David Silverman went on FOX Business Channel with host Stuart Varney earlier today to explain why saying “Merry Christmas” to an atheist can be offensive.
Obviously that’s a hard line to walk — most people say it out of goodness, so why would that ever be a bad thing? — but Silverman explained that when a stranger says it, it’s offensive only in the sense that it presumes Christianity. And he’s working to change that.
I’m not sure I buy that explanation: I don’t think most people are thinking about religion at all when they say the phrase. It’s just something they say reflexively this time of year. But Dave’s right that there are many holidays being celebrated in December and you don’t have to celebrate “Christmas” itself to enjoy the season.
Varney: What do you care. She’s dead, right?
Silverman: Of course I care. How in the world can you say that? How in the world can you say that?! What a bigoted thing to say! That I don’t care about people dying because I’m an atheist?
Varney (talking over Silverman): Well, is it true–? Is it true–? Hold on a second. Is it– God forbid, I should offend you. No, Heaven forbid I should offend you. [Laughing]
Silverman: You should not offend anybody! You should try to not offend people. But that doesn’t mean–
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