Should Christmas be a public holliday?

Last week, a group of well meaning Christians, led by a political opportunist, marched to defend Christmas & Good Friday as public holidays. I’m not convinced they did the right thing.

Even if neither festival was without controversy regarding its origins & history, I’d still take issue with this protest. Firstly, Meshoe is using it as a campaign platform (sure, there isn’t an election coming up, but that doesn’t stop small time politicians from vying for the spotlight). Secondly, I think there is a point behind the statement:

“[It is] alleged that the celebrating of the two Christian holidays discriminated and excluded other religious denominations.”

Although the holidays themselves don’t exclude people, the exclusion of other religious holidays as public holidays while retaining Christian holidays does seem discriminatory. Christians have a long track record for supporting various kinds of discrimination though, so perhaps this just doesn’t bother Meshoe & his followers.

Let’s put this aside, and look what it actually would mean. Right now, Christmas is a globally supported commercial enterprise, not really a religious holiday. Even Diwali, which people (not dogs) find to be great fun is only really supported by Hindus, & the whole country does not grind to a halt, it still retains the religious significance it was intended to. Christmas, by contrast, is advertised all over the media as a time for partying drinking and generally overspending. It doesn’t belong to Christians, it belongs to corporations. Now perhaps trying to reverse that at this point would be futile, but at least, if it were not a public holiday, Christians could genuinely take ownership & say this is ours, like the Jews do for Yom Kippur.

Sadly, I think Meshoe will get support for his mass action (should it happen), and will wax lyrical about how he’d make a better leader because he is scared of Hell, so won’t be led into corruption, and he’d give you all the holidays you want too. The real problem, isn’t his political ends, but the reason he’ll get the support: people want excuses to drink; overeat and overspend, & they will support mass action for the right to do it while using religion as a smoke screen.

If you disagree with me, you are welcome to leave a comment, I’ll gladly publish other opinions. But if you really care about Christmas as a religious festival (which I’m not sure it is), then share this, or don’t, but get the word out there: supporting the mass action Meshoe advocates will allow a politician, as well as corporations to hijack your holiday. Also, think carefully about whether or not Christianity benefits from the enforcement of one of it’s holidays on non-believers.

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