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Issue One letters: 'Happy Holidays?' Bah! Humbug!

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Un-Christian attitudes

Humbug, indeed. If there is any humbug involved in Tom Piatak's observations on current trends in Christmas celebration (" 'Happy Holidays'? Bah! Humbug!" Forum, Dec. 23), it is his desire to delete celebrations by other religions.

Mr. Piatak is so warm and fuzzy for an era of Christian dominance of the December holiday period that he forgets that what drove African Americans to devise Kwanzaa was the "Christian" attitude that dominated the rest of the year! It was the era of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seeking equality for black people who were systematically repressed.

Jews found it necessary for survival to bow to the pressure of Christian commercialism. Jews observe their holy days quietly, in their temples and homes, without making a concerted effort to sell their religion. If they do not have an equivalent of a Bach "Christmas Oratorio," it is because Christians had them penned up in ghettos until the mid-18th century.

The real reason for attempting to keep Christmas out of schools and public places is the fear by non-Christians that Christianity will be turned into a national religion. To claim that the transformation of Christmas to "the holiday season" is based on hatred, resentment and envy is malicious, ignorant and arrogant. If it is based on hatred, it is the hatred Christianity has manifested for non-Christians for the last thousand years and more. If it is based on resentment, it is because of the arrogance of Christians refusing to accept that others may not believe as they do. I cannot dispute envy. Greed knows no philosophy.

Finally, Mr. Piatak, may I remind you that you are free to celebrate Christmas publicly and joyously because "publicly" does not mean that the whole "public" must join with you. May you always celebrate the season joyously.

Pleasant Hills

Our beloved heritage

Thank you for printing Tom Piatak's commentary. What a great articulation of what we all know is happening to our beloved Christmas heritage.

I know I am not ashamed of Christmas. Thanks for sharing the same sentiment.


A season to share

Although most of us learned the lesson of "sharing" in kindergarten, it seems to have eluded Tom Piatak.

If he is under the impression that Christmas has dibs on this season by virtue of seniority or adherents, perhaps he might like to consider that it was probably scheduled for this date to try to offset existing older celebrations of the solstice.

As far as I know, there is no genuine indication that Dec. 25 was the actual birth date of Christ, and Christianity has a habit of adopting others' feasts and then proclaiming "squatters' rights."

The spring festival of Easter (etymologically related to "estrus," or pregnancy), a movable feast that occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, is clearly also related to seasons.

All Saints' Day sits where it does on the calendar (Nov. 1) because of Samhain, a cross-quarter day. Candlemas (Feb. 2) is sited similarly, in the spring.

Play nice, Mr. Piatak. The calendar belongs to all of us. Happy holidays!


Renewed Christmas vigor

I read with much interest the essay by Tom Piatak. Thank you for publishing his thoughts.

I am ashamed to say that for the past few years, I have found myself becoming so entangled in political correctness that my own holiday has suffered as a result. I realized this year that it had gotten completely out of control when I didn't wish my regular bus driver a "Merry Christmas" because I didn't know how it would be taken.

I wish Mr. Piatak's article had been printed sooner. I wish I had kept my Polish backbone and not given a hoot as to what people would think if I wished them a Merry Christmas. And above all, I wish I hadn't pushed the celebration of the birth of Jesus into the back seat, under a blanket, where it couldn't be seen and, therefore, wouldn't offend anyone.

Mr. Piatak said it quite simply. The holiday is Christmas. Period. And such a beautiful and wonderful holiday it is. Thanks to him, from now on, I will do exactly what I feel in my heart.

I will wish people Merry Christmas, and if they look at me and say, "I don't believe in Christmas. I don't celebrate Christmas. I don't believe in God" -- my answer will be the same, "Well, I do, so Merry Christmas, again!"


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