The Sun Newspaper (9 December) has started a campaign to save Christmas from “politically correct meddling”. Nativity scenes are banned from official cards, decorations cannot be put up in official buildings, carol services cannot be advertised in public libraries… Of course these things are not happening everywhere – not yet, anyway. But they have all happened this year in various parts of the UK. The claim is that openly celebrating Christmas is offensive to non-Christians. Anila Baig, writing in the same issue of The Sun says this is rubbish and, as a Muslim, she ought to know.
So who does find the open celebration of Christmas offensive? The liberal establishment does. Without wanting to appear paranoid or to see conspiracy everywhere, there is a common trend here. This is just the latest in a line of initiatives where Christianity and, in this case, Christian tradition are being targeted in the name of tolerance and avoiding offence. The irony is that the theoretical offendees are quite happy to admit they are not offended. The question remains, who then is offended?
Of course, there is much about the way Christmas is celebrated in the UK that true Christians find abhorent. But at the centre is Christ. There is the real offense. People would rather he remained hidden or even better – buried. At Christmas, the church celebrates God making himself known and putting his pre-planned world rescue operation into effect. The church cannot, must not be silent even in the face of pressure to keep quiet – there is too much at stake.
Footnote: The Bull Ring shopping center in Birmingham has banned Father Christmas for the same reason. So it’s not all bad then!