Pat Robertson is onto our Grinchly plans.
Although, to be completely fair, I do want Pat Robertson to be miserable.
Robertson talks about presents and music and all kinds of happy things, and then points a gnarled finger straight at us and accuses us of wanting to take it away. It’s perfectly implied how we intend to do it too: by saying Happy Holidays. We plan to make Christmas miserable by wishing happiness on others. Once those five terrible, but ill-intentioned syllables escape our lips there will be no more presents, no more laughter. We would just say “fuck you”, but people can still sing and give gifts then. No, the only way to make sure little Christian children wake up to cold, dying pine trees on Christmas day is to voice a sentiment far worse than a mere “eat shit”. “Happy Holidays” is that phrase.
Of course, in past years it hasn’t so much as slowed down the traditional activities of the holiday season, but our campaign is not like science where we use past experiments to determine future outcomes. Our “Happy Holidays” line of attack is more like prayer: keep doing it until something happens. It’s the strangest thing though, everybody who isn’t in Robertson’s camp seems to take additional joy when someone expresses hope that their holiday season will be filled with happiness. Only the people combing society for even the silliest reason to feel persecuted seem to hear us wish them well and come away feeling insulted and less happy at Christmas time. Funny, that.
Robertson talked about how atheists are miserable and therefore want everybody else to be miserable. Seems to me it’s the other way around. It is Christians who have somehow managed, through entirely their own effort, to dredge unhappiness from the holiday season, and who expect others to be similarly without cheer.
The narrative that atheists are miserable is very important to the Christian narrative. It’s a reason to stay Christian; because Christians are happy and atheists have no hope or don’t believe in anything or whatever other ridiculous lie fits the bill. Don’t even begin to doubt unless you want to tumble into misery in life (and even more misery after death)! Fear! Fear! Fear! And do you know how we atheists combat beat narrative? By enjoying the shit out of our lives like we always do. This is why I’m a big fan of criticizing religion in creative ways (pirate fort!) that allow us to have fun! If we assault religion with a smile on our faces and with songs in our hearts, it undermines the story that so many believers hear in church about those sad, sad atheists.
And combating that lie gives me another reason to grin during the holidays.