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Christ at Christmas Time

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
I like to think of myself as a tolerant person. I believe I am also reasonable and about as unbiased as they come. I am also handsome and intelligent, but we'll leave those last two alone for discussion later on.

I truthfully believe that I am also respectfully of the rights and opinions of others, even if I don't agree with them. They can be wrong if they want to, I don't care.

I feel very strongly about a person's right to worship whoever they happen to choose. It's their decision and not mine. I don't care if you want to worship a tree or monkeys. If you think these will get you into heaven when your time comes, then good for you. I'll miss you, but that's your choice. I choose to be a Christian, and follow that religion. To someone who isn't a Christian it's kind of hard to explain, but all I can tell you is that I am a better person than I was before and I believe what I believe through faith.

Now, last week I heard about something that gets my motor going. It seems that a group in the Chicago area was planning on having a festival called something like…'The Christkindlmarket of Chicago. Remember the name, since it's of great importance to my story. Be sure you remember the first six letters of the name of this event.

The sponsors of the event were accepting sponsors, such as BMW, Sony and others and they received and accepted an application for a group to promote the release of a new Christmas movie, called "The Nativity Story". All went well so far. Hang on, more to come, as you might expect.

The City of Chicago, in their infinite wisdom, cancelled the promotion of the movie. They said that it was 'too religious' and 'might offend others in different religions'. Unless the event organizers dropped the promotion of the movie, they would lose the financial support of the City of Chicago.

Excuse me, I'm sorry, but I think this is a CHRISTMAS event. I'll say it again, this is a CHRISTMAS event. For those of you who have just arrived from some other planet, the word CHRISTMAS is significant since it clearly defines who the event concerns. It is an event designed to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who happens to be a central figure to those of us who practice Christianity.

If you are adult enough to drive or manage to obtain a ride to any event, no matter what it's called then I would assume that you might have noticed that the event is about Christ at Christmas time. If it was called King Kong Market, then you might guess that it might be about something else. Likewise, if the organizers called it the "December Madness Destruction Derby" you might get a different idea of what the festival and market was all about.

We live in a free, or mostly free, nation. Our Constitution established that we have the right to observe whatever religion we choose. I can choose mine and you are free to choose yours, no matter what it might be. No one religion is to be preferred over any other.

Having said this, if I saw an advertisement for a festival, market or event being sponsored by a Muslim, Buddhist or a Jewish organization, I could jolly well choose to attend or not attend. That is my choice and my choice alone. I should not be offended if what they are selling or promoting is offensive to me. I made the choice to attend and I can leave whenever I want to do so. The same way I can leave a movie I don't like or turn off any television program I disagree with.

But, if I choose to attend a function organized by some other religion and I can determine beforehand that their beliefs or values may be different from mine by the very nature of the name of the event, then what right do I have to be offended?

In today's world we seem to be rushing so fast and hard to be politically correct that we are not allowing for anyone to stand for anything they believe in.

I do not believe that we can please all of the people all of the time. Someone is bound to be unhappy with any kind of decision made at any level, no matter how small or large.

Leave my religion alone and I'll do the same for yours.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

December 7, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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