Sunday, March 18, 2007

'TIS THE SEASON (To Push Your Religion on Others)

November 29, 2006 - Wednesday

'TIS THE SEASON (To Push Your Religion on Others)

Season's Greetings everyone!

You may have heard in the news this week about the hubba baloo in Chicago about a nativity scene at a local tourist site. A judge has ruled that the nativity scene can stay, but the venue can not advertise a movie about the nativity on video billboards around the event. The idea being that the video (and audio) advertisements cannot be ignored by non christian guests but the nativity scene can be avoided.

And that's what living in a melting pot has come to. Ignoring one another, and using the law to force people to be ignorable. Living in a "tolerant society" in modern America means living the fantasy that no one else exists.

But we ALL exist. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddist, Atheist, rich, poor, the homeless, the criminal, single mother, illegal immigrant....ALL OF US EXIST. To try to pretend otherwise is literally delusional. And the concept that America was founded on was a land where everyone could live in mutual respect for individual choice. YOU get to decide who you are and I get to decide who I am, and both of us will defend that right to individual choice from anyone who would try to take it away. It is what makes us countrymen. What makes us brothers and sisters in the American family. Our willingness to defend LIBERTY. Liberty and justice for ALL.

And that's the thing about liberty. Liberty and justice have to be for all, or they are no longer liberty or justice. When liberty is given only to the priviledged, or to the moral majority, it changes from liberty into oppression. If justice is given more to whites in the court of law, prisons become slave camps. The founding fathers set us off on this mission of liberty and justice for all, but we have yet to achieve the dream.

In fact what we have is something more of a nightmare. The courts are too busy regulating how loud you can celebrate your faith to dish out justice. Big retailers are going back to a more christian biased "Merry Christmas" greeting by their clerks (yes I'm talking about you, Walmart) instead of a simple and inclusive Happy Holidays. What's next, the ten commandments on the courthouse wall?

What we should be doing on the holidays is sharing traditions. The nativity is often shoved down our throats, but the response isn't to repress the nativity. It is to celebrate our other traditions loudly and with pride. A menorrah in the mall holiday display. An effort in schools to teach all religions, so we can understand what the hell is Ramadan. A Kwanzaa parade down the Magnificent Mile is sure to bring bounty and goodness to all in the coming year. Then just around the corner we can all go down to our local China town and get our Chinese New Year on. (Happy Year of the Fire Pig). The holiday season is about love, peace and tolerence. It's about sharing joy. What better way to share joy than to open our homes, our hearts and our traditions to everyone. I say pony up to the bountious buffet of life and try a bite of everything. You never know, you just might find something you never thought you'd like....

So I sing out a challenge to every atheist, Muslim and Jew in America (and all you other faiths as well). Sing the driedel song from the rooftops, host a Ramadan dinner for your non muslim friends, build huge non faith based winter wonderland displays on the courthouse steps. Don't let the Christians drown you out with their Harking and Heralding. The chorus of the American dream is most beautiful when everyone sings loud.

PS: I would love to be invited to Ramadan dinner. Do they serve dessert? mmmmm dessert.



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