Any of you who know me at all or have read any of my previous posts about religion know that my relationship with religion is exactly the same as my relationship with Ovaltine. Never had it. Fairly familiar with it. Never have any desire to have it. Simple enough. If you want to drink Ovaltine or go to Church, that’s no business of mine. Have fun; just don’t get it on your shirt. It stains. (Ovaltine, that is).
However, it seems that increasingly in this country we’re in denial about the religious roots of our customs and traditions. Christmas has been genericized to “The Holidays” and increasingly municipalities and government operations that observe a day off for “Good Friday” refer to it by the non-religious term “Spring Holiday.” (link) Even as a non-Christian, I can’t say I see the point of this self-delusion. Is a non-believer really going to be offended if they’re granted a day off work on behalf of a religion they don’t subscribe to? Why are we fighting such a meaningless battle?
This reminds me a bit of some Christopher Hitchens I read once. Hitchen’s goal is to do everything he can to tear religious practices to shreds on historical and practical grounds. Most of what he writes is absolutely true. There are huge problems with religion and it has caused problems in our history from The Crusades to hundreds of thousands of witches that were burned alive. My issue with Hitchens is that he’s just such an incredible twat about the whole thing. Factually he’s correct. But he uses his facts to bludgeon the hell out of a lot of people’s deeply-held beliefs that aren’t hurting a damn thing. If it makes you feel good to believe that Jesus died for you and is waiting for you after you die, then that is completely awesome. Whatever you have to do get up in the morning with a smile on your face.
Similar to Hitchens though, when we try to deny the religious history of this country we’re just needlessly screwing with a lot of fairly benevolent people. What’s more, they’re the majority. Depending on which survey you believe, between 60-75% of the people in this country observe some form of Christian faith. If they want to declare a national holiday in May called “Jesus is Fucking Awesome Day” then I’d say more power to them. As long as I can put a bumper sticker on my car that says, “Jesus Who?” then have at it. This is the sort of tolerance that the minority asks for and that the majority has a whole New Testament about so we should all be pretty familiar with the concept.
The larger point here is that we all just need to calm the hell down and stop getting so politically correct about everything. There’s absolutely no need for this sort of unnecessary renaming of things. Call a spade a spade. Christmas is about Christ. Hell, he’s right there in the fucking name of the holiday. Easter and Good Friday are too. His name’s not in there but it’s still about him, trust me on this or look it up if you have to. No reason for anyone to get upset even if they don’t believe in this Jesus character. Just go with it. When Darwin gets to his 2000th birthday, maybe we can get a holiday for him too.