Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Phony War on Christmas Arrives in Waterloo

The new editor of our Faculty Association Newsletter, David Wang,
has fired the opening salvo (go to page 3 and read the editor's message). For those who don't feel like reading it in full, here's one of his remarks:

'I was recently in a local coffee shop that was decorated to the hilt but had only "Happy New Year" on its window. To say that this was annoying would be an understatement.'

Well, that make sense to me. I mean, who could disagree that it is the obligation of every coffee shop to honor the Christian religion? There's a law that says that every coffee shop must be decorated every December with tacky reindeer, elves, and tinsel, right? And be sure that the message "Merry Christmas" is displayed prominently, for the penalties are severe -- if you do not comply, then some patrons might be annoyed! None of this "Happy Holidays" or "Happy New Year" nonsense.

Strangely enough, though, there does not seem to be any similar obligation for coffee shops to celebrate Hanukkah. This is clearly unfair. Jews should demand that every coffee shop display a large, 5-foot, lighted dreidel.

Wang goes on to say,

' our society, freedom of religion increasingly is equated with absence of religion. This is a very dangerous trend.'

Again, who could disagree? What could be healthier for a society than that every religious believer -- be he Christian, Muslim, Jew, Sikh, or Hindu -- demand that his religion receive universal societal acclaim, and be annoyed when this does not occur? Why, that would never result in any violence, would it?


Larry Moran said...

David Wang doesn't seem to have considered the possibility that the owners of his local coffee shop may not have been Christian.

I sick and tired of this kind of whining. Cultures change over time. We are becoming much more non-religious and this is a good thing. Tell Prof. Wang to deal with it. He should put up an extra "Merry Xmas" banner in his home if he's suffering from Christmas withdrawal.

Theo Bromine said...

The Ottawa airport had a dreidel - eat your heart out, Seattle.

But if Prof Wang would have accepted Happy Hanukah or Happy Diwali, why does he have a problem with being wished Happy New Year? Surely he can see the difference between his generous statement that he "would never dream of going to a Muslim country and demand that no one wish me a Blessed Ramadan" and his apparent demand that, in Canada (not an officially Christian country last I checked), he be wished Merry Christmas in addition to Happy New Year. If the owners of the coffee shop were, for example, Jewish or Chinese, it would have already been cross-cultural for them to say Happy New Year for Jan 1.

[And when I check the top of the page, and see that Prof Wang is in Electrical and Computer Engineering, my first response is to say to myself "that figures" and my second is to sigh heavily, since I too am an Electrical Engineer, as was my father before me.]

Anonymous said...

I don't know who Wang thinks he's condescending to, but I hope his engineering skills are better than his ability to construct an argument, because I'm not impressed in the least by his tripe.

Thus, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas... and if you wish to great me with [...] some other greeting of special significance to you, I thank you sincerely!

How about "Bah! Humbug!"

The Ridger, FCD said...

What a freaking hypocrit. He claims he wants to wish everyone Merry Christmas and let them wish him whatever they want, but when they wish him Happy New Year, he rants on about it for an entire column.