Local poem promotes racism & xenophobia

T’was a few weeks before Christmas, and it appeared once again; the poem in the paper that needs to come to an end. A piece decrying that Christians dare consider another; that only their religion be the one to matter. “NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS” it screams, despite many other celebrations this season, “we’re Christians, therefore Jesus is the only answer that merits reason.” How dare the faiths that started using evergreens for decoration, request that it be called anything other than a Christmas tree for the occasion? No, Christians are entitled to take as they please, and all other religions better bow their knee. Canada is a free country, but only for a certain faith; don’t you dare celebrate anything else, because to do so is from Christianity to take.

I wish I could say I was surprised to open the paper and see a poem filled with such entitlement, privilege, and xenophobia sitting in an advertisement from a local realtor. I wish I could say that the arrogance in this poem, so horribly written, came as a surprise to me. But, alas, it did not, as this same piece of trash is run in at least one of our papers every single year.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — there is no damn war on Christmas. Christians remain the most entitled religion in all of Canada, being given more protection and promotion through our laws and representation in our government than any other.

Canada is a multicultural country. Between October and January, but especially falling in December, there are a large number of religious holidays that occur — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, Yule, and Saturnalia are just some of those events. Some of these holidays, particularly Yule and Saturnalia, were around hundreds of years before Christianity even began celebrating it’s biggest holiday of the year, Christmas.

Contrary to popular belief amongst Christians, there is no actual evidence linking the time Christmas is celebrated to that of Jesus’ actual birth. There was, however, another “secular” holiday celebrated by the Pagans — Yule. This holiday was co-opted by early Christians, taking many of the Yule celebrations and incorporating them into their religion.

While this is not necessarily a bad thing to tie the holidays together (hello Chrismukkah!), the Christian need to demand that all of these traditions now belong to them is beyond ludicrous. The Christmas tree and garland, for example, come straight out of Yule tradition. While it wasn’t necessarily a tree that was brought in, parts of pine trees were decorated to welcome the holiday season. Yule logs, which are also highlighted as part of Christmas tradition, also belong to their namesake.

Ironically, the original author’s complaints (and clearly, this particular real estate agent’s) about upside down Christian trees also falls flat, due to the fact that the origin of the upside down tree is actually Christian. In the middle ages, fir trees were hung upside down to represent the holy trinity. As for Target displaying them upside down, it had nothing to do with a need to “steal Christmas” or alter Christian tradition. They were hung upside down in order to allow them to display more Christmas ornaments that would be visible at eye level. However, in the world of Christian persecution, everything is an attack on Christianity. Even, apparently, Starbucks cups.

He also paints the desire of acknowledging the holidays of other religions to be nothing more than a politically correct ideology, as if no other systems of faith should be allowed in this country. In doing so, he also gets the time of year wrong for one particular holiday (Ramadan). Inclusion and diversity are also highlighted as being negative things — no, this country is for the white Christian only my friends! Only shall you be included if, as someone from another nation or belief, you choose to embrace the Christian ideology and forsake your own because to believe anything else is an outright attack on Christianity, amirite?

And oh, the old “they’ve made it illegal to say Merry Christmas!” claims. Another falsity pushed by arrogant people who believe their religious beliefs should have priority. It is very rare, in fact, to hear of any company that has outright outlawed employees from saying “Merry Christmas”, and it is rarer, indeed, to find people who are offended at hearing it. The switch from this greeting to Happy Holidays is to be inclusive (oh, that vile word) of all those patrons who may attend that business. To show them they are valued.

But perhaps, that is this man’s implicit intent? To tell everyone who is not a Christian that they are not valued. In that, I sure hope to God (quite literally), that this particular businessman does not have any clients of any other religious beliefs. Because if he does, in this awful piece, he tells them that their religions are ridiculous, and have no place here. That the desire to be allowed to celebrate their holidays and have them acknowledged is “too politically correct” and a direct attack on Jesus. That they dare to exist is a complete affront to his faith.

And that, my friends, is a little thing called xenophobia.

Something that the Jesus I’ve come to know over the years would find appalling indeed. In fact, Jesus spoke against xenophobia in one of his parables–specifically, in dealing with the Samaritan, where the Jews passed him over for being unclean and representing a non-Jewish faith. Because at that point, Gentiles could not be considered holy.

This man uses the name of Jesus to back awful views, despite the fact that Jesus welcomed all, loved all, and cherished all. Jesus dined with sinners and prostitutes; he let the unworthy sit and learn at his feet. Something tells me that Jesus probably wouldn’t be running around screaming “PERSECUTION” because other people, you know, dared to simply exist as they are.

One thing is for sure, this poem has at least acted as a beacon to warn anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the resident’s view of Christian superiority, to give his business a very wide berth

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