UnNews:ACLU attacks "Happy Holidays" as divisive

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7 November 2006

In what commentators are describing as "the biggest holiday terminology-related lawsuit of the 2006 holiday season", the ACLU filed suit today against the United States government, seeking to ban the phrase "Happy Holidays!" in public places.

According to the ACLU's complaint, which is co-sponsored by the Coalition of Hindus, Buddhists, Sometimes Muslims, Nonreligious Persons Who Refrain from Celebrating Even the Secular Aspects of Christmas Under Any Designation, Scientologists, and Chinese Americans Who Prefer to Celebrate the Real New Year, Not Some Phony Gregorian Calendar New Year, Thank You Very Much (CHBSMNPWRCESACUADSCAWPCRNYNSPGCNYTYVM), the phrase "Happy Holidays!" purposefully excludes "those who do not celebrate any holidays in the period traditionally known as the 'Holiday Season' by the Christian/Jewish/Muslim (in years where one of their holidays happens to fall in December)/Persons of any religious affiliation who celebrate the secular Christmas holiday, whether or not they actually call it 'Christmas'/Disenfranchised African American/Neo-pagan orthodoxy", and that "this divisive phrase must be purged from all schools, public forums, and places of business". It is unclear what the recommended replacement will be for the divisive phrase, but the ACLU has put forth suggestions of "Happy period of time around the end of the Gregorian calendar year, which is no more or less important than other calendar years!", "Merry midwinter in the Northern hemisphere or midsummer in the Southern hemisphere!", and "Have one or more happy holidays at some time in the next twelve months, if you celebrate any holidays that is, and if not please disregard!"

Speaking for the Sometimes Muslims delegation to CHBSMNPWRCESACUADSCAWPCRNYNSPGCNYTYVM at a press conference today, Muhammed al-Berkeley Heights said, "The time has come for Americans to realize that, although in some years various Muslim holidays happen to fall in the month of December, this is not always the case, and to wish us 'Happy Holidays!' can be, to some Muslims, very offensive." Muslims, he added, "are not entirely without blame in this problem. For example, a few years ago in early December, I visited a friend who had just awoken from a coma exactly 365 days in length. Upon regaining consciousness, he wished me a blessed Ramadan, thinking it was still 2002 [in which the Islamic calendar month of Ramadan ended in early December]. Although I was not personally offended by his mistake, I can certainly understand how other Muslims might have been offended. What we need in this country is, among other things, protections for those who live by a calendar other than the one that the West has deemed to be official". "Amen!" added Chinese American representative Xiaoxiang Chang. Chang later apologized for his outburst, stating "What I meant to say was, 'I agree with you, in a way that doesn't imply any particular religious dogma!'".

Even those who follow the Gregorian calendar, however, had something to say on the subject. According to Scuyler "Moondream" Fitzsimmons, a non-religious person who refrains from celebrating even the secular aspects of Christmas under any designation, "The corporations want us to buy stuff from, like, November until late December, man. We need to fight the machine." Fighting the machine, according to Fitzsimmons and his colleagues, involves refraining from mentioning the "so-called holiday season, and then people will, like, forget to buy presents and stuff". The plan also involves the legalization of marijuana and an anti-Bush benefit concert, although it was unclear at the time of the press conference how the various parts of the plan were connected.

Reactions from other groups was mixed. Sarah Marshal Kelvin, a practicing Wiccan, was removed from the audience at the press conference after interrupting several times with shouts of "Leave Yule alone!". In a separate press conference, Jamal Brown, a disenfranchised black man and member of the Disenfranchised African American League, said of the ACLU lawsuit, "These ACLU lawyers have a lot of [explitive deleted] nerve, telling me that I can't wish my brothers a happy Kwanzaa in public. I remember a time when the ACLU fought against The Man, not for him." On the other side of the debate, Gregory Yarlborough, president of American Anti-Semites United, went on record as saying "Finally, these scheisters [refering specifically to Jewish lawyers] get a taste of their own medicine".

If successful, the ACLU lawsuit would bar any use of the phrase "Happy holidays", written or spoken, in public and non-religious private schools, retail outlets, television advertisements and billboards, and indeed any place where "a person might unwittingly read or overhear the divisive phrase in violation of their civil liberties". This would be, according to the ACLU, "the greatest victory for civil liberties since Persons Who Have Way Too Strong a Sense of Entitlement and Are Not Obliged to Give Thanks for Anything v. The United States", a landmark case that effectively outlawed Thanksgiving.

Many government organizations and private corporations have already enacted policies barring use of "Happy holidays!" as a precautionary measure. Officials of the school district of Canton, OH sent a memo to teachers instructing them to use the phrase "Happy December!", and Walmart has pulled all Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Saturnalia merchandise from its shelves.