I just saw my first Christmas advertisement on television.
And it sets me to thinking.
Yes, never a good thing.
But now that Halloween is over and we are quickly skipping over Thanksgiving and rushing madly into the Christmas season I find myself thinking of the seasonal outrage of so many of those in the majority with those who notice there are other religions with holidays at the same time in December: Buddhists, Jews and Pagans come immediately to mind, and will be acknowledging it with a cheery “Happy Holidays!” If it ain’t “Merry Christmas,” it is straight up an affront to all that is decent and holy.
And this outrage at this oppression of the majority by the minorities makes me just a tad more than anxious…
There is something hanging in the back of my mind when living in a country dominated by a group of people who have an ideology that puts me at the moment of my death firmly into the fires of hell for, well, forever. And it’s hard not to be vaguely aware of how easy a step it is from seeing someone as firewood in the future to seeing one as killable in the present tense.
And, frankly, this seasonal outrage sparks that anxiety…
Of course, it isn’t the only example of this latent threat of violence. Politicians decrying that atheists can vote comes to mind, too. Pandering to the religious majority, with just a hint of violence in the air. Just a hint. And personally I don’t see much different in the historical rhetoric of jihad and crusade.
But the constant declarations today of people in the religious majority lamenting how they’ve been put upon by having to share space with people of other religions or none is the really scary thing. Violence against religious minorities is a once, and I see no reason to think not, a future thing.
Now I’m glad that most of the Christians of my personal acquaintance are in fact universalists. And, for the most part, have nothing to do with this. But I also know they are in the minority among America’s Christians, and some have been stoking the fires for them, as well.
The sad truth is that the majority of America’s Christians see hell fire in the future for those not in their club, and, again, witnessing how nasty they can get in defending the only-ness of their seasonal celebration, I am feeling that old time anxiety, once again…
But, you know.
To heck with it.
We all die. And in the meantime we have to live.
So, maybe I’m a little afraid of Christians. And the season reminds me of why.
As we roll toward winter.
I hope my Christian friends do have a merry Christmas.
May my Jewish friends have a lovely Hanukkah.
May my pagan and humanist friends have a wonderful solstice.
As a Buddhist I look forward to Bodhi Day.
And throughout the coming season may we all have the happiest of holidays…