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Friday, 7 December 2007

Goodness me, let's not offend anyone

Well, I'm in the US again, for my youngest's birthday party, which would be perfect if it were not my eldest's Christmas bash in Brooklyn the night before.

No long boozy sessions tonight with the lads for me then.

The climate here is cold - and just slightly short of insane. On the TV yesterday I saw the following:

We wish you all a happy multi-faith Festive Season.

Doesn't that word multi-faith warm the cockles of your heart? How much more sincere does it sound than boring old Merry Christmas?

It's true there are many faiths here, just as in England, and the chief aim nowadays is not to upset anyone. But in a country with an amazingly high percentage of church-goers compared to us slackers in England, it is astonishing that this sort of tripe pervades.

My heart cries out for all those who have been distressed over the years by the word Christmas. Many probably threw themselves off high buildings as a result.

It is interesting to compare our warm, embracing approach with the more muscular one in countries where they live a simpler life.

They don't worry about these niceties in Saudi Arabia. Try opening a church there and seen what happens. Or try being a Christian in parts of Pakistan. But this attitude is not exclusive to Muslims. Don't upset the more enthusiastic Hindus in the wrong parts of India, whatever you do. If you're a Marxist it could cost you your life.

Here, on the other hand, there seems a reluctance to stand up for ourselves. Except, of course, for the Evangelicals of one kind or another, who are almost as hot in their beliefs as the people I just mentioned.

Why on earth do I think about these things? Because, as Napoleon put it, "Moral force rather than numbers, decides victory."

You can't have any moral force without faith. These zealots may be crazy and deeply unpleasant, but we seem to believe in nothing around Christmas except shopping.

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