This year’s war on Christmas (or rather Christ; we all like a good party) is failing to engage me in the way it did last year when I was aching to put the X into Xmas (I obviously didn’t mean Chi). I’ve a sneaking suspicion British Christians have more or less given up. Sure, searching Google news on ‘War on Christmas’ gets more than 1,000 results, but even the wackiest American commentators have had to back down and agree the secular greeting ‘Happy Holidays’ is kosher.
More interesting is that here at home the film Narnia is generally derided for its Christian content, which the Guardian’s Zoë Williams complains is terribly unfair to Christians. Another unlikely defender of those of faith is Mark of K-Punk who takes Williams’ argument further. The assumption that religious non-Christians are so terribly intolerant they’ll be offended by the nativity is racist; it’s not just patronising, it assumes an inferior value system.
While I think Mark goes too far when claiming Christianity’s stock has fallen so far it’s on a par with Nazism, I generally agree. Yet I also wonder whether censorship of the nativity is real or imagined by Christians who feel their special festival has been hijacked. These stories always appear to have been made up by newspapers seeking sales by playing on people’s fears.
The casual dismissal of Christianity is important, but rather than being an outlet for racism I take the positive view that it marks an awakening. Religion is being displaced by a search for reason and when we consider what we used to believe we feel foolish.