NEW YORK -- Christmas in America is not a clash of civilizations, but rather a celebration of diversities. But to lots of people, it doesn't seem that way. Across America school districts are forbidding the singing of Christmas carols, nativity scenes are being banned in public places, and in malls the "Christmas" sales" are now "Holiday" sales. Although we are part of the 20 percent of Americans that are not Christian and the 5 percent that do not celebrate Christmas -- unless the giving of gifts and gratuities constitute "celebrating," and if that is true then we are part of the 95 percent that are celebrants -- we have nothing against and are part of those who enjoy the entire Christmas experience. What's not to like? People are friendlier and music fills the air.
However, we have the whisper of an unworthy thought that if polls were taken of only the givers -- the bosses, the employers, the apartment dwellers and all the myriad people from whom gifts are sought on a virtually obligatory basis, as opposed to the people with their hands out -- the percentages probably would tip more towards the Scrooges.
Personally we like Christmas carols --especially sung by Bing Crosby -- with their simple and elegant melodies and chord structures that have survived in the same manner as other folk songs that have been handed down through the ages, such as those of Scotland and Ireland.
We cannot see how our beliefs are jeopardized by someone else celebrating their beliefs -- particularly if the celebrations are those consisting, at least in part, of love, family values, spirituality, and giving thought to the less fortunate.
We would have a very fragile religion if 2000 years of our culture and beliefs were threatened by Bing Crosby singing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas (incidentally, written by a Jew), Santa Claus, and mistletoe. Now, if it were KKK celebrating their holiday by exchanging presents of bed sheets or singing carols beside burning crosses, or the Romans tossing another Jew on the Yule log, or the Ghost of Christmas's Past turning out to be Yasser Arafat in a Santa Claus suit, it would be another story. But until then, hand us the check books and turn up Bing Crosby.
Jews seem to be heavily involved in this repeal movement. They would do well to remember Pastor Niemuller's observation: In Germany the Nazis came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unions, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I was a Protestant and I didn't speak up. Then they came for me and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.
The point is, of course, if Christmas is abolished from public display, can the fate of Chanukah and the myriad of other Jewish holidays be far behind?
Also, if the Christians are discouraged from buying Christmas presents, some thought must be given to the question, "Who is selling the presents to the Christians?"
And lastly, a word about the ACLU. The ACLU is an organization supported by many liberal Jews and is in the forefront of efforts for a public suppression of Christmas. They are also vocal in criticism of American treatment of terrorists. It is our respectful observation that it is the terrorists who have affected the way in which we now have to live our lives, have created serious economic consequences for us and caused the death of thousands of Americans -- and not Bing Crosby.
With these thought we want to wish our friends both Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah --as least as long as we are permitted to do so.