I am writing this in response to Earl Jess’ Dec. 6 Your Voice, “Say ‘Christmas’ loud and proud.” He attacked city of Tracy officials as well as the Tracy Press for using the term “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” He went on to insist that the Tracy Press and city officials refrained from using “Merry Christmas” because it somehow offends the “Muslims.”
Just to be clear, my position is that anyone who celebrates Christmas can and should use that term. However, those who choose to use the more inclusive “Happy Holidays” should not be chastised for doing so.
First of all, anyone with a higher education knows that Dec. 25 was not the day Christ was born, but the estimated winter solstice — a pagan tradition absorbed by Christianity in Western Europe.
Furthermore, there are several minorities who do not celebrate the birth of Christ in a religious fashion — some examples being Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims and atheists. However, pretty much all these minorities like to break up the monotony of winter and celebrate the holidays, not to mention give and receive gifts. Children of all religious affiliations get very excited what they might find under their “holiday tree” or under their pillows Dec. 25.
So if anyone uses the term “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” it’s in an attempt to include all of these religious minorities, not an attempt to offend Christians. I am certain a well-informed and accepting gentleman like Mr. Jess does not intend to deprive all those children of such happiness by insisting it is a Christian holiday exclusively.
Earl also wrote, “It is idiotic that schools are being told they can’t sing carols in school.” I am sure Mr. Jess, being the scholar he is, knows that when the forefathers coined the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” in the very beginning of the First Amendment, they did not establish an exception for any specific religion.
Perhaps when Thomas Jefferson coined the phrase “separation of church and state,” he was not privy to Mr. Jess’ infinite wisdom.
Furthermore, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in Everson v. Board of Education (1947) wrote: “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.”
Had Justice Black been offered the wise counsel of Mr. Jess, he would not have made such grievous an error.
I would like to thank Earl Jess for his words of infinite wisdom. I certainly hope he continues to write and share his intellectual wealth with the rest of us. Looking forward to hearing from you, Mr. Jess. I will certainly respond with due appreciation and admiration.