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Political Correctness Modifies Holiday Language

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge: Christmas is a holiday that occurs somewhat uncomfortably in a nation that prohibits any official endorsement of religion. About 85 percent of the U.S. population calls itself Christian, and Christmas is a Christian holiday. But the fear of offending the Constitution, and of offending people of other faiths, has forced society to play down Christmas. We’ve come to call this the “holiday” season, rather than the Christmas season. A lot of community celebrations have dropped the word “Christmas” from their titles in preference of the world “holiday.”

But lately some communities are reverting back to the Christmas name. Last year, Encinitas relabeled its annual parade the “Christmas” Parade. This year, the Vista chamber of commerce did the same with its holiday Parade. It’s now called the Christmas parade.

Some people have questioned whether these actions exclude people who aren’t Christian. The argument is complicated by the fact that Christmas is a secular holiday in many ways. Is a Christmas tree, for instance, a Christian symbol?

Guests

  • Jim Baumann, president and CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce

Dan Eaton, These Days legal analyst

  • John Evans, associate professor of sociology specializing in American religions and politics at UCSD.

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