Thoughts on Christmas

I've been looking at some sites and am seeing the usual ant-Christmas news bits. Stuff about parades that can have native american or chinese floats but not a christian group singing christmas carols. A principal that had to apologize for calling thier "holiday" part a christmas party. We're always taking the Christ out of Christmas. Mind you, I believe in the separation of church and state, but I think it's going too far. Someone once said the founding fathers wanted freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. I'm all about equal opportunity. As long as we're not being exclusive in the celebration of the holidays, then fine. Use this time of year to teach children about Judaism and Hannakah, Islam and Kwanza (is that a Muslim thing or just something made up so they wouldn't feel left out?) Anyway, you can celebrate Christmas in a secular way (it's not like we don't already). Our country is just so out of control with trying not to offend anyone. The problem is, there's no way not to offend SOMEONE. There's a difference between intentionally trying to exclude/persecute a person or group, another when the majority has one set of values and a few have another. As long as we respect those values that differ from ours, we're fine. But heaven forbit you say the word God in a public place or taxpayer sponsored event and suddenly you're promoting Christianity. People need to relax a little. Your kids will take on the values you give them. I went to Catholic school for 4 years in high school and none of it made me turn to my faith. It was personal retreats and other things I discovered on my own that brought me to my faith. It's like saying reciting the pledge of allegiance every day in school will make you a patriot. I did it as a kid and I hate the thing.

On to another issue, I'm still trying to put together a group of musicians for the project at church. I've got a lot of interest, but not much commitment yet. An old bandmate of mine needs to pray on it a bit and see where the Spirit is leading him. I can respect that. Of course, I'll still try to twist his arm if he'll let me. I'm not overly worried. All the scripture I've been reading lately tells me the same thing. Trust in God's plan and it will work itself out. I firmly believe that He has a plan for my music and it will unfold in it's own time. I'll just keep plugging away. More updates to follow.


I'm waffling a bit on the issue of holiday-political-correctness.

I think it's a very legitimate problem when a state-sponsored spokesperson starts mentioning their personal beliefs, because in that role their personal life become vastly secondary; when the President tells me about the ecomony, he IS the US government, and he IS NOT a Christian man from Texas. At least, he shouldn't be. A spokesperson has a role, and if that role does not specifically include religion, then it has no business there.

If my boss came over every day and told me that God loved me, and how much wonderful faith he had, I'd be a little peeved, because that has nothing to do with how many stamp sheets our Japan office needs. Like sexual harassment, religious harassment is a real thing, and it be subtle and work by just being overwhelmingly common. A key component of religion is 'missionary' duty of some kind, and part of the goal is to 'save' people -- and advertising is advertising. Excessive presence of Christmas is advertising, and depending on who's doing it, how much, and why, can certainly be construed as soliciting; there are a lot of fuzzy lines. Freedom of religion is the same thing as freedom from religion if there's just too much religion coming from places where it has no business being promoted from.

As you said, everything should be fine as long as there's no group being excluded, but there's also the inclusion factor when it comes to state-or-secular businesses. It would be great if there was one holiday display and party mention for each and every single religion that exists, but that's not remotely feasible, so they're all better left out. Not leaving it out is promoting one over the other, and unless it's absolutely defined as someone's personal belief, it's pushing one AND excluding the others.

On the other hand, the majority of Americans are Christian, and the minority is always going to have to deal with a little bit of not fitting in. I'm mostly just annoyed by the constant clashing over this, because I don't think each and every instance of someone mentioned Christmas is tantamount to minority-religion bloody persecution. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a glowing porch-Jesus-statue is just a glowing porch-Jesus-statue. One mention of Christ isn't going to turn legions of jews into Christians, and that's why the specific instances we hear about get irritating -- because they're specific and virtually harmless. The possible harm comes into effect with the mass sum of instances, when it develops into something more powerful, a societal dismissing of many while empowering one. Christianity clearly has a religious monopoly around this time of year, and as we know, monopolies aren't really good for anyone but the holders.

People do have a right to believe or not believe as they see fit, and if they want to make a nativity scene on their private lawn, then the more power to them. I personally enjoy looking at them, and my town has TONS. But if my government official even off-handedly suggests that I pray about something, then there's a problem, because that's its own kind of subtle suggestion that my non-theism is...different. And 'different' connotes to 'wrong' in many contexts.

At any rate, Vince, I hope you have a very non-secular Merry Christmas!

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