Evidently folks get really riled up in the UK over seeing a Christmas tree in the month of September. They’ve taken to writing letters and everything.
Mail Online is reporting that a bowling alley in Cambridge put up an artificial tree last week top promote booking of holiday events at their venue. Some customers, however, see it differently, going so far as to say “…The tree was probably extremely offensive to people who do not have Christianity as their main religion.”
Secularism is alive and well in the UK where the difference between freedom of religion is often confused with religious freedom.
But, seeing that the Christmas tree is a secular symbol anyway, why would someone who isn’t Christian be offended?
Folks need to realize that for as silly as such news reports and incidents seem there is a world-wide debate raging over the presence of religion in the public space — even spaces controlled by private entities like a bowling alley in Cambridge.
These media-driven incidents blow out of proportion the “offense” such things cause. Chances are that now that the news reports have been published there will be no more letters written in haste to the venue’s management. They got what they were seeking.
Christmas is an easy target for secularists. By calling anything religiously affiliated “offensive” pressure is applied to remove it — even from private property.
Political outcry is subduing Christmas in two separates parts of the world — the Canadian province of Quebec and the country of Germany.
Quebec is locked in a debate since the rise of Parti Quebecois (PQ) whose leaked legislation last week is causing a stir not only for Christmas enthusiasts but also for defenders of rights of religion and speech. According to a leaked document published by Journal de Montreal, the long-awaited â€œCharter of Quebec Valuesâ€ set to be released this fall, will forbid employees in courts, law-enforcement, schools, hospitals, and daycares from wearing â€œconspicuousâ€ religious symbols. Banned religious symbols will reportedly include turbans, hijabs, kippas, and crucifixes. Christmas enthusiasts fear this will include Nativities, Christmas trees and even Santa Claus.
In Germany, home to so many symbols, icons and traditions of Christmas, the trend towards “religious neutrality” is leading some to contend that Christmas is being erased.
Already Germany’s famed Christmas markets have been renamed “Winter Markets”. Christianity is not alone. There are wide reports of the transformation of the feast marking the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, to Sommerfest (summer festival), with the district apparently saying that religion has no place in public places. Apparently the district has also removed the word “religion” from the official criteria for its awards for citizen engagement.
Berlin especially will be the focus of anti-Christmas activity this year. The authorities are allowing no more Christmas celebrations in public places or streets. A Christmas tree may only be set up in a central location, allocated by the authorities in advance – so reports the “Berliner Zeitung”. The ban on celebrations was decided by the Greens, the Left and the Pirates. The SPD [Socialists] and CDU [Merkel’s party, mainstream right] were apparently against it.
Christmas fans can expect this trend to continue. While there will be no shortage of Christmas in stores and advertising the continued attacks against public Christmas celebration, observance and even acknowledgement will continue.