Each Friday, Yahoo! Canada News asks Canadians where they stand on the important issues of the day, and our panel of experts tackle the same question.
This week we asked:
Is there too much political correctness around Christmas?
Thomas Bink: I think things were getting a bit out of control. First we couldn’t say “Merry Christmas”, then they stopped playing Christmas carols or displaying the Nativity, all in favour of the softened, politically-correct “holiday” theme aimed at not offending those who don’t celebrate Christmas. I’ve never been a big fan of political sensitivities, and if people want to wish me a “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” that’s totally fine by me, I’m not offended. I’m glad the Conservative government has stopped the pendulum swing and told government employees to celebrate the season however they want. It’s long overdue.
Andy Radia: I agree with you Thomas. I grew up in a Hindu home and every December we said Merry Christmas, put up Christmas trees, and sang Christmas carols. I even attended Christmas Eve mass with my friends' families. However, I think I'm a little more sympathetic towards the political correct police than you are. I think their hearts are in the right place; they are trying to keep religion out of our schools and out of our government offices. I think the solution is — as you say — let's celebrate all religious holidays. But we've got to keep it in check. I don't want anyone, for example, forcing Christian prayers at our public schools.
Chase Kell: My family and I have always held our Christmas dinner at my mother’s house. Sounds rather ordinary, I know, but due to the small size of our immediate family – and the large size of the Christmas turkey – several years ago we began hosting a few of my Jewish friends for Christmas dinner. They’d walk through the door, bottle of wine in one hand, dessert in the other, and they’d wish us a Merry Christmas. My family and I would wish them the same, without even thinking about it, and never have any of them complained that it made them feel uncomfortable. I think a lot of Canadians would agree with Tom: Wish me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah and I’ll be far from offended. Merry Christmas has become the default seasonal greeting for this time of the year, and I think many Canadians understand that. And besides, it’s the well wishes that really count.
Bink: Yeah, I think we’ve all gotten a bit over-sensitive lately. I’m not religious at all, so maybe these things don’t sting me as much as they might others. What makes Canada great is that we celebrate all different cultures and religions and we don’t get all wrapped up in biblical connotations. Personally, I’m a bit more offended by the blatant consumerism of the season than whether there are menorahs or Christmas trees in the windows. I say celebrate whatever you want however you see fit, and allow me to do the same.
Radia: Here here. Celebrate the way you want, if you don't like the way others are celebrating look the other way. Like Chase said, I think the majority of us are of the same mind about this issue. I think it's going to be interesting, however, as we move forward, to see what Christmas will look like in this country 20 or 30 years from now. StatsCan tells us that in the major cities the visible minorities will be the majority. Does that mean Christians will become the minority? What will that mean for Christmas? Anyways, that's in the future. For now Merry Christmas to all!
Kell: Andy raises an interesting point. Canada’s ever-expanding multiculturalism is nothing new, but you don’t often hear much about its potential affect on, say, the country’s ubiquitous celebration of Christmas. I think it’s safe to assume that such a change in the cultural landscape will only further justify the desire/need for political correctness, but I can’t see Christmas falling off of its pedestal any time soon. No matter how much the blatant commercialism can irk people such as Tom and myself, the government would be remiss to extinguish an economic cash cow such Christmas. But whatever may come of the Christmas season, I’m not really concerned. For me, Christmas is a time to be with family and friends, and as long as they don’t mess with my Swiss Chalet Festive Special, I’ll be happy as a clam.
What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments area below.
Pulse of Canada appears each Wednesday and Friday
on Yahoo! Canada News.