It was just a small thing but I was taken aback when I received a memo saying that the offices at work would be shut down during "winter closure." Then it dawned on me that "winter closure" was what we used to call "Christmas vacation."
Various colleges and universities have long since stopped calling it the Christmas vacation. A large shopping mall in San Francisco was decked out in all sorts of holiday decorations, including a huge tree, with Santa Claus sitting next to it -- but nowhere was there that now-controversial phrase, "Merry Christmas."
The idea is that any mention of Christmas might offend people who are not Christians -- and that this should be avoided at all costs.
As someone who does not keep track of my friends' religions, I have undoubtedly over the years sent out Christmas cards to people who were Jewish or non-religious. Yet none has protested or seemed to be traumatized.
Christmas is now one of many things that make us walk on eggshells during this supposedly liberated era. Are we all wimps?
Over the years, we have gotten used to the American Civil Liberties Union launching legalistic jihads against recognitions of Christmas, in between coming to the rescue of murderers and terrorists.
The ACLU invokes that famous phrase about a "wall of separation between church and state" -- a phrase found nowhere in the Constitution but somehow considered to be part of Constitutional law.
The Constitution forbad Congress from creating "an establishment of religion" but this was no mysterious concept known only to deep thinking legal scholars.
The people who wrote the Constitution all knew exactly what an establishment of religion was because they had all lived under one -- the established Church of England.
Being established meant that everyone had to pay taxes to support that church, whether they belonged to it or not, and that people who didn't belong to the established church could not be admitted to various institutions or be appointed to certain official positions.
This had nothing to do with Christmas, merry or otherwise.
It is one of the sad signs of our times that we allow the ACLU to bamboozle us, or bully us with lawsuits, over something for which no one ever passed a law.