My husband ragged me recently about being politically correct because I included good wishes for everyone celebrating a holiday during the last few mpnths. I get this comment a lot, so I thought I’d explain. It’s part of my resolutions, after all. 😉
I’m not committing what seems to be a horrible phrase to people: political correctness. I’m treating someone the way I want to be treated: with respect.
This country was founded on religious freedom. Its values did not favor any religion or philosophy; the majority of Founding Fathers did not belong to a religion like Christianity and they put in numerous writings why it was so important to them that they searched for the best values in all religions and philosophies. When they threw out the British Empire, they also threw out a Religious Empire with it. Only one religion was legal back then; all others were punished with at least a fine and at most prison and time in the stocks. Even the Puritans/Pilgrims who came here for “religious freedom” meant freedom for them and no one else. (Read about the SECOND Thanksgiving where they prayed for God to kill all the “heathens”/Indians so they could have all the land for themselves.)
So the country’s creators sought for everyone to have the right to believe what they did. No church was favored, no one’s values put above others. Whenever a church group like the Lutherans, the Baptists, or the Episcopalians sought to create an empire again, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Madison and the others fought for equal rights. After all, the first nation to support the colonies for freedom was Muslim. Washington and Franklin both attended services with the Native Americans and praised their religious, non-Christian practices. Benjamin Franklin even had a favorite story about a Christian minister and an Indian group to show why he did not allow only Christian values and only their God to be favored, even with all his respect for Jesus and his teachings.
When the Pledge of Allegiance was written, it contained nothing about “under God” even though its creator was a devout Christian. He believed in the equality that the Founding Fathers believed in, and like Franklin, said Christians better served God by doing actions that brought about “liberty and justice for all” than pushing words that led to prejudiced actions.
And so we remained for almost 2 centuries. Then came the 50s, Joseph McCarthy, and the Red Scare. And out went equality.
Equality, everyone was told, equaled the Red Menace. Only Christians were decent and if people thought other religions should have rights, they were blacklisted. Using these terroristic actions, those seeking a restored Christian Empire at last got their way. The Christian God was put into the Pledge of Allegiance and on the money; if a Senator didn’t vote for it to happen…. well, who doesn’t know what McCarthy did to the poor people he slapped with the Communist label?
So Christians got a national holiday for their religion, and they’re the only ones allowed to have that. They’re also the only ones to have their faith put into our countries Pledge and currency. They’re the only ones allowed to have billions spent for their entertainment (name 10 major motion pictures about Buddhism. Now name me 10 about Christmas.) or have their holiday celebrated in music on radio stations for days in a row. And so the bigotry spread.
And then a few people asked, don’t I have equal rights too? If that’s true, instead of having only Merry Christmas in the public places (that non-Christian dollars pay for too), how about we celebrate all the holidays? Not just mine, but everyone’s.
Notice they didn’t say “We don’t want Christmas mentioned anymore.” They just said, can we celebrate everyone? Can we wish everyone a happy holiday, whatever that holiday may be?
Christmas is still the only national, religious holiday. It is still the only one with billions of dollars industry in entertainment. It is still the only one that has numerous radio stations playing its music constantly for periods of 30 days or more. The White House does broadcasts about it and no other religious holiday.
In a land supposedly free, that’s a lot of bigotry.
I’ve asked every Christian I know: would it be okay if I assume you’re Muslim and just say “Have a good Ramadan” when I see you around the holidays? Everyone of them screamed about how bigoted that was.
I asked if it was okay if we took out God in the Pledge of Allegiance and put in Buddha? They freaked.
Would it be okay for a Muslim to do their daily prayers in schools? What about Jews? NO! they screamed.
But it’s okay if it all goes their way.
Especially considering: Jesus was a Jew. He established a Jewish church through St. Peter. Jesus, his mother, his apostles, and his followers for centuries celebrated Hanukkah. Not Christmas. Not even under St. Paul.
It makes no sense to me as an American not to give other people the rights that I have. And it makes no sense to me to yell at other people that their holiday isn’t as good as mine. Especially when I’m yelling at some of the people that would include Jesus himself.
So I treat them like I’d to be treated: with respect. If it was good enough for Ben Franklin and his cronies, and good enough for Jesus, well…. why not me.
After all, I still get a boatload of prejudice in my favor. It’s just giving .0000000001% equality. I still get the day off; the radio still sings CHRISTMAS! once every couple seconds at least… including the stores and every public area where a Happy Holidays banner may fly. I still get Hollywood making movies for me and not the other guys. No one has called Joseph McCarthy the ahole that he was by undoing the bigotry he committed by shoving his God down everyone’s throats.
It’s kind of like having a pile of presents and not allowing someone else with nothing to have a piece of fruitcake.
So I don’t see wishing all holidays a good time as big thing to give. I can certainly spare that little bit of bigotry. I’d even be willing to go for more.