- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A professor at the University of Central Florida has argued in favor of people saying “Happy Federal Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas” in an effort to be more inclusive.

Terri Fine, a political science professor at the public Orlando university and associate director of the Lou Frey Institute, penned an opinion piece on the subject for UCF Today, titled “A Holiday Greeting That Applies to Everyone,” The College Fix reported.

In the article, Ms. Fine lamented that people often wish each other “Merry Christmas,” whether they know the other person’s religious background or not.

“I would suggest that we take a new approach that observes ‘the holidays’ we all have on our calendars, no matter our religion,” she said.

“My friends and I wish each other a ‘Happy Federal Holiday,’ ” she wrote. “Happy Federal what? Because the U.S. government in some cases and the state government in others have identified certain days during the year as state and federal holidays, including those that fall during the late fall and winter season — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day — we have no choice but to observe these holidays whether we want to or not.”

Ms. Fine argued that “Happy Federal Holiday” includes everyone no matter their religious beliefs or practices.

“The banks are closed, along with post offices, local, state and federal government offices, and state institutions such as UCF. As long as we live in the United States, these federal and state holidays impact us equally so we might as well celebrate them equally, too,” she continued. “The upside to wishing each other a ‘Happy Federal Holiday’ is that we have lots of opportunities to do so during the year and not just during the current ‘Holiday Season.’ We know that we are not being culturally insensitive by extending to someone a holiday greeting that has no meaning to them because they practice a different religion or no religion at all.”

“Even better, though, is that we can use this opportunity to get to know one another — to learn about each other’s religious and cultural beliefs and practices because we will not treat people as if we already know what those beliefs and practices are,” Ms. Fine wrote.

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