It isn’t often that I agree with Brian Rudman, perhaps once a year.
Today is one such day, I’m feeling a little queasy. He has a crack at Muslim apologist Dame Susan Devoy.
It would be great to see Human Rights Commissioner Susan Devoy take on a real problem, instead of wasting time on hoary old sillinesses like dropping the word Christmas from our summer vocabulary.
Dame Susan wants to save me, and the majority of New Zealanders who are not Christian, from feeling excluded at this time of year. Let me assure her that as long as the sun shines, the wine flows and there’s plenty of pork crackling, I don’t care what the season is called. As for what the Christians get up to inside their churches, that’s their business. I don’t feel left out in any way.
As patron of the Auckland Regional Migrants Services (Arms) Dame Susan says she agrees with the agency’s policy of avoiding the word Christmas, by referring to “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” and other euphemisms instead. Arms is planning a “festive lunch” instead of a Christmas lunch, so non-Christians won’t feel excluded.
As one of the 41.9 per cent of New Zealanders who ticked the “no religion” box in the 2013 census, I’ve never felt excluded or ostracised by the use of Christian-based words like Christmas or Easter. Our Northern Hemisphere ancestors were holding festivals to mark the beginning of spring and winter long before this Johnny-come-lately religion appeared on the scene and hijacked the dates. In recent years, the rest of us have been steadily claiming the holidays back.
Nor do I feel isolated by the emergence, in recent times in Auckland, of public celebrations for non-Christian events like Diwali, Matariki and Halloween.
Arms and Dame Susan are well-intentioned, but surely new migrants don’t need protecting from the cultural idiosyncrasies of their new land. Most of them, I suspect, come from countries with a smorgasbord of festivals that leaves our handful looking very miserly.
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