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You can tell which deities a culture worships by noting which names are prohibited from misuse. For Jews it is Jehovah or Yahweh. For Muslims it is Allah, and they make similar provisions to protect the name of their prophet Muhammad, although he is not considered deity. For others it may be Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha, Amaterasu, among many others.
In our culture it is the sacred name of Jesus Christ.
There isn’t a deity in any culture that hasn’t been offended by those who will use a name in vain to gain attention, demonstrate rebellion, or any number of other reasons. In a way, the intensity of the blasphemy may be a guide to which deities matter.
But there is special, yet odd, evidence of deity when its positive use is frowned on lest someone from another culture feel excluded and suffer hurt feelings, the poor soul.
Can you imagine Muslims refraining from saying the word Allah in deference to the feelings of Christians, or Hindus foregoing the use of the names Vishnu or Shiva for fear of offending the tender feelings of non-Hindus?
As far as I’ve been able to research, there is only one religious culture that shrinks from pronouncing the name of their deity not because they fear offending that deity, but because they fear offending their fellow citizens.
That culture is Western Christianity.
The War in Heaven Continues
It has everything to do with the mother of all sibling rivalries – the battle between the Defender of the Father’s plan for our happiness and Lucifer, the would-be usurper of the Father’s glory and power. Oh, the resentment this spirit has against the Being who thwarted him.
The adversary, therefore, will not spend time diminishing through political correctness the names of cultural deities he cares little about, but will expend enormous efforts to influence others to be ashamed of and diminish the worship of the Person he really resents.
And too many of us are helping him.
Passive Acceptance and Exaggerated Sensitivity
We Mormons rightly cringe when we hear the Savior’s name spoken as an angry expletive. But do we say anything? Do we object? Or do we choose to be falsely polite and ignore it?
People who wouldn’t dare call someone on the misuse of the name of Jesus Christ for some reason feel completely justified tut-tutting those who say “Merry Christmas.”
I heard a few days ago about a company whose management decided it would not only be improper to wish someone a Merry Christmas on company email, but that referring to Christmas Eve or Christmas (on both days of which this company provides its services) should also be discontinued because such names might offend others. These employees were actually told they should instead refer to those two days by their calendar names – December 24th and December 25th.
Can you imagine being so sucked in to politically correct dictates that one would not mention the name of Christ even in the official name of a holiday? By all means, for PC sake, let’s not refer to any holiday by its unique name:
Happy New Year? Might offend the Chinese.
Valentine’s Day? An early martyred saint – might offend Romans.
Easter? Will offend those offended by Christmas.
Mother’s Day? Might offend women who aren’t.
Memorial Day? Might offend those who didn’t lose loved ones in battle.
Independence Day? Might offend the English.
Labor Day? Might offend non-union members.
Halloween? Might offend those who don’t believe in All Saints Day or Day of the Dead.
Thanksgiving? Might offend those who feel they have no one to thank but themselves for putting the feast on the table.
Which brings us back to Christmas and the foolishness of certain sunshine Christians hyper-sensitive to the feelings of non-Christians, but brain-dead oblivious to the feelings of our Savior.
How silly does this have to become before we say, “Enough already!”?
What type of company would give these wusses such authority that they felt justified prohibiting their employees from even saying the words Christmas and Christmas Eve in a business setting?
Let’s hope it wouldn’t be a company founded or managed by our members. It would be a shame if any Mormons were more fearful of offending a non-Christian neighbor than offending that great Being who provided the infinite Atonement for all of us.
But whoever was at fault, maybe it serves as evidence of a different sort that Jesus Christ must be the Son of God or there would not be such adversary-spawned reaction to His name.
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Gary Lawrence welcomes comments: [email protected]