- Published on Thursday, 08 December 2011 07:01
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1010
Christians thinks Christmas is a Christian Holiday - there was a time when it was but it no longer is. Jews think of it as Hannukah - the Festival of lights. Where did you think the custom of decorating with lights came from? Retail stores think of it as a great time for selling stuff; kids think of it as a time when Santa brings gifts and everyone, including me, thinks it's a time for goodwill, a Turkey dinner and spending time with family and friends. But Christians have not given up easily - they have insisted on having nativity scenes outside their Churches or in town "Santa Parades". They also want nativity scenes under any public trees. And they want everyone to say Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. The problem with that is that there are an increasing number of non-Christians around. No-one seems to care that atheists are offended, but they do care if Jews and Muslims are. It seems that if you are religious, your opinion counts! (More on attitudes to atheists here)
The Jews were the first to complain so you could add a menorah to the nativity scene and now two religions are happy. But many western cities now have a large number of Muslims (who are not known for accepting the existing culture) and because of their complaints, Montreal has reacted. Muslims wanted their religious symbols added but the Town of Montreal decided to remove everything except the tree.
CTV News reports that:
Mayor Philippe Roy said the move was in response to a request from a local Muslim group who wanted Islamic symbols displayed at City Hall as well.
Instead of adding the religious symbols, Roy said council decided to take a different tack and remove their nativity scene and menorah.
"We talked about it and we felt it wasn't the best place to do a religious display... at city hall," he said.
Council gave its menorah away to a local synagogue and its nativity scene to a local church.
Roy said the decision is final, and that all religions are welcome in the Town of Mount Royal, but religious symbols will stay out of City Hall.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has caused a stir by calling their tree a "holiday tree". But he says that this is in line with the state's founding by religious dissident Roger Williams as a haven for tolerance, and as a place where government and religion are kept separate. (Boston Herald)
The fact that everyone, Christian or not, enjoys Christmas combined with the fact that a wide range of religions are being pushed means that Christmas has become a trigger or catalyst to make sure religion is kept out of the affairs of the State. I expect many cities to follow the example of Montreal and Providence.
Let's face it, Christmas is no longer a religious festival although I am quite happy to keep the name. All kinds of things are named after myths - e.g. several planets, days of the week, and more.