Monday, December 26, 2005


This traditional Christmas Eve in the City of Angels might offend someone:

It's a traditional Christmas Eve here, not Winter Eve, not Holiday Eve. The Grinch who is trying to steal Christmas has not yet discovered this city.

In the lane where I live, some shops have decorations and signs with the actual words "Merry Christmas". There are no signs saying "Happy Kwanza", or "Happy Hanukah", or "Happy Winter Season". Some people might feel offended.

This afternoon, as I walked into the building where I live, the doorman greeted me with a hearty, "Merry Christmas, Sir". He did not greet me with some bland alternative.

Tonight in the lobby of the building, a choir of school girls came to sing Christmas carols. They sang the traditional ones, including "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Silent Night, Holy Night". All the words followed the original lyrics.

And all of the school girls in this choir have similar skin color. There was no forced attempt to achieve a quota of racial mixing.

The choir director for these 8-12 year-old girls is a middle-age man. This man is not a sexual predator; he's their music teacher.

Santa Claus came along, too: a robust, jolly man with a hearty laugh and a huge bag of gifts for the children here. The children here are all rich kids -- this is an expensive part of town. Santa and the kids were having a lot of fun. Nobody was fretting over some "disadvantaged", poor kids on the other side of town.

And Santa was a white man - Caucasian - just like the traditional Santa used to be. And he had a pillow under his red costume to ensure he looked traditionally obese. In some places, obesity is against all the regulations.

After the caroling, I walked to a nearby restaurant for their Christmas Eve dinner. Not a Winter dinner, not a holiday dinner; the sign indeed said, "Christmas Eve Dinner". Dinner was roast turkey and roast pork with sausage stuffing: real meat, not some healthy, low-fat, or vegetarian substitute. And for desert, traditional plum pudding with hard sauce: Real hard sauce, the kind the soaks into your arteries and refuses to leave. Hard sauce hasn't been banned here, yet.

At the next table, a young couple had just finished their meal. They were enjoying an after-dinner cigarette.. Yes, in the year 2005, they were smoking inside a restaurant. And nobody else seemed to care. Can you believe it?

Feeling quite satisfied, I strolled back home in the early evening. Along the way I was greeted with the occasional "Merry Christmas to you". Not everybody was friendly - this is not Disneyland, after all - but I did see many smiles.

Ah, yes, Christmas is here, in the traditional way. No grinches lurking around, trying to enforce diversity, multi-culturalism, food regulations, anti-obesity campaigns, or no-smoking regulations. Nobody standing over your every move to make sure it won't offend somebody else.

And as I walked back along the lane, I couldn't help noticing the dozens of smiling, giggling, prostitutes. They looked so adorable in their little, red, Santa hats and their short, short, skirts.


Yes, prostitutes, wearing little, red, Santa hats and short skirts, getting ready for their normal, Saturday night's work. Prostitutes have been a tradition around this part of the world since long before the birth of Christ. Nobody here seems too offended by that tradition either.

This year I am enjoying Christmas in the city of Bangkok, Thailand; a city whose name -- in the local language -- means, "City of Angels". Seems a fitting name for a place where men still have the freedom to enjoy Christmas as they wish.

Peter in Bangkok (Email: )

The above email reminds me of my previous posts about the enthusiasm for Christmas in China and Malaysia -- and also of this:

"Hundreds of young men decked with tinsel wander outside Senegal's mosques, hawking plastic Christmas trees. Women pray to Allah on a sidewalk where an inflatable Santa Claus happens to be hanging.

Senegal may be 95 percent Muslim, but it certainly knows it's Christmas. In fact, for this nation of 12 million it's a national holiday.

Blame it on globalization, which has turned the West's yuletide icons into a worldwide commodity. Or the Internet, or Hollywood, or the availability of travel that allows new generations of Senegalese to sample Christmas at close quarters. But mainly, Senegalese revel in the trappings of Christmas because they can and want to.

Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as a prophet, but don't generally celebrate the date of his birth. Many Muslim societies discourage Christmas hoopla. But Senegalese say they have a long history of tolerance and coexistence with Christians, so why not share Christmas?"

It is only the hate-everything Western Left who are intolerant of Christmas


(From Deroy Murdock)

The idea that Christmas is offensive offends me.

I say this not as a Bible-waving Religious Right-winger, but as a socially relaxed libertarian whose last wisps of faith evaporated in college while studying the Holocaust. (I never could wedge the phrases "loving God" and "gas chamber" into the same sentence.) Even as a non-believer, I resent the relentless drive to convert Christmas into "Holiday" and pretend that all those beautifully decorated trees are really Hanukkah bushes, Kwanzaa shrubs, or Solstice topiaries.

The Orwellian impulse to hammer Christmas into the generic "Holiday" is mainly a project of far-left, militant secularists as well as corporate marketers whose courage can be measured in thimbles. Fearful that "Merry Christmas" might make someone "uncomfortable," they instead antagonize the 95 percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas, according to a Fox News poll.

Some have gone further, with acts that are insensitive, offensive, or simply stupid.

* The White House this month mailed 1.4 million cards wishing recipients a "Happy Holiday Season." This is not the first such generic card design, but in today's atmosphere, it made many Bush supporters grind their molars.

* In Manhasset, N.Y., Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman upbraided a Catholic priest who appeared at a Dec. 2 Christmas festival. "We're here to celebrate the holiday tree lighting," Kaiman said after Father Nick Zientarski offered a blessing. "This is not the place for a religious ceremony." Kaiman apologized after he unleashed a maelstrom.

* Centennial, Colo.'s Heritage Elementary School banned cookies shaped like Christmas symbols, candy canes bearing religious messages, and teacher and student references to seasonal gatherings as "Christmas" parties.

* A Memphis, Tenn., public library allowed a Nativity scene _ provided Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were excluded. (Manger, yes. Messiah, no.) Attorneys persuaded the library to reverse this decision.

* Much as "Uncle Joe" erased his enemies from photos of VIPs taken atop Lenin's Tomb, Stalinists at Ridgeway Elementary School in Dodgeville, Wis., airbrushed the lyrics to "Silent Night." Children in its "Winter Program" instead sang these bastardized words: "Cold in the night, no one in sight/winter winds whirl and bite/How I wish I were happy and warm/safe with my family, out of the storm."

"Silent Night" is neither a paean to Christianity's darkest hours, such as the Spanish Inquisition, nor a blood-soaked depiction of Christian Muslim-killing during the Crusades. Either might terrify first-graders. Instead, it features some of music's gentlest lyrics: "Silent night, holy night/All is calm, all is bright/Round yon virgin mother and Child/Holy Infant, so tender and mild/Sleep in heavenly peace/Sleep in heavenly peace."

How jarring. This leveling campaign is also tactically idiotic. Many of those undermining Christmas happen to oppose the teaching of intelligent design, favor gay marriage, and support physician-assisted suicide. These are all weighty matters on today's public agenda. If "progressives" want to be taken seriously on these issues between January and November, it would be smart not to spend December pettily tormenting those who usually disagree with them.

Americans who busy themselves bleaching Christmas into "Holiday" are the same folks who otherwise preach tolerance and celebrate diversity. Well, how about tolerating those of us, Christians and otherwise, who advance diversity by observing Christmas, just as other Americans mark Hanukkah and assorted occasions this season? "Holiday" does not recognize these separate practices; it swirls them in a conformist blender. The meaningless puree that emerges satisfies no one. Christmas is a cultural expression as well as a religious one. It should be preserved as such.

For me, and surely others, "Silent Night," Saint Nick, and Christmas cards (not "Holiday" cards), conjure up fond memories of drinking egg nog with relatives at grandma's house, wrapping gifts with my mom and cousins, waking up at dawn to see what Santa Claus brought me and my sisters, and assembling train sets and Hot Wheels race tracks with Daddy. By laundering Christmas right out of December, the "Holiday" police condemn these formative experiences as evil. Shame on them.

If the radical secularizers have the courage of their rigid convictions, they will lobby Congress to repeal Christmas as a federal holiday. Then we all can go to work every Dec. 25. I wonder if that would make anyone "uncomfortable."

Enough is enough. Get off our backs. Merry Christmas!

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