Should Christmas be stricken from the list of official holidays?

Regarding Mary Jane Wilkie's Dec. 1 Opinion piece, "To truly honor Christmas, end its status as an official holiday": Christmas is not just a religious holiday. The tree, presents, holiday foods, traditional holiday cartoon characters, even the gathering of scattered families together for a day or weekend visit – none of these are religious observances. Millions of atheists and other non-Christians participate in some or all of these activities.

Why would we think that US government recognition of Christmas is what causes people to participate, and that withdrawing it would stop them? Many business give employees more time off than just Christmas Day, and a large percentage of workers take additional days off as vacation around Christmas and New Year's.

Clearly there are a number of things Ms. Wilkie dislikes about the holiday season, but they should not be blamed on Christmas. Religious intolerance in schools (falsely labeled "sensitivity") and commercialism are year-round concerns.
Ted Crowley
Novato, Calif.

I read with curiosity Mary Jane Wilkie's Dec. 1 Opinion piece about honoring Christmas, and the content surprised me and evoked a very positive response.

Would folks take time off? That is a great question. I'll be asking it of my congregations. The piece comes as a reminder of why we are doing all of this anyway – because we are faithful and thankful.
The Rev. Bobbie G. McGarey
Duncan, Okla.

To Mary Jane Wilkie regarding her Dec. 1 Opinion piece: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on desecularizing Christmas. I agree that it has lost so much meaning in the commercial frenzy. I'm sure that you will receive criticism, but know there is one voice supporting you.
Mark Heinrich
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Regarding Mary Jane Wilkie's Dec. 1 Opinion piece about honoring Christmas: Ms. Wilkie impresses me with her bravery and courage in calling for the US to do away with Christmas as a legal holiday. Her arguments are well founded. In this age of diversity, to have one religion's "sacred" celebration honored over others in this country is wrong. We are no longer only a Judeo-Christian nation. We represent the world. Let us behave so.
Constance Wright
Blairsville, Ga.

The US should give Al Jazeera a chance

I thank Dante Chinni for his Nov. 27 Opinion column, "Five hours with Al Jazeera in English," that recognizes Al Jazeera International's emergence into the US media.

I welcome a "different perspective than one would get in the US media." And if the only fear people have of Al Jazeera's English-language channel is that it may be "a mouthpiece for anti-American propaganda," we should welcome it. We need a variety of viewpoints to truly understand what is going on and to decide what is really propaganda.

Though the column did not mention it, what is particularly telling is the story of Lt. Josh Rushing. He was a press officer for the Pentagon's Central Command (CENTCOM) in Doha, Qatar, during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. He was featured in the independent movie, "Control Room," about Al Jazeera and its relations with CENTCOM and other news organizations that were covering the Iraq war. Lieutenant Rushing is now working for Al Jazeera's United States branch.
Billy Foppiano
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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