There are days when I really hate Christians. I loathe them on those days. My wrath swells and my rage increases. I hate their dismissiveness. I hate their blindness to their own privilege. I hate their double standards. I hate their elitism and snobbery. I hate their bland platitudes, and their church clothes. I hate their taking over restaurants on a Sunday and that they dictate my shopping habits with their blue laws. I hate the fish plaques on minivans and the Jesus bumperstickers. It’s not even a rational thing. I just hate ‘em some days, and paint them all unpleasant with a brush as broad as a barn. I just want to read Julian the Philosopher and hate ‘em.
Thankfully, those days don’t often come along. I’ve got lots of Christian friends, family and coworkers. They are all amazing and wonderful people. They accept my faith, respect my religion and generally don’t treat me like a second-class citizen. They are my antidote to the hate that occasionally springs up when I feel a Christian has done me or my faith a wrong. It occurs to me that I could wallow in the hate when it happens. I could watch atheist comedians and scribble Lenny Bruce jokes in the margins of my bible. I could treat the Christians in my life nasty on those days I’m filled with anger. I could participate in National Blasphemy Day and draw pictures of Mohammed and the Pope lighting their farts on fire.
Instead, I think I’ll listen to what my teachers tell me and embrace love instead. I’ll try positive reinforcement to improve my relationships with the wonderful Christian folks I know. I will invent a holiday.
The Feast of the Good Galileans, held on September 30th, is the one day a year when we reach out and thank our Christian (and other monotheist) friends, family, neighbors and coworkers for being awesome people who love and respect us. Go ahead and try it. Thank that cousin that sticks up for you when it’s time to say grace at Thanksgiving. Thank that coworker that was willing to trade days so you could get a Pagan holiday off. Thank the friend who treats you like a moral, decent human being, both before and after they learned you were Pagan.
I’m going to thank some folks right here:
- My oldest sister, a nominal Christian, who thinks I’m weird and loves me anyway.
- My Southern Baptist minister cousin who doesn’t get how I love CS Lewis without being Christian, and loves me anyway.
- My former coworkers and dear friends who thought I was no weirder after they learned I was Pagan, and never made an issue of it.
- Elizabeth Scalia, aka The Anchoress, for always getting the we’re all far more alike than we are different.
- Max Lindenman for pointing out that sometimes Christians really do get just how weird they are, just like the rest of us.
- Fred Clark, aka the Slacktivist, for caring about a lot of the same things as we do, and seeing we also have a point to make.
- Matthew Fox, who didn’t think being Christian meant that he shouldn’t hang out with Pagans like Starhawk.
- John Shelby Spong, for really getting why women struggle with Christianity and the images of Biblical women.
- David Charles, who probably had no idea that annoying woman who e-mailed him almost two years ago would still be annoying him today, waving her Pagan flag.
Christians aren’t always aware of their privilege, or how difficult it can be to belong to a minority religion. Sometimes they say things or do things that drive us insane without even realizing they are causing frustration, pain or anger. They’re like fish who’ve no idea what water is because they’ve never been on dry land.
So reach out to the Christians who stick up for you, who treat you like a decent moral person and who do their best to include you. Let them know they appreciated. Take them out to dinner or invite them over for a meal. Educate them through positive reinforcement Pagan-style, with food and hospitality. Let’s make it a mark of honor to have a lot of people to be thankful for every September 30th. Instead of snarking out with Julian, let’s celebrate the Feast of the Good Galileans!