BY JOE DORMAN
In this age of hyper-sensitivity, I do not understand why people get so offended when one wishes to spread cheer with whatever greeting is offered. I am a Christian. I celebrate Christmas. I do not want people to belittle my beliefs. I, in turn, should respect the beliefs of others [so long as they are not harmful] and not belittle theirs, even if I do not conform to them.
I was at a party last week and saw a friend whom I met last year. Without really thinking about it, I wished him a “Merry Christmas.” He smiled and extended the same to me. A few minutes later, I remembered he is Jewish. I sent him a message later wishing him a “Happy Chanukah” also. He laughed and again wished me a “Merry Christmas!” I was glad I remembered to be respectful to his faith, even though I do not celebrate those customs. I appreciated that he was courteous to me by greeting me with what I observe.
I co-authored legislation two years ago to ensure teachers could hold Christmas parties for their classrooms. Many schools were worried it was a violation of the law to hold such parties. This was bipartisan legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. I was disappointed it did not include a respectful view of some other holiday celebrations. Amendments failed that would have included other recognitions. Just like Santa Claus does not always bring the right gift, sometimes the best legislation does not pass into law.
I just do not see the need to get angry because a person says, publishes or posts something with good intentions which might not conform completely to my beliefs. We see too many people pick fights on social media because someone will post their views and others feel a need to engage. I am fine with people posting their beliefs whether I agree or not, so long as they are based in fact and not ignorance or hatred and a civil discussion can be had.
That being said, I recently saw a picture showing a cemetery with text stating this was a good place to send widow and orphan refugees. As we are celebrating the birth of Jesus in a few days, I ask, What Would Jesus Do in that situation? It must be the election season and candidates who bring out anger in people, not the teachings of Jesus and the Christmas season.
So, as we enter these latter weeks of December, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Eid al-Fitr, Saint Nicholas Day, Eid’ul-Adha, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Three Kings Day/Epiphany, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, Yule, Saturnalia, and a very Happy New Year! Oops! I almost forgot Festivus.
See, who needs to simply say happy holidays?
– Joe Dorman served House District 65 as a state representative for 12 years and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Oklahoma. Currently he is the Community Development Director for Heart Mobile.
Editor’s Note: Continuing a tradition that he began in 2009, Joe Dorman is collecting Christmas cards to be delivered to soldiers recovering at Fort Sill’s Reynolds Army Hospital and Warrior Transition Unit, as well as veterans cared for at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City and the seven veterans centers located across the state. More than 4,000 cards were delivered to Fort Sill alone two years ago. Cards received by Dec. 18 will be delivered this year; those received later will be stored and delivered in 2016. To participate, send cards to Holiday for Heroes, c/o Joe Dorman, PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082.