Monday, December 20, 2004

A retroactive response to Krauthammer [UPDATED]

Via Arts and Letters Daily:

In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer urges Jews and other religious (or "anti-religious") minorites to "Just Leave Christmas Alone." He doesn't like the touchiness of "the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content." Krauthammer writes:

The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless. The United States today is the most tolerant and diverse society in history. It celebrates all faiths with an open heart and open-mindedness that, compared to even the most advanced countries in Europe, are unique. Yet more than 80 percent of Americans are Christian, and probably 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Christmas Day is an official federal holiday, the only day of the entire year when, for example, the Smithsonian museums are closed. Are we to pretend that Christmas is nothing but an orgy of commerce in celebration of . . . what? The winter solstice?

Krauthammer is missing the point: First of all, his article's nauseating suggestion that minorities be grateful to the majority for being so darn tolerant of our strange ways for all these years. But where Krauthammer is most off is in how he fails to realize that no one in his right mind wants to "de-Christianize Christmas," which would be to force Christians celebrating the holiday to think of it as nothing more than the winter solstice. What the touchy folks Krauthammer is irked by are themselves bothered by is perhaps that Christmas, a religious holiday, is a federal holiday in the first place. So, since the Chicago Criterion has yet to put the last few years' worth of issues online (but apparently intends to do so soon), here's my take on the matter, from the journal's December 2002 issue.

[UPDATE: The scanned pages are not showing up correctly here--I'll update again if Criterion puts that issue online.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: Xmas. Had to ask if you read the Festivus item (origins and those who celebrate the "holiday") in the NY Times seeing how you have quoted Frank Costanza at the top of your blog. Bye, JM