Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Muslims support keeping Christ in Christmas, upset Secularists and Captialists

*On the drive in this morning, I heard an NPR news piece on a call from British Muslims urging Christians to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas the Nativity of Christ and not to worry about offending them.

This came on the hills of an outcry after equality chief Trevor Philips said that Britons should ignore "political correctness" and celebrate Christ as the centre of Christmas Festivals. According to the Gaurdian:

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has joined non-Christian community leaders to head off what his organisation says is the growing sense that to celebrate the birth of Jesus is taboo.

And the Times:
Citing cases such as schools scrapping nativity plays, he says that being oversensitive to minority views can lead to pointless embarrassment. “[This can] lead us down ludicrous paths; paths populated with winter festivals instead of Christmas celebrations; anodyne messages of ‘seasons greetings’ and pointless embarrassment over biblical nativity scenes.” Phillips’ critique will be seen as significant because he heads the quango set up by the government to protect the interests of the minorities whom the “PC” lobby claim are being marginalised at Christmas.

Both the Gaurdian and Times quote Mr. Philips as saying when it comes to other minority religion's and the country's willingness to allow and celebrate too:

“The logic is baffling: to welcome Eid and Diwali and Hanukkah in celebration of our glorious diversity, whilst brushing Christmas under the carpet as an embarrassing episode in our mono-cultural past.”

This of course in light of what is being done in the English town of Warrington, where as Ruth Gledhill pointed out, the PC lobby took things a step too far.

An aside...

Here in America where religion is important in day to day life we had a row a couple of years ago over Wal-Mart greeters and other vendors saying Happy Holidays in an effort to be PC as opposed to Merry Christmas. It was a pinnacle point in Bill O'Reilly's Culture War too. And even this year as the pendulum has swung a bit in the opposite direction, as presidential hopefuls put out political ads wishing folk "Merry Christmas" and the President Bush quotes lengthy Biblical passages in the White House Christmas card all of which is drawing the ire of some folk as either a bit much in the case of the Christmas Card, or a sad attempt at Pandering in reference to the commercials.
Back to it...
It's interesting that in a country that is considered part of the European sphere of secular humanism that this battle is being raged now. I posted back in the fall that secular humanism, while certainly not on the way out in Europe is being challenged by a revitalized but small Christian community. That was the gist from a speech by noted Religion Professor Phillip Jenkins at a talk at USC here in Columbia. So it makes since especially in Britain where the Church of England's "low and lazy" branch and other amalgamated versions of AEP via Africa and other developing countries are out "rechurching" folk that this should happen now.

The question is who really is taking offense... The ultra PC crowd is saying the religious minorities. But that's not true, as the NPR piece pointed out, the Muslim Council of Britain is one of the main proponents of putting nativity plays back in public schools where even Muslim children would watch or participate, and the other minorities.

The Guardian quotes:
Anil Bhanot, the Hindu Council UK's general secretary who has joined forces with Mr Phillips, said: "Hindus celebrate Christmas too. It's a great holiday for everyone living in Britain. We would like Christians to continue to carry Jesus' message of love. Barring the faiths of others does not fit in with the Hindu religion."


Dr Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations UK said: "Every year I am asked, 'do I object to the celebration of Christmas?' It's an absurd question.
"As ever, my family and I will send out our Christmas cards to our Christian friends and others. In the spirit of Christmas, we in the Singh family will, as usual, force ourselves to have extra turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies, the lot - all in the cause of inter-faith harmony. No one can say Sikhs don't go the extra mile."
So who's taking offense? Obviously it's not the various religious groups in Britain, so that leaves only the atheists, and secular progressives. And probably the ultra-capitalists who worry that putting Christ back in Christmas might lead to a more subdued shopping season that won't start at the end of September. I'll leave you with this carol from Ruth Gledhill's blog about 'Recycle Warrington' it's pithy and probably sums up the far left:

'God rest ye merry, people all
Let nothing go to waste
So let us all this Decemberval
Recycle now with haste
For Christmas here in Warrington
Hath this year been replaced
With chidings of throwing all in bins, all in bins,
With chidings of throwing all in bins.
*The picture was found at Hummers & Cigarettes

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