Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Political Crackedness

When I was in England in November I read in the newspaper the one of our high street banks had decided to stop using the humble piggy bank as a symbol for saving money. The reason is that they felt it might offend some Islamic customers.

I recall saying, ‘what?’ out loud on the train.

Later that week, talking to my cousins, I mentioned this and they said, ‘oh yeah…you are also not supposed to say A.D. or B.C. any more either…it might offend the Islamic groups…’


I thought it was an English eccentricity but now I have seen quite a few US blogs which have mentioned the fact that it is not politically correct to talk of the Xmas Season. We should rather say ‘Holiday Season’. The reason? Guess what…

I’ve never been a great fan of the kind of political correctness which infects our society at present but I suppose you could argue that it is the lesser evil and perhaps it makes us think a moment before saying or doing something that would be offensive but this kind of idiocy makes us all much more aware of differences and stokes resentments.

I asked the Asian guy who runs our corner shop what he thought of Xmas.

‘Best time of the year,’ he said, ‘great for business!’

I said I meant whether he thought it offended his beliefs. He just gave me a funny look which I guess was the best answer.

It is a wonderful thing that we live in a society which tries to be tolerant. In fact I believe we should be tolerant of everything except intolerance (is this another example of Gödel’s incompleteness theory?) but tolerance is not a one-way street - it needs to be mutual.

When you look in from the outside, some religious practices can seem more than a little weird but if you think hard enough you can often find reasons for them. Take Christmas itself as an example. It is just the old pagan celebration of the winter solstice – the time of the year when the sun seems at its weakest and dark night time is winning its battle against the day. In the old days of superstition and fear I can see lots of reasons for having a big party to try and convince the sun to come back again…and to use the pine tree, which unlike the other bare, black and leafless deciduous trees, has retained its needles and remained green throughout the winter, as a symbol of eternal fertility and maybe decorate it…come to think of it, perhaps we should stop using this pagan symbol of the Xmas tree…it might offend the Christians.


Rebecca said...

I am right with you! Indeed, a very simular post! There seems to be a lot of synchronicity going around lately. R

doris said...

There is a lot of topsy turvy going on.

I am concerned that this PC-ness (probably emanating from white middle class intellectuals) will have a political backlash on the non-Christians. What started off as well meaning but stupid gets out of hand. Next thing is people won't be able to refer to Divali or Eid etc.

I live in a majority Asian community with mixed Moslem and Hindu and other faiths. There are Christmas decorations up and great cheer between the different faiths. Maybe because there are celebrations and decorations going on almost year round that we have such a happy community!

I wish this stupid PC stuff would stop.

But I do have to say, that the Christian faith has some very narrow adherants that are exclusive and it is of concern what goes on in this and other faiths in the name of religion.