By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 04, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Someplace along the line of life in these United States people decided if we change the name of things we might be able to not offend anyone. One example, among many, is Christmas and I think this whole thing is misguided.

It’s not hard to see this. Christmas carols have become holiday songs. Christmas vacation is very often winter vacation and Christmas cards are holiday greetings.  Several years ago, the United States Congress (perhaps the most seriously offending group in the country) changed the name of the Capitol Christmas Tree to the Capitol Holiday Tree.

Political correctness assumes that if we just change the name no Jew or Muslim or Buddhist or atheist or agnostic will be offended.

Put a creche on the front lawn of a school? Horror of all horrors.

The problem is our hope that we will never be accused of discriminating against any religious group or subject them to harm by having to listen to Christmas carols. It’s crazy.

I don’t care what religion you are, or aren’t, it’s pretty hard to avoid Christmas this time of year. It is the most overwhelming Christian holiday of the year. No businesses or bars have Easter office parties, but Christmas parties abound.

If I was a Muslim kid in school I might be a little swamped by all this Christmas stuff. But changing the name of the songs isn’t going to make me feel more like a Muslim. It’s going to do nothing to help me deal with the differences between their Christianity and my Muslim faith.

I don’t want anyone to feel bad, especially school kids. But I think all of this has been carried way too far. Rather than change the name of a holiday and its songs, I’d rather see celebrations expand to allow plenty of room for all the religious celebrations that take place this time of year.

Certainly the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison would go to court to get schools to stop talking about religious beliefs. But I say they can take a walk and worship the way they want or don’t want.

Talking about religion in schools is not teaching religion in schools. Think how cool it would be if Muslim kids and Jewish kids and Christian kids and Buddhist kids all got a chance to talk to their classmates about their holidays.

Think of having a focus on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, or Ramadan, when Muslims spend a month fasting during the day, or Vesak, the most holy of days that celebrates the birth of Buddha.

It would be a wonderful thing for all if  we stopped worrying so much about what we call things. Changing the names of things like Christmas carols is running away from reality in the false hope that by not making other people hear that one word we are going to make things better.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.