Friday, December 25, 2015

Does It Offend Me For You To Wish Me Merry Christmas?

I had something interesting happen the other day. Last Monday I was doing my weekly volunteer gig at Habitat For Humanity when I noticed they had given me a Christmas card and a bag with a present in it. One of the office people from construction asked me, "Oh, does it offend you when someone tells you Merry Christmas?" I had to think a minute. I am quite outspoken about not being a member of an Abrahamic religion and so I realize some people don't know how someone who is Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, etc. might feel about everyone sharing their holiday and this is the first time anyone has asked me this.
I like the holiday because it is about sharing and caring and remembering our family and friends in a small token. Although I don't celebrate the holiday in my home, lots of Americans do, including people who are my family and friends. I like the spectacle of the holiday. I love the music, having been raised in the Methodist church as a child, I was even in the choir as a young teenager. Some songs like the Ave Maria chorus make me get misty. I am not offended by you celebrating a holiday and wishing me a merry day of food, music, generosity, and happiness. I think that describes it.
I do not like people shoving their religious holidays down everyone's throats. As a child in grammar school I had to follow and recite Christian prayers, led by our teachers, It occurs to me that the Jewish kids, Islamic kids, Buddhist kids, Atheist kids, etc.  were forced to say prayers from the bible. That was the reason prayer being led by one teacher, force on children, was the reason for the change in our laws.
One of my cousins, being older and believing she was wiser, went into a tirade on season because the kids at her children's school were not allowed to have a "Christmas Pageant" and Christmas parties in the classrooms because that had become too much of a sociopolitical argument over whose religion was going to celebrate and when. I asked her why she thought it was okay to shove Christmas down everyone else's throats.
To those of you who don't believe that is a standard in the United States, I ask you. When you drive downtown in December, where are the Jewish, Islamic, or other religions' decorations hanging from the light poles? If you have to be selfish and push your beliefs on me, I find that offensive, but if you wish me a happy day based on this time of year, THANK YOU.  (I am finished on that subject) 

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