What's in a Name? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

What's in a Name?

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Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin

I had an interesting conversation recently on my Facebook page about the "Christmas controversy" that comes up every year. Some folks contend that there's a "War on Christmas," and others simply want to enjoy the holidays in their own manner.

Mayor Harvey Johnson's decision to rebrand this city's December parade as the "Holiday Parade" raised the ire of many Jacksonians, proving that this city is not immune to the "controversy." I even received emails asking me to contact the Mayor's office voicing my "disappointment" about his changing the name.

Now, I'm not begrudging anyone's beliefs--I have mine, too. But aren't we going against the spirit of the season itself by being so pretentious? We've become obsessed with telling people how they should live--and, worse yet, how they should worship.

I'm a Christian. Truthfully, I'd say I'm more spiritual than religious; I've become jaded at the hypocrisy of organized religion. At any rate, I realize that there are others who do not believe in what I believe, nor do they worship like I do. Others' beliefs in no way impose on my practice of saying, "Merry Christmas," and the term "Happy Holidays" in no way lessens the meaning of the season for me. In my opinion, it shouldn't for anyone else, either. If Christ is in you, then wherever you are is a Christmas event, regardless of what others may call it.

When did we begin to frown upon being tolerant and compassionate in this, the biggest melting pot on the planet? It seems mighty stubborn and shortsighted of some of my fellow Christians to think that our way is the "only" way, and that everyone else should just grin and bear it.

The argument I hear is that this country was founded on "Christian" values. In a sense, that's true. But let's be honest: At the time of the country's founding, do you really think those values were inclusive of, say, black folks? Hispanics? Asians? Muslims?

Are we talking about the same "Christian" values that some white folks leaned on to say that James Meredith didn't belong at Ole Miss? I'm just trying to be clear, because I don't see how acknowledging our diversity takes away from the season. America is multi-racial and multi-cultural now. It's a lesson Republicans learned the hard way on Election Day.

Get over it. Embrace it or be left in the (ahem) 19th century.

And that's the truth ... shonuff.

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