Ah, the holidays. Americans are working on another holiday tradition: the annual culture war over "holiday season" vs. Christmas. Gail Collins and David Brooks take on the issue in their regular shared online column in The Opinionator on nytimes.com. Brooks betrays an obvious fondness for Christmas - both the word and the holiday itself - from a Jewish perspective. Indeed, Brooks is that rare celebrator of the good things brought into the world by Christianity - my personal favorite being his appreciation of Bono. Brooks seems to come out in favor of "Merry Christmas"; Collins in favor of "Happy Holiday."
So where do I come down on the issue? My policy is to wish a happy holiday to those who I know are not Christian or to those of whom I am unsure. I choose this policy out of respect for the feelings of others. If that is political correctness, so be it. However, if I know someone is Christian, I wish them a hearty "Merry Christmas." I am always a bit perplexed when greeted by a fellow parishioner with "Happy Holiday." That seems quite ridiculous to me. If Brooks and the Muslim security guard can greet one another with Merry Christmas, surely believers need not be squeamish in this way.
So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
- Karen Spear, PhD
- I am the director of the Center for Organizational Ethics and an assistant professor of philosophy at Marian University. I received my PhD in ethics from Vanderbilt University. I have an MA in religion and culture from Catholic University of America and a BA in political philosophy from Kenyon College. In addition to directing the Center for Organizational Ethics, I teach Human Nature and Person and Personal and Professional Ethics in the Theology/Philosophy Department and Business Ethics in the School of Business. Prior to coming to Marian University, I taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis and worked as a research administrator at Methodist Research Institute, the biomedical research center for Clarian Health. Before settling in Indianapolis, I taught in the Theology Department at Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana and at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.