I love to read the Off the Clock with The Checkout Girl and her companion blog, Fuck Yeah, Motherhood. She is wonderfully irreverent and bawdy. It make me laugh, and it makes me feel like I am couth in comparison; win/win. Yesterday she posted about some fundamentalists’ obsession with being told Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays.
Apparently the collective knickers of the 13,000 members of the First Baptist in Dallas, TX are getting in a twist because some business insist on wishing people Season’s Greetings or whatnot, instead of wishing them a Merry Christmas. It implies (brace yourself for a shock) that this is a secular and democratic nation with people of various faiths and creeds. Clearly, if Jews and Muslims and Atheists and Pagans don’t want to be told Merry Christmas, that’s their tough shit. The congregation at First Baptist thinks these heathens can just kiss-ass and deal with it. Moreover, they should have the decency to become fundamentalist Christians too, so it wouldn’t be an issue. Any corporation who treats anyone other that Evangelical Christians with basic human dignity should be boycotted as the Satan-worshiping anti-Christians that they are.
Yes, the terms “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” are a real threat to Christians. Excuse me while I call bullshit on this. People of other faiths deserve respect and consideration, and if you have ever bother to read anything in the New Testament (other than letters accredited to Paul) you would know this. Also, Jesus was against this holier-than-thou crap. Jesus said, in essence, that if you are praying in public, you are doing it so you will look ‘good’, not from religious sincerity. Thus, it makes you an asshat before the Lord. The people in the First Baptist Church are just indulging in a “how-pious-I-am” display when they gripe about such petty, petty things. The are acting like martyrs over things that pose no threat to them or their religion, so they don’t actually have to do anything dangerous or uncomfortable for Christ. Plus, they are rude.
While they are whining and moaning that Christianity is under attack from dangerous “Happily Holidays” greeting cards, they are doing nothing (so far as I can tell) about their fellow Christians who are in real danger. The Christians in Iraq are being slaughtered and persecuted, but are the people at first Baptist screaming about that? No. Christians (and other faiths) can be killed in some countries because they “blaspheme” against the Islam, and one Christian woman in Pakistan is sentenced to death because of it. Are the members of the First Baptist Church working with amnesty international to fight for her life? Not that I can see. Are they using their economic and political clout to increase the number of asylum seekers allowed into the US so that their fellow Christians, and hopefully other people endangered by totalitarian regimes, can be safe? No.
In fairness, I don’t think my church is working on this either, but at least we’re not squalling about ‘evils’ of Season’s Greetings. I’m going to talk to my priest, and see if there is any way we can, as a congregation, help those who are being persecuted for sharing our faith. Because persecution bugs me. I don’t want to see ANYONE persecuted for any reason, ever. This includes the (usually) less deadly, but still disgusting and heinous, harassment of Muslims in America and the anti-Semitism that still exists.
Anyway, there is a very famous Biblical passage about taking care of the big piece of timber in your own eye before you worry about the mote in someone else’s eye. It turns out that Jesus was really, really against self-aggrandizing religious hypocrisy. Who knew? It seems the folks at First Baptist in Dallas haven’t heard about it. If I may stretch into metaphor here: they are busy trying to take care of the tinsel, while ignoring the Christmas Tree.