Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Conniption over Christmas
In Washington state, this sign was put up this holiday season next to a nativity scene, a Chanukah display and some other religious observances. As you might imagine, this played right in to Bill O'Reilly's favorite myth, the War on Christmas.
How dare they!
Some right wing talk radio inspired pinhead stole the sign. I use this term because said pinhead turned the sign in to a local right wing talk radio station, who called the cops. The cops are considering the incident an act of theft, shockingly enough, and are investigating.
I don't need presents this year, but if this guy could spend Christmas in the can, that would certainly add to my holiday spirit.
I can understand why some people would be upset about this sign. While I largely agree with the sentiment, the phrase starting with "Religion is but..." would say that the following definition is all that religion is, and there I disagree. Religion is other things as well, and not all the religious have hardened hearts and enslaved minds.
But those who are the most offended by this are also those whose hearts have been hardened and minds enslaved. Sadly in this country, and in much of the world, the loudest proponents of faith are really big on the One True Faith message, which of course means that everyone else's different faith is just a myth or superstition, like the poster says. Even worse, their One True Faith decides that some people are too wicked or too hypnotized by their superstition to be given full rights of citizenship, or in extreme situations, do not even deserve to live.
I do not think this sign is the best way to start the conversation, but the conversation needs starting. The idea that people who reject faith or have their serious doubts about faith are "a tiny minority" is the first premise in an argument that their voices should not be heard at all. There's a lot more of us than you might think, and as a point of pride, a lot of us did a lot of great work to drag the ignorant, faithful and faithless alike, into this 21st Century with its many modern advantages. Technology and medicine and all the rest of the miraculous scientific advancements we are blessed with are moved forward by people whose first principle is that the natural world can be explained naturally, not supernaturally.
Here endeth the lesson.
Here begineth the conversation.