Friday, December 24, 2010
Wishing someone "Happy Holidays" is not an assault on Christianity.
Following the law by prohibiting agents of the government from leading school children in prayer is not an assault on Christianity.
Prohibiting the government from favoring your brand of religion over another brand of religion is not an assault on Christianity.
Atheists putting up billboards is not an assault on Christianity.
However, this IS an assault. This is persecution of someone for their religious beliefs:
On December 18, Hindu fundamentalists beat two dozen carolers, including young women, and took them to the police station in a Mumbai suburb, charging that by singing Christmas carols they had insulted Hindus.
Doesn't matter what the "flavor" of a particular religion is. Fundamentalism, be it Christian, Hindu, Islam, or whatever, makes people nuts.
Too many Christians in this country feel that if any viewpoint, other than their own, is expressed, it is somehow an "assault" on their beliefs. Austin Cline has a pretty good summary of some recent incidents that illustrate this.
...if atheists insist in being treated as equals and Christians then complain so loudly that whatever program it is must be halted, it's always the atheists who get blamed. It's the atheists' fault for actually expecting equal treatment; it's never the Christians' fault for expecting special privileges or kicking up such a fuss that the program can't continue for anyone.
We see it around the holidays when atheists insist on being allowed to erect displays on public property just like Christians are accustomed to doing. If the prospect of atheists getting an equal public voice is too much for some local Christians to stomach, the local government prevents anyone from having public displays on public property -- and atheists are blamed for "spoiling" things. When kids are allowed to take home advertisements for religious programs and atheist groups request the same, Christians become outraged at the prospect of atheists advertising to kids and the program is eliminated.
Its not just atheists either. Wiccans and recently, Muslims feel this same backlash when they demand the same public access enjoyed by Christians.
This is why the "War on Christmas" is such an overblown sham. No one in the U.S. wants to "eliminate" Christmas, in fact, so long as there are Christians, there will be a holy Christmas. Nor is anyone trying to "stifle" Christians right to expression. No one is physically assaulting Christians, and if they did, they'd be arrested and charged with a crime. Christians are free to put up billboards, worship as they please, and pray however they want. They just cannot, nor should they expect, the government to accord their beliefs a privileged status. Ostracising a person or business for daring to say "Happy Holidays instead of "Merry Christmas" is crazy, as Christmas isn't the only holiday this time of year.
So to close, on this Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, AND Happy Holidays. We live in a wonderful nation where we are free to worship, or not worship, as our beliefs allow and without government coercion.