Recently, the cultural diversity policy for the Lincoln Children’s Zoo prevented three of its sponsors from handing out coupons with a Bible verse printed on the back at an annual fundraiser. Therefore, the three sponsors, Evangelical Free Church, daVinci’s, and Champions Fun Center, withdrew their Noah’s Ark display from the event this year. Apparently, it’s okay to have a display of Noah’s Ark, but quoting the actual Bible story is somehow harmful to children. There is something remarkably absurd about a diversity policy that excludes religious expression. By definition, diversity should be inclusive, with all religions receiving equal footing. Unfortunately, many modern institutions seem to define diversity by subtraction rather than addition.
At no other time in the year does this become more clear than during the Christmas season. Even before Thanksgiving ended, the first shot had already been fired in the 2008 War on Christmas. In an article for the British newspaper The Observer, Rowan Walker reports that Oxford, England has banned the word “Christmas” from their Christmas Festival in an attempt to be more inclusive. Oxford now dubs the event the “Winter Light Festival.”
What is going on here? Who is offended by using the word “Christmas”? Every year, in the days leading up to everyone’s favorite holiday, we hear stories of businesses and public facilities replacing the “Christ” in Christmas with a big “X,” or requiring employees to greet everyone with a strictly secular “Happy Holidays.” It’s as if we are living in the dream world of Ebenezer Scrooge. “Merry Christmas? Bah, humbug!”
The fact is, no one should be offended by Christmas. It is ingrained in American culture: In “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, the single most popular Christmas special ever created, Linus quotes the Gospel of Luke 2:8-14, retelling the whole Nativity story outright!
So, why is there such apprehension to call Christmas what it is, Christmas! The problem is we live in a sinful world which cannot stand being reminded of the good news of Christ’s coming. John 3:20 “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (NIV). So don’t be surprised to hear stories about “Christmas” celebrations being restricted in the name of diversity. It’s just a thin disguise for the world’s hatred of the Gospel message.
By the way, if you’re planning to do any “Christmas” shopping this year, why not spend your dollars at a business which recognizes that you are actually buying presents to celebrate Christmas, not Winter Solstice or some other secularly correct holiday.
(Find Rowan Walker’s article on Oxford’s Christmas Festival at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/nov/02/christmas-political-correctness-oxford-christian.)