As the sole contributor for Things I’ve Noticed, I want to wish all of you a wonderful day. Merry Christmas! There, I said it, and I’m not Christian. The whole dilemma of whether to say it or not has been blown out of proportion. I can understand that government entities which are supposed to separate church and state should not be showing manger scenes and should be careful in not endorsing a religion. But for private businesses, it shouldn’t matter. If the majority of the people in this country are Christian then that’s what anybody who is here should be willing to accept. It shouldn’t make them feel uncomfortable just as being around a person of a different religion should not. It’s OK to say Merry Christmas even if the day doesn’t have the same significance to you as it does to devout Christians.
It would be nice if people from the mainstream would learn about their non-Christian friends’ religions just as they might want to learn about their families or hobbies. It’s such a pleasant surprise for a non-Hindu to say Happy Diwali to me. In no way does it mean that they are endorsing my religion and giving up their own. It would just be a sign of acknowledgment. India has it right in this way. There is such a mix of religions, but people who have friends of other religions know about the other religions’ holidays and wish their friends well upon each of their own holidays.
On the other hand, if somebody doesn't want to say Merry Christmas, it doesn't mean others should ostracize those people or want to kick them out of the country. It would be nice of them to say it, but this is a free country that allows us to believe what we want and to be offended by what we want. I’m endorsing the use of “Merry Christmas,” but there are other happy holidays besides New Years that we can take the effort to learn about. Christianity and all religions are supposed to be about peace and good will towards others. There is no better way to practice this than to understand each others’ perspectives whether they are Buddhist, Mormon, Atheist, or Pantheistic. I never liked the bumper sticker that says, “Tolerance. Believe in it.” anyway. Tolerance just means that we can deal with each other being different if we have to. It sounds so negative. The stickers should say, “Diversity. Appreciate it.”