Merry Christmas?

Royal Mail’s Christmas stamps issue quickly degenerated when BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback attempted to discuss the matter today, and certainly the DUP’s Mervyn Storey deserved the criticism he got, but spare some of your criticism for Royal Mail.. as the quotes in the Newsletter article point out, before the DUP councillor escalated the row, Royal Mail had already apologised to one religious minority for the supposed offence caused by the iconography used on the Christmas stamps – images also over the fold – As Lionel Shriver, in the Guardian argues, the over-eagerness to apologise for causing offence to religious groups only encourages the most fundamentalist among them – “we do the whole concept of “tolerance” a disservice by implying that to accept other cultures is to efface your own.”
And here are the stamps themselves.. the 68p stamp is the one the Royal Mail have officially apologised to the Hindu community for.

The 2nd class stamp
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The 1st class stamp
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The 42p stamp
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The 60p stamp
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The 68p stamp
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And the £1.12 stamp
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And, as a secular fundamentalist, let me just say – Merry Christmas!

  • Raseberry Ripple

    That”ll teach the Royal Mail to try to bring religion into Christmas.

  • Donnie

    When I see “North Antrim” and “DUP” in the same sentence my shoulders drop and I know there is going to be some petty drivel involved in the rest of the article.

    Lo behold my bullsh1t detector is still firing on all cylinders!

  • Butterknife

    I take offence to the term “Merry Christmas” for I’m a chronic depressive Jehovah’s Witness.

  • Holy Moly

    Why is the mother of Christ not to be revered. I revere my own mother!! Does Mervyn Storey not revere his own mother? Ave Maria.

  • Fraggle

    For those of us who fail to see the point, could someone explain what is offensive and how?

    I honestly don’t get it.

  • Betty Boo

    The point seems to be that we are living in a place and time, where whatever you do or don’t do will be offensive to someone.

  • Butterknife

    It is politically incorrect not to be offended by something nowadays, but if everyone agrees then would that spell the end of politics?

  • Occasional Commentator

    Here’s some more background from the BBC about what’s offensive.
    These Hindus are apparently offended at the thought of Hindus being tolerant of Christians.

    On the subject of symbols, some of you may be interested to know that the word Xmas is not a secular version of Christmas, despite what many think.

    This Christmas, I’ll be avoiding religion, commercialism and work partys in favour of the real meaning of Christmas – relaxing with your family (in particular getting away from work colleagues!).

  • Betty Boo

    It properly would mean the end of the only practical thing you get out of politics these days. Having a laugh, some outrage or a feeling of sheer haze.

  • I received the 68p stamp on a Christmas card yesterday and showed it to some of my Sikh colleagues. One of them liked it so much she asked me if she could have it to give to her younger brother who collects stamps so I gave it to her.
    India has one of the oldest Christian churches supposedly founded by St.Thomas. The part of southern India where it has its adherents is noted for its religious tolerance.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes manfarang, but as you say your friends are Sikhs so they will be delighted to show their mates that the hated Hindus secretly worship Christ!

    I have to say I can see where Storey is coming from though, if the Hindu community is deemed worthy of an apology from the Royal Mail and a specific directive that the offending stamp be held back unless asked for then why are the sensitivities of Mervyn Storey not deemed equally worthy of respect? There does appear to be a double standard operating and it’s not crazy to see that often Christians are the ones on the receiving end.

    A few cases will suffice, two years ago an English library refused to post a Christmas carol service announcement on its notice board. This was due to the council directive that banned religious advertising on its property, fair enough but a month earlier it turns out an announcement about a Muslim “Eid al-Fitr” event was allowed to be advertised.

    Last year the BBC screened “Jerry Springer, the Opera” despite widespread objections from many Christian groups, this was felt among the usual theatre luvvy brigade to be an heroic defence of theatrical freedom. Last month the Christopher Marlowe play “Tamurlaine The Great” was staged to great acclaim in London yet any references to Islam and the Koran that were deemed offensive to Muslims were deliberately edited out, the self same luvvies agreed that this was a very good sign of respect to other peoples’ religious beliefs.

    In a school in Derbyshire last week a girl wearing a crucifix was spended for refusing to remove it as this was a breach of school jewellry regulations, the same school permits Sikhs to wear bracelets and ceremonial knives as an expression of their religion! Ah but it is not compulsory for Christians to wear crucifixes you say, well neither is it compulsory for Muslim women to wear the all over jilbab, but a Muslim schoolgirl assisted by Cherie Blair won the right in the House of Lords last year to be allowed to wear the jilbab at her school.

    No Storey may be making an ass of himself, but if modern day liberal society feels the need to bend over backwards to be welcoming to all faiths and creeds then fair’s fair, the fundy Christians have to get their beliefs respected too.

  • Butterknife

    St. Thomas -> Are these people not called Coptic Christians?

  • The St Thomas Christians are part of the Oriental Orthodox Communion (as are the Egyptian Copts).They are known as Nasranis and they follow Syriac Christianity.Their tradition goes back to the very beginnings ot first century thought.
    And Harry my Sikh colleagues don’t hate Hindus.
    Sikhism has its roots in religious tolerance and reconciliation of the Hindu and Muslim faiths.

  • I think the US Postal Service gets around this by using images of paintings hanging in the National Gallery on its Christmas stamps.