Write House founder and copywriter, Daniel Waldron, explores why copywriting feels the need to adapt its stance when 'religious' holidays come around.
With Christmas 2013 fast approaching, I have become more aware that my home city of Wolverhampton has become very adverse to using the word 'Christmas' across a number of its beautiful lighting displays. Terms such as 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy Christmas' appear to have become obsolete, leaving me rather dismayed.
Instead, I find myself greeted by phrases such as 'Seasons Greetings' or 'Happy Holidays', but the question is why has Wolverhampton City Council taken the decision to withdraw the word Christmas from its displays?
I thought there must be some reasonable explanation so I pondered some scenarios. I imagined being sat around the table with Wolverhampton City Council leaders, contemplating valid reasons for removing the word Christmas from lighting displays.
Perhaps Christmas is too long a word to make it fit on the display, or a display costs more to run because there are more letters to light if it includes the word Christmas.
However, it would appear that such scenarios were not the reason behind the omission of Christmas from these elegant displays. Further investigation revealed that Wolverhampton City Council had withdrawn Christmas for fear of offending other faiths.
As a Christian, as a worship leader at LifeSpring Church, Wolverhampton, I found this hard to bear.
The situation became even more perplexing when receiving literature from the nursery of my two sons. The copywriting had also omitted use of the word Christmas, substituting it for 'Seasons Greetings', 'Enjoy the Festive Season' and 'Happy Holidays'.
Forgive me, but I'm not offended when Sikhs let off fireworks to celebrate Diwali, nor am I offended when Muslims fast to celebrate Ramadan. So why is it that individuals, of potentially no faith, assume that those who do not celebrate Christmas are offended by Christians celebrating Christmas?
The fact that I have witnessed copywriting on Christmas literature 'altered' is disturbing and a really sad state of affairs. The truth is that if you ask followers of other faiths outside of Christianity whether they're offended by Christmas, a high proportion would say 'no'.
It is remarkable that in a society that pushes for equality, allows Muslims to build mosques, allows Sikhs and Hindus to build temples, thinks that faiths cannot be respectful of the beliefs of other faiths.
Wolverhampton is a diverse, multi-cultural and multi-faith community. Why should copywriting at Christmas be adapted to omit the word Christmas? If this is the stance that local councils are to adopt, should those who follow the Christian faith protest against the building of mosques and temples because it 'offends' them? Absolutely not.
Doesn't society try to teach us to be tolerant and respectful of others? Don't societal leaders encourage mankind to live harmoniously?
Omitting the word Christmas from seasonal literature and displays takes away the very meaning of what Christmas stands for. Christmas is a time to love, forgive and reflect on the things we are to be thankful for.
In my experience Christmas does not create offence it creates compassion, love and kindness, acts to be embraced, not to be cast aside.
The truth is the faiths are not offended, it's those that lack understanding that fear causing offence. It's this lack of understanding that leads to irrational acts.
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