Friday, December 7, 2007

Peace on Earth...please

Australian Santa gets old heave ho ho ho
CANBERRA / A Santa in an Australian
department store said this week he has been fired for saying “ho ho ho” and
singing Christmas songs to children.

Employment company
Westaff, which supplies stores with redrobed, white-bearded Father Christmases,
had earlier asked its Santas to say “ha ha ha” because the word “ho,” which is
American slang for whore, could offend women, media

In the latest incident, the Cairns Post
newspaper said 70-year-old John Oakes was fired Monday for saying “ho ho ho” and
for singing the Christmas song Jingle Bells.

trying to kill the spirit of Christmas,” said Oakes, a retired entertainer who
has been a Santa for three years.

Well there you have it, another knock at all that is sacred about Christmas. Think of this well you sing some “festive songs” and hang the decorations on your “holiday tree” or visit your kid’s schools to hear them sing in the “winter holiday concert”.

When did it come to this? So sensitive that we would actually believe that a jolly fellow in a red suit is calling women “whores”. At what point did we become so sensitive that we are offended by anything that even slightly hints of a religious overtone. Or rather a Christian overtone as I don’t see anyone telling the Jews they have to change the menorah to the “holiday candle holder” and the dreidel to the “winter holiday game”.

Now before we get off course here let me state that I am certainly not here to preach or to defend Christianity. Nor is it my intent provide a history of Christmas and its origins. My point here is simply the oversensitivity of the population and how that is destroying traditions that have been ongoing to literally hundreds of years. Traditions that have melded and grown to have their own unique non denominational meaning. Sure there are still the nativity scene and all that it represents just as there is the menorah and countless other religious symbols. And as there should be in a society that values freedom of expression and freedom of religion. So why are there limits on this freedom?

My personal belief system embraces freedom. I love that we live in a country with such a vast diversity of culture and belief. And I respect the personal freedoms of every individual, though I may not agree with them I do respect every persons right to an opinion and a belief.

I respect that if your belief would have you wear a certain head dress; that should not restrict your pursuit of a career in the armed forces or police. I believe that if your children should have the freedom to worship as your beliefs dictate and this should not bear any restriction in their right to an education. I am elated to know that the education my children receive teaches about other cultures, beliefs and diversity. So long as the personal rights and freedoms of all are not compromised through the spreading of hate; then we are each entitled to these freedoms and beliefs.

I only ask that these freedoms not be compromised by fear and sensitivity. I do not ask you to believe what I believe. But I ask you that the long standing traditions surrounding Christmas not be compromised and rebottled into generic holiday jargon that can be easily consumed by the hypersensitive masses. I hope that the true Christmas feelings of love, peace, unity and harmony not be lost.

I have a Christmas Tree. My family sings Christmas songs. I respect your right to celebrate this time of year in anyway you see fit.

But my Santa says “ho ho ho” … and he is not a pimp.



Mave said...

This strikes me as a slightly xenophobic, or at least a very culture-bound, view of things. You are basically saying "I like things to be done the way I am used to them being done, and I don't want them to change as the population and culture change!" You are also discussing public displays as though they are private - implying that changes in the wording or implementation of these things threaten your private ability celebrate as you wish, or that the celebrations in the public sphere should reflect your personal tastes, beliefs and interests. Which is, of course, not so.

There is a long and interesting history to this holiday, and it isn't, in fact, a christian holiday at all, but rather an amalgamation of festivals from various populations and cultures from across the globe.

Christmas started out as a pagan tradition that was practiced for time out of mind. It involved the use of a holiday tree, and festivities around the winter solstice. Christians did not celebrate a winter holiday until church officials decided to co-opt the pagan traditions in a push of cultural imperialism - to spread christian beliefs to the "heathens". The feast of the nativity was created to coincide with the winter solstice, even though Jesus (if he ever really existed) is believed to have been born in the spring.

Santa is a mutation on the european saint nicholas, and his name came from a mispronunciation of the dutch name "sinterklaus". In holland and in most parts of europe, where santa originated, the traditions and mythology surrounding him are quite different than they are here.

These stories have evolved countless times over the years, and I've no doubt they will continue to. The perception that changes to the traditions and ideas surrounding the winter holidays threaten your religion or your personal rights to celebrate as you wish is rather baseless, and a bit egocentric. There are many different holidays celebrated at this time of year by many different peoples - all living right here in canada. The fact that some people choose to embrace that and be inclusive of others should be celebrated - especially if the spirit of christmas is really what you claim it to be.

mave said...

This is actually a hoax. Just thought you should know.