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RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses (December 25, 2005)      

          "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

From the Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri: 
.... seasonal observances in the workplace and other public arenas are being questioned more this year as some Christians clamor to “keep Christ in Christmas” and recognize the dominance of Christmas in American culture.

In several cities across the country, there has been public debate about whether the official trees should be called “holiday trees” or “Christmas trees.”

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have come under fire from some Christians for choosing a “happy holidays” greeting card. The tempest about the White House greeting card — fanned in part by Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — caused Laura Bush to respond that the president sends greetings to many who are not Christians, and that the generic greetings were appropriate.

Retail chains also are being criticized by some Christians for advertising and decorating for “the holidays” instead of Christmas.

The American Family Association, which describes itself as a pro-family advocacy organization, circulated petitions pledging to boycott retailers that didn’t use the word “Christmas” in their sales and marketing efforts.

“Ask these companies why they banned ‘Christmas’ in their in-store promotions and retail advertising, and they will tell you they didn’t want to offend anyone,” said Don Wildmon, the association’s founder. “They mean, of course, anyone except Christians.”
- By DIANE STAFFORD, The Kansas City Star

Recently, I read an article posted on the American Family Association's website regarding the "Holiday" cards sent out by the White House.  First Lady Laura Bush stated that the cards were mailed to people of different faiths and were appropriate ... the author of the article emphatically stated that "this is not acceptable!"  In other words, the only religion they want acknowledged and recognized in the United States ... is Christianity. 

To me, the bottom line to all of this is not that "Happy Holidays" is politically correct ... for that really has nothing to do with this controversy ... this greeting speaks to "inclusiveness" rather than our differences ... brings us together ... rather than separates us ... all of which the Religious Right is against!  In our personal relationships we know the religion or non-religion of our friends and acquaintances ... and can greet them appropriately ... but to the community at large we do not ... and I, like First Lady Laura Bush ... feel rather than "political correct-ness" ... we are being appropriate and respectful by using an inclusive greeting.  Christmas is NOT the birthday of Jesus ... and this solstice holiday was began years before religion influenced this season of celebration.  This year, Hanukah begins at sundown on Christmas, and Kwanzaa falls on the day after Christmas ... all the more reason to use inclusive greetings.  Personally, I love all three holidays ... or any holiday for that matter because holidays give us something to recognize generally that is Good.

         On my way to work each day I pass a billboard sign for the Morongo Valley Church located in Morongo Valley, California.  The sign reads, "X Santa, Love Jesus" ... proclaiming the fundamentalist Christian mantra to eliminate Santa from Christmas traditions.  Like you can't love both? ... most of all, I don't like the fundamentalist Christians attempting to make Santa bad!  Back in the dark ages of my life when I thought that God and Jesus were listing my sins (mistakes) ... I always loved Santa because I always got something for Christmas ... even when I knew in my heart that I had been a bad boy at times during the year.  Santa is a symbol of giving and joy ... a fairytale for sure ... but one that captures our hearts and our imagination.  To my knowledge, Santa does not have a religion ... or any particular dogma ... neither is he limited by race, nationality or language.  Kind of like God ... giving to everyone unconditional love and acceptance!

And So It Is!  

Letting Love Use Me In Its Own Good Way,
Rev. Bates

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