Last year, I was out to dinner with an ardently liberal relative of mine a couple of days prior to December 25th. When the waitress handed him the check and wished us goodbye with “Merry Christmas,” he replied wittily, “Happy Kwanzaa.”
I pressed him regarding his invocation of a holiday which had no cultural or religious significance to either of us in an effort to rebuff her seemingly innocuous farewell, and he stated that what the waitress said “may have appeared innocent to you, but she knew what she was doing.”
Despite the concept of the “War on Christmas” being written off by members of the political left as a laughable delusion in the minds of conservatives, a distaste for anything which invokes the impending occasion without the label of “Happy Holidays” permeates contemporary American culture. Proponents of characterizing Christmas as a relatively insignificant event in a sea of celebrations during the final months of the year maintain that there are simply a slew of holidays in this time frame, and they should not be entirely disregarded for what has traditionally been considered the most important of these.
However, this explanation does not hold water if one were to apply such a philosophy consistently. Spanning from the latter portion of March to the beginning of May are a bevy of festivities, namely, Saint Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day, the start of Ramadan, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Cinco de Mayo. Although there is indisputably a myriad of holidays clustered in these few weeks, we do not characterize this period as a “holiday season.”
The reason for this should become clear to objective observers, regardless of religious or political affiliation. A conspicuous dislike for any specific recognition of Christmas is rampant, particularly in progressive circles. In my own experience, this is especially prevalent among my non-religious family members who practice few traditions of the Jewish faith, but invoke their identity as a cudgel to defend themselves from what they perceive as a verbal transgression.
This criticism of a mere courtesy is one which has garnered great traction. Despite this trend among secular Jews, a starkly different pattern can be discerned among more devout members of the community. From my Rabbi I have discussed this topic with, to pundits such as Ben Shapiro, the bulk of those who actively uphold Judaic principles will return a greeting of “Merry Christmas” with “Merry Christmas.” Why is it that copious ethnic Jews who have assimilated into American society take offense to this greeting despite having virtually no religious connection, but those who most actively adhere to the faith do not? If one were to ruminate on the topic, wouldn’t it more logically be the opposite?
There is a simple answer. Those who have put aside religious observance in favor of other pursuits instinctively view “Merry Christmas” as a subtle attack on their Jewish heritage, reinforcing the United States as a uniquely Christian country. By contrast, devout Jews recognize that America is a nation derived from a Judeo-Christian tradition and that these shared values have allowed America to flourish as a bastion of tolerance and individual liberty.
So, in that spirit, Merry Christmas to everyone.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.