A Secular Christmas
By Yaron Brook (Washington Times, December 29, 2004)
The attempts around the country to eliminate the term "Christmas" are being perpetrated largely in the name of "political correctness"--to avoid offending anyone, particularly Muslims, whose beliefs would exclude them from any Christmas celebrations.
These efforts represent, not secularism, but the standard liberal, subjectivist philosophy of multiculturalism, which seeks to prohibit any "offensive" actions and words--and it is a philosophy that should be denounced.
Christmas can be celebrated as an entirely secular holiday, and public schools should therefore be permitted to do so. The prohibition against the endorsement of religion by governmental entities, however, is an entirely different matter: it is a Constitutional issue of separation of church and state. While public schools may celebrate Christmas, they have no right to make it into a religious observance, by featuring explicitly religious themes like the Nativity.
The essential point that needs to be emphasized in this issue is that the separation of church and state is a principle that is not synonymous with the politically correct notion of showing "sensitivity" to everyone's beliefs. The government may--and should--engage in actions that offend certain viewpoints, such as the viewpoints that are hostile to freedom and individual rights; government must, however--in order to preserve freedom and individual rights--refrain from supporting religion.