Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tommy Denton And The Holiday Tree Kerfuffle

I have stayed away from the current kerfuffle over the latest politically correct offense. I, as a Christian, do not take offense when greeted with "Happy Holiday" or "Season's Greetings". The greeting "Happy Holiday" does, in fact, truly represent a sentiment. One that could be considered appropriate for Christian and Jew alike. "Season's Greetings", on the other hand, is simply insipid. It means nothing and as such could never offend me.

I understand that if the gesture is coming from a salesperson, it is probably merely a rote statement. Roughly on par with "Thank you for shopping our K Mart". No offense meant and none taken. (Never mind that almost certainly no true sentiment was meant as well.) On the occasion that I am offered such wishes by a stranger, or someone whose closest connection with me is the mall bench we happen to be sharing, I also attribute it to simple politeness. Merely a December version of "Have a nice day".

Today, Tommy Denton, in his weekly Sunday column brings up the subject.
As Dec. 25 nears, tensions seem to run a bit higher this year among the season's celebrants.

Emotions ranging from angst to full-blown righteous indignation to eye-watering redemptive passion to save imperiled souls have accompanied a stirring debate over how to designate certain seasonable decorations, specifically, evergreen trees adorned with assorted lights, baubles, stars and other glittering items appealing to the eye.

Earliest memories from my own family's celebrations called it the Christmas tree. Most everyone we knew called it the same thing, most likely because we didn't know anyone who wasn't Christian.

I'm sorry Tommy, I don't know of any other way to refer to an evergreen tree adorned with assorted lights, baubles, stars and other glittering items appealing to the eye. It's a Christmas tree. A tree decorated by Christians in a traditional celebration of a day known to them (and even you) as "Christmas". Thus, it is as an accurate, descriptive noun by which non political persons refer to such a tree.

A device that holds seven candles in a planar row is a Menorah. Be honest now Tommy, would you really write such a column defending the phrase "Holiday candlestick"?

You wonder why people would be offended at such referrals. I can't speak for all Christian conservatives, but my best guess is that most feel similar to me. I am offended by idiocy. And this current act by certain local officials (mostly, although I have seen "Holiday trees" advertised at Lowe's) in an absurd effort to not offend other religions, itself bends reality to an extreme.

From the viewpoint of a liberal, Tommy, perhaps you can explain to me how pretending that Christmas does not exist, or pretending that a Christmas tree is not a Christmas tree, or maybe pretending we are not really celebrating Christmas but instead some Winter "Holiday", assuages the feelings of those who adhere to the beliefs of other religions? I'm pretty sure that my Jewish friends know what I'm celebrating. I would bet that Nani, the Lebanese gentleman who owns the convenience store at the intersection of Daniel's Creek Road and King's Mountain Road here in Collinsville knows that his Christian customers are celebrating Christmas. Would you prefer that we do this celebrating in secret?

Idiocy knows no bounds on Campbell Avenue.

Only Tommy could work outrage for a Federal tax cut into a column about "Holiday trees". You gotta admit, the man is a talented writer.

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