For lack of other ideas, I quote Terry Williamson at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and his opinion piece about the need to do away with the notion of “freedom from religion.”
Is it OK if I say Happy Easter? I get a little confused when the religious holidays come around.
Here’s a question that comes to my mind once in a while.. why do so many businesses continue to follow Christian holidays anyway? What difference should it make if shopping centers are open on Sundays, Easter or Christmas? It was certainly an issue in the past when nearly everyone around was Christian, but now? Why do we still pay tribute to only one set of holy days? Don’t get me wrong, I like the break from work, but the days themselves mean nothing specific to me. Why not create more holidays that exist independent of specific faiths and start setting those aside instead of the Christian religious observances?
Oh right, because as soon as that’s tried, the Christians will cry “Persecution!” and kick up a fuss. They like being the only ones that count and have a hard time understanding why other people might be tired of seeing them act like they deserve such special treatment. We’ll see more evidence of this in a moment.
On Christmas, I read that it wasn’t cool to say merry Christmas. I was supposed to say happy holidays. I could use Xmas, but not Christmas. Is that as confusing to you as it is to me? I just don’t get it.
I’ll never understand that we can’t celebrate a religious holiday even though that holiday was created as a celebration. How am I infringing on someone’s rights by taking part in a nationally sanctioned holiday that actually was sanctioned for religious purposes?
Maintaining this holiday structure at a national level makes less and less sense to me every year. I’d say Christians have every right to celebrate their religious days but those days shouldn’t take precedence over everyone else’s religious observances, or the rights of those to not celebrate any religious days at all.
I certainly can understand that everyone doesn’t believe the same as I do. I’m perfectly OK with the fact there are people who don’t want to share in the holiday experience, but I don’t see how my saying merry Christmas should offend anyone. That just speaks to my tradition. I wish our nation would return to the concept of freedom of religion instead of today’s marketed freedom from religion.
He’s right to some extent. “Merry Christmas” shouldn’t be anything that comes across as offensive. It’s a stupid thing to get upset over. But freedom from religion is a worthwhile endeavor. Not everyone is religious, and nobody should be pressured to join one in order to feel like they are valid and valued members of a society. The main reason groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation exist is because religion should be optional, not mandatory. There needs to be the freedom to follow them if people want to but there also needs to be the freedom to not bother and not be harshly judged and maligned by that decision.
Christian holidays wind up a target because they really should be pulled out of public places. Not everyone is Christian yet it seems like only Christian themed holidays get the market time. Keep it at church, keep it at home, do whatever you want to celebrate it on your own terms but stop assuming the rest of us follow your beliefs or care that you do.
It appears that any other faith can say whatever they want in this nation, but you might offend someone if you bring up anything dealing with Christianity. I don’t know where all this came from because it didn’t use to be that way.
It didn’t used to be that way because the only people people knew were like-minded Christians. Christianity dominates the States, though, and Williamson can’t claim otherwise. It’s very obvious how important Christianity is to many Americans. If it wasn’t, then they wouldn’t be up in arms over perceived insults by the opposition. As a group they wield tremendous power, power they are reluctant to give up. They don’t want to lose control over the media, the politics, or the people.
So, that brings me to Easter, which is today, by the way. We have to really walk on eggshells here because this is the holiest day of the year in all of Christianity, and it’s really hard to talk about Easter without possibly offending someone. After all, Easter is down to the brass tacks of Christianity.
True, and Christians hate to think about the possibility that all that “He is risen!” crap was made up. The gospels don’t even agree on what exactly happened anyway. The whole thing was designed to sell a new belief system, one that changed the rules from “follow Jewish law to the letter” to the premise that faith in Jesus’ resurrection was all one needed in order to get to heaven. They’re reluctant to learn about the history of their faith and how pagan rituals were taken over and folded into the new religion to make it more palatable to potential converts. Christianity took a lot of its tradition and symbolism out of earlier winter festivals like Saturnalia and the spring rituals of other cultures, like the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre who changed a bird into a rabbit, which is the whole reason rabbits and eggs co-mingle on Easter weekend now.
He is risen!
That’s it. That’s the Easter story. How can three little words do any harm? In fact, there is no harm meant here. Those three words give hope for all of humankind, and we celebrate that today.
All of humankind so long as they believe like Williamson, that is. Otherwise whole swaths of the world’s population will go directly to hell and not collect $200. It probably would require the whole of Earth Twittering Christ’s return in order to save us skeptical wretches, though. Three words aren’t enough. 42 characters might be…