The Red Cross. Still banning Christmas, apparently.

November 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has admitted that Winterval, as a replacement for Christmas, is a myth, but there is another myth that originated with the Daily Mail that, although not quite as old, is potentially more damaging.

I’ve wrote about it last year and it’s reared it’s ugly head again: The Red Cross Ban Christmas.

The Mail story goes back to 2002 and about this time of year, just like Winterval, someone new finds this story and starts the shouting all over again. Go and read my previous post, here, and then come back.

Now you know the background to the Daily Mail story I want to re-iterate just why the Red Cross/Crescent needs to not do Christmas or any other religion.

One of the Red Cross’ Seven Fundamental Principles is neutrality. Without this, they are just another charity. I don’t mean to denigrate charities or make them sound inferior to the Red Cross, but without these seven principles, especially neutrality, the Red Cross wouldn’t enjoy the respected and unique position it has.

The Principle of Neutrality

the purpose of complying with the principle of Neutrality is to enjoy the confidence of all. Implicitly, this compliance with the principle of Neutrality is also a condition for operational efficiency, which requires confidence of all in many contexts, i.e. not only in armed conflicts contexts;

the principle of Neutrality prohibits a component of the Movement from taking part in hostilities;

the principle of Neutrality prohibits the Movement from engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

The point is that the Red Cross is not a political or religious organisation. This neutrality is one of our fundamental principles and governs everything we do in the whole Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It means that we can reach and help people in need, whoever and wherever they are. Often we provide help in countries that other organisations cannot or will not work in.
We cross front lines in times of war to help conflict victims and visit prisoners of war on both sides. We can only do this life-saving work because we are understood to be a completely neutral, independent organisation. Put simply, our neutrality saves lives.

We can’t let people in need down by compromising our neutrality. That is why we do not align ourselves with any particular political cause or religious creed anywhere in the world. And that’s why we don’t have any items of a religious nature in our shops.

A nativity scene in a shop in Kent might seem like it has nothing to do with our sensitive, precarious work in a war zone in Africa or the Middle East. But in a world where information travels quickly and pervasively – a world where an eight-year-old news story is still raising questions with our supporters – we have to make sure we act consistently across the board with regard to our neutrality.


I’m pretty sure most shops wouldn’t bother with xmas if they didn’t lose sales. The Red Cross would ‘do Christmas’ if it didn’t have ramifications in other areas of it’s operations.

People claim that the Red Cross is pandering to Muslims and minorities and being politically correct. Every time the story is repeated, the poster, a commenter or a forum thread member say they are going to stop donating, if they ever did in the first place, because of this. “This is a Christian country” they claim. This is flip side of the coin that the Red Cross gets from other quarters that mean there is a Red Crescent organisation. Exactly the same sentiment that shows exactly why the Red Cross needs, at it’s core, to be and to be seen to be neutral.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent need to be above this sort of bickering and this neutrality principle is them saying that they do not care where you are from, what you look like, who you believe in or what you have done. They will help you and you can let them help you because they will not preach, or condemn you, and the authorities will let them help because they will not interfere.

The Red Cross’ neutrality means that they can use that money were it’s needed, where other organisations cannot get to. I would say that is a little more important than pandering to people that want to see a little model nativity scene in every building they walk in to.

Is a fairy on a tree really that important?

The Red Cross Bans Christmas… or do they?

December 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

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.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with red cross at Sim-O.