The nonsense is coming to an end.

grinchA story to warm the cockles of my beady-black heart.

From BuzzPo:

Passenger Offended by the Words Merry Christmas – Gets Himself Thrown Off an American Airlines Flight

Merry Christmas! Those are the two words that offended one American Airlines passenger so profusely, he got himself thrown off a New York La Guardia to Dallas Ft. Worth bound flight.

The man was attempting to depart on American Airlines Flight 1140 this past Tuesday. The pleasant gate agent wished him a Merry Christmas when she scanned his boarding pass. But that’s when the man said, “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas.”

Somewhat perplexed, the gate agent asked the would be grinch, “Well, what should I say then?” The man replied, “Don’t say, ‘Merry Christmas,” before he stormed off down the jetway to board the aircraft.

As the man boarded, one of the flight attendants greeted the man with a very pleasant Merry Christmas. That was apparently the straw that broke the camels back. The man began lecturing the flight attendants and pilots about not saying Merry Christmas.

The flight crew attempted to calm down “Scrooge,” but he insisted on continuing his rampage of lecturing the flight crew.

That didn’t work out too well for him though. The crew called on authorities to have him escorted off the flight. As he was taken away, the entire passenger cabin burst into applause and cheers.

That being said, I only have one thing to say to that jovial gentleman. “MERRY CHRISTMAS SIR!!!”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. That’s much of the trouble today, not only with the secularization of the culture but also within the Church. In my never-to-be-too-humble opinion, all too many people all are too willing to sit back and do nothing, even though they disapprove. And then, when someone actually has the courage and fortitude to actually do something about undesirable conduct, those all too many people who are all too willing to sit back and do nothing “applaud.” The biggest offenders may be those who sat back and then applauded when someone else does their work for them. Isn’t that what “witness” is all about? Sometimes one has to “take it on the chin” for the sake of the greater good…as Fr. Z must ceratinly know all too well.

  2. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    N. T. Wright once said that he stopped a man who had claimed that religion is dying in our culture. “On the contrary!” Wright said. “Our culture is becoming more religious, not less!”

    I agree. I think we’re on the edge of a new religious age. Tough luck, Cultural Marxists and atheists, in your attempt to make your atheism our Established Religion.

    He will reign!

  3. Zephyrinus1 says:

    I recently sent an E-Mail to an American Magazine, complaining about their insistence on saying “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” in their publication, instead of “HAPPY CHRISTMAS”, and asking them why they refused to use the word “CHRISTMAS”.

    Their response ?

    “We don’t want to offend people who are not Christians”.

    I kid you not.

  4. Mike says:

    While we shouldn’t be offensive/rude to anyone, the folks in the world definitely not to tick off includes: librarians, university registrars, dentists, medical technicians, cops (espicially state troopers), and the captain of the aircraft you have a ticket to fly on.

  5. marthawrites says:

    I just made photocopies of a cartoon, The Duplex by Glenn McCoy, which appeared in our local paper on Christmas Day–Square one: “I used to say ‘ Merry Christmas’ but that seemed to offend some people.” Square two: pause for effect. Square three: So now I just say ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus.'”

  6. Frank H says:

    It did seem to me, as I patronized various retail establishments over the last couple of weeks, that many more salespeople were wishing me “Merry Christmas” this year, rather than the ubiquitous “happy holidays” of Christmas shopping seasons past.

  7. Baritone says:

    “AND a happy new year!” — Scrooge’s nephew.

  8. Iacobus M says:

    The only way that this story could be better is if the entire passenger cabin erupted into calls of “Merry Christmas” as the gentleman was escorted off the plane. Still, it restores some faith in humanity . . .

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    Businesses have become more aware that by avoiding using the word “Christmas” they offended a great many Christians, particularly Protestants, who have made it clear to these business establishments that by avoiding saying Christmas they are going to forfeit Christian shoppers who are insulted. That got their attention and there is a great deal more “Christmas” in this year’s sales flyers and promos. If nobody had squawked, Christmas would be simply ignored because it is the path of least resistance that most businesses will take. Hats off to the Protestants who spoke up and accomplished it!
    We are going to all have to become active participants in the culture war. Sitting back and letting others do that heavy lifting for us is to allow atheists, secularists, Satanists, or those who just don’t care, to take over the culture. We all should engage whenever we can. Promote Catholicism, Christianity, and values that represent both. Defend. Champion. Complain to the highest level when something is egregious. If you don’t live in the state, say you won’t visit there. If you don’t attend that university, they don’t need to know that. Find multiple levels to complain to, or thank, depending.
    If more people did that, we could really turn things around. While on this side of the grass we have a right and a duty to do that. I think about the world we are leaving my grandchildren and all children and that makes it much easier to speak up.
    The people on the plane who applauded did send a message to that atheist, the media who wrote about this incident, and the people who hear about it, absolutely. Their response was far better than frightened silence or an attitude of not caring!

  10. RomeontheRange says:

    There definitely is a change in the wind. I was on two Delta Air Lines flights yesterday and both cockpit and cabin crew were saying Merry Christmas. There were even some decorations!
    Thank you, God.

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    One can read this whole event, unfortunately, in another way. The man made a scene and the crowd applauded when he was carried away for making a scene. It could be simple reflex for the Culture of Nice.

    This could have been all about a Christmas greeting, but, suppose the man had been Jewish and were giving the lecture to whomever would listen (or not) as a way of Jewish apologetics, since they do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah? The story does not say that he is an atheist, after all.

    Of course, we should say Merry Christmas, although, in recent years, I have sometimes taken to trying to confusing people by saying, “Have Mary’s Christmas,” or, “And Mary’s Christmas, to you,” – it causes them to stop and think, for a moment. We should be shouting the birth of Christ to the rooftops. Personally, I would have loved to have seen the scene had Jimmy Akin been a temporary flight attendant on the plane.

    Alas, not everyone recognizes Christ. The man was right. That is a fact. That fact, however, should not stop us from saying, “Merry Christmas,” but we have to decide, sometimes, if that statement is meant by us as a profession of Faith, a challenge to apologetic combat, or mere social custom. A friend of mine’s father passed away, recently. I can’t think of anything more cruel than to wish her a Merry Christmas.

    This is a season of joy, but it is also a season for the irrational. As Madeline L’Engle put it in her book, Cry Like a Bell:

    Christmas is the irrational season,
    Bright and wild.
    If Mary had been full of questions,
    there would have been no room for the child.

    Stand up for Christ at every moment. How we do that is a matter of prudence, but hey, sometimes, it is alright to let joy sneak ahead of prudence in the race to duty, especially if you say it like a smiling prayer.

    St. Stephen died praying for his enemies. You do know what got him stoned, right? Essentially, he kept telling the crowd that there was a merry Christmas, once upon a time.

    As he looked up into Heaven, St. Stephen had the face of an angel…

    And you didn’t think I could connect the martyrdom of St. Stephen with Christmas.

    The Chicken

  12. yatzer says:

    People can at least recognize good will when they see it, for heaven’s sake. I have received New Year cards from Jewish co-workers on Rosh Hashanah and right now have Christmas greetings from a Muslim friend in my email box.I’m not offended by either because I am quite aware that these folks intend friendliness and good will. That guy was a crank looking for an opportunity to vent all over anyone in range. The only people I know personally who don’t want any religious type expressions are the anti-religious who like to try setting one group against another in order to get what they want, which is nothing showing religious belief at all.

  13. Maria says:

    For the past few years, I was quiet when people greeted me personally with Happy Holidays. This year a good cousin of mine greeted December with Happy Holidays on her facebook page. I wrote on my FB page …

    For Christians:

    As this is the season of remembering Christ was born for us, let us remember to greet everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and NOT happy holidays. Let us NOT delete Christ this season. Let us NOT be ashamed to proclaim His birth and who we are as Christians. He was born to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

    A blessed, peaceful and joy-filled Merry Merry Christmas to all …

    Since I posted it … nobody greeted Happy Holidays …

  14. jflare says:

    I must say, this man’s reaction seems to me quite sad. I can remember when we used to sometimes say “Happy Holidays”, mostly because we were remembering that Jewish people had a holiday around this time as well.
    It’s only within the last 15 years that I can remember any ruckus about “Merry Christmas” in particular.
    Chicken, for what it’s worth, in all my dealings with people, I have never once been told that I shouldn’t say “Merry Christmas” to a particular person because the person receiving the message self-identified as Jewish. No, the only times I’ve ever heard of anyone complaining about “Merry Christmas” was from persons who insisted I shouldn’t use the greeting because of the chance that I might offend someone.
    If anything, I have typically understood that if I knew someone to be Jewish, Islamic, or some other tradition, I might say “Happy Hanukkah” or other greeting appropriate to that faith tradition and reasonably expect a “Merry Christmas” in return.

    I’m still at a loss to understand why “Merry Christmas” cannot be understood as a holiday greeting with a general understanding of intended goodwill.
    ..Unless one would be a “professionally offended” type.

  15. texsain says:

    earlier this week I was in downtown Houston and there was a “Chanukah in the Park” celebration. A Rabbi was lighting the Menorah. I was so offended because I’m not Jewish. Then I saw a TV station wish a Happy Kwanzaa…and I was so offended because I’m not…whatever people who celebrate Kwanzaa are.

    Wait, I wasn’t offended at all. I realized that these aren’t my holidays. I smiled, and went on with my life.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    “A Rabbi was lighting the Menorah. I was so offended because I’m not Jewish. ”

    Obviously, I did not mean to imply that the man were Jewish, just that he might not be an atheist. In fact, some Jews might be offended because Jesus, to them, is not the Messiah and to them it would be an improper holy day that does touch their religion. Jesus was a Jew, after all.

    Now, Kwanzaa is just silly ethnographic revisionism.

    The Chicken

  17. jflare says:

    “In fact, some Jews might be offended because Jesus, to them, is not the Messiah and to them it would be an improper holy day that does touch their religion. Jesus was a Jew, after all.”

    I think that might stretch matters a little too far, Chicken.
    By that logic, we, the Catholic faithful, would need to forbid any Protestant from celebrating their faith tradition in any public manner. Protestants do not believe what we believe about Christ, especially about the Eucharist and Confession, but their Christmas celebrations certainly touch on our Catholic religion. Whomever began each of their sects did break away either from our faith directly originally, or else broke off from someone else who had already done so.

    Or, we would need to forbid any atheist from celebrating..whatever they celebrate..because they’ve created a public religious display of some sort, but don’t believe what we believe.

    ..Or we could merely acknowledge the tragedy of human sin that has created divisions amongst people, wish others a “Merry Christmas” as appropriate, and carry on with life.

  18. THREEHEARTS says:

    He certainly got what he wanted no merry Christmas. All his honor is satisfied

  19. PostCatholic says:

    Christmas is a secular holiday. Saying “Merry Christmas” is a perfectly appropriate, entirely patriotic, thing to do to someone who will attend a Chinese Food buffet and a great Christmas movie like Die Hard or Gremlins instead of church. I hope you had a merry Christmas, even if it was religious. Merriment is good for the soul.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    The news has SO carefully not identified this individual, that I suspect that he is something on the order of THIS individual:
    These people are not kidding around, folks.

  21. williamjm says:


    I agree that there is a holiday celebrated by secularists called Christmas. It is not, however, the same as Christian Christmas. Christian Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, born to repair the chasm created by Original Sin. Secular Christmas is the celebration of, at best, family and gift-giving. It is typically just an excuse for greed and commercialism. Secular Christmas is a misnomer. It should be Winter Holiday. We as Catholics need to clearly delineate between true Christmas and Winter Holiday.

  22. jflare says:

    “Christmas is a secular holiday.”

    As declared by whom, PostCatholic?
    It may well be that any number of academics and cultural elites will eagerly remind us of how many people through the centuries have celebrated a holiday in late December that either barely resembled any concern for Christ, or even flatly rejected the idea of a holiday to recognize the birth of a Savior. I’m sure we can find any number of examples of people who merely sought an opportunity–read excuse–to get drunk.
    Frankly, I’m not convinced I should be swayed.
    If we can prove that people have rejected Christ throughout the centuries, well, what’s new?

    That fact that many people choose to ignore the real cause for a December holiday does not mean that I’m obligated to follow suit. Quite the contrary.
    It means that we need to be insistent about recognizing the birth of the Savior.

  23. PostCatholic says:

    Be as insistent as you like. More General Tso’s Chicken?

    I know people are always trying to remind us of the Christian meaning of Christmas, and some of us blockheads don’t mind it being too commercial. As the King once sang to us, “Peace on Earth will come to all if we just follow the light. Let’s give thanks to the Lord above, ’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.”


  24. williamjm says:

    There seems to be serious confusion, PostCatholic. There are two holidays celebrated at the end of December, not one. Why do you continue to refer to them as if they were the same thing? The name of the holiday does not necessarily have anything to do with what is being celebrated. The only reason the secular December holiday is called Christmas is because of tradition. While the celebration has nothing to do with Christ or Mass, the American people have not yet fully done away with the name because it is the only name it has ever had.

    Chicken doesn’t seem to be a very appropriate for Christmas. Seafood on Christmas Eve, in keeping with the Catholic past, seems more in order. A delicious shrimp dish, served over pasta, and some fresh French bread. Perhaps Father Z could have a blog post with that. Merry Christmas, everybody!

  25. Elizabeth D says:

    Christ Mass is a popular name for the Dec 25 Feast of the Nativity of the Lord. It is a religious holiday, as signified by “Christ”, “Mass,” and “Feast of the Nativity of the Lord.” The Word of God became flesh in the womb of Mary and this is the day when we adoringly celebrate the Savior’s birth as a little boy child.

    Those who want to celebrate it as The Nostalgic Feast of Tis Better to Give Than to Receive; aka Culmination of Holiday Shopping Season, yet call it Christmas anyway, are in a general sense the heirs of protestantism even if post-protestant, because this belongs to the radical reduction of religion to sentimentality, or perhaps to “moralistic therapeutic Deism”.

  26. Johnno says:

    PostCatholic –

    “Christmas is a secular holiday.”

    – Christmas is a Christian Holiday. No matter how much you try and make it about Coca-Cola. And you are being brazenly offensive by suggesting that it isn’t. Non-Hindus in India celebrate the general festivities of Diwali and Holi holidays too without the religious significance attached. Would you be offensive enough to walk up to a Hindu and claim Diwali isn’t a Hindu holiday anymore? Then why are you discriminating against Christians?

  27. jameeka says:

    Listen to ChristmascaZt 29!
    Father Benedict is a Saint in our midst.

  28. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Chicken doesn’t seem to be a very appropriate for Christmas.”

    Here, here :)

    “Christmas is a secular holiday. Saying “Merry Christmas” is a perfectly appropriate, entirely patriotic…”

    Really? Try making your argument in Syria. Do you really think the Christians, there, will be smiling at their Moslem persecutors and saying, “just kidding?” Seriously, how can a universally celebrated holiday or at least one acknowledged for business purposes to exist by everyone be patriotic of any one country? America did not invent Christmas.

    Christmas is not, properly speaking, celebrated by anyone who is not Christian, as one is celebrating the birth of the Messiah. I have no idea what anyone else would be celebrating that would entitle them to the use of the term, Christmas, which is derived from that specific Mass of celebration of the birth of Christ. In fact, I think non-Christians should work on December 25 and refrain from giving gifts. Certainly, Christians do not, except obliquely, celebrate Hanukkah. Why should pagans and atheists celebrate Christmas?

    The Chicken

  29. Giuseppe says:

    There’s an obscene (and funny) South Park song called Merry @#$%^&* Christmas about saying Merry Christmas to non-Christians. I won’t post the link. Their version of the dreidel song is also superb. Pretty searchable on You Tube.

  30. PostCatholic says:

    Is Christmas a national holiday in Syria? No? Probably not patriotic to wish someone a Merry Christmas there.

    williamjm gets it right. There’s more than one way to celebrate the day, and in our sweet land of liberty an ever-increasing number of Americans choose to use their freedoms to celebrate the season of peace, plenty and family without explicit reference to Christianity. If you want to keep having your Christian observance coincide with a national holiday, get comfortable with the fact Christmas is a holiday which non-Christians celebrate with gusto.

  31. Elizabeth D says:

    “PostCatholic”, it is your loss if you empty things of their meaning and value, and I am certain I am not the only one to pray for all who experience that poverty at Christmas time.

  32. PostCatholic says:

    Hardly emptying. “A Christmas Carol,” for instance, is a Unitarian’s view on the meaning of the holiday. Santa Claus doesn’t have to be Saint Nicholas of Myra to be meaningful to secularists. Even the blazing yule before us in our halls decked with holly doesn’t need a nativity and the sleighbells jingle quite nicely without three kings. Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on peace or kindness or joy, hope and joy. People of every stripe value those things. Your mileage might differ on Peking Duck, though.

  33. Kathleen10 says:

    I hope you aren’t waiting for gasps. We are all thoroughly saturated in this stuff.

  34. PostCatholic says:

    I know better. Merry Christmas anyway.

  35. Johnno says:

    PostCatholic –

    Your point being? Hypothetically, anyone crossing the border into the States can make the 4th of July a ‘Day off’ and not care a fig for its significance. You can also fantasize about a PostAmerican trying to wave away the significance of the day as just an occasion for people to go to the park and light fireworks without needing to observe the foundations of the territory they occupy; while flippantly tell their flag-waving neighbours to “get over it” as they demand American flags be taken down and rebuke public exhibitions of the singing of the National Anthem because it offends their sensibilities. Sorry chuck, this wind blows both ways, and you should start getting comfortable with the fact that someday this holiday will be taken back with much gusto, and you will either have to bend your knees or you can wail gnash your teeth outside of the walls of the Holy City of God about what a ‘monopoly’ it has.

  36. PostCatholic says:

    You seem to be putting words into my mouth, Johnno. Please do your best to have a happy 2015.

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