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Ran across this article today: Saskatoon could face human rights complaint after refusing to yank ‘Merry Christmas’ message from buses. I think people like the complainant in this article are getting more airtime than they deserve thanks to the nature of media these days, but either way, it’s still an interesting conversation.
Honestly, I’m not religious, at all. But, I think complaints like this are unreasonable. First, let’s look at what this person said:
“On Monday, local activist Ashu Solo vowed to take the matter to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, claiming the Christmas greetings violate his right to be free from religion.”
I’ve never heard of a right to be “free from religion” before. Maybe the author of the article was paraphrasing badly, but just in case not, that’d be ludicrous. That would mean people have to hide their own religion, so as to let others be “free from religion.” I think the actual right is to not have a religion imposed on you, which is great.
The question then becomes, does saying “Merry Christmas” impose religion on someone? I don’t think so. There’s a difference between recognizing an event in someone’s life versus indoctrination. I’d feel entirely differently if the bus was quoting scripture in some way that was intended to indoctrinate.
I also wouldn’t feel differently if the sign read “Happy Hanukkah” or recognized any other religious holiday. Does it matter that the bus is effectively a government property, referencing religion? Again, there’s a difference between recognizing and indoctrination. Even though I’m not religious, I understand that I live in a society where the majority of people identify with one set of religions, therefore it doesn’t seem unreasonable to celebrate it to some degree. I would think it’d be wrong for the bus company to reject a request to celebrate another religious holiday, in light of celebrating another. That would get into the territory of favouring one religion over another.
I think people just need to chill out and stop being offended so easily.