Say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Say it. SAY IT!

Chris Buttars
Sen. Buttars

If we lived in a dictatorship, we would have a lot more kooky resolutions like this one.

Mormon Utah Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) wants to pass a resolution mandating that Utah businesses wish their customers “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings,” or, I’m assuming by extension “Happy Hanukkah” or “Eid Mubarak.”

From the Deseret News:

Buttars, who has taken on a number of controversial issues in the Legislature over the years including teaching creationism in public schools, said the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday because the United States is a Christian nation.

“We started that way and we still are,” the senator said.

He said although the language of the resolution has not yet been drafted, he wants to leave it up to retailers how they express their support for Christmas, whether in advertising, store decorations or employee greetings.

There’s a lot of material here for comment, but most of my comments are probably pretty obvious. Like, where is it written that we are a Christian nation? Many of the founding fathers weren’t even Christian, for chrissake.

And creationism? Well, that speaks volumes in and of itself.

Mandating private business to express support for a certain holiday, which Buttars himself describes as ‘Christian’? Wow, that sounds problematic. Of course, this is a resolution, not a law, but really?

On Dec.2 my man Keith Olbermann named Chris Buttars ‘Worst Person in the World.’ You call it like you see it, Keith.

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10 thoughts on “Say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Say it. SAY IT!

  1. I’m glad that at this Cruciible in History, a period RIGHT NOW of tremendous flux and change in our society, Mr. Buttars is laser-focused on the Big Issues of the day.
    There is no epithet ugly enough for your small-mindedness.

  2. About a month ago i felt like making a quick trip to Hell, so I hopped into my SUV and puttered on down to the old Walmart. as I searched for the perfect parking spot in the humongous lot a flood of childhood memories came rushing in. getting separated from my parents as they searched the shelves for something very important…hiding in the clothes racks in women’s wear because everyone looked so tall and scary…seeing someone who appeared to be my mother and grabbing her hand only to find out that it was a 34 year old man with a thin mustache…memories that built a childhood. I got out of my jeep, grit my teeth and shook off the brief moment of resurfaced terror.

    I entered the store and immediately noticed a new something tall and terrifying. a 25 foot fake christmas tree, complete with factory-installed decorations. I wouldn’t tell the tree that it was fake for it would probably crush it’s plastic feelings, but that is how most of the world see’s it. i walked past and headed towards the produce section of the megamart. that is when it hit me. the sound that I had been trying to drown out wasn’t the usual mall-cor rock and roll that usually filters in, but a cheap rendition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Keep in mind that this was over a month ago, to be specific, The Sunday after Halloween. Christmas is no longer a Holiday, but a bland, 2month, unseasoned, reduced-sodium, caffeine free light version of the side-show I like to imagine it used to be. ever see the Nutcracker? Councilor Drosselmeyer, Clara’s Godfather…creepy! that is what this holiday season needs more of…Creepy Consilor Drosselmeyers.

  3. I go out of my way to say Merry Christmas in Christmas cards, near Christmas, and just when I’m feeling good because it makes me feel even better to greet people with this warm sentiment. And I hope it makes themn feel good too. If they want to use other greetings that’s okay. Some of the trappings of Christmas, the tree, the decorations, and other aspects are from pagan rituals and beliefs but Christmas has a special meaning for many and should be able to honor that special meaning in whatever way they choose. I feel no obligation to say anything other than Merry Christmas at this time of year because I am neither Jewish or Black. They however should feel free to use whatever greetings they wish but should recognize the difference between what one group considers a high religious event and what are bascially secular holidays being celebrated by others. Stores and commercial establishments are faced with a dilemma so they do not offend any of their customers. A little broadmindednest on everyone’s part would be consistent with the overall nature of all of these holidays. But like everything else, we should be on guard that we don’t allow this ecumenicism and pc-ness to run amok so have to have every religious and non-religious symbol or event must be recognized simultaneously at the time of a long-standing Christian religious event. Others of the Santa variety should be satisfied to think of it as a pagan holiday devoted to pagan symbols and gift giving.

  4. “pc-ness run amok”? Wow.

    This particular time of the year happens to be filled with several different days that various groups (religious and otherwise) decide to celebrate in many ways. Simply because one particular religious group has celebrated Dec. 25th as one of its most important spiritual days for a long time does not place that group/holiday above all others during this time. I did not realize the longer the time, the greater the importance. If that is the case, pagan winter celebrations trump Catholic ones. What is wrong with being inclusive? If we aren’t to recognize all groups/events/holidays during this time, how will you decide which ones to acknowledge and consider of worth? Who gets to decide and whom does this benefit?

    Forcing all businesses to use one particular religious greeting during this time ignores so many other groups and their celebrations, thus demonstrating that one group (which in this country, is the dominant religious group) is superior. What if the employees and customers hold other beliefs? I personally don’t want to say or be greeted by “Merry Christmas”. Such religious practices should not be forced upon anyone.

    Individuals “of the Santa variety” as you put it do not need to be told how to think of this holiday. Santa still comes from a Christian belief system, but in contemporary times has been reimagined as symbol distance from religious connotations. Regardless, I will think of this time of year as it suits me and would appreciate if others did not inflict various religions elements on me (just as I will extend that same courtesy to them).

  5. An interesting balance must be struck on this issue. Since there is a “wall of separation” between church and state, which I am thankful for, the government should not be forcing any religion on anyone. Forcing salespeople to express allegiance to a certain religion in their customer greetings sounds so illegal in so many ways.

    However, I want to acknowledge the fact that 84% of this country’s citizens identify themselves as Christian. Because of their large numbers, Christian holiday festivities are going to seem ubiquitous to non-Christians. I don’t have a problem with that, per se. I take issue with the subset of Christians who expect everyone to take part in their holidays, and to hold their holidays as the most ‘right’, the most important, out of all other religions’ holidays.

  6. Ultima,

    You said “I feel no obligation to say anything other than Merry Christmas at this time of year because I am neither Jewish or Black.”

    Was this intentional or a sort of Freudian slip?

    To the best of my knowledge the majority of African-Americans in this country identify themselves as Christian and do in fact celebrate Christmas. They are not an ‘Other’ that applies in this case.

    Overall I think this is one of the dumbest Straw Man issues around. If you’re in a professional setting of any kind use happy holidays, as we live in a pluralistic society and there’s nothing hard about acknowledging that this is a special time of year for lots of different people.
    Privately say whatever the hell you want. Be aware that you might bruise some feelings, but it’s a free country for jerks too :D.
    I don’t think I’d be offended if someone wished me a Happy Hannukah, but that’s easy to say as a member of the dominant religion (I’m agnostic, but was surely raised Christian) and I think it’s easy to forget that.

    Happy Festivus for the Restuvus!

  7. It’s supposed to be the season of good will, but in early 20th century America it looks like it’s increasingly becoming the season of ill will. I read so much hostility and resentment in the words up above it makes me sad. A mature and tolerant society which is truly pluralistic and multi-cultural should be able to embrace the festive season with all its diversity and richness. There HAVE been extremes on both sides of this debate. And yes, hate on both sides. And yes, resentment on both sides. And yes, intolerance on both sides. None of this can be characteristic of a healthy society.

  8. I meant of course, early twenty-FIRST century. Now that we got that divisive December 25th business over with, happy 2009!!

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