What I don’t understand is why the militant secularists are expending so much energy to remove Christmas from the cultural calendar while ignoring Christianity’s more immediate influence on the patterns of everyday life: the weekly calendar.
Government workers, students in public schools, and many other employees get Sunday off. That is a direct influence of the Christian religion. Observance of the “Lord’s Day” used to manifest itself in all kinds of so-called “blue laws” mandating the closing of businesses on Sundays, and though those have mostly faded away, Sunday is still a day off for lots of people, including federal workers! In fact, Saturday has also become a day off for lots of people, including public school children and public employees. That recognizes the Jewish sabbath. You will notice that the Muslim holy day of Thursday is not similarly set apart. Christianity and Judaism have a privileged place in Western civilization, as evidenced by our observance of their two weekly holy days. If it’s bad to establish one religion, it’s surely even worse to establish two.
Or three. The names of the days of the week are also religiously-laden. In addition to days honoring the Sun (Sunday) and the Moon (Monday), we have days specifically named after Teutonic deities (Tiews’ Day, Woden’s Day, Thor’s Day, Freya’s Day), plus the Greco-Roman proto-god Saturn.
If secularists object to Christ’s name being in Christmas, shouldn’t they object to Thor’s name being in Thursday? I suppose the difference is that lots of people still believe in Christ, who has pretty much displaced Thor worship. But still, the secularists believe in one no more than the other. And, I am told, there are certain pagans who are trying to bring back the old deities.
I hope I am not giving the secularist activists–or Christian activists worried about idolatry when they make weekly schedules–any ideas! If we start to see lawsuits trying to keep schoolchildren and federal workers from getting to stay home on the weekends, blame me.
But my point is that religion and culture are intertwined to the point that it is very difficult to unravel them. As has been said, the root of “culture” is “cult.” Not in the sense of a splinter religious group, but in the sense of “worship.”