It's nearing Christmas, which means that it is time for the usual cabal of pundits to get their panties in a twist about the alleged "war on Christmas". Aside from the general bigotry towards other faiths that underlies this objection to showing respectfulness towards non-Christians, I have often felt that it had in particular an undercurrent of antisemitism--since the most prominent non-Christian holiday that gets much attention this time of year is Hanukkah.
There may be evidence to bolster this inference, now that the undercurrent of hate just came out into the open. Should we be surprised? On a New York subway, after a Jewish man named Walter Adler responded to another rider's greeting of "Merry Christmas" by saying"Happy Hanukkah", a group responded by making anti-Semitic comments and then engaging in physical violence. According to CNN,
There was a good Samaritan in this incident--a Muslim man who came to the aid of the Jews who were being assaulted.
Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler's companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.
One member of the group allegedly yelled, "Oh, Hanukkah. That's the day that the Jews killed Jesus," she said.
When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.
When some people repeatedly whip up hysteria about how much they resent it when non-Christians are given respectful consideration during this time of the year with expressions like "Happy Holidays", it is inevitable that some people are going to take this message of hate seriously.
The story of the Muslim who came to the aid of Jews who were being assaulted on a New York subway train might give us a bit of an inkling into what religious respect and tolerance really mean.