Not that the Red Cross is a Christian organization, per se (other than the use of a red "cross" as its symbol), but to ban any and all Christmas decorations other than some measly tinsel or snow, which is what it did, is completely and utterly fatuous. According to an article on the DailyMail website,
Staff have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of the Christian festival because they could offend Moslems.
Ironically, the ban was apparently self-imposed, and criticized by both Christians and Muslims alike.
Labour peer Lord Ahmed, one of the country's most prominent Moslem politicians, said:
'It is stupid to think Moslems would be offended. 'The Moslem community has been talking to Christians for the past 1,400 years. The teachings from Islam are that you should respect other faiths.' He added: 'In my business all my staff celebrate Christmas and I celebrate with them. It is absolutely not the case that Christmas could damage the Red Cross reputation for neutrality - I think their people have gone a little bit over the top.
Over the top, indeed. I'm sure there probably are a few Muslims, along with some equally bah-humbug-ish Atheists, who might take offense to a nativity scene- that has always been the case- but I have always believed that if you don't want to celebrate a a particular holiday, then by all means don't. But to prevent others from celebrating their religious holidays is incredibly selfish.
No-one would expect the Red Crescent to ask Muslims to not celebrate Ramadan. And there's certainly no global movement to stop Jewish people from celebrating Hanukkah or Hindus Diwali, but for some reason Christians are being asked to step back and remove their 'Christ' from Christmas, and not just by the Red Cross. There has been an increasing trend to take Christmas away from Christians, from people being told not to say "Merry Christmas" to nativity scenes being removed from public places. And remember the time when Christmas Trees were called 'Holiday' Trees?
I actually prefer to say 'Happy Holidays', not because I am being politically correct, but because this time of year is not exclusively Christian; other religions celebrate too, and one never knows what religion a person might be. But if someone tells me Merry Christmas, you can be sure I will respond with a "Merry Christmas to you too!".
UPDATE: According to the Red Cross, this apparently was a story from back in 2002. Still doesn't change my mind about the organization.