Friday, December 23, 2005

X-Mas Marks the Sore Spot

PASO ROBLES, Calif. (ZP) -- Is it just me, or is this whole "Fundamentalist Christians As Yuletide Dictators"/"Insert Generic Holiday Greeting Here" portion of the just plain stupid?

Does anybody other than a few Bible Thumping idiots really care about this? Boycotting stores that use generic holiday slogans in frigging ad campaigns?

I saw my thousandth "Put Christ Back In Christmas" bumper sticker this afternoon. Maybe if spent less time trying to sell God like a Elvis Collector Plate, maybe they'd have just enough time to read the . The puts the Galilean rabbi up there on the list of the world's greatest moral teachings.

Before one begins to dictate what it is, exactly, Jesus would do, it's important to remember that the legendary Jewish carpenter, historically, never owned a silicone bracelet, never drove a car, never shopped in a mall, never owned a house, never baked cookies, put up a tree, hung mistletoe, or attended a church service.

He didn't sing Christmas Carols, he'd never heard of , and never said "Blessed are the Entitled and the Mildly Hysterical."

I'm no theologian, but I'm pretty sure Christ cared more about his fellow human beings than politics, accumulating material wealth, owning an iPod Nano, or organized religion.

To be an equal-opportunity offender, there are folks on the opposite end of the religious spectrum who feel religion has no place in modern society, who view religious belief as somehow being an outdated crutch of the weak-minded, offensive to the modern system of political correctness.

Hey, I may disagree with a lot of the rhetoric of the Religious Right, but I'll fight to protect their right to practice their religion however they wish, so long as their rights do not impede on the rights of others.

There are way too many Americans who've somehow managed to convince themselves that the somehow bars faith-based discourse, that somehow the Bill of Rights was meant to eliminate all traces of divinity from public life. The separation between church and state was designed to not only protect the state from the laws of one man or woman's interpretation of one particular , but to protect the individual's right to faith from those who would seek government authority to silence them.

You may not like seeing Nativity scenes on the lawns of private residences, but thinking that there should be some sort of local ordinance banning such displays is unconstitutional. You may be offended that that Muslim woman refuses to remove her veil in your Humanities class, but, legally, her right to believe outweighs your discomfort. However, there's a big difference between an individual or group praying in school and a school administrator leading students in even voluntary prayer or moments of silence. There's a difference between a judge displaying the Ten Commandments in their private chambers and a judge who puts them up in open court.

Religious freedom is not about comfort levels, nor is it about preventing people from being offended. If your employer is holding a Christmas Party and putting up a Happy Birthday Jesus banner, then there may be a violation of your rights, depending on who you work for.

If you're upset because everybody at work wants to talk about Christmas, well, buy some earplugs. Better yet, try adding your voice to the discussion. designed the Bill of Rights to serve as the ground rules for just such a conversation.

If it's any solace, the practice of Christmas has very little to do with Christianity. Like Chanukah, it was pretty much a minor religious holiday that ended up becoming an excuse to buy people things.

I really wish I could give more of a rat's ass, but, well, with all the problems the world is facing these days - from the crisis in the Sudan, malaria on the rise in the less developed world, wars, plagues, and other disasters - the whole thing seems about as culturally significant as a pimple on the ass of one of the Olsen Twins.

...Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

I want to wish everyone a very happy holidays, regardless of what you may celebrate.

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