The term 'Happy Holidays" - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:24 AM
 
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Tara, I congratulate you on your eloquence. I was bumbling around with talk of being a "minority" and didn't really express myself as well as that post of yours.

When I went back and reread this thread (can you believe anyone would have that kind of time?) I saw that with maybe one or two exceptions, none of us claimed to be "offended" by hearing the words "Merry Christmas". I know that I certainly am not. I think what we have all been trying to say is that we appreciate when someone takes the time to recognize that not everyone may celebrate the holiday in the same way and frankly, I feel much more "reached out and touched" when someone says "Happy holidays". I feel rather flat when someone says "Merry Christmas". That feeling is not something that is explainable to anyone who doesn't come from the same place.

And no, I wouldn't expect non-Hanukkah celebrator to be offended by being wished a Happy Hanukkah - but how many non-Hanukkah celebrators can claim that they wouldn't be a bit surprised? I doubt any of you have ever been wished a Happy Hanukkah by a stranger, just as I never have (and trust me, I look like I just popped out of the schtetl). So that analogy is not really all that applicable.

As one wise momma said in the beginning, this isn't about political correctness it's about cultural sensitivity. Either you care about being sensitive or you don't. Frankly, I'm used to people not caring all that much and it doesn't really bother me.

And now for the next hotbed topic: what do you teach your children about Santa Claus (both Christmas celebrators and non). Or has that one been covered already?

Peace,
LoveBeads
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#62 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:32 AM
 
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oh Lovebeads, that sounds like a great topic. Why don't you start a thread on that?? I'll be right over.

For the record: in a previous post when I gave examples of being pitied for not celebrating Christmas it was during my stint with Judaism and the comment came from my family BTW. We do in essence celebrate it now. We have a tree and all that. Don't have a nativity or view it as Jesus's birthday though. In fact if my parents didn't come out to visit then we would limit our celebration to just on the Solstice. Instead we split it up. Solstice for the three of us and 12/25 for the grandparents and all that. It's my form of compromise.
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#63 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sunmountain, respectfully, I dont think that what I described in my original post is an intolerance of different religions because of my country's history. The British government does not dictate my religion any more than the American government dictates yours! Our cultures are very different, but it is not black and white, ie yours is tolerant and ours is not. Just because a king a few centuries back wanted a break from Rome doesnt mean that Brits in the 21st century have their religion dictated to them.

You would not need to pull your child from public school because religious education is part of the curriculum. You would, like every parent, have the right to remove your child from those classes and from assemblies. But as I said, it is religious
education which arguably could lead to greater tolerance of other religions due to an understanding and knowledge of differences. And few - very few - parents withdraw their children. It is seen as a part of education.

Paradoxically, British parents would have a great problem, though, with their children being made to swear allegiance to a flag - which just goes to show how different cultures can be. And ironically, I believe that the church in the UK is far less involved in politics than the church in the US, but that would be a whole new post. There is no such concept as the religious right, or moral majority, or any such thing. The church keeps pretty much out of politics.

What I was trying to describe in my original post was a cultural difference, not an intolerance. To the best of my knowledge, the vast majority of non-Christians in the UK are not offended by references to Christmas. I have lived and worked in truly multicultural and very politically aware areas, and never came across this.

I hope that I've clarified for you. It is hard to understand both cultures unless you have experienced both, and I am still learning about the US culture.

BTW, You certainly aren't thread-killing tonight!
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#64 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:50 AM
 
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Britishmum, thank you, and I also wish you and everyone else here a joyous season.

I'm not Christian and people make assumptions that I am all the time. But to answer your original question, I try to hear where people are talking from, not just the words they're saying. If I sense someone is wishing me well from the heart I have absolutely no problem with anything they say.
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#65 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 04:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by gossamer
It feels to me like some of you are just offended that we are christians.
Gossamer, you quoted two different people, including myself, in your post. There's not some "anti-Christian" coalition of us here -- I spoke for myself only. My comment was separate from the other poster's comment, and should not be lumped together with any other opinion here. Thanks.

And I am not offended by anyone being Christian, but sometimes Christianity offends me. But that's another thread.
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#66 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:14 AM
 
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Britishmum, respectfully, your gov't has a looooooong history of dictating religion to it's people, maybe not so much in the past hundred years, but the legacy is there. My people left Ireland precisely for that reason...but that's another thread, too. But I can totally see where you are coming from as far as the pledge goes, I haven't quite made up my mind about that. :

And I'm sorry that it seemed that I meant your gov't is intolerant . But they do have quite a history of "my way or the hi-way", and I was attempting to lump that in with a general sense that "if we do it this way, you will tolerate it." That probably sounds bad: 'Course people here in the US are not exempt from that attitude...I won't name specific states...but I could... I guess I'm trying to say that people in your country would be less likely to question someone who wished them a Merry Christmas, because they would just accept that they (a) they wouldn't want to offend you and (b) the old addage "when in Rome..."

I keep re-reading this, I don't want to sound offensive. I know you are trying to understand the way Americans think. I am not trying to put down your country, I have my issues with it, but they are my issues. Heck, sometimes I think we act a lot like what we fought so hard to get away from, we can be the ogres of the world, but we also took all of your misfits

OK, I have to find socks for the kids and take them to school.

I probably misstated all of my points and will return to a huge flaming>>>so be it! I'll do my best to clarify when I get back...
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#67 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by merebear

I say Merry Christmas because that is the holiday that I celebrate and I hope that the other person finds that day to be full of peace and joy... however they spend it. I don't follow it up with "And make sure you go to church that day!".
Merry Christmas, to those who aren't offended by such sentiments.
(goodness, I've edited this thing so many times that I don't think it makes any sort of coherent thought... so I will not be surprised if my words are misinterpreted... I'm not sure I follow what I'm trying to say!)
Sorry Nursing Mother--

I misquoted you. It was Merebear who said these offensive things. If you, merebear, wish others not of your religion to have a day full of peace and joy on Dec 25th, just because your savior was born on that day, think it thru. It is just another day to them. So why would you want that particular day to be more joyful than any other, for them? To add injury to insult, many Jews and pagans have been slaughtered in this Christ child's name, and we haven't forgotten that.

Offer them happy holidays and they will feel more validated.

But I don't want to beat a dead horse. Just wanted to apologize for the mixup.

Season's Greetings!


--edited for pre-coffee garbled syntax
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#68 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:22 AM
 
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Another thought--

It's kind of like wishing Native Americans a happy Columbus Day.
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#69 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:31 AM
 
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Cultural differences...they're everywhere. I'm totally w/ladylee. It's about intent. We know there's ignorance out there. We know we're guilty of seeming intolerant/insensitive ourselves at times. I try not to let anyone else's views, etc., color my attitude too much.

I remember when I was a Muslim teen, it really used to piss me off that Christmas was everywhere. For a country that spouts no religious dictation, it seemed that Christianity was shoved down the average throat w/no problem. If parents took school districts to court b/c they wanted the seperation of church and state to mean something, they were seen a major freaks. Why couldn't they just chill out, eh?

But, now, as an adult, I realize that in order for there to be a problem, both sides must be operating in fear. I mean, why trip on your kid's exposure to Christmas at school unless you're afraid they might believe some of it (and maybe decide they disagree w/what you're teaching them at home)? And, why trip on someone not wanting their kids exposed to Christmas constantly unless you're afraid that where they're coming from is superior and you are indeed wrong for celebrating Christmas (for many reasons, the least of which not being that it doesn't actually have anything to do w/the birth of Jesus)?

Do I want my kids to believe in Santa Claus? No, but they watch TV and they know who he is. They insist he's bringing them presents. : Do I make them stop watching TV as a result? Do I get po'd at the television companies and networks? No, b/c it's not a life or death thing. I have plenty of time to try to get them to understand my issues surrounding Christmas, and they have plenty of time to decide how they want to handle it for themselves and what they want to believe or disbelieve.

I think it's nice that ppl in Britain feel free enough to wish ppl a Merry Christmas when that's what they feel like doing. I wish self-censor wasn't such a big thing in the US.

sunmountain: We just wanna love ya, baby...

DaryLLL: Yes, if you're talking abt only wishing non-European descendants a Merry Christmas. I don't believe it's that serious and insensitive. I mean, who here has ancestors that have been killed off all in the name of St. Nick?
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#70 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:45 AM
 
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I was musing this morning about the phrase "Merry Christmas" itself and wondering about its origin. Did it originate within the church? It doesn't seem in keeping with the Christian meaning of the day -- see the definition below -- is the day really meant to be spent being "merry?" if you are Christian? Would it not be more accurate to wish someone "Happy Jesus' Birthday" or perhaps Blessed Christmas or Holy Christmas? (Although I can just hear that last one coming out during a Batman and Robin episode.)

mer·ry

Full of high-spirited gaiety; jolly.
Marked by or offering fun and gaiety; festive: a merry evening.
Archaic -- Delightful; entertaining.
Brisk: a merry pace.

Does seem to me that a "Merry" Christmas might apply more to how the secular holiday is celebrated. Maybe Christians should adopt a different saying to differentiate themselves from the secular meaning of Christmas?

Just thinking.
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#71 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:47 AM
 
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Chaka--

Are there no Jews in your town? I grew up on LI where there were oh so many Jews, and quite a few had their entire extended families killed in the concentration camps. Now, I know it wasn't specifically a xian thing to kill Jews (and others ) in Germany, but Hitler was a xian, as were the German citizens who went along with it. The Ubermensch was definitely xian. Please don't belittle it by saying in the name of St Nick, when so many have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ.
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#72 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 10:58 AM
 
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DaryLLL: I completely understand where you're coming from, I just disagree w/the parallels you're drawing. Mostly b/c I know Christmas has nothing to do w/Jesus. So, when I hear ppl say anything abt Jesus as he relates to this season, I just chalk it up to ignorance.

But, I understand your train of thought and would even agree w/what you're saying, if I viewed Christmas as a Christian holiday.
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#73 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 11:15 AM
 
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Okay so here I am with a bunch of useless info. Christmas was picked on to be on December 25 in the early fourth century when church leaders wished to eclipse a rival religion (Mithraism) that threatened Christianity. According to Panetti's, no one for the first 2 century's after Christ knew or cared when he was born. It is beleived the actual day for his birth is in May. Mithraism took Dec. 25 as their day because prior Romans also used the December time period as far back as 753 BC to celebrate a variety of holidays, Saturnalia, Natalis Solis Invicti and several others. The Christians needed a Dec. holiday. Prior to that Christians only celebrated Christ's death and ressurection.

Xmas has been used a loooonnngg time. X is the first letter for Christ in Greek and has been popularly used since 16th century but use before that is well documented.

Merry Christmas has been used since the 19th century. "Merry" was considered to be a spiritual word meaning blessed. Unusually Merry Christmas was first used for the burgioning Xmas card industry and people eventually picked it up.

(The above courtsey of Panetti's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things - the best book).

Personally I say Happy Holidays or Have a happy holiday but respond to any happy thought.

Does anyone want any other useless info.?
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#74 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 12:26 PM
 
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I don't have much useless info but I have some opinions that others may find useless.

(good night, nurse, I'm going to try to keep this shorter than my usual missives)

Sunmountain I was all set to agree with you that this is a season and not a specific holiday. Then I thought about Nursing Mother's thread about her signature being co-opted and I had a Eureka! moment... we're talking about two different things here! There's the general holidays season to which you were refering. Then there's the Christmas season to which NM and I are refering. So when she says that Jesus is the reason for the season, she means the Christmas season, not the general multiple holiday season. The Christmas season runs from the first Sunday of Advent through Epiphany... and Jesus is the reason for that season.

But you are right! He is not the reason for the rest of the holidays and we get that. I love all of those holidays. The confusion about what one means when one says the "season" is that they overlap. Maybe Christians should celebrate the birth of Christ in May... lol. But I would find it difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas without bitter cold, snow, fireplaces, etc... I know, I know... it's just a Pavlovian response now.

Tara, I hear what you are saying and thank you for the mental exercise in what would it be like to live in a country that is predominantly Jewish, for example. I think that I understand you, but I just disagree with you. I'm not able to explain it very well, but even putting myself in the place of being in the minority still doesn't make it seem like a big deal to me. Again, I think our misunderstanding is that we mean two different things when we talk about a Christian culture. I can see where there are Christian window dressings in our culture... the bank holidays, the endless commercialism, etc... But that is not what I mean when I refer to the lack of a Christian culture. I'm talking about a society that embraces the tenents of true Christianity.

Now, I understand that you might not even want a Christian culture. All I'm saying is that for all of the appearances, this culture is not genuinely Christian. Whether it should be or not is the stuff of a different thread.

I refuse to get into a debate about how many non-Christians were killed in the name of Jesus Christ versus how many Christians have been killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. But I have to address one comment... the notion that Adolph Hitler was a Christian. (chokes on her cereal)

That's like pointing to a woman on the street wearing a mink coat, alligator shoes and munching on a steak sandwich and calling her a vegetarian because she donated money to PETA!! You can call yourself whatever you want and that doesn't make it so.
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#75 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 12:29 PM
 
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*raises hand*
I do! I do!

That book should be carried by Barnes & Noble or Border's, right?

I had another thought on this wishing folks things they might not care about: No ones stopping us from wishing perfect strangers a nice Yule, enjoyable Solstice, Eid Mubarak, happy Hannukah, merry new moon, whatever ya know?

So, from now on I'm going to wish perfect strangers things that I feel are important to me, all year round.

This should be fun!
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#76 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 12:38 PM
 
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LOL, Chaka! That's a great idea. If someone wished me a Eid Mubarak I'd probably look a little startled, wonder what it means and smile and say thanks. It sounds like a Candid Camera moment.

(which is not to say that I think it's a joke to them or to me... if they are sincere then I sincerely appreciate their wishes)
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#77 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:03 PM
 
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merebear, until you can put yourself in the place of actually being in the minority, not philosophizing about it, you will never be able to understand. And that's OK. I don't know what it is like to be of African heritage in a predominantly white culture, for instance. However I have been a Christian (Roman Catholic). And I stayed in it until I was confirmed, actively I might add, and I CAN see both sides. I like the view from here, you like yours, and that's OK with me. And I really liked the visual of that woman in the fur etc...walking down the street... :LOL but claiming a lifestyle (part) is different than claiming a spiritual path (the whole).

Now I have to go back over my post to Britishmum and make sure I'm not acting like an ignorant idiot, it's been bugging me all morning...:

And Chaka's been hittin the bottle or tokin on the pipe or something cuz she's startin' to trip me out!

3boys4us, that's just the kind of info this thread needs, thank you for taking the time to post it

Quote:
or perhaps Blessed Christmas or Holy Christmas?(Although I can just hear that last one coming out during a Batman and Robin episode.)
CanOBeans, you always make me laugh so freakin hard

*************************************

OK, I just reread my other post. I think I said what I wanted and how I wanted. Open to critique tho...
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#78 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:31 PM
 
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Not to get off topic, but I posted an awful lot of this type of history of xianity "useless" information ( I would call it yummy, not useless) over on the Magickal Christians thread.

In case any people usually strangers to the Spirituality forum are interested.

Arduinna posted a link to a website with related material, on the thread called Darlll (sic).
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#79 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:38 PM
 
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*
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#80 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:40 PM
 
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(off topic)

merebear--

Yes, Hitler called himself a Christian. I think Yammer posted a nice quote of Hitler himself on the subject on it a while ago.

Ever heard one of the catch phrases of the Third Reich? As regarding women and their proper role in Nazi Germany:

"kinder, kirche, kuche." Children, church, kitchen.

It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

There are a million ways people will define xianity, to suit their own purposes and temperaments. What is sad is the tendency to insist you have the only right way, and everyone else is gonna fry.
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#81 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Not to get off topic, but I posted an awful lot of this type of history of xianity "useless" information ( I would call it yummy, not useless) over on the Magickal Christians thread.
Eeekk. Sorry I guess I missed your thread, so I reposted all the same stuff you did. I don't usually hang out here. I'll check it out. Do you have any other good stuff - (won't call it useless anymore).

Panetti's is carried by Borders and Barnes & Noble. He also has a book about endings (how everyone died and about death in general) and fads. He's way cool. Kind of like a literary Cliff from Cheers.
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#82 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 02:11 PM
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I'm late on this as usual

I like the term Happy Holidays when addressing strangers. It's a greeting of goodwill and cheer. Kind of like saying, "hope you have a great day and are happy." But in a more seasonal tone.

If I know people celebrate Christmas, I still say Happy Holidays, out of habit.

If someone wishes me Merry Christmas, I say "merry Christmas to you too." "If I am wished a Happy Hannukkah, I'll do the same back to that person.

People have even wished be a "Blessed Day" when I wasn't a Christian and I would say thank you, and wish them one back.

I knew it wasn't meant to be exclusive or presumptuous, but done out of kindness for me.

I think we all need to wish each other joy and happiness more often, and not just during the Holiday/Winter Season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Mommies!
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#83 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 04:21 PM
 
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tara, why couldn't you have come in with that two pages ago, or were you just having fun watching the rest of us struggle to get to the frreakin point?
Heh. Nope - I just don't have the time to keep up with this thread!!

merebear: I appreciate that you tried to use my example to understand where we're coming from... (And, I wish I hadn't missed your 'indecent' post! ) I wish it had done the trick, but like Sunmountain said, you can't really get it until you've lived the life. And, to be honest, with the exception of a short stint of church-going in my childhood, I have not lived anything approaching the life of a devout Christian... I have appreciated learning more about it on MDC, though... Honestly.
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#84 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 04:45 PM
 
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I'm late too!

I never say "Merry Christmas" unless I knew it was expected (like with a grandma!).

I have said 'Happy Holidays' on occasion, when it seemed warranted. If I felt for some reason I should wish a greeting to a stranger, I would use Happy Holidays, but even that might bother me...what if they were totally against all celebrations? I just try to be very attuned to the situation I am in...

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Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#85 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 06:05 PM
 
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Britishmum my partner is from IRL and totally feels that way you do about the holidays. They all say Happy Christmas. And every year I hear "Christmas isn't the same in the states as it is at home." So fear your not the only one who feels this way.
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#86 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 06:13 PM
 
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I haven't read all of the replys but, the ones I have read well, one in paticular. Gets my goose. I am going to make an effort to not say jack to anyone about any holiday ever. Because how dare I imply that they celebrate anything and be offended by my simply wishing them a happy anything.

To those of you less sensitive HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
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#87 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 06:21 PM
 
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ASHERAH WHERE A SIGN TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO BE WISHED HAPPY ANYTHING!!!!
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#88 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 06:39 PM
 
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Adb252001,

Please go back and read the rest of the thread regarding sensitivity and respect for others feelings. Also read back and find that most are not offended by holiday greetings. Finally, using capital letter on boards in my experience is consider to be like yelling and many may find it rude.
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#89 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 08:59 PM
 
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ditto what Greenfrogs said.

Also know, adb252001, that most of us on this thread are well aquainted with eachother, we try really hard to be sensitive to eachothers' feelings, and next time before you post, read the whole thread. When they go on for a few pages that is usually the best route to take before posting on such a hot topic.

And welcome to MDC , I see you are relatively new here!
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#90 of 130 Old 12-11-2002, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sunmountain - no flames here.

But I think that many Americans make assumptions about the British because of our history.Rather like they talk about the land of the free as if it were the only democracy in the world. And so, although my country has a history of religious fervour (as does the US, incidentally), modern day British citizens do not have religion dictated to them any more than you do.

Interestingly, our average Christian church is far less involved in politics or dictating the way people should live than yours. I have never heard of a church promoting anything like Ezzo, nor do Christians circumcise in the UK (something brought into fashion over here by some fairly extreme Puritans) The Church simply doesnt get involved in political issues, apart from the occasional bland statement about caring for the needy when an unpopular bill comes before Parliament. Eg, abortion is not an issue in British politics. But maybe I'm going too far T and am going to land in deeper hot water here......

The concept of religious education fascinates me. Our family went to a hannukah celebration last week. I was raised in the UK, where religious education is part of the curriculum, although parents can have their child withdrawn if they wish. (Note the term 'education' which is different to talking about worship) Dh was raised here in the US, and until he met me was critical of the British policy of educating about religions.

On the way there, he asked me to give him a lesson about Hannukah.

I wonder, how powerful is education in countering prejudice? Personally, I'd prefer my child to learn about different belief systems and have knowledge and therefore respect for them. You would probably counter this with the fact that you will do this at home. But how many parents won't ? And so another generation grows up in ignorance and prejudice.

So I don't think our differences over using Christmas greetings, is that simple. There are probably a myriad of reasons why the two cultures see things differently, and I strongly disagree with the implication that 21st century British Christians are insensitive but that British non-Christians tolerate it because they are used to persecution. :
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