The tone of the letter responses to Kevin Rafferty’s Dec. 24 Op-Ed article about the religious meaning of Christmas — from Usman Makhdoom (Dec. 30) and Name Withheld (“Spare the monotheistic arrogance,” Jan. 6) — is hair-raising.
Of course, it is an interesting debate and not unworthy of copious and continuous publication, despite the fact that it is the same old crossfire we see more frequently these days — not just in the Christmas season — between advocates of orthodox Christian traditions on the one hand and non-Christian or secular detractors on the other.
I suppose anti-Christian writers believe that their intolerant and hyperbolic polemics is a just reaction to the excesses of Christianity through history. Yes, there is a lot to be said against the church that is genuine, but Name Withheld and Makhdoom don’t say it. Or, at least, they don’t say anything new. And what they do say in their letters does not amount to a disqualification of Christianity or any of its doctrines.
Makhdoom walks straight into the error of associating nationality with religion. Name Withheld walks straight into the error of associating the pedigree of a doctrine or practice with the veracity of it.
Makhdoom’s position felt like it was emboldened by a diluting multicultural context, but its publication was predictable out of recognition of cultural diversity. Name Withheld’s letter sounded like it was written quickly in the heat of anti-Christian passion, insufficient in right reason. Its publication is surprising because it is gratuitously bile. Or vile.
In any event, there was nothing at all wrong with Rafferty’s Dec. 24 Christmas article.
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