A Jesuit priest reveals the big problem with the so-called “war on Christmas”

A Jesuit priest reveals the big problem with the so-called “war on Christmas”
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree stands lit in New York City. Diane Bondareff/AP
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree stands lit in New York City. Diane Bondareff/AP

As the holiday season approaches, so does the so-called annual “war on Christmas.”

Whether it’s the words of department store clerks, the decorations on our coffee cups, the songs our children sing in schools or the holiday symbols lining our streets, Americans cannot seem to agree on the appropriate way to handle religious diversity during the holiday season.

Mic spoke with Rev. Kevin O’Brien, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, who revealed his thoughts on the religious debate. According to O’Brien, Jesus probably doesn’t care whether you say “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays.”

“It should not be about litmus tests, about whether I say ‘happy holidays’ or ‘merry Christmas,’” O’Brien said. “To me, that’s an easy way out to prove your Christianity.”

Christians, he added, should instead focus on acting out their faith during the holiday season, which means celebrating and honoring the religious diversity in our country.

“We have to be careful about the language we use in a pluralistic society like ourselves, because in it we encounter people of different faith traditions,” O’Brien said. “This means listening to people and respecting people who are different than us. We listen to them not just simply to be nice, but to learn.”

For more from O’Brien, watch the video above.