Tis the season when we hear the constant drum being beaten about "the war on Christmas." It goes hand in hand with "Christians being persecuted."
The problem is that neither of these are remotely true.
Happy Holidays is not some grand conspiracy against your practiced faith. It is the simple acknowledgement that YOUR faith is only one - not THE ONLY ONE - only one of nearly 10,000 documented religions. And while I tend to get irritated at overused political correctness, this one I completely support.
As for "Christians being persecuted"? Not happening. Reminding someone that their religion cannot govern the practices, politics, or day-to-day lives of those who do not subscribe is not persecution. Persecution looks like Auschwitz. Remember Auschwitz? So yeah, unless you find yourself being rounded up, branded with a number, and starved or gassed to death? Stop the hysterics and hyperbole. You don't look persecuted. You look childish and stupid.
Look, I get it. I am related to many who visibly chafe at these kinds of facts and reminders. Their brains begin to itch when confronted with truths they find inconvenient - especially the ones that serve to pull them into some sort of perspective about how their faith is not allowed to rule just because it may have more members or been around longer than others.
I think religion is a wonderful thing when practiced respectfully. When it provides community (not mob mentality), comfort, clarity. When it remembers its place - and yes, it has a place. Around your hearth, in your home, in your church, with likeminded believers. Beyond those gates, no. Because when it strays beyond its boundaries, that is when problems begin.
Which brings us to today's news piece out of Georgia. A concerned mother is being publicly castigated for daring to oppose the distribution of bibles in her child's PUBLIC elementary school.
The word PUBLIC is very important here. PUBLIC means that ALL taxpayers help support it. Yes, ALL. That makes it a secular institution where religion should not cross the threshold.
That doesn't mean a child cannot silently pray over his rectangular slice of pizza or her gravy covered mystery meat. It means that religion holds no sway because a PUBLIC school is peopled with ALL religions and NO religions.
Jessica Greene, the mother in this story, is a Christian. She's just not the closeminded, my-way-or-the-hell-way kind. She spoke up when her 5th grade son told her about Gideons being allowed to set up shop in the library and distribute their bibles to students who were told to form a line. Students who objected or did not want one were sent to the other side of the room.
I have seen these people. They routinely camped out in front of my daughters' middle school. And I have seen them forcing Bibles into the hands of the children coming out of the school. (I'll be honest - given the state I live in, I am surprised they were not IN the school.)
Jessica attempted to voice her concerns to the school administration which replied via Facebook message with this statement:
“The Gideons are permitted to offer Bibles to students who wish to pick them up,” the message said. “It is strictly voluntary and the library was the location where students could pick one up; (our) librarian did not give them out. We appreciate your input. If you have further concerns, please contact administration during school hours. Thank you!”
Fine, Facebook. Ugh.
So she shared her concerns on the page. The comments that poured forth were of such a nature that many had to be removed. But the gist was shut up, "You're outnumbered here." <----That part is a quote.
And that part is the problem.
It matters not that your fan club is bigger. You don't get to PERSECUTE others who don't belong. And others who don't belong are MANY.
Want your child to be given a bible? Buy him or her one. Or send your child to a parochial school where they can roll around in religion all the live long day. Take them to church as often as possible. Pray at the dinner table. Pray for luck on a test. Pray their shoelaces don't come untied. No one is going to stop you from doing what you want IN YOUR HOME, IN YOUR CHURCH.
But the moment you deign to step out into the public square and demand that YOUR way is the only way?
Hmmmm, Sharia Law ring a bell? You know, that's the shit pot constantly being stirred and feared and bemoaned by the same people who type the words "You're outnumbered here" and are so myopic that they cannot see the hypocrisy.
Still think I'm wrong? Fine. Switch the scenario just a tad. Your precious angel comes home clutching a copy of the Quran distributed in their school library.
How big will the skids marks in your underwear driveway be as you peel out and storm the gates of the superintendent? How loud will your protestations be in the school office, on Facebook, at the next school board meeting?
Because YOU don't believe in the Quran?
Let that sink in a moment.
Never mind. I don't have all day for enlightenment to surface in a closed mind.
Just think about it next time you are ready to whine about the fake War on Christmas or flinch when reminded that attempting to force religion into the governance of everyone means open season for EVERY religion to demand entrance into your lives.
Oh yeah, one more thing ... HAPPY HOLIDAYS.