Thursday, December 16, 2010

Atheist with Blinders On

If you told me that an atheist gets his feathers ruffled in a Christian community less than a Jew, I'd normally be surprised. After all, the historical U.S. bias in favor of religion and religious practice (so long as it's monotheist) is pretty clear.

However, that assumption was just challenged by a post a friend of mine linked to (presumably, as representing his own view as well).

The author of An Open Letter To Christians: Merry Christmas From An Atheist apparently doesn't know anyone who's a religous minority. Otherwise, how could he say:

"But ultimately, everyone I know enjoys the holiday and if asked seriously, I doubt they would change a thing."

Then you must not know any Jews.

We're certainly not out to make a "War on Christmas," (your freedom is my freedom, etc.), but there are plenty of us who hate the holiday *as forced on all of us in every f-ing store display and musical selection for 6+weeks every year*.
As a practicing Jew, I really prefer that people say "Merry Christmas" if that's what they mean.

When someone says "Happy Holidays," I know for sure that they don't have any idea what holidays there are besides Christmas. Otherwise, why would they limit that greeting to the Christmas season? Why don't they say "Happy Holidays" in the spring or early fall, knowing that Jews are celebrating their truly significant holidays then (Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, etc.). Why don't they say "Happy Holidays" in the late fall, when Hindus are celebrating Diwali? Or in late winter, for Chinese New Year?

I like Christmas lights. I like Christmas music. What I don't like is the assumption that everyone does or should celebrate Christmas.
Either it's truly a secular holiday, in which case get rid of the baby J talk and make it all about happy old fat men in red suits, or it's a religious holiday, in which case, recognize that there are plenty of other religions out there, this is NOT a universal holiday, and you shouldn't expect any special accommodation for it (National holiday anyone) any more than you'd expect to give for Eid, Mahashivaratri, Samhain, Lughnasa, Shavuot, Confucious' birthday, etc. etc. etc.


Blogger The back of the hill said...

My busiest time of year. It ain't over till the fat man sings. Bah humbug on the entire chag ha reindeer.

12/16/2010 3:47 PM  
Blogger Holy Hyrax said...

I love this holiday :)

12/17/2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a new reader and currently making my way throughyour older posts. I just read the reading list (2007) and I absolutely agree with you about 1) male angst and 2) Russian writers.

12/19/2010 12:55 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

I always thought that "Happy Holidays" was an originally Christian greeting referring to Christmas and New Year's.

12/19/2010 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved reading this post. I think the part that resonated most was probably the slightly angst-y part about having it shoved down our throats for 6+ weeks a year. I hate it too. I hate the forced socialization and the assumption that, like you said, we should all celebrate that December holiday in some form or another.

I'm all for jumping straight from Thanksgiving to (secular) New Year's Day. Let's just forget about this December madness.

12/21/2010 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Ray Garton said...

Actually, I have about half a dozen Jewish friends at the moment and have known more than that over the years. If they've had a problem with Christmas, they've never expressed it to me (and they've all known me well enough to know that's the kind of thing they could vent about to me and not only would I not mind, I'd be on their side). Maybe this varies not according to religion but from person to person no matter what their beliefs. I was being quite honest in my article -- the only people I've *ever* heard complain at Christmas time have been Christians.

12/22/2010 7:00 PM  
Blogger therapydoc said...

And happy holidays to you, too :)

Love this rant.

12/22/2010 11:21 PM  

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