Cultural Revolutions

A Christmas History

Before Christmas, Peter Brimelow used my article “Happy Holidays? Bah! Humbug!” (Vital Signs, December 2001) to kick off’s annual War Against Christmas competition.  Since then, I have received a steady stream of correspondence—some of it sharply critical, but most of it extremely favorable.

Of course, not everyone liked the essay.  I learned that my piece was “ungenerous,” “unchristian,” “inflammatory,” “malicious, ignorant, and arrogant,” and “so offensive as to demand immediate and forceful rebuttal.”  I also picked up some revealing history lessons, which show that those discomfited by the public celebration of Christmas tend to subscribe to the darkest possible view of Christianity.  For example: “[I]f [the Jews] do not have an equivalent of a Bach Christmas Oratorio, it is because Christians had them penned up in ghettos until the mid-18th century.”  The same correspondent also hastened to underscore “the hatred the Christian has manifested for non-Christians in the last thousand years” and “the arrogance of the Christians in refusing to accept that others may not believe as they do.” 

My essay reminded one Hindu correspondent that...

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