Blogs > Cliopatria > A Christmas letter

Dec 22, 2005 7:37 am

A Christmas letter

Recently, I received on a private listserve a message from a contributor, citing what purported to be a column from a newspaper in Tampa, in which the author complains about "immigrants" violating the rights of Americans by insisting that people respect their cultures by not saying "Merry Christmas" to them. I have discovered that there are many reprints of it at various places on the web. Since there is no actual name or date attached, I do wonder whether the whole thing is a hoax (an exaggeration of the style of Defoe's "A Short Way With the Dissenters," etc.) However, since I saw people approvingly quote it, it seems important to me to reprint the column, with my own response.

I hope we all realize what dangerous messages we are being given in that short piece. The author, who is identified as "an American citizen," complains that, in the face of surging
"patriotism following 9/11, "immigrants" (plus "the politically correct crowd") are unpatriotically trying to take away his (I presume it is a man speaking) rights by asking him to respect their culture—by saying Winter Break, for example, rather than the traditional American "Merry Christmas." (Actually, much of the Christmas we celebrate--carols, the tree, presents-- is a 19th century invention, and the nation's Puritan founders would have been horrified by such "pagan" revelry) . The author says that "Christian men" founded this nation based on Christian culture, and those who support multiculturalism (i.e. respect for different cultures) or disagree with the author's ideas of the flag, the pledge of allegiance and so forth should leave.

Actually, this country was founded by people who believed in separation of Church and state, and who attacked religious interference in government. The Constitution never mentions “God”, and Thomas Jefferson even went so far as to refuse to declare a national day of thanksgiving because of its religious connotations. This country, beginning with its original Indian inhabitants, has always held people of different religious traditions--the first Jews, for example, came to British North America in 1654. The use of "In God we trust" as a motto on coins is a development of the Civil War period, and references to God as part of the Pledge of Allegiance it dates only to the 1950s.

In sum, despite the author's disclaimer that he supports "immigration," it sounds to me like he has a very ahistorical and narrow-minded view, since he scapegoats immigrants as different from “Americans” and assumes that they are the only ones who object to his particular conception of America. He backs up his argument by pointing to 9/11 as justification. In fact, the 9/11 attacks were a tragedy whose victims were primarily immigrants, some of whom were not Christian and not all of whom spoke English, but all of whom lived, and gave their lives, to enrich the life of their adopted country. But then, Americans have learned to their cost that favoring the religious ideas of the majority and associating conformity with patriotism is a dangerous business--as in the case of the Japanese Americans in the camps, whose "loyalty" was judged in part on whether they were Christians or Buddhists.

Happy Holidays (including but not limited to Christmas) and peace to you all.

Story in Tampa Newspaper

"Will we still be the Country of choice and still be America if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice ??????

Think about it

All I have to say is, when will they do something about MY RIGHTS? I celebrate Christmas, but because it isn't celebrated by everyone, we can no longer say! ay Merry Christmas. Now it has to be Season's Greetings. It's not Christmas vacation, it's Winter Break. Isn't it amazing how this winter break ALWAYS occurs over the Christmas holiday? We've gone so far the other way, bent over backwards to not offend anyone, that I am now being offended. But it seems that no one has a problem with that.

This says it all!

This is an editorial written by an American citizen, published in a Tampa newspaper.

He did quite a job; didn't he?

Read on, please!


I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we

are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11,

we have experienced a surge

in patriotism by the majority

of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had

barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about

the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by

coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there

are a few things that those

who have recently come to

our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a

multicultural community

has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we

have our own culture, our

own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.

Therefore, If you w! ish to become part

of our society, learn the language!

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women,

on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

It is certainly appropriate to display it

on the walls of our schools. If God

offends you, then I suggest you

consider another part of the world as

your new home, because God is part

of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or

you don't like Uncle Sam, ! then you

should seriously consider a move

to another part of this planet. We

are happy with our culture and have

no desire to change, and we really

don't care how you did things where

you came from. This is


our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the

right to express his opinion and we

will allow you every opportunity to do

so.! But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag,

our pledge, our national motto, or our

way of life, I highly encourage you

take advantage of one other great American freedom,


It is Time for America to Speak up


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More Comments:

Rob MacDougall - 12/22/2005

The column reads like a hoax/troll to me, but the sentiments expressed do exist out there in the world. Ugh.

Boston Globe columnist James Carroll had a very wise and generous response this week to the annual Christmas/Holidays kerfluffle (as he does to most things).

Sherman Jay Dorn - 12/22/2005

Fortunately, writers for the two Tampa area dailies are far more sensible than what you received in e-mail. Howard Troxler and Daniel Ruth strut their stuff for the St. Pete Times and Tampa Tribune, respectively.

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