Doctor Vincent Candrawinata from Sydney is under fire for wishing social media followers a Merry Christmas instead of a greeting that is more inclusive of other religions and non-believers.
Doctor Vincent uploaded a video to his Facebook page captioned with ‘Merry Christmas’ but was shocked to discover the negative comments.
The doctor was told he should have stuck with Happy Holidays because it was more reflective of religious diversity in Australia.
He told the Daily Mail Australia that one of the commenters said he was being discriminatory by saying Merry Christmas.
“(They) mentioned some statistics that Australia is not all Christian (and that) if you’re saying Merry Christmas it is inherently discriminatory to other people who are not Christian and do not celebrate Christmas,” Doctor Vincent said.
Another accused the doctor of excluding non-Christians, saying: “I’m not Christian so I’m excluded from your best wishes. That’s discrimination at its worst”.
The video was intended as a thank-you to customers for supporting his Renovatio business throughout the pandemic and to spread happiness after a difficult year.
The doctor said he did not expect the two words would be problematic and ‘didn’t think there was anything wrong with wishing people a Merry Christmas’.
“I feel that Christmas is no longer just the religious holiday or religious celebration, it has a lot more meaning to it,” he said.
Doctor Vincent, who was born in Indonesia and moved to Australia in 2008, was also on the receiving end of racist remarks.
The doctor was told he ‘should conform or learn more about Australian culture’ and he should ‘try to be more Aussie’.
The doctor went on to explain his post was in fact inclusive, noting Christmas can be celebrated by everyone in a meaningful way.
“I do not think it is fair that people feel they can tell me not to say Merry Christmas. If other people would prefer to say Happy Holidays that is their prerogative – but I am going to keep saying Merry Christmas.”