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Religious Messages Virtually Gone from British Christmas Cards

The Christmas season in Britain has become totally deChristianized.

Only one in 100 Christmas cards sold in Britain contains any religious imagery or message, a Daily Mail survey has revealed.


Traditional pictures such as angels blowing trumpets over a stable, Jesus in his manager, the shepherds and three wise men following the star to Bethlehem are dying out.

Instead, scenes of the Nativity has been replaced on cards by designs or jokes with little or no relevance to the Bible story and the true meaning of Christmas.

One 'offensive' card risked provoking Christians by suggesting the shepherds only saw the angel appear on the hillside because they were hallucinating after smoking drugs.

And another card ignores Christmas altogether - wishing the recipient a "Happy December".

Other designs include a pan of Brussels sprouts, a shoe, a woman pointing a gun at 'chavs', a moonlit bridge and, bizarrely, a line of meerkats.

Religious groups and MPs last night warned that the multi-million pound Christmas card industry was losing sight of the real reason for celebrating the festive period.

They also aired concerns that religious images were being scrubbed from cards because of political correctness and the fear of offending other faiths.

How is simply selling Christmas cards that celebrate the birth of Christ offensive? People aren't forced to buy them and mail them out. If someone does not celebrate Christmas, he wouldn't receive a Christmas card anyway. What a sad state of affairs that political correctness has gotten so out of control that merely looking at a religiously themed Christmas card is defined as being oppressive to non-Christians. Soon, it will be deemed oppressive to other religions to even declare oneself a Christian in public.

It's an unfortunate fact that Christianity is dead in Britain and Europe. And as Britain and Europe have been learning the hard way, nature abhors a vacuum, which is why Islam, and a radical version at that, is filling the void.

Update: Christmas trees in the Seattle airport have been removed after a Rabbi complained.

A local rabbi wanted to install an 8-foot menorah and have a public lighting ceremony. He threatened to sue if the menorah wasn't put up, and gave a two-day deadline to remove the trees.


Sea-Tac public affairs manager Terri-Ann Betancourt said the trees that adorn the Sea-Tac upper and lower levels may not properly represent all cultures.

She said that since this is their busiest time of year and they don't have time to add a fair representation of all cultures, her department decided to take down all of the decorations, review their policies, and decide if they need to make a change for next year.

Added: A couple of commenters have made the observation that the reason for the diminishing number of religious Christmas cards in Britain is due to the free market. That is a reasonable assumption and one that I'd say is probably correct. However, my questions is why are people choosing to not purchase religiously themed Christmas cards? I would guess, and I think I'm right, that it's because over the years in Britain Christians have been encouraged, if not out right admonished and bullied, to not express their religious faith in public because of the growing number of Muslims, atheists, and secular/humanists that have raised a cacophony of complaints about being offended by this kind of religious expression. Additionally, the British government instituted its policy of multi-culturalism, which is failing. As a result, the British citizens, store owners and such, fearing being labeled religiously insensitive or bigoted by activists have resisted outward expressions of religious faith. As a result, more and more British children were raised in that environment and not only accepted the secularization of public life, but probably also began to teach it indirectly to their own kids. Consequently, Britain has become a nation where Christianity is no longer accepted in public life.

If you disagree with me, please feel free to explain why in the comments. If you agree with me, I'd like to hear from you as well.


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Comments (31)

Speaking as a non-white, no... (Below threshold)
GRY:

Speaking as a non-white, non-Christian who nevertheless respects traditions like Christmas, I suggest that such attempts to enforce political correctness are for the most part undertaken by atheists and people harboring a misguided sense of white-guilt. While I have no evidence to back up such suspicions, I reckon that most people of other faiths, on whose behalf such efforts are often undertaken, are either indifferent or mildly offended, if only because we don't wish to look like grinches. Merry Christmas!

Kim, do you *ever* think be... (Below threshold)
cat:

Kim, do you *ever* think before you post? The reason it's so hard to find a nativity Christmas card in a British shop is because no one buys them. Why? Because all the real Christians go to church. And that's exactly where the real Christians buy their Christmas cards because the proceeds go to Christian charities. The rest of the population is split between insipid "Seasons Greetings" and joke cards. Not because they've been intimidated by the PC atheists and Islamic fundamentalists - it's just the way the British are. By the way, the Daily Mail is as much of a "newspaper" as the New York Post (ah yes, Surrender Monkeys - that was a good one!).

Here's a question:

Is "Happy December" (a) PC gone mad, or (b) a joke?

Free-market Republicans are... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Free-market Republicans are not going to tell the greeting card industry what they can and cannot publish, are they? I hope not.

"Religious groups and MPs last night warned that the multi-million pound Christmas card industry was losing sight of the real reason for celebrating the festive period."

Nobody is "enforcing political correctness" as suggested by GRY. In a free domocracy people get to choose their own reasons for celebrating the season, and to buy the card that expresses that reason. The fact that they choose non-christmas cards is a sign that they are disasssociating from people like Kim.

Evangelical christians are moving the masses away from religious symbols. The reason for that is obvious from Kim's post. People have the freedom to choose -- and apparently that freedom bothers people like Kim.

Reactionary drivel. If they... (Below threshold)
earl:

Reactionary drivel. If they want cards that depict Christian imagery, they can still buy them--what is the problem, Kim? Less Britons are of the Christian faith than in years past, and you seem to care about this. Care to explain why?

I attended a public school ... (Below threshold)
GRY:

I attended a public school in a suburb of Toronto in the seventies (before the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada) and can still recall being taught bible stories and being made to draw pictures based on these stories. While I am not a believer, these lessons nevertheless instilled in me a life-long fascination and respect for biblical stories and the universal values they contained. And even back then, our school was quite multicultural (in the real, rather than institutional sense) and I am sure that nobody was annoyed that such lessons were being given to their kids.

I'm a liberal and do not wa... (Below threshold)
ProudLib:

I'm a liberal and do not want values taught to my kids. We libs have no values, and are darn proud of it.

Seriously Kim, I have no id... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Seriously Kim, I have no idea why you see the Christmas card market in Britain as some kind of threat to Christianity.

Why do you care what kinds of stupid cards are sold? Does that really have ANYTHING to do with Jesus Christ, the message of the Bible, Christmas, or your faith?

I am amazed by the fact that you manage to see oppression in the aisles of some greeting card shop. Seriously, calm down. Not everyone is out to get you, let alone rid the earth of Christianity.

Well, I'm not the most devo... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Well, I'm not the most devout Christian in the world but it is clear that the exact time of the year of Jesus' birth is really unknown. Some speculate late summer/early fall because of the tax imposed by Caesar as stated in Luke. Constantine is said to have converted the Roman pagan celebration around the winter solstice to to one celebrating the birth of Christ. If your Christian then it is your job to celebrate Christmas according to your belief. And, yes, I agree with a statement above that it is not hard finding cards with a religious theme if you want to. As a Christian I have no interest in imposing my belief on anyone. And anyway, these secular cards tend to work well covering Christmas, New Years and my Jewish friends don't seem to be offended when I use them to wish a Happy Hannukkah.

And as Britain and Europ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And as Britain and Europe have been learning the hard way, nature abhors a vacuum, which is why Islam, and a radical version at that, is filling the void.

What a preposterous notion. While it may be true that religions tend to replace each other (though religion is anything but natural), there a is substitute that can fill the vacuum. It's called reason, and people don't abandon it leaving vacuums to fill.

I think this is a sign of t... (Below threshold)

I think this is a sign of the further secularization of Great Britain and Europe. I don't think the lack of religious-themed cards has as much to do with anti-Christian sentiment as much as the free market.

It's ironic since it's hard (but not impossible) for a free market to function well without a religious or tradion-based value system.

Thanks for the Sea-Tac stor... (Below threshold)
cat:

Thanks for the Sea-Tac story, Kim - I'm almost tempted to apologize. But does anyone else think there may be a little more to the Giant Menorah story than meets the eye? According to Fox, the rabbi belongs to the Central Organization for Jewish Learning. Who are they?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&rls=GGGL%2CGGGL%3A2006-10%2CGGGL%3Aen&q=%22Central+Organization+for+Jewish+Learning&btnG=Search

Christmas trees in the S... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Christmas trees in the Seattle airport have been removed after a Rabbi complained.

What's wrong? In all the other threads on this topic, everyone says they'd welcome the expression of Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc. alongside Christmas. Looks like that was just empty rhetoric.

Please stop addressing the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Please stop addressing the issue of whether something is "offensive" or not. When you do this you are playing into the hands of leftists who use the "I'm offended!" ploy to silence their opponents. It is back-door censorship plain and simple.

As soon as you buy into the idea that people have the right not to be offended, you've sacrificed freedom of speech because the two are mutually exclusive.

So PLEASE stop falling into this trap. Discussions of whether something is offensive are a distraction from the real issue here, which is how the left has succeeded in convincing our society to refrain from expressing ideas and opinions that it has deemed "offensive."

Don't do the enemy's work for them.

HOST: We have a caller on l... (Below threshold)
Billy Missle:

HOST: We have a caller on line one:
CALLER: So Kim, can we finally have a discussion of Santa Claus and his subversive nature?
HOST: Mmmm..We have another caller on line 2.
CALLER2: Tell that old fat-ass white man to get home this year at a decent time!
HOST: Mrs. Claus? Is that you..Back to our first caller...

Some more conservative Chri... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Some more conservative Christians do not believe in celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday. I know that sounds strange to some folks. In my family we celebrate Christmas as a secular, fun, frosty the snowman type holiday and we try to remember Christ and what He did all year round.

Christmas is no better/different day in my faith than any other day of the year, including Easter.

Better yet is "cat" a pc mo... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Better yet is "cat" a pc moroon? Or could he be one of them there moose-lums. The way he rags on females he must be.

And BAH HUMBUG to you engla... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

And BAH HUMBUG to you england

cat, can you please explain... (Below threshold)
pst314:

cat, can you please explain why the British public bought so many more religious Christmas cards 20 years ago?

There is no surer sign of d... (Below threshold)
Niccolo:

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.

Free-market smee-market. T... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Free-market smee-market. That is England you're talking about. I'm sure the government and a myriad of councils have their claws into publishers. Not to mention the publishing industry itself.

As a case in point. Prior to the appearance of Fox News, would you conclude that Cable TV News was following the free market? Fox is barely conservative at that not to mention the other networks are essentially unphased by being pummelled by Fox News in the ratings.

Merry Christmas to all and ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Merry Christmas to all and to all...

Kim, the earliest decade I ... (Below threshold)
cat:

Kim, the earliest decade I can remember in its entirety is the 1970s in the southeast of England. We'd never heard of multiculturalism. We sang hymns and said prayers in school assembly. There were 800 kids in our school, which took its first Indian kid in 1978 - he was relentlessly bullied. The year after I left, the school's first black kid arrived, but I never saw him. I heard he was beaten up on his first day. The closest thing we had to multiculturalism was that one of our neighbors was a Roman Catholic. Political correctness was completely unheard of, though people did laugh at women who burned their bras because they said they wanted to be liberated. We'd never seen anyone burn a bra, but some strange people somewhere were supposed to be doing it. The only black people on British TV were really white men blacked up on the Black and White Minstrel Show. There certainly weren't any Muslims, Hindus or any other non-Christians. And although most people couldn't be bothered to go to church, no one ever talked about secularism.

And in this pre-PC, monocultural, non-secular society our Christmas cards were just the same mix as they are now - snow covered landscapes, funny santas, red-nosed reindeer, Christmas trees and naughty angels. Some of the cards said Merry Christmas, some said Seasons Greetings and others said things that we didn't tell Grandma in case she had a heart attack. Oh, and there were the nativity scenes that people can still buy now if they actually go to church. No one was bullied by any secularists or multiculturalists - we didn't know any. People just preferred pictures of Santa getting drunk. They still do.

By the way, Happy Christmas.

Actually folks, I think it ... (Below threshold)

Actually folks, I think it is actually Christians who are acting like the Politically Correct Thought Police. If we choose to celebrate the festive season in a non-Christian manner, they cry foul. Their 'true meaning' of Christmas is narrow, exclusive and innaccurate. Since Christmas is actually a hi-jacking of earlier pagan festivals, it is odd that they now complain when the values of 'feasting and family' bubble back up to the surface.

And the idea that the secularists are attacking Christmas is merely a myth, propagated by the religious, who see their power and influence on the wane. Oliver Burkeman in The Observer newspaper has comprehensively debunked these myths. No war on Christmas here in the UK.

Hey, Robert. Lie much?... (Below threshold)

Hey, Robert. Lie much?

If we choose to celebrate the festive season in a non-Christian manner, they cry foul.

No, if you choose to remove all Christian trappings from "the festive season" while claiming "tolerance" and "inclusiveness," that's when we cry foul. People can talk about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, etc. all they way, but when it comes to this time of year, well, don't you dare mention the word Christmas! Say things like "season's greetings," "happy holidays," "winter break," or "the festive season."

Their 'true meaning' of Christmas is narrow, exclusive and innaccurate.

No, actually, it's not. The "narrow, exclusive and innaccurate[sic]" ideas about Christmas come from people like you. Being offended by Christmas is narrow-minded. In fact, if CHristians were to express offense at, oh, say Ramadan, you'd all be caterwauling about how hateful and intolerant we are. Removing Christmas decorations because some idiot or another is "offended" by them is what is truly exclusive. And your whole idea that Christmas is "narrow, exclusive and innaccurate[sic]" is highly inaccurate. As is this:

Christmas is actually a hi-jacking of earlier pagan festivals

Please stop reading atheist websites. This is a load of bullcaca. Replacing the celebrations of dying religions is not "hi-jacking" them.

And the idea that the secularists are attacking Christmas is merely a myth,

Only if one ignores the scads of evidence that suggest otherwise. Man, even your own posts contradicts this! "Christmas is narrow, exclusive and innaccurate [and] is actually a hi-jacking of earlier pagan festivals." Sounds like an attack on Christmas to me.

propagated by the religious, who see their power and influence on the wane.

Ha! In your Christmas dreams. We're fighting back and we're winning. Stores are calling it "Christmas" again. Cities are dropping "holiday trees" in favor of "Christmas trees." I bet that in a week, the Sea-Tac airport will have their Christmas trees back up due to public outcry by Christians, too.

Jason Wrote:Chris... (Below threshold)
Kapow:

Jason Wrote:
Christmas is actually a hi-jacking of earlier pagan festivals

Please stop reading atheist websites. This is a load of bullcaca. Replacing the celebrations of dying religions is not "hi-jacking" them.

Mmm Hmm. So the proximity of Christmas to the winter solstice*, christmas trees and mistletoe are just, you know, coincidences.

Jason, you are the one that is wrong here matey.

By the by, this assualt on Cristianity in the UK is really awful. I mean the official religion is is the Church of England (anglican to you yanks). In almost all schools they have prayer and hymns (and nativity plays this time of year) a couple times a week. The head of state is also the head of the Church. The church also has a number of it's highest ranking bishops as defacto members of the upper chamber of parliament. Poor christians - they're just one step from being burned at the stake!

*Despite the fact there were lambs in the fields for Shepherds to watch, which aren't usually around in december...

This seems like a market re... (Below threshold)
observer 5:

This seems like a market response - if there was a demand for strongly religious-themed cards, there'd be a supply.

Remember, the "war on Christmas" started with the Puritans and other sects which abhorred the pagan roots, winter-solstace remnants, drinking and celebration of the holiday.

It was banned by the Puritans in 1659 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

The Puritans who immigrated to Massachusetts to build a new life had several reason for disliking Christmas. First of all, it reminded them of the Church of England and the old-world customs, which they were trying to escape. Second, they didn't consider the holiday a truly religious day. December 25th wasn't selected as the birth date of Christ until several centuries after his death. Third, the holiday celebration usually included drinking, feasting, and playing games - all things which the Puritans frowned upon. One such tradition, "wassailing" occasionally turned violent. The older custom entailed people of a lower economic class visiting wealthier community members and begging, or demanding, food and drink in return for toasts to their hosts' health. If a host refused, there was the threat of retribution. Although rare, there were cases of wassailing in early New England. Fourth, the British had been applying pressure on the Puritans for a while to conform to English customs. The ban was probably as much a political choice as it was a religious one for many.

http://www.masstraveljournal.com/features/1101chrisban.html

Some of these more austere forms of Christianity are still alive in the UK, as they are in the USA.

'I would guess, and I think... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

'I would guess, and I think I'm right, that it's because over the years in Britain Christians have been encouraged, if not out right admonished and bullied, to not express their religious faith in public because of the growing number of Muslims, atheists, and secular/humanists that have raised a cacophony of complaints about being offended by this kind of religious expression.'

I think this says more about the state of faith in England than it does about English society. Christians have an active duty to spread the gospel, even though they are specifically warned that doing so may create hardship for them in this world. Now social shunning or being innudated by complaints by those offended by the gospel is hardly being put to death for your faith. But if that is enough to silence you, then the weeds of this world are choking off your seed of faith.

Sending a Christmas card expressing the good news of Christ's birth is probably one of the simplest forms of demonstrating your faith. But if the backlash is to much for you, then you should have considered the cost before you started the tower.

Hey Jews, if you don't cele... (Below threshold)
Saul Rosenburg:

Hey Jews, if you don't celebrate Christmas thats fine. But when you demand Christian symbols be taken down at Christmas time, you are out of line. You don't want people showing intolerence toward your religion, so don't show it for other people's religions. Why does this even need to be said? When you do this, you are perpetuating the common stereotype. If you don't treat others with respect, you will get none in return. Jews want us to never forget the Holocaust. I ask Jews to remember to respect the National traditions of your host country. Don't set yourselves up as scapegoats for national problems like what happened in Hitler's Germany. If you don't like some tradition, then don't participate. Christmas is the time of year when we see Jewish religious intolerance at its worst. I always get pissed off every Christmas over it. Dispite that, I generally like Jewish people, I am just sick of the nonsense. The number one cause of anti-semitism is rampent pro semitism.

But when you demand Chri... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But when you demand Christian symbols be taken down at Christmas time, you are out of line.

Read the article. The rabbi didn't demand it be taken down. He requested a menorah be given equal prominence. They said no.

Damn, I'm good.... (Below threshold)

Damn, I'm good.

I bet that in a week, the Sea-Tac airport will have their Christmas trees back up due to public outcry by Christians, too.

Lo and behold:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003473083_webtrees11.html

The same day!

Hey, you know what's really... (Below threshold)

Hey, you know what's really interesting about all this? Whenever places display menorahs or other non-Christian holiday symbols, you never hear about Christians threatening lawsuits while demanding that their holiday symbols be displayed with "equal prominence." It seems that we're actually the tolerant ones.




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