Let me begin by saying that my views on the constitution (in which we explicitly state we will have no national religion) have not changed. No, instead I just happen to view Christmas as a secular holiday-rather than a religious one. I know Jews and atheists who celebrate Christmas. Of course they don’t celebrate it religiously, but they exchange gifts. The American consumer-and consumerism worldwide, for that matter-took the Christ out of Christmas decades ago. So, why shouldn’t government institutions be allowed to decorate? Christmas is just another Hallmark holiday, anyway.
By the way, this isn’t meant to be a cynical article. I’m not even saying it’s necessarily a bad thing. I’m merely pointing out that Christmas has lost its spiritual meaning to a lot of people. I like seeing Christmas decorations put up as much as anybody. They can give a city block (or a government building) a peaceful, pleasing look. And, I’d be willing to bet that a large percentage of those who view the decorations don’t immediately conjure up religious feelings upon the viewing.
Let’s put it another way. The mail doesn’t run on Christmas. Banks are closed on Christmas. Most businesses are closed on Christmas, with the possible exceptions made for retail stores. Christmas is more like the Fourth of July than it is like Good Friday-which is a true religious holiday. It’s almost as if the government, some years ago, declared Christmas as a secular holiday and after generations, we’ve all bought into it.
If I believed that a majority of people who are not Christians were truly offended by Christmas decorations, I would have voted for, and written to, the no side of this debate. The simple fact of the matter is, most people-religious or not-do not view Christmas as a particularly religious holiday. It has become so ingrained in our psyches (and in our national economy) that the spiritual nature of Christmas has long ago been lost. With that being the case, then there is no conflict for government buildings to display Christmas decorations for fear of disregarding “separation of church and state.” Displaying Christmas decorations just isn’t religious by nature.
Should city and town governments be allowed to display Christmas symbols? Given the fact that Christmas has become more of a secular holiday than a religious one. Given the fact that, essentially, Christmas has become a national holiday. Given the fact that almost nobody gets offended at the sight, I can’t think of a good reason to forbid these kinds of displays.