I wonder if the people that have such a problem with religion in the public square just don’t have enough faith in their own faith or non-faith. Are they afraid that a creche will suddenly convert them? That a wish of “Merry Christmas” will turn them into a Christian against their will? That a wish of “Happy Channukah” will convert them to Judaism?
I have enough faith in my faith that I am not offended by any other expression of any other faith.
As a child, we all sang Christmas songs and Channukah songs in the weeks before Christmas Break.
Update: It seems Charles Krauthammer feels the same way.
Some Americans get angry at parents who want to ban carols because they tremble that their kids might feel “different” and “uncomfortable” should they, God forbid, hear Christian music sung at their school. I feel pity. What kind of fragile religious identity have they bequeathed their children that it should be threatened by exposure to carols?
I’m struck by the fact that you almost never find Orthodox Jews complaining about a Christmas creche in the public square. That is because their children, steeped in the richness of their own religious tradition, know who they are and are not threatened by Christians celebrating their religion in public. They are enlarged by it.
It is the more deracinated members of religious minorities, brought up largely ignorant of their own traditions, whose religious identity is so tenuous that they feel the need to be constantly on guard against displays of other religions — and who think the solution to their predicament is to prevent the other guy from displaying his religion, rather than learning a bit about their own.