Thursday, December 15, 2005

On the War on Christmas (ooga-booga!)

Okay, so jedmunds over at Pandagon pointed me at a new blog, specifically at this post, and I'm glad he did. Pia Savage has some really interesting thing to say about Christmas from the perspective of "a New York Jew; a life long Democrat and a card carrying member of the ACLU." It's topical and humorous.

The main point of Pia's post is that she, as a Jew, doesn't want Christians to not celebrate Christmas. All of the Christmas Warriors who feel oppressed by a full twenty percent of the population act like the Evil Secularists want to take away their Christmases, and it's just not the case; we just don't want anyone forcing their holiday down anyone else's throat. She puts it better than I could:
I don't think I believe in G-d but I respect people of any religion who truly believe.  If I were to feel that I was in any way denying you the ability to pray, I would feel that I have failed as both a person and a person who does worship The First Amendment.  I don't care about the manger in the courthouse.  But understand something else.  I care greatly that church and state stay separate.

Beyond that, though, I really feel that I'm missing something about her post. I get the idea of gratitude to your forbears for the struggles they've gone through, and never forgetting at what price your freedom has been bought. I get the idea of gratitude to your country for guaranteeing your freedom when so many other countries don't. But I can't get beyond this one sentence:
As Jews we do feel grateful to the Christians in this country for allowing us to be full citizens.

As a Christian, I really hope Jews don't actually feel that way, Pia.

No minority group should thank a majority group for being so kind as to not violate their basic rights. No black woman should ever thank me for graciously allowing her to sit on the same bus that I do. No gay man should ever thank me for not beating him up as he walks down the street. As a woman, I shouldn't have to send a thank-you card to my editor in New York for not hitting on me when he came down to Atlanta..

We have basic rights not because 51 percent of people say so, but because it's right. The Constitution doesn't grant freedom of religion to Christians, and then grant that same freedom to other religions at the discretion of the majority. It doesn't give us anything; it recognizes that we come by certain rights naturally, as human beings and equals, and that no one, not even the government, can take them away.

Be grateful for what you have. Be grateful for the people who got us where we are, and to the people who protect us now that we're here. But don't thank me for your freedom. I didn't give it to you. You aren't allowed to practice your religion; they're not allowed to stop you.

I'm going to throw out a Merry Christmas to all of my Christmas-celebrating friends out there, and a Happy Hanukkah to the Hanukkah-ing types, and Happy Kwanzaa to those who like Kwanzaa, and Joyous Solstice, and I've run out of holidays so happy holidays to those I've missed. May Cthulhu grant you a quick and painless death in this season of ice. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to celebrate the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, but I will make one request: whatever and however you choose to celebrate, celebrate the hell out of it. If you like to go to church and sing Christmas carols, then sing like you've never sung before, and if you like to sit home with your family and talk about solstices past, then sit and talk and listen like you can bring them back by sheer force of memory. Celebrate precisely as you want, and do it with vigor, because despite what the Christmas Warriors will tell you, no one can take away your holiday if you're celebrating it in a way that means something to you.

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