Christmas: Who’s Really Offended?

Are you just a little annoyed when you hear about some shopkeeper being stopped from displaying a nativity scene or a school group being told they can’t sing Jesus-based Christmas Carols (the real carols – as opposed to Christmas songs) for fear of offending ethnic minorities or atheists?

I’m not annoyed because people might get offended.  I’m annoyed because, despite the allegations of offence, I’m yet to meet one ethnic person or atheist who is genuinely put out by traditional Christmas celebrations on the grounds of their religion or lack thereof.

Sounds to me like a case of people taking offence on behalf of those who are not themselves offended.

Who are the political correctness merchants deciding what must become unacceptable, when no offence could possibly be intended and could not reasonably be taken?

The children’s nursery rhyme, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”,  was apparently going to be changed in Birmingham a few years ago for fear of upsetting (dare I say it?) ‘black’ people (before the parents of black children rightly took exception to being so insulted by the allegation that they would be offended by anything so trivial).  Similar stories have surfaced elsewhere in the UK since then (but wouldn’t singing about ‘rainbow sheep’ potentially offend just about every race or nationality, anyway?).

How can anyone be so easily judged by simple words or actions without checking the attitude (and facts) behind them? Black sheep exist. Christmas is about Jesus and it was actually given its contemporary existence by virtue of being a celebration of the birth of Christ.  Take that away and we have a festive season alright, but one devoid of the guest of honour.

As we have seen, though, Christmas was originally just that.  It was a Roman festival of indulgence and Christians piggy-backed it. But this doesn’t change the fact that it has traditionally been associated with Christ within a nation that is nominally, but still statistically, almost two-thirds ‘Christian’.  Therefore, it logically must be able to continue to be celebrated as a Christian festival by anyone wanting to do so.  Anyone who is seriously offended in a country that so prides itself on tolerance can and should feel free to tell us why.  I won’t hold my breath waiting though, because I’d be surprised to discover the existence of any such person.  If they did surface, though, I’d relish the opportunity to show them just how much they misunderstood the liberating, equalising and multicultural heart of the one who came to actually set us free from such political-correctness-gone-mad nonsense!

And with that, I’m signing off for 2012. Have a great Christmas and a prosperous, happy and healthy new year!

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