to encounter a Jew, Buddhist, Wiccan, Unitarian, atheist, agnostic or humanist who does feel offended by the sentiment, but then again, I live in the boondocks, and people might be more easily offended in civilized metropolitan areas where they have diversity trainers. [Link may expire.]

Considering that I might be one of the Wiccans that he has in mind, I couldn't agree more. I'm not offended. If I drop a few dollars in the Salvation Army kettle, I expect the bellringer to say "Merry Christmas." After all, the Salvation Army is in fact a Christian denomination.

It is a little funny that President and Mrs. Bush are criticized for sending out cards saying "Happy Holidays." I'm not on their mailing list, but I did receive my own mass-produced card today from Senator Ken Salazar, and guess what it said: "Happy Holidays." But then he's a Democraft, so he must be an evil secularist, some on the far right would say. The president, on the other hand, is supposed to wave the banner of Christ, if you listen to some of his more extreme supporters.

Although I myself only send cards that don't say "Christmas" but rather "Season's Greetings" or the like, I still find myself calling down to where M. is sitting at her desk, "Did you use up all the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Christmas cards?"

Maybe that's syncretism or bricolage or something. May the Great Elk bring you Yule stockings of Christmas joy. That's how we do it in the boondocks.

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