The following is an excerpt of a CBS Interview Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary in 2005. I've seen this posted on other blogs but some of their posts had pieces which had been added that are not from Ben, according to Snopes.com. (I visit Snopes whenever I receive forwarded emails and it debunks 90% of them ... I wish some of my relatives would visit this site before hitting the forward button.)
My confession (Ben Stein):
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
This is a nice reminder that saying "Merry Christmas" is not offensive ... it's expressing joy in your own faith. And that is MORE than OK! The countdown is ready to begin.