Since 2011, Gavriels-Horn has published many blogs from many authors. However, the “Merry Christmas” post generated the most feedback ever. So here is re-visit of this post.
By the way, when did “Happy Holidays” replace the now controversial “Merry Christmas”? Consider two stories. In this past week, a group of young carolers were chased—not politely asked to leave—by a woman offended by the thought of Christmas; and a young man ringing a Salvation Army bell for the poor was chastised for saying, “Merry Christmas.” Why is it considered poor etiquette to use this greeting? Happy Hanukah. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Happy Earth Day. Happy Boxing Day. While I am not entirely clear what Boxing Day is (other than a good day to watch English soccer), I do not find any of these greetings offensive. These greetings are polite gestures that share a piece of one’s culture with another human. If you happen to not celebrate Christmas or Boxing Day, they are still part of society’s multicultural fabric.
Aren’t we taught to be culturally sensitive and to embrace diversity? Of course we are. In fact, research indicates that diverse groups are more creative, more productive, and more profitable than homogeneous ones (Cox, 2001). Consequently there is not only a normative argument for embracing diversity, there is an economic one. Respecting Christmas along with Ramadan, Hanukah, and other cultures may mean a more prosperous society.
In that spirit, I think it is important to note that embracing diversity is different than tolerance. I hear people advocating tolerance, but I tolerate my visit to the dentist. Isn’t tolerance for things we do not like? I propose we embrace—not tolerate—the value other cultures bring to the human molecule. That is what
Gavriel’s Horn is all about—celebrating the value diverse perspectives has on the human molecule.
Buon Natale a tutti quanti!