One of my myriad duties at the AHA is maintaining our Facebook page. Normally this isn’t very difficult; I try to post twice a day and check the page at the same time. The holidays, however, have been tricky. I’ve happily plugged the humanist holidays—HumanLight and the winter solstice (although what makes the solstice a specifically humanist holiday, I’m not sure)—but totally ignored the major holidays, Christmas in particular.
Talking up the humanist holidays is easy; but ignoring Christmas is really hard. The simple fact is the vast majority of our members celebrate Christmas, albeit with all the necessary disclaimers: secularly, culturally, etc. So while I’m busy plugging a worthy holiday few have heard of (HumanLight is on the same day as Festivus and more people are familiar with that) AHA members are preparing for Christmas.This was brought home today when members reacted negatively to a “Happy HumanLight” post.
I get that people come to humanism for something different and that some feel berated by “Merry Christmas” and “the Reason for the Season.” But the AHA’s decisive and deliberate silence on the topic is not a good status quo; we clearly aren’t adequately and accurately representing the views and practices of our membership. We are, instead, actively ignoring the elephant in the room.
Now we can’t run around saying “Merry [secular] Christmas;” we would look confused. How then to straddle the line between being a Grinch and being sensitive to nontheism? I guess this is the quandary retailers, governments, and everyone else faces at the holidays. Who knew we would face it in the secular camp too?
I get it, we’re humanists and it would be inappropriate for me to post “Merry Christmas” on our Facebook Christmas morning. But I can’t ignore it any longer. So I will say it here, in a personal capacity: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.