Sorry, you’re not being persecuted.

It’s the Christmas season. Bells are ringing; it’s snowing (not where I live, but in some places); sleigh bells are ringing; children are laughing, probably at a fart joke, while others are crying because they’re selfish little bastards who aren’t getting what they want for Christmas; someone has a Rudolph nose on their car (how cute); someone else is putting up their tree and stringing lights; girls everywhere are taking their winter selfies, being sure to get their best angle and include the red Starbucks cup they’re holding, which undoubtedly includes their misspelled name, and they’ll be sure to add hashtag #stupidstarbucksspellsmynamewrong #haha #omgeverytime! #peppermintmocha #starbucks #hashtags. And while all of this is occurring, Christians everywhere are being persecuted for their beliefs this Christmas. However, the ones that you see complaining about it on Facebook are more than likely not within the ranks of Christians who are actually being persecuted. Chances are, if you understand the language that this post is written in and you’re looking at it right now through some type of screen, you do not live anywhere near ISIS, or anywhere near a government who wants to kill you for your beliefs, or anywhere near a totalitarian regime that’s out to get you and will kill you if you are found with even one page of the Bible in your home. For crying out loud, you’re using your computer that connects to the Internet, probably while sitting in a Starbucks or equivalent coffee shop (you little hipster, you). Your Christmas shopping is probably done, or it’s going to be soon, you’ve got a credit card in your wallet, a warm jacket, a hat and a scarf, and you’re probably absorbed in your smart phone (which may be the screen you’re reading this off of, congrats).

If you’re one of those people who’s complaining on Facebook, then you’re probably complaining about one thing. And that complaint manifests itself as a lament that “Christ has been taken out of Christmas.” (And you will no doubt emphasis the word “Christ” in “Christmas” like that. Don’t even say you didn’t. I know you did it.) So far today, every other post has been some meme about us being “forced” to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” We’re clearly being persecuted, guys! That window painting has a snowman saying “happy holidays” and there’s  no reference to my religion!

That’s great. But here’s a question for you: Who the heck told you that everyone in the United States is being forced to say “happy holidays” or risk being publicly berated?

Here’s another question: Why is it so horrible and offensive that some people, mainly companies with a diverse base of customers, are using some non-holiday-specific greeting that is directed at people who maybe don’t believe in the same religion that you do?

And here’s yet another question: Why does it matter which greeting anyone uses at all? If someone said, “Happy Kwanzaa!” or, “Happy Hanukkah!” would you still be offended, because it’s not your holiday? How dare different people hold different traditions and beliefs. That’s outrageous and offensive.

And now here’s something to think about: I have heard the words “merry Christmas” come out of the mouths of nearly everybody who’s offered me a holiday greeting. If they said “happy holidays” instead, it was almost exclusively within their work environment, where, chances are, they were told to say that instead of something that was religiously affiliated, out of respect for their customers’ beliefs and preferences.

Now here’s another question: Why does “happy holidays” have to be referring to Christmas anyway? Are there not multiple holidays all within a matter of weeks? We go from Thanksgiving to Christmas to the New Year within two months. Actually less, considering Thanksgiving is at the end of November. So who’s to say that these people wishing you “happy holidays” aren’t referring to more than one of the holidays that falls between November 27 and January 1? The phrase “happy holidays” is actually used more in reference to a combination of Christmas and the New Year. Maybe this person is just thinking ahead. They know that you have not one, but two holidays coming up, and they won’t see you for the second, so they’re wishing it to be “happy” in advance.

This is not persecution, nor is it removing “Christ” from “Christmas.” Social media has grossly aided in the perception of some kind of mass outrage over the phrase “happy holidays,” and in perpetuating the idea that thousands of people (only in the United States, mind you) are being chastised for saying “merry Christmas” because it’s “offensive.” I know very few people who would find a holiday greeting offensive, and all of them are the type of people who would also be offended by someone looking at them the wrong way or stepping onto the sidewalk in an awkward fashion. But when you get a couple of people who are outraged about something and stick them on Twitter or Facebook, suddenly it looks like everybody is outraged. In reality, it’s a few easily-outraged people who are making a mountain out of what wasn’t even a mole-hill. More like they made their own mole-hill and then proceeded to make it into a mountain. It’s ridiculous, and this is not persecution in any sense of the word. There are literally Christians being beheaded in the Middle East. Little Children. That is being persecuted. There are governments in the world that have outlawed Christianity. The fact that the police have never showed up and disbanded your church, or taken your Bible away and arrested you, is a testament to the freedom that you actually have. Nobody is telling you that you can’t say merry Christmas, and when you tell other people to stop saying “happy holidays” simply because it offends you, since it doesn’t refer to your own beliefs, then you’re doing to them exactly what you’ve falsely claimed is being done to you. Where this Christmas Greeting War idea came from, I have no clue. But let’s stop perpetuating it, shall we?

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