On Holiday Wishes From Atheists

Author Kevin Killiany pointed this out, an article on the American HUmanist Association’s new Christmas ad campaign.

What sort of ads? Their press release says this:

“No God?…No Problem!” proclaim the ads, featuring an image of several smiling, Santa hat-clad individuals. The ads will kick off in Washington, D.C. in time for Thanksgiving weekend, running inside 200 buses, fifty rail cars and on the side or tail of twenty buses. The campaign will continue with ads appearing on select buses in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco starting in early December.

And they have a website devoted to their ad campaign, too.

Frankly, I think this is kinda cool.

There’s more to being good than being godly. Christmas is a lot more than a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ; many of the things we take for granted with Christmas — like Santa Claus, like the tree and presents and misteltoe — are accretions from pagan religions. Eating roast beef for Christmas owes more to Mithras than it does to Christ. ;)

There’s no reason that atheists and the irreligious can’t celebrate Christmas. Hell, I’m probably going to work on getting my Christmas cards ready this weekend.

And yes, I said Christmas cards.

I never have a problem with wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

True story. About five years ago, at EB Games, on a weekly conference call, my district manager brought up that he was going into stores, and the employees were wishing people a “Happy Holidays.”

One of my fellow managers said, “But, they’re trying to be inclusive. We don’t want to offend anyone.” And then, he said, “What does Allyn think? He’s an atheist.”

To which I said, “I wish people ‘Merry Christmas’ all the time. None of this ‘Happy Holidays’ stuff.”

The reason was simple. “Merry Christmas” really isn’t offensive, precisely because Christmas has become the secular, commercial holiday that it is. If someone takes offense to being told “Merry Christmas,” they’re probably looking for any reason to be offended.

Or you could be like a friend of mine, and wish everyone a Happy Chrismahannukwanzukah. No, that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue naturally, but once you’ve practiced it a few times, it comes out pretty well.

I really like Christmas. I love listening to Christmas music; I’ll listen to it year-round. Why, just today, I was listening to Tori Amos’ Midwinter Graces and Enya’s When Winter Comes. And I’ll probably listen to the Fab Four’s two Christmas albums in the days to come, and Jethro Tull’s Christmas album, and Christmas Inspired by Lord of the Rings, and dozens more. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas if you’re an atheist. Hell, Richard Dawkins does, too. :)

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