Bishop Ross Bay: In defence of Christmas


In an attempt to assist inclusive enculturation of migrants, the Auckland Regional Migrant Services thinks it best to avoid the word Christmas, and instead use “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings”. People can enjoy a “festive” lunch on the “seasonal” day. The intention is to avoid excluding non-Christians and those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

All very laudable in a way, though an interesting thing is that non-Christians are some of the biggest celebrators of Christmas and have already reinterpreted it to suit a secular society. Visit any shopping centre and the signs are there.

Christmas is part of us and our culture, however different people understand it.

He’s right.  In parts of Auckland where you are surrounded by temples and mosques, the Christmas decorations are somehow incongruously hanging from homes occupied by people from Iran, Hong Kong and India.  

The risk of expunging the word Christmas from migrants’ vocabulary is that there is a reduction in their opportunity to adapt to the culture of their new home, and the process of establishing their own cultural identity within it.

If we cannot weave the various aspects of the faiths and cultures of the different peoples of our nation into our common life, then there will be no colour or flavour to who we are.

What I am saying is that we need to address our fear of difference. That is especially so in a world currently wracked with fear and suspicion as a result of the current terrorist attacks.

Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks addressed this kind of fear in his 2002 book The Dignity of Difference, aptly subtitled “How to avoid the clash of civilisations”.

Sacks’ thesis is that we misunderstand inter-religious encounter when we seek to establish what we have in common. We imagine that to find common ground will reassure us that, at heart, we are all the same.

Rather we need to identify the differences that mark us out as being distinct. We do not have to accept those things as true for ourselves, or assent to them but can offer them dignity, recognising we carry the same image of God within ourselves, and that human difference ought not to be the cause of hatred or fear.

Sacks goes as far as to say this: “The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognise God’s image in someone who is not in my image? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image instead of allowing him to remake me in his.”

Come here.  Join the party.  Worship who you like.

But don’t expect me to change the way of life you came here to be part of.   If you are truly “offended” by New Zealand’s way of life, you better return from whence you came.

Of course, it is rarely the immigrants themselves who have a problem with it – it’s white, privileged Caucasian New Zealanders like Susan Devoy who are the real enemy.  They sell our birthright by pretending to be “inclusive”.  Worse, Devoy is our nation’s “race relations” ambassador.




– Bishop Ross Bay, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.