January 14, 2011
If there is ever a competition for the most ridiculous effort to promote religion through legislation, there would be hundreds of entries. But we may have a winner. In late December 2010, Florida Senator Gary Siplin introduced a resolution that would designate “Merry Christmas” as the State of Florida's “official greeting” for December 25. That’s right—Siplin wants to regulate the words that come out of Floridian’s mouths on December 25, at least to the extent of pressuring them to conform lest they be accused of using an unauthorized greeting.
What inspired Siplin to introduce the resolution? Siplin’s explanation is that “we all know why people exchange gifts … it’s going to be Christmas, Jesus’ birth … [why] camouflage it?” Siplin also referenced the other items that Florida has officially endorsed, such as its state pie (key lime pie) and its state bird (mockingbird). Why not have an “official Christmas greeting we can all be proud of.”
So Siplin has not only managed to insult the 20% of Floridians who are not Christians, but he has also succeeded in reducing a religious salutation to the status of a trivial state symbol. Good work for one day.
Perhaps Siplin hasn’t gone far enough . Shouldn’t he help Christian conduct become even more pervasive in Florida by placing the state’s official seal of approval on other aspects of the Christian lifestyle? Here are a few suggestions. For the official Florida social event: church picnic. For the official Florida method of birth control: abstinence. For the official Florida dance: none.
And, of course, since Siplin has shown an inclination to regulate speech, there should be additional official forms of expression. For the official Florida response to sneezes: Jesus bless you. For the official Florida expression of romantic love: I want you like the Holy Ghost craved Mary. And for the official Florida excuse for late payment: The tithe is in the mail.
#1 John D on Friday January 14, 2011 at 1:27pm
I would have no problem with a state making “Merry Xmas” a one day state greeting as long as I could include any extra words before, after, or between those two words… The combinations are endless and entertaining enough.
Merry (blanking) Xmas!
(blanking) Merry (blanking) Xmas!
#2 J Sojourner (Guest) on Friday January 14, 2011 at 1:50pm
What kind of idiots will vote a crazy right-winger like Gary Siplin into a very important seat, such as the Senate?
Oh, stupid conservative Americans.
#3 L.Long (Guest) on Friday January 14, 2011 at 3:17pm
And they will be surprised when they pass a law making english the official language while everyone is walking around speaking spanish regardless.
Its good to know this idiot has so little official business that he can waste his time doing tis silliness. They should cut his salary as he is very over paid.
#4 gray1 on Friday January 14, 2011 at 3:34pm
It is never unusual or unexpected that a politician will pander to what he feels is the majority of his electorate.
#5 Jim (Guest) on Saturday January 15, 2011 at 10:00am
And Republicans claim to embrace LESS government interference. What the hell.
#6 Jim (Guest) on Saturday January 15, 2011 at 10:01am
My bad, he’s a Democrat.
#7 cbb (Guest) on Saturday January 15, 2011 at 8:23pm
To be fair, will we have an official greeting during Ramadan? What about the Festival of Lights? (For Good Friday I propose, “How’s it hangin’?”)
#8 Cathy W (Guest) on Saturday January 15, 2011 at 10:21pm
In my family, we say “Happy Newton-mas” as it’s far more reliably established that Isaac Newton was born on December 25th!
#9 asanta on Sunday January 16, 2011 at 2:20am
We celebrate ‘Santa’s visit’, since my developmentally delayed brother still fervently believes. I’m with #1 JohnD, I’ll say Merry Christmas as long as they don’t regulate what I say before, after or between those words!! M*r*y F*c*i*g *h*i*t*a* to you too!!
#10 asanta on Sunday January 16, 2011 at 2:21am
We celebrate ‘Santa’s visit’, since my developmentally delayed brother still fervently believes. I’m with #1 JohnD, I’ll say Merry Christmas as long as they don’t regulate what I say before, after or between those words!! Merry Effin’ Christmas to you too!!
#11 a. oliver (Guest) on Sunday January 16, 2011 at 9:21am
Humans are funny animals.
#12 Steve (Guest) on Sunday January 16, 2011 at 4:52pm
I don’t understand Siplin’s reasoning. I take it that he’s not a fan of the phrase “Happy Holidays” But since when do states designate an official greeting for a day? Has any state done that, ever?
@CathyW: Isaac Newton was born on Jan. 4th, 1643, not on Christmas. His birth was recorded at the church using the old Julian calendar system instead of the Gregorian calendar with the date being listed as Dec. 25
#13 Jared (Guest) on Monday January 17, 2011 at 9:54am
I don’t live in florida. So I’m very willing to let that state volunteer to become the screwy clown examples. I hope they film 2011 with piles of silly legislation. Let them have an official state donut, hairdo, religion, yogurt and a special floridian arm twitch during hemorrhage and seizure. They’ll ruin it for the rest of the states with similar ideas.
#14 Sam Wise Gingy (Guest) on Monday January 17, 2011 at 3:55pm
Official Holiday Greetings for all Americans:
News Year’s Day: Happy New Year of our Lord
Ground Hog’s Day: Winter is God’s way of making us stronger brother/sister.
President’s Day: George Washington and the other conservative/Republican presidents were God’s gift to America, but not George W. Bush who was really a liberal in disguise.
Easter: The Lord has risen. (Followed by the response) The Lord has risen indeed.
Memorial Day: The Civil war was really the war of northern aggression.
July Forth: America is an exceptional country, right citizen.
Labor Day: Unions suck.
Halloween: Worshiping the Devil and evil spirits is okay because it is good for business.
Thanksgiving: Thank God we got rid of the Indians.
Christmas: Merry Christmas and if you want me to say anything else you are un-American.
#15 Ronald A. Lindsay on Tuesday January 18, 2011 at 3:20pm
Thanks to everyone for their interesting and witty observations.
I have not seen reference to an “official greeting” in any other state, although several states have designated things such as official soils and official doughnuts. (Oklahoma even has an official meal.)I suppose some state legislators just have too much time on their hands. Or maybe they just like the feeling of being able to direct us on what to honor, eat, and say.