Friday, December 25, 2009

Decmber Reflections

It's just amazing that in this day and age anybody with at least half a brain can still believe the Christmas story. Yet obviously millions still do despite the advances of science over the centuries and the resulting rational explanation of religious "miracles". That in itself is enough to make Christmas a day of mourning for free- thinkers and progressives everywhere.

Nowhere perhaps is this more evident than here in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country. I admit that some of the festivities surrounding this holiday here can be very enjoyable, especially the special foods that are prepared especially for this season. But it's astonishing how most people here regardless of advanced educational status wholeheartedly accept the story of the birth of Jesus as an historical event in all its literal detail. However, I will say that most Christians in the Philippines do not try to force their beliefs on others. So life for me as a Jewish nontheist is relatively uncomplicated in that regard.

Unfortunately, such is not the case in the U.S. where every year, Christian fundamentalists complain about the non-existent "war on Christmas". Predictably, they rail at restrictions on religious displays in government offices and become confrontational with merchants who, in terms of interaction with customers, don't share the extremists' perspective on observing this holiday and have little regard for non-Christians and less for atheists' refusal to celebrate Christmas.

What can free-thinkers and non-Christians do about this? Just hold the line and keep on pushing for our rights as Americans. The last time that I looked there is still a Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state and an establishment clause to back it up. It may be a protracted struggle to make our presence known and respected especially in the month of December , but it's a fight that we must never give up.

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