A good friend of mine recently wrote about something that had me upset, but not for reasons that I may have been upset a few years ago.
I disagreed with the points she was making, and the way in which she was making them. But here’s the problem. It was a post about religious-based holidays.
I’ve told you before that I side with the Christians. I have sided with the Christians. I’ve also been Baha’i, I’ve attended Jewish celebrations, I’ve gone to several Roman Catholic services, and I’ve had more than my fill of Sunday schools. I have lots of friends who are atheists, many friends who call themselves wiccans, or druids, or magicians, or ‘Native spiritualists’. I have friends who shrug and say “I don’t really care about that stuff” when the topic of religion comes up. And I think that’s great. I don’t care if you worship, how you worship, when you worship, who or what you worship, or where you worship. If you do worship, I’m often interested in why. If you don’t, I might ask you why not.
I have some pretty strong opinions on the matter of certain forms of worship (I think the holy rollers, snake handlers, speakers-in-tongues, and scientologists are fruitcakes), and I acknowledge that many of my friends consider me a fruitcake because I read tarot cards, I got baptised, I believe in channelling ghosts and spirits, and I believe in the healing powers of rocks. But I’m just one person. I know what I believe and why I believe it, regardless of whether it’s sexy, logical, sensical, or any of that. I don’t NEED anyone else’s acceptance of or blessing for what I choose to have faith in.
And I guess part of this is a response to my friend’s post, which I haven’t linked to because I’m just not sure I want to name names (although I’m sure she’d be fine with it). My guess is that she’ll comment with a link to her post, and that’s awesome. But I don’t want to be presumptuous and give the appearance that this is just some big extension of a flame war, because I don’t think that’s it at all.
Anyway, she doesn’t like Christmas. She is insulted by and feels, I think, oppressed by the prevalence of Christianity-based observances in our country. Canada cannot, and please forgive me if I put words in your mouth, complete the separation of church and state soon enough. I’d like to think that should mean “religion” and state, and not just church, but whatever. And I don’t disagree with that. But the fact remains that you can’t just stand up on a rock and say “the sky is green!” and expect everyone to just see things a different way from what they’ve been used to for several generations. I’m not saying we shouldn’t continue to advocate for religion to be removed from our country’s codified civil laws and observances (and yes, that also means the removal of tax-free benefits for all churches, synagogues, mosques, medicine circles, etc., etc., etc..), but rather that getting pissy that it’s not happening in fewer than twenty years (and really, I think we could probably make an argument that it’s really been in the last 20 years that these religious ties with civil law have been challenged) is a bit unfair. No, not unfair. A bit silly.
If you hate Christmas, then *don’t celebrate Christmas*. It’s really that easy. I hate Valentine’s Day, and so I don’t celebrate it. I hate New Year’s, and so I don’t celebrate it. If you hate Christians, then accept it when someone calls you a bigot. If you hate religion, **no one is forcing to you worship**. But it’s extremely disingenuous to then turn around and browbeat people who DO choose to worship for their choice. And/or for standing up for what they believe in.
I’ll tell you a secret: I’ve been really struggling with my faith for the past couple of years. Not for any major reason, not for anything stupid like “why would God let bad things happen to good people”, but for far more esoteric, far less identifiable reasons. But that doesn’t mean that I criticise, chastise, or denegrate those whose faith is strong, those who do still choose to worship. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop praying, or smudging, or dreaming. It means a lot of things, but choosing intolerance and disrespect are not among them.
Look, I don’t really give a rat’s patoot for the people who say “let’s put the CHRIST back in CHRISTMAS”. I mean, good on them. Hoody-hoo and all that. And if they’re serious about it, they’ll forego the tree, the turkey, buying gifts, and singing secular carols (yes, that includes Silver Bells, Jingle Bells, and White Christmas), and will go back to observing Christ’s Mass in church for seven days. It’s time everyone just accepted that “Christmas” means about as much as “Valentine’s Day” (which is honoured for a Catholic saint, by the way), “Victoria Day”, or any other statutory vacation. We don’t need to change the bloody name to “giftmas” or “festivuus” or “kwanzaa” or any of that malarky. I mean, if you want to, go ahead. But the point *IS*, we call it Christmas because that’s what we’ve called it for the past several hundred years in western society, and whether you like it or not, most of you are descended from people who’ve been a part of western society for at least three generations. It’s just a convention, like calling the third day of the week “Wednesday” instead of “Odin’s Day” (which is a RELIGIOUS TERM! Oh No! We’re going to have to rename all the days of the week, and several of the months of the year to get away from religious terminology! Because religious terminology harms puppies!).
It just…it’s bordering on ridiculous. Actually, it’s crossed that border. Just…just…I guess…if you don’t like it, change it. And if you can’t change it, change the way it affects you. YOU have the power to do that.
I’m really sorry if it’s offensive to you that all of the western hemisphere goes batshit over spending stupid amounts of money on crap nobody needs in the name of a god you don’t worship or believe in. But I really don’t think that’s the fault of God, churches, or unbigoted, thinking religious people. I think it’s the fault of consumerism. Hey. Anything to sell fifty more units, right?