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So how did the folks who saw a decline in Christmas describe it? A number agreed that decorations were disappearing. One reader said that virtually none of the houses in his suburban Boston neighborhood were decorated. But the passion in these letters was focused on a sense that Christmas itself had somehow become politically incorrect. There were plenty of complaints about the substitution of “holiday” for “Christmas” in greetings and on signs. For me, this is a tough issue. I have no problem with someone who doesn’t know I’m not Christian wishing me Merry Christmas. But I can understand the impulse not to offend. The question of how open to be in promoting Christmas in a religiously mixed area is a tough call. But what my blue state correspondents described was a situation far more extreme than anything I could have imagined. One told of a holiday concert at a school that included Hanukkah and Kwanza songs, but no Christmas songs. Another reader said her children attended a Catholic school so liberal that they were taught as much about Hunukkah, Kwanza, and Ramadan as about Christmas. A reader from rural Tennessee was shocked when, on a visit to Pittsburgh, his old Church there (First United Methodist) had a sign out front for a “holiday” party. I can see using “holiday” in a public school–especially with a religiously mixed student body–but in a church? There was also a more general complaint about mainline churches suppressing every religious theme beside the need for “social justice.” And apparently some blue state businesses have actually forbidden their employees to mention “the C word.” A couple blue state Jews even wrote in to complain about the decline of Christmas. Yes, said one man, he was made to feel uncomfortable in his school days when forced to sing Christmas carols, but now he regrets that his daughter won’t understand the feeling of community Americans once experienced during Christmas. One Christmas-loving Jewish New Yorker is convinced that there is more at work in the decline of Christmas than a concern not to offend. This reader argues that Christmas has now joined George Bush, the Western Canon, and a strong military posture, in the list of things a right thinking liberal must be leery of. That’s too strong, I suppose, but perhaps not far off in at least some areas.



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