Atheist’s started a petition along with an open letter to Merriam-Webster demanding that the definition of Christmas be changed so as to not offend the “faithless” readers that enjoy America’s most popular dictionary. The letter claims that the reason Christmas is viewed as an “overtly Christian” holiday is due to the fact that it’s been defined by the dictionary as the day of Christ’s birth.
“If you would just change the name to ‘Giftmas’ it would reflect society’s definition more accurately. Christians shouldn’t be allowed to force love, joy, or hope down anyone else’s throats,” the letter reads. “We would all be better off if the word Christmas was used to merely describe consumerism, senseless spending, and superficial happiness.”
The letter continues, offering alternative definitions. “You could define Christmas, or Giftmas as we will refer to it from here on out, as a time when everyone gives gifts to each other and gets long vacations for no apparent reason. This would go a long way towards convincing the public that Christians are nut jobs and wouldn’t make our atheist community look like a terrible, bitter Grinch.”
Dan Phelps, a self proclaimed atheist spokesperson, supports the petition. When asked why he can’t just not celebrate Christmas if it offends him so much, he got irate, “I can’t help it. There is steeply discounted merchandise everywhere, everyone is giving each other presents, the homeless are getting free meals, the carolers are hitting every note just right, and everyone is just so happy I can’t help but get a little merrier than I was. That’s shoving your holiday down my throat and it offends me.”
He continued, “Plus, I see people exhibiting Christmas cheer in the public park. Isn’t that a violation of church and state?”
Mandy Chambers was buying presents for her niece. She supports the right for people to celebrate anything they want. “Well, it’s a Christian holiday, why can’t you just not celebrate it if you don’t want to. You don’t have to be a Grinch about it.” She continued saying, “I don’t hear anyone complaining about Hanakkuh because it’s too Jewish.”
Merriam-Webster responded to the letter late Saturday evening by saying that they “didn’t even realize people cared what was in the dictionary anymore” and that they would “start paying attention to what they actually put in that big thick book.”