The Red Cross Bans Christmas… or do they?

December 18th, 2010 § 0 comments

Yes, alright, it’s the Daily Mail. Again…

Christmas has been banned by the Red Cross from its 430 fund-raising shops.

Staff have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of the Christian festival because they could offend Moslems.

The charity’s politically-correct move triggered an avalanche of criticism and mockery last night – from Christians and Moslems.

Christine Banks, a volunteer at a Red Cross shop in New Romney, Kent, said: ‘We put up a nativity scene in the window and were told to take it out. It seems we can’t have anything that means Christmas. We’re allowed to have some tinsel but that’s it.

‘When we send cards they have to say season’s greetings or best wishes. They must not be linked directly to Christmas.

‘When we asked we were told it is because we must not upset Moslems.’

Mrs Banks added: ‘ We have been instructed that we can’t say anything about Christmas and we certainly can’t have a Christmas tree.

This Christine Banks woman needs to learn a bit more about the seven fundamental principles that make the Red Cross what it is and allows it to do what it does. To be fair, she probably has done now.

All seven of those principles, especially the neutrality one, mean that it can be trusted by *everyone*. Because they have that trust it means they can get to people in need that other organisations can’t get to. The Red Cross isn’t a Christian organisation that might surreptitiously try and convert people from other religions. The Red Cross doesn’t have a political view, making dictators or aggressors in wartime stop them from visiting prisoners. If you want an example of what the Red Cross’ fundamental principles enable it to do then look at Dafur. No other aid agency is allowed in except for the Red Cross.

This neutrality and the trust it brings with it is very special to the Red Cross and consequently all the people that it helps. The Red Cross couldn’t carry on as it is without it.

By not having Christmas trees or other decorations the Red Cross isn’t trying to be politically-correct. Well ok, maybe it is but only in the sense that it can’t afford to show allegiance or favouritism towards one form of dogma over another. Being apolitical and areligious is the best and easiest way to stay neutral.

The Red Cross could celebrate the birth of Christ, but to maintain their impartiality and neutrality they would have to celebrate every single other religions special day. You’d struggle to do that in your own home, never mind in such a large organisation. The chance of getting something wrong or forgetting a date and being accused of insulting such-and-such a diety is immense.

The Red Cross doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas, but it certainly hasn’t banned it, as you’ll note by visiting this page.

That article by the Mail is not a recent one, though. It could’ve been written yesterday, but it wasn’t. The Mail is still pushing the ‘Christmas is banned’ line and they still read the same today as they did ten years ago. That article is from December 2002. It is not dated, the only thing that gives it away is the mention of Sangatte, the French refugee camp near Calias, which was closed in 2002.

Why is it relevent now, after eight years? Well, because this story about a misunderstanding between the Red Cross and one of their volunteers is still haunting them…

Yesterday, we started getting some comments on our Facebook page from people angry with us for ‘banning Christmas’, which we haven’t, and the story now seems to be spreading on some American websites.

And what is the result of this anger? Cancellations of donations. A volunteers time may be free but the equipment and other resources the Red Cross needs certainly isn’t. The Red Cross needs those donations so it can carry it the work it needs it’s impartiality for. This article, *eight years* after it was written, is still having a damaging effect on both it’s finances and it’s well deserved and much needed reputation.

There is a claim common to all tabloids that nobody believes them. This is proof that that claim is wrong. People do believe them. Not only do people believe the lies, people act on them too and that is why the media needs to be more accountable to the truth.

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