So, in typical conservative evangelical Christian fashion, the American Family Association has called for a boycott of Radio Shack. Why? Because Radio Shack wishes customers a “happy holiday” instead of a “merry Christmas”. I know, it’s ridiculously offensive. I’m sure Jesus sheds a tear every single time a Radio Shack employee wishes someone a “happy holiday” or saves money as a result of the “holiday savings event”.
Could it be that Radio Shack and many other businesses who have gone the way of observing “holidays” rather than “Christmas” realize that we live in a pluralistic society? Could it be that these businesses prefer not to disenfranchise customers who don’t happen to be Christians? Could it be that these businesses understand that not all customers celebrate Christmas?
Do we understand that saying “merry Christmas” does not make a person or a business anymore of a “Christian” than those saying “happy holidays”?
Do we not realize that the person who we desire to wish us a “merry Christmas” might be a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, atheist or something other than Christian?
Are we Christians really this narrow-minded? Are we Christians really this petty? Unfortunately, I’m afraid the answer might be “yes”.
Maybe instead of wishing customers a “happy holiday”, businesses should wish customers a “merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, whatever!” But, many of my Christian brothers and sisters would not be satisfied. That kind of political correctness would be equally offensive…because we’ve bought into the myth of a Christian nation and believe that, “Dammit, this is America! We love us some Jesus. So wish me a merry freakin’ Christmas.”
So, a “Christian” organization is calling for a boycott over words. That makes sense. It’s totally appropriate to over-react to the use of pleasant words meant to spread a bit of joy into your daily routine. The way we over-react to the “war on Christmas” gives the impression that some of my Christian brothers and sisters believe this to be persecution!
I’ll be honest, I’m more offended by the businesses that say “merry Christmas” but fail to pay their employees enough to actually have a merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, or whatever. Many “merry Christmas” companies fail to realize that there is a major difference between minimum wage and a living wage. And, don’t even get me started on the lack of healthcare and benefits many “merry Christmas” companies fail to offer the employees they supposedly care so much about…
I guess I’d rather call for a boycott on companies based on their actions. Let’s boycott companies that demonstrate a lack of concern for their employees rather than for whether or not they wish me a “merry Christmas.” And, guess what, there are many churches and “Christian” businesses that would make the boycott list. I’m all for boycott’s, let’s just boycott for the right reasons. Boycott businesses that exploit employees and customers. Boycott businesses that discriminate. Boycott businesses that try to run out organizations and other businesses that help those in need. But, boycotting over holiday greetings? That’s just ridiculously childish.
What does the “merry Christmas” greeting accomplish anyway? My guess is that it somehow makes Christians feel better about exploiting the birth of Jesus as a way to practice extravagant greed and materialistic consumption. So, when the cashier (who, let us remember, doesn’t make enough money to have a “merry Christmas”) wishes me a “merry Christmas” when I’m spending hundreds of dollars on a bunch of crap, I feel that I’m doing my part to honor the birth of Christ and stimulate the economy. It’s a win/win!
So, here is my unofficial greeting to you: Happy Holidays! Merry Xmas! Festivus for the Rest of Us! Chag Sameach! Joyous Kwanzaa! Peaceful Nothing! Whatever! Happy Birthday, Jesus…I hope you like crap!