Monday, December 27, 2010

"Build Respect for Christmas"? Respect Goes Both Ways!

Certainly there's no defense for vandalizing Xmas trees or other decorations or personal property, but I wonder what constitutes "belligerence towards the celebration of Christmas," especially now that there are people who take offense when one says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." If they are really offended that we acknowledge the diversity of religions and traditions, then I would be happy to tell them something much more offensive -- with the same initials as "Festive Yule." There are even idiots out there writing that "Xmas" is a pagan insult, not recognizing that the abbreviation is a common, long-time usage by Christians. There are truly horrendous assaults on Christians as seen recently in Iraq and Pakistan, but so much whining over the "war on Christmas" is trivial nonsense that cheapens the issue of real bigotry and sectarian violence.

Much of what vandalism there is in America is wreaked by out-of-control teenagers and thugs who simply take delight in destruction. There's no (anti-)religious or bigoted agenda there, just rampant hooliganism. Some friends were discussing how their street -- well known for their holiday decorations -- was attacked by thieves who stole their decorations. The conversation never raised the notion of a religious/hate crime aspect to it, but they seemed to think that it was just run-of-the-mill thieves and vandals.

I really don't care for the holiday, have no use for most of what surrounds it, but to each his own. I certainly don't want to ruin anyone else's celebration. Because I choose not to participate I get called "Scrooge" and "Grinch" -- characters who selfishly or maliciously tried to ruin the holidays of others. No, I wish simply to abstain, just as I would not attend a drunken frat party or a tailgate party at a football game. Not interested, thank you, but have a good time.

That doesn't seem to be enough for the Stepford elves who insist on conformity, not even to religion. All too common is the bovine cooing that if I'm not comfy with the religious aspect I should just get into the spirit of rampant commercialism and saccharine familial sentimentality, just what I dislike most about this holiday that ramps up family stresses, disappointments and violence. Suicides are very high this time of the year.

Actually I have a great respect for the religious aspect and would honor the birth of the prophet Jesus (pbuh) even if his birthday was actually March 1. We can agree to disagree on his actual birthday, his parentage and theological relationship to God. Honoring the Messiah and penultimate of God's prophets I could even see Muslims organizing to observe his life and his message on Dec. 25 by participating in efforts to feed, clothe, and house the poor, either alongside our non-Muslim friends or in our own separate efforts with a more Islamic flavor, perhaps calling it "Eid Issa Rasul Allah" or something like that. 

Anyway, I hope everybody else enjoys their holidays as I enjoy mine. If that's not enough respect for some people then maybe they need to learn to respect my space.

In any event, happy new year.