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 Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 09:56 GMT
Christmas ban: Sensible or insane?
The Red Cross has banned Christmas nativity decorations from its UK charity shops in case they offend customers of other faiths.

One volunteer, Christine Banks, was dismayed to be told to take a nativity scene out of the window of the Kent shop she worked in.

She said it was political correctness gone mad and leading British Muslim Labour peer Lord Ahmed said it was "stupid" to think other faiths would be offended by Christian symbols.

But the Red Cross believes an alignment to a particular religion could "compromise our ability to work in conflict situations around the world".

Is the charity right to play it neutral or do you think it is wrong to ban nativity scenes?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

My local shop kept their two small Christmas trees in their window

Lyn, England
I vowed I would boycott all Red Cross shops and then saw my local shop had kept their two small Christmas trees in their window. Great! A token of rebellion against the totalitarian oppression of the charity's bosses!! So I shall continue to buy my clothes from my local Red Cross shop after all!
Lyn, England

This casts a slur on the Muslim community, most of whom are very reasonable and recognise Jesus as a prophet. The Red Cross is non-sectarian but the founder, Henri Dunant, was a Swiss, evangelical Christian (who founded the Swiss branch of the Young Men's Christian Association) and I am sure he would never want his organisation to repudiate its Christian roots.

It is very sad to see many charitable organisations such as National Children's Home, The Children's Society, Barnardos, NSPCC, Royal National Institute for the Blind and RSPCA, which have done so much for our society and who now often deny their Christian foundation.
David, England

This whole thing becomes even more hypocritical when you see the things sold in the Red Cross shops and on the Red Cross internet shop at this time of year - advent calendars, Christmas cards and most priceless considering this decision, nativity sets!
John, UK

I try not to support any charity that is associated with religion

Steve, Yorkshire
I try not to support any charity that is associated with any religion. Displaying an item for sale does not imply that there is a link between the charity and the item, except that of commerce. Displaying a shop decoration does imply approval and support. The Red Cross is saying that it does not want to lose support by being seen as a Christian organisation. I don't have a problem with that.
Steve, Yorkshire

It might be a good idea to highlight other religious celebrations. In Israel I have seen ambulances with the Star of David on them.
David C MacKenzie, UK

The whole country is becoming far too politically correct

Louise, Bexleyheath, UK
The Red Cross are being over sensitive. The whole country is becoming far too politically correct.
Louise, Bexleyheath, UK

This time it's Xmas decorations which are banned, other times it's the St George's cross. Always for fear of offending ethnic minorities. My question is: Are ethnic minorities actually offended? I suspect not. It's always well-meaning white Christians worrying about what other people might find offensive. As far as I'm concerned, 99.9% of immigrants would be quite happy to see displays of UK culture, and those who would be offended maybe could do with becoming a little more tolerant.
Rob, UK

It is seriously sad when we live in a multi-cultural society that it is considered offensive to have Christmas decorations. Why not just ban the whole thing and we can become a miserable bunch of politically correct bores with absolutely no culture whatsoever?
Elizabeth, UK

The argument is surely about what the Red Cross represents. As I understand it, decorations as part of the seasonal festivities were not banned but nativity items that could potentially affiliate the Red Cross to supporting a certain religion. Quite right too, otherwise the Red Cross would be hypocritical. Seems to me, damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.
Martin, UK

Far from "not causing offence", the Red Cross's actions have only created resentment and widened the schism between people of different faiths. The cause of religious tolerance has been set back yet again by political correctness.
Matthew, UK

At one time equal rights for women would have been called PC

Jon Claremont, Portugal
Political correctness is usually right. At one time equal rights for women would have been called PC. The Red Cross (aka Red Crescent) is 100% right.
Jon Claremont, Portugal

I wonder if the Red Cross consulted with any ethnic minority representatives? I would guess not. Their attitude in itself betrays a certain racism by judging non-Christians to be too bigoted and intolerant to tolerate the major religious festival of the majority religious grouping of the country. As a member of a different faith I find this attitude reprehensible.
Michael, England

Do they have focus groups currently looking at possible new names for the organisation? 'Cross' obviously has a Christian connection. May be they should call themselves 'Symbol' or some other such nonsense. This is known by some as the silly season and this is a perfect example.
Julian, England

Why are people so quick to judge an organisation that saves millions of lives every year?

Davina Kylassum, UK
Firstly the Red Cross is not a Christian symbol, it is the inverted Swiss flag as the movement originated in Switzerland. Secondly, it's not about political correctness but about being a neutral organisation, and to do so this means not getting involved in any religious festivals Christian or otherwise. Thirdly why are people so quick to judge an organisation that saves millions of lives every year, and has a humanitarian aim?

Why not criticise the big corporate companies that are abusing developing countries worldwide during times of famine, while the Red Cross feed the starving and help people in crisis? At this time of year people should be more interested in the homeless, famines around the world and the prospect of war! Lets get some perspective and stop criticising charities!
Davina Kylassum, UK

I thought we lived in a multi-cultural society where everyone was equal and free to live their lives how they wished, not a culture-less society where people are stopped from celebrating any religious festival.
Steve, UK

I find it ironic that in today's world anyone can set up any vile offensive porn, violence or race-hate website showing the most foul images and video clips to the whole world, and far from being condemned they are applauded and defended by the constitution, the courts, and the populace in the name of 'freedom of speech', but woe betide any decent moral human being who makes the mistake of calling Christmas 'Christmas' anymore! Such is the degenerate warped age in which we live.
M Maguire, UK

In the world today Christianity is under increasing attack, not only from the Red Cross. Surely the Red Cross must ask themselves what actually inspired the founder of the Red Cross to start up in the beginning. I think they will find it was compassion and mercy inspired by the message of Christ to help others which only that message can do in absolute fullness!
R Steward, Great Britain

Since when has the Red Cross been a Christian organisation?

Nick, Scotland
Since when has the Red Cross been a Christian organisation? It is a humanitarian organisation set up in Switzerland. Surely the organisation can do what it wants, without the pathetic rantings of religious groupings.
Nick, Scotland

Here was I thinking Britain is a Christian nation. Are we going to ban Muslim/Hindu/whatever symbols in case they offend me? No, only the majority are disenfranchised in this country by a self-serving liberal, middle-class elite who need to put down their Guardians and muesli and get a life.
Campbell, UK

I'm in Thailand, a Buddhist country, and there's tinsel, Santas and Merry Xmas signs everywhere. No sign of outrage so far.
Ian Jones, Thailand

It should ban overtly religious displays which might compromise that perception of neutrality

Chris, Australia
Since the ability of the Red Cross to do its work and the safety of its staff depends to some extent on its being received as politically and religiously non-aligned, of course it is right that it should ban overtly religious displays which might compromise that perception of neutrality.
Chris, Australia

At last; one of the major holidays is being targeted by political correctness. Give it a few more years and some of western society (mainly England and parts of the US) will become completely and totally bland with non-descript people of no race, sex or religion. Fabulous, by trying to not offend the tiniest of tiny minority, everyone else must be subjected to ideas like this.
Sergio, UK

Refusing to put up nativity scenes is exactly the same as refusing to put up a Vote Conservative poster, it has nothing to do with political correctness. Any of you who work in an organisation where the appearance of independence and neutrality are vital to your aims will appreciate what a difficult position the Red Cross are in. If they are putting a blanket ban on advertising all religious festivals then that is clearly the simplest method of avoiding the perception of religious entanglement. They have however badly mishandled it.
Rob, UK

Yet again the majority of people in this country are being treated as if they are a minority. No sensible person would be offended by people celebrating the main festival that we recognise in this country. If I went to India would I want the officials over there to remove religious depictions of Ramadan? No I would not, and I very much doubt that any reasonable person would expect the same over here.
Simon, England

This is yet another example of the stupidity of most 'politically correct' decisions. When you are in need you do not ask who sent the aid, just like when you are waiting to be rescued from a fire you don't say "Oh you're a woman, you're not strong enough, I'll wait for a bloke to rescue me!!" When will people start putting their sensible and logical heads on? From an unashamed Christian.
Paul Matthews, England

This is great news. Though I am not Christian, I am not offended by the celebration of Christmas it does worry me that Christmas is far too commercial. It's good to see a charity take up this kind of policy. Christmas is about who you are not what you are. Have charity in your heart not in your wallet.
Oliver Stieber, England

I choose to live in Germany although I am British. I have been immersed in traditional German preparations for Christmas. This is their country and therefore I am happy to accept the traditions they uphold. Why should we be changing lifelong customs just because we might upset one religious group or another? It is just such attitudes that keep me out of the UK. Be sensitive yes, but change the way we live and what we believe in - sorry, I struggle with that.
Bob Sammuals, Germany

The Red Cross has done well to depict itself as s professional organisation, that has a serious job to do and no longer succumb the to folly that is Christmas. If people want to celebrate any 'religious' festivals - do it outside work and school.
Hammant Patel, UK

I do a lot of charity work, if the Red Cross has such views on Christmas, I will not be giving any thing to them.
David Booth, Yorkshire

Many people of all cultures, religions and no religion applaud the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which cross national boundaries. For those running Red Cross shops anywhere providing window displays expressing any local holiday at any time shows sensitivity to local culture. Christine acted appropriately, the boss inappropriately. Tut tut! Happy Christmas!
Richard Ewdards, UK

I hope the Red Cross can survive on the donations of the politically correct. They have lost even the few pennies I donate and probably the many pennies from the Christian world at large.
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa

Christmas is a pagan festival hijacked by the Christians. I think the Red Cross is doing the right thing.
Barbara, UK

I understand the motivation and reasoning behind the Red Cross' decision making. But I disagree with it. How is the ban supposed to help the Red Cross to function in countries of other religions? I don't think religious bias should be involved in philanthropy. Millions of people celebrate Christmas all over the world, people of all colour, race and religion. I don't think Christmas is just another religious holiday for Christians. It's actually a simple "phenomenon" in which people gather with family and friends to celebrate.
Lan-Chi Huang, Taipei, Taiwan

I think that the Red Cross have made an error of judgement

Alan Shelley, UK
I think that the Red Cross have made an error of judgement. While they have a corporate image, they also deal & work with people. They should be allowed to acknowledge whatever holiday festival they wish.
Alan Shelley, UK

I don't see what the problem is. It's not as though Christmas is a Christian holiday anyway. Everybody knows the origins of Christmas are pagan.
Charlie, UK

I am working in Balakpapan, Indonesia. During Ramadan the town was correctly decorated to respect that event. Now Christmas is upon us there are Christmas decorations in shops and hotels. When the Chinese New Year commences decorations will be up in Indonesia for that as well. Decorations are a sign of respect for other religions, not necessarily for total agreement of that religion. How can you offend others by contributing to the happiness of particular religious followers, at the correct time and event?
Eric Lauritsen, Indonesia

It's a bit hypocritical, I think. They want to ban a Christmas nativity scene in their shop window, but I doubt they are discouraging shoppers from purchasing Christmas gifts there - they don't want the religion, but they aren't turning down the cash that goes with it.
Judith McRae, Canada

This decision seems totally in keeping with their principles. The fact that so many people disagree with this decision just goes to prove the ignorance of the vast majority of people as to how this charity has always operated. Perhaps the Red Cross need to address this misconception urgently to redress the damage this episode has done to their reputation.
Michael, UK

This decision will almost certainly alienate the Red Cross from some sectors of the British public. It is, however, not the British public they are up against when they enter war zones. If they feel that they can save more lives this way, including the lives of the Red Cross volunteers themselves, then it is a well placed decision, despite being a difficult one to justify.
Robbi, Germany

If the Red Cross wish to not offend Muslims, they should be aware that their emblem was used in the Crusades, of which I, as a Christian, am deeply ashamed.
Paul Gaskin, UK

I wonder whether the Red Symbol has noticed the vast quantity of Christmas goods on sale in this country's shops since September. Would this happen if it was offending their customers? If it is acceptable at Tesco (and everywhere else) why ban Christmas decorations in Red Symbol shops? It will not only give offence to many who enjoy the celebration of the historical events depicted, but also be bad for the very trade on which this charity relies.
Stephen Trott, UK

I will give my charity money to other organisations who take a less offensive stance on inter-faith issues.
Jerry Hart, UK

Maybe I had it wrong but I didn't think that the Red Cross was afraid of offending other religions. I thought that their decision was based on the principle that since they were not a faith based organisation they should not have decorations particular to any faith in their shop. I do not see this as unreasonable.
Sacha Hemans, UK

Political correctness gone mad! And I feel most offended by the Red Cross organisation - but then I don't suppose they mind because I am Christian, so it's all right to upset me. At the moment I'm living in a Muslim country where I have been treated with respect, including kindly wishes for a Merry Christmas. This country has a very large number of Christians, as well as Taoist, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhist. Fortunately these people are kind and tolerant and, an example to the rest of the world.
Pauleen, UK/Far East

A good Muslim would feel sorry to hear that. I am not Muslim but I know that depriving someone of the happiness he derives from celebrating his faith cannot give any satisfaction to anyone of a different faith.
Agha Ata, USA

I think the Red Cross is being overly sensitive and is misguided, even though their intentions are good

LN, Caribbean
I think the Red Cross is being overly sensitive and is misguided, even though their intentions are good. I think they'll find that people of other faiths are the last people to be offended by such harmless, cheerful, well-meant Christmas displays. I agree with those who've said this will only create more mistrust and misunderstanding between different cultures.
LN, Caribbean

Muslims are not offended by Christmas, nor should they be if they choose to live in a Christian country. They should, however, be offended that an organisation such as the Red Cross considers Islam to be so intolerant and backward that demonstrations of other types of faith would offend them. Are the Red Cross really this ignorant of Islam and what it stands for?
Julian Phipps, England

I think it is offensive not to celebrate Christmas because it's all about giving, and I bet the founders - who were more than likely Christian, would be turning in their graves!

As a Christian I can say that the Red Cross have not offended me, but it seems that the managers of the Charity have too little to do, and therefore they won't be receiving any more gifts from me.
Mark Watkins, England

The Red Cross simply wish to make it clear that they are independent of any faith group. Given present cultural sensitivities, this seems a fairly logical decision. Also, I imagine that they want to attract supporters from all religious background.
Mike Smith, UK

How THICK. It's just stupid to ban Christmas. The Red Cross might as well ban Christmas nationwide. I'm Christian and I wouldn't get offended if I saw Muslims celebrating Ramadan. I am 11 and I think this whole thing is stupid. In a few years time we'll be saying goodbye Christmas.
L Sproule, N.Ireland

This country has nearly lost its identity. Surely if people want to live in our country they should have to tolerate our way of life.
Peter Bruin, UK

I support the decision to remove the nativity-style decorations from the Red Cross shops, although I feel the reason they gave (not wanting to "offend" other religions) is ridiculous. It is very important for the work of the Red Cross for it to appear religiously-neutral and I would say that nativity scenes are an overtly religious type of decoration, when that sort of thing appears in a shop window it does reflect on the beliefs of the company/charity in question. But other people being offended? Well, that's their problem - they should learn to be more tolerant.
Mark Hughes, UK

We are always taught to respect other people┐s beliefs no matter what we think. To stop putting up decorations is so stupid. If people don┐t like it - tough.

Never again for the rest of my life will I give one penny to the Red Cross, neither will my family! The UK Red Cross needs sensible leaders for such an organisation - not Cranks!
David Weaver, Hong Kong

Good for the Red Cross! There's no harm in playing on the side of caution. I'll be celebrating Christmas and I'm a white Christian. However, I'm not in the least bit offended by the agency's decision to tone down shop displays.
David Illingworth, England

I completely disagree with anyone who is saying this will help the Red Cross. The Red Cross should ally itself with as many races and religions as possible by being INCLUSIVE of all religious festivals relevant to local, national and international communities. By excluding any religious festivals from their day to day business they show a weakening of their, up to now, brilliant understanding of the global populations ways of life.
Ron, UK

As usual we see reactive comments from people about such an issue, and as far as I'm concerned only one person has raised an interesting and important point: why is it, often in war situations, that we see both the Red Cross and the Red Crescent working towards humanitarian goals? Forgive my naivety but aren't these organisations similar, if not the same, and both cater to the two largest religions that exist: Christianity and Islam? Will the Red Crescent ban Ramadan because it might offend Christians?
Michael, UK

I always thought Red Cross and Red Crescent were symbols of the same organisation, each representing the different religion.
Tony Moody, UK

Maybe the Red Cross will ask Christian Aid to rename itself the "Non-denominational Aid" charity

Andy C, UK
According to the Red Cross theory where would an organisation such as Christian Aid stand, when providing valuable support to non-Christians in Third World countries? Maybe the Red Cross will ask Christian Aid to rename itself the "Non-denominational Aid" charity.
Andy C, UK

Christmas cards are offensive and should be banned. No more Christmas music should be played in public, nor should decorations be placed in public places, such as Regent Street. Actually, decorations shouldn't be for sale, as they are offensive. All Christmas shows must be banned from telly. No more anything Christmas for sale, in fear of 'offending' other religions. So I guess in a few years we'll be sitting at home on Christmas Day, but it won't be called that. It will be the Non-Denominational Day of Not Offending Others and we can't do anything at all that day in fear of offending others. Welcome to the land of insanity.
Susan, England

It's definitely political correctness gone mad!!! Why would displaying nativity decorations offend customers of other faiths? What happens to freedom of religion and freedom of expression? We might well not celebrate Christmas or New Year because it might offend orthodox Christians who celebrate them at a different date.
Yvonne I-Un Liu, Taipei, Taiwan

I rather suspect that as a nation we are becoming Christophobic. I am convinced there would have been even louder complaints if certain minorities had been discriminated against in this way! What happened to tolerance?
Bill, UK

Why all the fuss - if the red cross doesn't want to show allegiance to a Christian ceremony so what?? The fact is that the religious element of Christmas has been totally removed from the equation in the UK and people see not joining in as not wanting a good time. Let's not forget Christmas is often an extremely hard and stressful time for many in this country who cannot afford to jump on the consumer bandwagon that Christmas has become, and invariably get themselves horribly in debt just by keeping to 'tradition'.
Owen, UK

I can sum this decision up in one word. Pathetic.
Dan, UK

You might as well go back to the time when if you said the word 'black' you were being a racist, and look how that turned out - a reporter actually asking Nelson Mandela if he was proud being an African-American! These wounded feelings over something not important in the slightest are the sort of thing that upsets people more. Its actually non-PC to be PC these days. Personally I get offended when someone tells me that I shouldn't be able to talk the way I do...
Paul Charters, England

How can an organisation called the red CROSS, think it is not aligned to any religion by removing a few decorations? And what does the CROSS symbolise? Why not change the name to the red UNDIFENED SHAPE?
Idan, UK

Political correctness needs to be taken out and shot in the name of common sense.
Andrew, UK

This decision from the Red Cross to ban nativity decorations from its shops in order not to offend other religions made me really sad. I'm a French Muslim who studied in a Catholic school for almost ten years. I know how Christmas was a really important celebration for my friends and I was not offended at all. We know Christmas is as important for Christians as Ramadan for a Muslim or Hanukah for a Jew. I am sure the majority of non-Christians will, in their own way, celebrate Christmas.
Nadia, France

Simple: Someone in the Red Cross has lost it big time. Their policy offends me as a Christian and I feel that someone should apologise. Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Bob Price, Wales

Very offensive. You don't see other faiths cancelling their celebrations in case they "upset" or "offend" other people, they just get on with it and so should we! Who cares if it offends anyone? It┐s a free country. All faiths have a right to celebrate.
Graham Pallett, England - United Kingdom

Just one quick question - Isn't a Red Cross symbol itself a religious symbol? Are they going to change that also, so it won't offend people of other faiths?
Vinod Chhotu Patel, West Bromwich, UK

There is a danger here of jumping to conclusions. It isn't the same as Toronto considering calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree (a loopy idea that was instantly rejected by our Jewish mayor). The Red Cross has from its founding been totally and strictly non-denominational. Its cross is just a cross, not a religious symbol. However, it was seen as such by some, so it uses a crescent or a star in some regions, not with religious intent but to neutralize any false perception that it might have a religious bias. It would not be consistent for it to tolerate any religious representation in a window in Kent or anywhere else.
Barrie Martindale, Toronto, Canada

I know of one organisation that won't be getting any money from me this Christmas.
Ray, UK

The Red Cross have the right to determine their code of operations. But they have to take the meaning of Christmas not as a religious issue, but as a time when people forget their problems for a while and gather to share the little they have, especially in areas where the Red Cross concentrates its operations. So the decision is untimely and unfortunate.
Takawira Dururu, Zimbabwe

For me this is a wider issue than the Red Cross' latest faux pas. I moved to the "politically correct capital of the world", namely Washington, a month ago. I am appalled by all news programmes and adverts which refer to "the Holidays" - meaning anything from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, the celebration of Christ's birth. Very cheap for the advertisers - the same ad for all produce! I feel oppressed for my beliefs in a country which advocates freedom for the individual. What is offensive about a man dying for all creeds and colours in this world? Merry Christmas.
Nicola, UK/USA

As a UK Christian living in a Muslim country, where every shopping mall is decorated for Christmas (trees, nativity scenes and all) with carols playing in many of the shops, I find it unbelievable that in my home country a respected organisation like the Red Cross implements a ban on decorations in their charity shops. Britain is "supposedly" a country with Christian roots and should not be ashamed to say so loud and clear. I am certain that the Red Crescent Society is proud of its Islamic background and would never be ashamed of celebrating Muslim festivals.
David Dennis, Dubai, U.A.E.

Well done Red Cross! I don't know about anyone else, but personally I am sick of Christmas by mid October and would be relieved to visit a shop without any Christmas related items in. The same goes for Christmas music. Britain is no longer a religious country, and the sooner we convert the followers of any religion to reason and logic rather than superstition and blind belief the better.
Ben Brown, Sheffield, UK

This will only cause more resentment and polarise people's opinions against other faiths

Neil, UAE
I live in a Muslim country and Christmas decorations have not caused offence here. What the Red Cross is proposing will actually cause more harm than good. Rather than creating tolerance between faiths, this will only cause more resentment and polarise people's opinions against other faiths. This behaviour is absolutely ridiculous and is one of the reasons why I don't live in the UK anymore.
Neil, UAE

It is reasonable for the Red Cross to avoid nativity decorations. The Red Cross is a worldwide organization and they have the duty to contribute to the world peace, so they must build a neutral image to make their work go on peacefully without other meaningless conflicts and arguments. There are still many ways to reveal our joy and love. Why must we stick to the nativity decorations?
Pii Shin Chen, Taipei,Taiwan

Who really cares? There used to be a festival celebrating the lengthening of the days again in winter by some pagans hundreds of years ago. I do not consider myself to be part of any religion, but like this time of year as it is a couple of days off work and a good chance for a feed and a few beers.
Mark, UK

So, in an attempt to offend no-one the Red Cross appear to have offended just about everyone. Nice going guys!
Alex, UK

Through my studies at university I have come into contact with the Red Cross and its workings. It is not a Christian organisation and its red cross is not taken from the cross of St. George. It is a neutral organisation, which originated in Switzerland with its principles being those of humanitarianism, independence and neutrality plus others. To maintain this neutrality I fully support their decision as regards to Christmas. Through commercialisation Christmas has lost its true meaning. Best Wishes to the Red Cross for all their hard work and humanitarianism.
Caz, UK

Banning Christmas is like going back to totalitarian state. Why should we be "politically correct" so that a small minority are not offended? Some will always be offended no matter what we do, so why not be true to ourselves? Bah humbug!
Hazel, UK

Absurd indeed. The Red Cross bans Christmas. Would the Red Crescent ban Eid? Are we feeding religious intolerance here?
Vincent De Souzat, Kuwait

What a STUPID decision. Probably the last people to take offence are persons of other religions. This is the kind of action that creates unwarranted resentment of other cultures. Chalk one up for the daft squad.
Alan Jarrett, Canada

It is easy to ridicule the Red Cross for their decision. However they are an organisation which operates in many parts of the world, in dangerous circumstances, and anything which might compromise their neutrality should be avoided.
Nick, UK

This is political correctness gone bonkers

Jack, England
I find that when the political elite try to speak for me they always end up their foot in their mouths. I'm English, I love Christmas. I may not celebrate it. But I do take part. Who are they to say what will offend me? Get a life guys. Not everything is in black and white. Merry Christmas to you all.
Farouk Patel, England

With all due respect, I myself am Jewish, and I personally do not feel offended by Christmas displays, and never have. Christmas is a holiday embraced by people in more ways than just "the birth of Christ." No minority group could successfully argue that a majority group celebrating a holiday offends them, and in this case no minority group has... The problem is actually paranoia on the part of the Red Cross.
M Gamer, United Kingdom

The ban is insane. I am Hindu and I don't feel offended by the christian symbols. I send christmas cards to my loved ones and feel happy when I get one. It is a decision which will weaken Red Cross.
Mukul, US

I think they are right not too advocate any religion and to remain impartial

Mel, Plymouth
This is getting out of hand. Here in Canada in Toronto (Christians) were forced to re-name the Christmas Tree in Nathan Philps Square to a Holiday Tree. This was an awful way to begin the Holidays. I feel the decision should ultimately lie in the hands of the person who puts up the decorations. Heck here is a solution, why not just get rid of Christmas all together just to please others?
Gabrielle Roy, Canada

The Red Cross has done well to depict itself as a professional organisation, that has a serious job to do and no longer succumb the to folly that is Christmas. If people want to celebrate any 'religious' festivals - do it outside work and school.
Hammant Patel, UK

What are the Red Cross doing? Christmas is about the Nativity and Christ, you can't change something because somebody MIGHT get upset. That's ridiculous. Oh and by the way I'm only 14 and I find that a joke, and I'm of Asian desent.
Matt, England

The Red Cross have the right to determine their code of operations. But they have to take the meaning of Christmas not as a religious issue, but as a time when people forget about their problems for a while and gather to share the little they have, especially in those areas where the Red Cross concentrates its operations. So the decision is untimely and unfortunate.
takawira dururu, zimbabwe

I have lived and worked in the Middle East for over 20 years and every Christmas every Muslim I met would wish me Happy Christmas and many would give me a Christmas card. I would return the gesture, at the end of Ramadan, by wishing them Eid Mubbarak. I can't think of a better way to bring our two religion closer together than by showing that kind of respect. The Red Cross is well known and well respected around the world therefore, there is no need need to hide its Christian heritage and symbolism
John Dean, UK

I don't think this has anything to do with being PC, but at last someone's thought about other creeds. Many are sick to death of the Christian viewpoint being constantly rammed down our throats. As a Pagan I find it offensive, as must many Hindus,Wiccans,& Heathens.
Debbie, england

I can understand the reasoning behind the decision, but do think they're wrong. A better idea would, perhaps, be for the Red Cross to be prepared to decorate their shops, where applicable, for other cultural celebrations as well.
Colin, UK

Many people of all cultures, religions and no religion applaud the work the Red Cross and Red Crescent which crosses national boundaries. For those running Red Cross shops anywhere providing window displays expressing any local holiday at any time shows sensitivity to local culture.
Richard Ewdards, UK

Why can't the Red Cross think about whether they care about offending the millions of Christians in your country? This is utter nonsense - doesn't their own name 'Red Cross' incorporate a Christian symbol? Perhaps they should change it to something 'non-offensive' like 'The Colourless Symbol'.
H Rodrigues, Brasil

I have read that the Red Cross has had difficulties operating in Muslim countries because it is perceived as a Christian organisation. I think it is sensible and sensitive of the organisation to disassociate its self from the symbols of any particular religion. Yes, the red cross symbol is still an issue but it is now too highly recognised as an international symbol to be changed.
Robert Robertson, England

Glad to hear it. Quite right too. So, now I take it they will be removing the word "cross" from their name, because the Christian symbolism is most offensive. If not, what about removing the cross from their logo - just in case. Then they could also scrap the white background, just in case non-whites get offended by that. They could have a blank logo - that would be great!
Matt, UK

It would be considered very wrong for Christians to be offended if Muslims celebrate Ramadan.

Then it must be equally wrong for Muslims to take offence at Christmas celebrations. The Red Cross should be promoting mutual respect, and not discriminate against Christians celebrating there holydays anymore than against other religions
else, netherlands

I am a Muslim, born and bred in this country and have never been offended by Christmas. After all Christmas is the same as other religious celebrations in that it encompasses everything good about people. Peace and Goodwill to all people irrespective of colour, creed, religion or no religion.
Mumtaz, England

I think what the Red Cross is doing is the right thing. I am a Muslim and it is not that having a Christmas tree in their shop would offend me, but they are an organisation that works with all faiths and therefore they should remain neutral or celebrate all religious celebrations. We celebrate Eid privately and it is about time that those that wish to celebrate Christmas do the same.
Farzana, UK

They have to remove the cross because it's the symbol of Christianity and the Red because it's the symbol of communism. So , what will be left : an unoffensive blankness.Perfect ,perfectly stupid .
Claudine, France

Although I can see where they are coming from, I think it is important to embrace all religions in order to alleviate prejudice. UK is predominately a Christian country and the polictically correct should respect that fact. We should no more ban Christmas than we should stop the muslims celebrating. Tolerance will never happen if we can't respect the faith of others.
Candida Adams, US

As a convert to Christianity I fear that the Red Cross may have offended Christians by stopping this traditional form of celebration! As a former Muslim I assure you that Muslims are proud to show their religious beliefs and customs.
Raj Jainsam, Swindon

I do not see why the Red Cross cannot stay neutral by embracing all world religions and recognising the faiths and beliefs of different cultures rather than seeing them as a point of conflict. What is the harm if such religious events are marked in a dignified and respectful way? Maybe the Red Cross should move into the twenty first century and become multicultural and sensitive to religious difference.
Vinny Pattison, England

Christmas is a pagan festival hijacked by the Christians. I think the Red Cross is doing the right thing.
Barbara, uk

If a Muslim, Hindu or Buddist were prevented from celebrating a holy festival, that would be most unfair. Conversely, it seems unlikely other faiths would wish to take issue with traditional Christmas decorations. Tolerance is a suitable goal for all creeds.
Brian Milner, UK

I'm Christian and I wouldn't get offended if I saw Muslims celebrating Ramadan. I am 11 and I think this whole thing is stupid. In a few years time we'll be saying goodbye Christmas.
L Sproule, N.Ireland

As the Red Cross do much of their work in troubled areas around the globe I think they are right not too advocate any religion and to remain impartial on the matter, and let's face it- religious differences account for more wars then anything else.
Mel, Plymouth, UK

If petty political correctness is the burning issue here, then the Red Cross should ban red crosses from its shops too! Resembling, as it does, the Cross of St. George, red crosses on public display might be considered to be unduly nationalistic!
Chris B, England

If anyone is offended by displays of Christmas, then they must be in a state of permanent offence from early November until early January! It's ridiculous.
Rob Lightbody, Scotland

Of course we should all respect other peoples religions and beliefs but this is political correctness gone mad, what about the people who cherish Christmas? Don't we have to respect their views and wishes as well?
Ben Hooper, UK

I find it highly offensive that the Red Cross now employs people capable of making a policy decision like this. Political correctness has become a deadly disease within Western society, where the most harmless of words and actions are construed as possibly offensive. But only by those who have no inkling about real life, and real people. Whoever made the decision to ban xmas should be sacked.
Adam, England

Christmas decorations have never offended Moslems in this country, and never will. This only adds insult towards the Muslim people and angers non-Muslim people in the process. Basically fuelling the fire.
Adnan Pasha, Maidenhead, UK

I think that the banning of the nativity scene is a politically correct attack on freedom of expression, religion in general and christianity in particular. Should we ban muslim women from wearing headscarves because it might offend someone? Or a Hari Krishna from wearing his robes? More tolerance please, and less political correctness.
Philip, UK

I have never seen so many of the messages on these discussion boards all say the same thing - and from people of different faiths, usually the comments are pretty even. I think it says something about the foolishness of this decision made by the Red Cross. In seeking to avoid offence they seem to have given more than they ever could with any number of Christmas decorations. The brave thing would be to say sorry and retract.
Andy, UK

In response to Andy (UK): I have never seen so many messages on one page from people who have entirely missed the point. The Red Cross is a secular and neutral organisation. It cannot be seen to be allied with any, or all, faiths. Keep that jerking knee under control for a while, and consider what's really going on here.
Andy, Netherlands

This is an example of double standards - they're still selling Christian images in their Christmas on-line shop and catalogue for instance. Why is this right, but to display it in their shops is wrong.

The Red Cross needs to get real and accept that people are not offended by this. As a Christian I certainly would not be offended by other displays in Red Cross shops celebrating Eid for instance. We live in a multicultural world and we need to accept this.
Simon, UK

This is a very ill-conceived decision and will only create resentment and intolerance. It is time that we began to respect our own culture and history, along with respecting that of others.
Stefan Tryggvason, UAE

The Red Cross is entitled, of course, to do what it thinks best. Equally, I am entitled to ensure that next time I donate my hard-earned cash, it goes to some other more deserving charity that does not indulge in stupid politically correct decisions.
Mike Davies, Leicester, UK

They have done the right thing. Furthermore, I would like to see the withdrawal of religious 'brandings' from shops and organisations. I am not religious, so why should I have to have these things shoved down my throat wherever I turn? Society should remain religously neutral.
Robbo, England

Utterly absurd, and even more so since it is a virtual impossiblity to avoid being bombarded with "Christmas" from all directions anyway. What next, the Red Cross renaming itself the "Red Non-Denominational Symbol"?
Richard Gregory, UK

Yuletide has been celebrated in this country for centuries. I am an atheist but I do not take offence to people celebrating Xmas.
John Newell, UK

I am an atheist. I have no decorations in my house, but I enjoy the national holiday as much as the next person. This decision is indicative of the cancer of political fear that is rotting this country's culture away at its core.
Giles Olley, UK

The Red Cross sell Christmas products and cards both in shops and their catalogue. Rather hypocritical!
Clare Dock, England

A good friend of mine who is Muslim agrees that this is a stupid descision. He's even said that all of his Muslim friends and family agreed when asked. It's descisions like this which create racial tension.
Ashley, UK

The Red Cross is a based on the good works of Christianity and Christian beliefs. I believe this is a major gaffe by them as they will not only have disenchanted many of their supporters but also their staff.
Ian Garside, England

OK, in that case should Christians start sending their donations to the Red Crescent. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Islamic countries.
Nigel Wroe, England

What hypocrisy! I have just visited the Red Cross online shop and they are still advertising a whole range of Christmas goods for sale.
Peter, England

I can understand the motivation and reasoning behind the Red Cross' decision. But I do disagree with it. How effective is the ban suppose to help the Red Cross to function in countries of other religions? I don┐t think religious bias should be involved in philanthropy. Additionally, millions of people celebrate Christmas all over the world, people of all color, race and religion. I think Christmas is not just another religious holiday for Christians. It┐s actually a simple phenomenon in which people gather with family and friends to celebrate.
Lan-Chi Huang, Taipei,Taiwan

How absurd. What is this world coming to? Only extremists could possibly be offended. I have jewish, muslim and christian friends who share my opinion.
Bill Bell, Canada

  The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"The Red Cross says it's vital it isn't seen to have any particular religious affiliations"
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