Anyway, here's Sullum's article:
[I]t's remarkable how many people at this time of year will insist with a straight face that they are celebrating a secular winter holiday season, when the reason for the season—the birth of the Christian Savior, whom his followers believe to be the Son of God—is about as religious as things get....So Jesus's birthday was actually December 25th? Which came first, Christmas on December 25th or the tradition of celebration at the time of the solstice? It's way dark this time of year, and we need some encouragement one way or another.
I'm not sure this sort of thing rises to the level of a constitutional complaint, but maybe we'd all get along better if the majority did not pretend that everyone can comfortably celebrate Christmas. The other day, as we were preparing for the first night of Chanukah, we had a visitor who remarked that she had always thought of Christmas as a secular holiday. My wife, a rabbi, explained to her why that view is problematic. Upon leaving, our visitor wished me a happy Chanukah and a merry Christmas.The majority doesn't "pretend that everyone can comfortably celebrate Christmas"! The majority of Americans may be Christian, but even within this majority, many prefer for the shared public forum to be secular. And most of those who want to see more Christmas displays and to hear more wishes of "Merry Christmas" are not expecting nonbelievers to celebrate the religious holiday. They may also think -- as many nonChristians also think -- that it can be happy and heartwarming to see the signs of other people's religion -- at least in a free country where no one is trying to make you do anything other than passively witness what other people choose to do.
I've always loved this short blog post that my ex-husband, Richard Lawrence Cohen, published 4 years ago on Christmas Eve:
Merry _________Yesterday, I was doing some Christmas shopping down on State Street here in Madison -- a city with various religions and quasi- and non-religions. There were hardly any shoppers, and I thought that was pretty sad -- and way too desolate 2 days before Christmas. I wondered if the place was deserted because of the lack of stimulating decorations. There are huge piles of snow everywhere, and the decoration the city has chosen to display is the large snowflake. There's just a big white snowflake affixed to each lamppost. [ADDED: Actually, only a few lampposts have these snowflakes.]
As a Jew, a liberal, a lover of the Constitution, and a loather of Fox News, I wish to declare that the word “Christmas” does not faze, throw, offend, upset, or disconcert me in the slightest.
When I was in a 90% Jewish public elementary school in the Bronx, we learned Christmas carols at this time of year. The songs were pretty, and it was a way of finding out about another culture, one that was all around us and well worth finding out about.
On the shopping street of our 90% Jewish neighborhood, the lampposts and subway girders were strung with lights, Santas, and snowmen, to attract customers.
If anyone had suggested establishing Christianity as the official religion of our country, we would have been outraged. But the fact that we lived in a predominantly Christian country was no outrage.
Many Sunday mornings I woke to the ringing of bells from the Catholic church across the parkway. It sounded nicer than the El going by every five minutes. And I took Driver’s Ed at a Catholic girls’ school, Mother Cabrini High—which is another story.
And then, in one store, where I bought 5 gift items, the shopkeeper put everything in separate boxes, nicely folded inside colored tissue, and gave me a hug. I said "Merry Christmas," and this seemed to flummox him. He said: "Happy... Happy!"
Oh, the conflicts!