Just a quick entry to note something that probably is better discussed through email, but my gMail is on the fritz. According to an email I just received that went out to the departmental list, the early December party at our former department apparently has a new name. What used to be the department’s “Holiday Party” is now the “Winter Solstice Party”. Now, I’m not in favor of Bill O’Reilly’s “War on Christmas”, but I also dislike going to extremes to not offend anyone. I think even atheists can agree that a large percentage of the population celebrate some sort of holiday toward the end of the year, even if it’s just the non-religious Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Some may argue that we should be mindful of international members of the community, but I think that celebration of American holidays is part of the cultural experience.
I suspect that the name change has something to do with the new office administrator, who is an ethicist. Ethicism is, from what I gather, is a religion for atheists. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; this isn’t a criticism of him. My only point is that being respectful of all points of view, including religion, should not exclude any point of view, even the “traditional” one. Can anyone think of a reason it shouldn’t still be called the “Holiday Party”?