Saturday, January 10, 2015

Don't Need Christ to Celebrate Christmas

Shortly after Christmas, a letter titled Without Jesus Christ you can't have Christmas appeared in the South Jersey Times. In the letter, Merrit L. Marsango, the writer, referred to another letter by Gloria Zapolla titled A Christmas Prayer, which doesn’t mention Jesus. Marsango quotes extensively from Zapolla’s letter. You can read both letters yourself. I left these comments on Marsango’s letter:

When Congress declared Christmas a legal holiday, it ceased being strictly a Christian holiday. This is so, because America is based on the principle of separation of church and state; i.e., a nation based on freedom of religion or conscience.

Government can not be a tool of special interests seeking to impose its own belief system, whether faith-based or reason-based, on all others. America is not a Christian Iran. As a legal holiday, it follows that Christmas is a secular holiday, in which every individual’s moral right to celebrate Christmas in any way he prefers is legally protected, and should be respected. Unless one believes America is no better than the theocracy of Iran, simply replacing ayatollahs with priests, this is the only view consistent with American principles as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment.

While I disagree vehemently with much of what Zappola writes, let me say this: Christians don’t have a monopoly on morality or good will toward others. You don’t need Christ to celebrate Christmas.

As an aside, Zapolla complains about “extremism” in reference to religious moral absolutism:

Each soul stands equal to all others and each deserves respect. No view of life and life's purpose can be superior to any other. No absolutes exist, no certainties, no universal right or wrong, merely different points of view.

Of course, one area of agreement between religion and Objectivism is that moral absolutes are possible and necessary. After that, we part ways. Objectivism objectively validates its view of moral principles. Religion punts, resting its morals on an arbitrary “God Said.” I left this snarky response to Zapolla’s moral relativism:

“No absolutes exist, no certainties, no universal right or wrong, merely different points of view.”

Is that an absolute certainty, universally applicable to all?

You can always spot a fallacy. It is self-refuting.

Related Reading:

The Real Meaning of Christmas: What Would Jesus Teach Today?

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