From my kitchen here in Edinburgh right now, I can hear the bell of Broughton St. Mary's Church calling the flock in for the Christmas morning service, and it doesn't make me bristle. And I don't mind the huge Norwegian Christmas tree that is always erected on The Mound behind the Scottish National Gallery (a gift from Hordaland in Norway in memory of close ties during the Second World War) being called a Christmas tree. The nativity scenes put up here and there annoy me to the same extent as the menoras in some windows, which is to say, absolutely not at all.The UK actually is a theocracy... but a serious, completely secular person shouldn't mind it at all.
The Christmas Eve carol service from King's College Cambridge, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, is worth hearing by anyone who appreciates high-quality choral music, and if some public funds are used to get the outside broadcast trucks to Cambridge and the mikes set up, I say good, spend it. The BBC's short sermon each morning, "Thought For The Day", studiously circulates through Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Islam, so determined are they to be eclectic in their spiritual uplift. I disappear into the shower rather than hear the platitudes, but I'm not inclined to campaign for removing them from the airwaves. Considering that the UK actually is a theocracy (the reigning monarch is both head of state and head of the uniquely established church that the state recognizes), it's all pretty relaxed and inclusive and not worth a serious person's protest time.
December 25, 2011
"... but not secular enough to grumble about other people's enjoyment of what they regard as the birthday celebration for their spiritual savior," says Geoffrey K. Pullum, at Language Log.