Christmas: crucified by do-gooders in Great Britain
Thursday, December 07, 2006
By Jeff Randall Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 08/12/2006
Before you ask, I haven't become a weirdo fundamentalist. This is not a matter of religiosity (I flicker somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer). My protest is about resisting those who seem hell bent on turning Christianity into a crime.
In the United Kingdom, this time of year is a Christian festival — as it should be. It is part of our heritage. You don't have to be a fire-and-brimstone evangelist to respect a faith that still underpins traditional British values and institutions, even though much of its spiritual message was lost long ago in a fog of consumerism. Jettisoning Christmas-less cards is my tiny, almost certainly futile, gesture against the dark forces of political correctness. It's a swipe at those who would prefer to abolish Christmas altogether, in case it offends "minorities". Someone should tell them that, with only one in 15 Britons going to church on Sundays, Christians are a minority.
None of the Christmas-less cards that I have received came from a PC nutter. A few were from good friends and business acquaintances. But I rejected them anyway.
It's sad, but I suppose we have become used to ghastly councillors, such as those in Birmingham, trying to rebrand Christmas in favour of something more multi-cultural, even pagan, eg, Winterval. It should come as no surprise that third-rate minds produce only third-rate ideas.
But what I found so shocking this week was a survey from a law firm, Peninsula, revealing that three out of four British employers have banned conventional Christmas decorations, lest they offend employees of other faiths. Bosses, the report said, are worried that they could be — wait for it — sued if they were to allow displays of Christian joy, but not those of other religions. Can they be serious? If that were not bad enough, the health-and-safety stormtroopers are parking their tanks on our tinsel. Santa's sleighs need seat-belts, and mince pies must be "risk-assessed" before being handed out to children.
Royal Bank of Scotland has told workers not to put decorations near computers, as they could be a fire hazard, or risk injury by standing on desks to hang up holly. It's just as well that the chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, isn't that timid, or the bank would be still be using an abacus in Edinburgh instead of cutting a swath through America. What is the matter with these people?
The paradox of the dreadful campaign to create a culture of resentment against conventional Christmases is that it's being led neither by ethnic minorities nor leaders from other religions. Quite the reverse. Many non-Christians seem genuinely baffled by our desire for self-abasement. Every year, I receive a proper Christmas card from the owner of my local curry house. He's a Muslim from Bangladesh. If I told him that we were banning Christmas, he'd be horrified. It's his busiest period. In my experience, Muslims are not offended by Christmas, not even in Islamic countries. Eight years ago, my family and I spent Christmas in Dubai. There the hotel went out of its way to find a Christian clergyman (he was a Greek Orthodox priest) to perform a service for us on December 25.
No, it's not the Muslims, Jews or Hindus who are behind the drive to secularise Christmas. They are not the culprits. The presence of a small cross round the neck of a British Airways check-in staff member does not prompt them to scream in protest, vomit in the aisle or rush for a transfer to another carrier. On the whole, they couldn't care less. The demons in this horror story of crucifying Christmas are white, middle-class do-gooders whose assumption of a superior morality is as disgraceful as it is disgusting. They are busybodies, obsessed with forcing on us their vacuous "ethical" code. In the view of Dr John Sentamu, the splendid Archbishop of York, they are "the chattering classes", who see themselves as holding a flag for an atheist Britain. Actually, they are more pernicious than that. The teachings and guidance of old-fashioned Christianity offend them, so they seek to remove all traces of it from public life.
Christian voluntary groups are harassed on the grounds that being a Christian excludes "diversity". Christian Unions at universities are suspended because they insist that their members have Christian beliefs, which is interpreted as opposition to gay sex.
It's extraordinary. In an increasingly godless age, there is a rising tide of hatred against those who adhere to biblical values. It is not yet illegal to be a Christian, but woe betide those who hold fast to a standard of behaviour that was once the moral norm. As a contributor to our Letters page asked yesterday: will those who are offended by Christmas also be offended by taking paid leave on Christmas Day and Boxing Day?
It wasn't meant to be like this. Somewhere along the line, a loose federation of diversity champions, equality campaigners and human-rights activists has metamorphosed into a tyrannical minority for whom Christmas is an abomination. Its demands for freedom have become an all-out assault on those Protestants and Roman Catholics who deplore "the permissive society". At this time last year, Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, was upset that his official Christmas cards contained only the anodyne message, "Season's Greetings". He vowed that, in future, his cards would have a real Christmas thought.
Jack, I doubt that I'm on your list, but, if you were to send me a proper card, I promise it will not end up in the bin. The source...The Telegraph