Is saying ‘Happy Holidays’ being inclusive or just politically correct?

It's early, but Merry Christmas anyway.

It's really not that early when you consider that Christmas decorations were going up in stores alongside the garish gore and garnishes as Halloween loomed. But temperatures where I live were still in the 80s at that time, and "Merry Christmas" just didn't fit.

Of course, even when Christmas does arrive, some people, even Christians, prefer "Happy Holidays" to "Merry Christmas," I guess so they won't offend anybody. But since Christ is the Lord I worship and Christmas is the time I celebrate His birth, I prefer not to dilute my greeting with "Happy Holidays." It's Christmas, for goodness sake.

It's all right to be inclusive, but it's not good to yield totally to political correctness in everything, even in our faith. When students' speeches in high school are edited to eliminate references to God and when a second-grader is told she can't sing a song of her faith at a after-school talent show, well, we've gone a bit too far.

It could be that public school officials don’t know the law. Under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause, a student can express his or her personal religious beliefs in an assignment, or as valedictorian or whatever. And if a second-grader wants to sing “Awesome God” at a talent show, then let her.

In my humble opinion, it’s not that school officials are so afraid they’ll violate the Supreme Court ruling, which outlaws state-sanctioned prayer in public schools. They might just want to be politically correct.

Terry Bradshaw had something to say about political correctness when he was interviewed on television a few weeks ago. Bradshaw, of course, is commentator for the National Football League and former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

People "can't talk about Jesus," he said, and instead "say ‘I'm religious,’ because if we say Jesus, you are automatically pigeonholed and kicked off the desk."

His comments came before the big election, so he used the two vice presidential candidates to make his point. They are "going at it," he said, "and they both are saying what? 'We're religious.' What does that mean—you're religious? Everybody is religious."

Bradshaw is right. It's good to be specific about what you believe. You don't have to be judgmental or overbearing about it. No one likes a religious bully. But why not say: "This is what I believe, and this is who (or what) I worship." You can do that and be respectful.

I have a longtime Jewish friend. At this time of the year, I wish him “Happy Hanukkah.” He tells me “Merry Christmas.”

It boils down to this: This is a free country. If you want to kneel when the national anthem is played, that's your right. I don’t like it, but that’s your right. And if I want to say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays," I'm not trying to be exclusive. I'm just affirming what I believe and Whom I serve.

So, after all that, let me say again, early: “Merry Christmas.”