I am an atheist and I love Christmas

Tolerance, goodwill and love should unite people of every faith and creed this winter.

In response to Friday’s “Happy Wal-Martmas,” I have a different perspective on the holiday that Bill O’Reilly is fighting so hard to protect.

I am an atheist and I love Christmas. Obviously, it’s not visions of midnight mass and mangers that start dancing in my head when I see glittery holiday displays cropping up in November.

I do, however, enjoy decorating the tree with my family, giving and receiving thoughtful gifts and even the occasional carol. Most atheists I know cheerfully accept a wish of “Merry Christmas” in the spirit in which it’s given – one of peace, celebration and goodwill towards humankind. If this is what Bill O’Reilly calls a “War on Christmas,” he should be more worried about the “War on Puppies” or “War on Chocolate.” Because Christmas is a pretty lovable holiday.

O’Reilly isn’t helping anyone by claiming Christmas as his own personal cause. In fact, “Merry Christmas” is starting to sound more threatening than jolly – are the well-wishers really wishing me well, or are they reminding me that we live in a Christian nation and I had better get used to it?

O’Reilly’s crusade is effectively turning “Merry Christmas” into hate speech. Although everyone observes the holiday season in their own way, tolerance, goodwill and love should be the constants that unite people of every faith and creed this winter.

If you’re interested in learning more about Christmas, its origins, historical meanings and religious connotations, Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists is sponsoring a free event called “The Trouble with Christmas” by Tom Flynn at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7th, in Coffman Union, room 325. More information on this event can be found at cashumn.org.

We look forward to seeing you there and Merry Christmas.

Lauren Hayden is Secretary of Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists and a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]