Alpha Chi Omega Message Board
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'Tis the Season...Or Is It?
We recently sent an electronic holiday greeting card to our Alpha Chi Omega sisters. We received feedback from of few sisters who were offended/disappointed at our use of the term “holiday” rather than saying “Merry Christmas.” They felt we had succumbed to political correctness. Our intention was not to offend, or even to be politically correct. Our intention was to be inclusive and sisterly and send holiday wishes to each member regardless of which holidays she chooses to celebrate, whether it’s one of religious significance or simply the new year.
One comment read as follows: “Take the time to wish me Merry Christmas, and the time to wish my Jewish sisters Happy Hanukah, and sisters of other faith Happy whatever. Don’t be so lazy and so politically correct to just use the word ‘holiday’…I’d rather you not send anything than to send what you did – it is worse than meaningless, it was offensive.”
We would love to hear from more of you. Did we cross a line in sending a heartfelt but secular holiday greeting? Would you rather we didn’t send a greeting at all or wait until the new year? What did you think when you received the greeting?
Didn’t get the greeting? By logging into the web site you can update your information to include your current e-mail address, thereby receiving future communications.
Please note: Alpha Chi Omega does not collect information regarding religious preferences.
This is what I posted on Alpha Chi's facebook post:
I like the card because it's inclusive! I'm one of the Jewish sisters
that some people have mentioned. While most people do celebrate
Christmas, and it's great to celebrate Christmas with my friends, it's
also nice to feel included in the holiday greeting from Alpha Chi - an
organization that I value so much. There was a time in history when Jews
were not allowed to join most sororities, but my Alpha Chi sisters made
me feel included no matter what. I hope that spirit of inclusion and
celebrating our differences continues.
Oh my gosh! Sisters complained that they received holiday note that said, "Happy Holidays: Wishing you a carefree holiday season, filled with fun, family and friends. -Alpha Chi Omega" Really ladies!?!
Alpha Chi Omega is about being inclusive. I think the general sentiment most of us took away from the little note is one of good will. I hope that the fraternity continues to wish us a happy holidays.
I loved the card and I think thoughtful gestures like this are part of the reason the Alpha Chi is so special!
I send my kids to a private Christian school. I will ALWAYS have a Christmas card that says "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and it will always feature a cross, manger, star, wise man, shepherd, or similar motif. I am a card-carrying, marked-up-Bible-owning, member of the Christian faith and the Presbyterian Church, living in the South.
ALL OF THIS SAID .... I am pleased that "we" sent a greeting out to our larger membership body. I am not offended at all. I hope the members who are of other beliefs receive the greeting, with the spirit in which it was sent.
We have made efforts in recent years to clarify that our ritual is not a religion unto itself, and it does not require our members to accept a particular religious belief system. Why would we behave differently in sending a seasonal greeting to our membership?
No, not offended in the least. Thanks for the thoughtful message.
I think it is great that you posted here to receive feedback from members. It follows the "change the conversation" in our Real. Strong. Women. model.
Honestly, I was happy to receive something! I do believe in the meaning of Christmas, but I liked AXO's cheery wish, and was thankful to be remembered. Besides, Headquarters can't possibly know who is Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Pagan, etc., and they don't need to because it has nothing to do with living out the values of Alpha Chi Omega.
Personally, I like to send separate greetings to my friends of different faiths (or no faith), but it is super time consuming and a little stressful.
I thought the holiday greeting was great. I agree that HQ does not have the time to segment its members by religious affiliation and feel that we should not even attempt to do so as religious affiliation is not part of our membership criteria.
I don't agree at all with the comment that HQ was being lazy by not sending separate greetings. I always finding it so disappointing and short sided when folks jump to a conclusions and think the worst instead of just remembering and appreciating the intension of the thoughtful gesture.
I advise a chapter that comprises women of multiple faiths and cultures. I am proud of the way they respect each other and have even taken time to learn about faiths and traditions of their other sisters. I think that their actions are a great example of ways in wish we can all model our values!
I wish all Alpha Chi Omega sisters a happy and safe holiday - no matter how or what they chose to celebrate as an individual.
I am for membership being inclusive and tolerant of all religions, but I very much opposed to the politically correct use of the term 'Happy Holidays" during the Christmas season, especially from an organization founded on Christian principles.
First, being wished a "Merry Christmas" should not offend anyone. It is illogical to resent being wished well regardless of religion. If someone wants to wish you "Happy Hanukkah", "Happy Kwanza", or "Happy Ramadan", you should be appreciative of the good wishes being sent your way. Good manners dictate that you simply reply "thank you" regardless of your beliefs. To do otherwise, diminishes all religions. However, lumping Christmas together with other holidays actually is offensive because it diminishes the significance of Christ's birth and reduces it to something generic and ordinary.
Second, political correctness only serves to limit everyone's freedom of religion and speech, so please recognize it for what it really is - an attempt to censor. If you want to send generic good wishes, perhaps a better time to do so would be on Ground Hog's Day. Better yet, do not send out any well wishes least you offend a ground hog!
Was Alpha Chi Omega "founded on Christian principles"? I wasn't aware that we were. My understanding is that the Fraternity was founded as a women's society with roots in the department of music. (The first constitution read: "The object of this fraternity is as follows: To attain the highest musical culture and to cultivate those principles that embody true womanhood.")
Anonymous said, that to say anything other than "thank you" when wished religious based good will would "diminish all religions." The argument that Anonymous makes is not only flawed, but offensive in its exclusive nature.
Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but using it to support an argument that is based on the notion that all other winter holidays and religions are diminutive to Christianity is sadly very un-christian-like.
I suggest that Anonymous follows her suggestion of “good manners dictate that you simply reply ‘thank you’ regardless of your beliefs” to include “happy holidays” and say ‘thank you.’