The wacky UK Christian organisation Christian Concern for Our nation (CCFON) are worried about the Equality Bill, which is “so complex that interpreting it could lead to bizarre decisions by town halls and other organisations”, and are quoting bishops who have voiced this very fear.
Basically – and you can read CCFON’s concerns here – they feel that equality will mean a council, for instance, won’t be able to favour Christianity above, say, Islam or Hinduism, and so will be reluctant to call something Christian or Christmas, but wil have to bow to the other religions, too, and come up with something else.
If this really is the case, and councils will ban the use of the word “Christmas”, then that would, indeed, be a shame, because that’s what we call it. We don’t have to believe in what it means to Christians, and many people don’t understand the significance of it, anyway. It’s just a time for overeating, getting pissed and receiving presents. And, whether we like Christianity or not, it applied the name “Christmas” to this time of year centuries ago, and that’s our tradition.
We don’t complain that days of the week are named after gods such as Odin and Thor and Frigga (or Fricka, take your pick).
Even among those for whom Christmas is a more reflective time, there will be many who see it as a time for family and friends, concerts and just doing different things, but won’t “celebrate” the birth of guy two thousand years ago who may or may not have existed at all, and almost certainly not in the clinical way he’s portrayed.
But historically it’s still called Christmas, and I, for one, don’t even mind the odd carol. See my article in G&LH of last December on why I wouldn’t want to take the Christ out of Christmas – but see it only as a syllable.
However, it’s a syllable that’s part of the word that we’ve come to use historically for a time of the year when we begin the climb to spring and punctuate the darkness of winter with mirth and joy, however we decide to do it.
I do wonder, though, whether these Christians are overstating things. Quite often, tabloids come out with all kinds of horror stories about how Christmas is being banned, and it turns out they’ve got the story arse about face or are just stirring it for ethnic minorities.
CCFON also obsess, as you would expect, about sexuality, of course:
Under the provisions of the Bill, public bodies could also be forced by law to promote homosexual and transsexual “rights”. Also, churches and other Christian groups could be forced to employ practising homosexuals, transsexuals and civil partners.
Note the scare quotes around “rights”. If atheists put quotes around the word when talking of Christian “rights” (oops, I just did it!) they’d be moaning. They refuse to see that it’s not a question of rights above others’ rights, just rights to be treated equally and have relationships recognised in the way hettie relationships are recognised. What’s wrong with that?