The Reason for the Season

The following is the fourth in a series of writings which I have composed previously. It was written in December 2004.

I never realized how much Christians attempt to use public institutions to promote their religion and regard any opposition as an attempt “to take Christ out of Christmas.” (I suppose Catholics could accuse Protestants of attempting “to take Mass out of Christmas.”) This perception is simply not true. Secularists do not question the right of Christians or anyone else to celebrate as they wish in their churches, homes, and private businesses. They only oppose the use of their tax dollars to finance someone else's religious observances. Why is this so difficult for many to understand? Being the majority doesn't mean one can trample on the rights of the minority. There are two basic principles, to which any person can reasonably subscribe:

  • One may use private resources to celebrate any religious observance.
  • One may not use public resources to celebrate any religious observance.
It's also frustrating to hear people say that without Christ there would be no Christmas. It's true that it wouldn't be called “Christmas,” but we should not forget that the Romans celebrated the winter solstice with Saturnalia and that Christmas was specifically scheduled in its place for various reasons. Saturnalia included public merriment and the exchange of gifts. Many other pagan traditions also relating to the winter solstice, such as the Christmas tree, were added throughout the years. Though not in its present form, “Christmas” existed before Christ as non-Christian winter festivals.

Axial tilt is the reason for the season.


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