Friday, April 06, 2007

Blogging Against Theocracy

We make the strangest assumptions about people. I don't exclude myself from this, I do it all the time. I assume. I have opinions - sometimes they come out of contempt prior to investigation, which I think is what most of us do anyway. In our closed little minds, we assume, we form opinions, we judge, and we offend.

Here is an example of normal assumptions about me. First, I am a Jewish woman living in a predominently Christian area of Los Angeles. I am fair skinned, with strawberry blond hair. Many people think I am Irish. But here's the thing: People assume I celebrate Easter, or Christmas. I have a client who, when he signs his emails, BLESSES me in the name of Christ. He is not a member of any clergy, either. I go to the grocery store and am overwhelmed with all the Easter material, and foods - and a small little section for Passover goods, some of which are not actually Kosher for Passover. It is marked by a condescending sign, "Happy Passover to our Jewish Friends."

Imagine the reaction that client would have if I were to wish him a Happy Passover.

Here's the deal: I am happy if you celebrate a holiday other than what I celebrate. Just don't push it in my face. I HATE Christmas as it is presented in the United States - it is a co-opted Pagan ritual, and has evolved into a consumer frenzy that is designed to make non-participants feel small and left out. I hate the way Christmas music is blared out 24/7. I hate the ASSUMPTION that everyone celebrates it.

On my drive home from work, I sometimes come around the Peninsula, and there is one house with a GIANT wooden cross facing the route. I mean this is one honking big cross. And I have jumped to the conclusion that this person is an angry, judgmental individual who condemns free choice, who believes that our current Administration is right to be fighting a war in Iraq, who hates Gays, or single women. I assume this because he has a giant wooden cross. Would I not be moving toward acceptance if I knocked on his door and said, "I want to have a dialogue with you, I want to understand your beliefs. I want to be open to hear your ideas."

If I don't want people to make assumptions about me, should I not also give up my own assumptions about others?

Please note the graphic that accompanies this post was made by Flaring of Virtual Flaring


billie said...

short answer- yes. you and blue gal have different faiths but essentially said similar things. there was a time when i just felt- 'live and let live.' you have your faith- i don't- that's fine. but--then there was this push for america to become a CHRISTIAN theocracy and all bets were off. is it wrong of me to lump all christians, muslims, jews, hindus, buddhists, etc. together? yes. but until the sane people of all of these organized religions take back their religion; until organized religions are gone forever, or-- hell freezes over- i am afraid i have to keep my assumptions. nice post. :)

robin andrea said...

I wouldn't knock on that door. That big honking cross is enough information for me. Anyone who needs to advertise their "faith" in such a way has already said everything. I think it's Sam Harris's book "The End of Faith" that argues it is the moderates in religion who allow the extremes to exist. They don't examine the root of extremes in the essence of faith. I find it very liberating to be an atheist.

Peacechick Mary said...

I imagine if Walmart could find a way to commercialize any and all religious holidays, they would. You are just lucky to miss that honor.

Donnie McDaniel said...

If you really look at it, it has become so rabid. I look at it like this. I wonder how many people like me, see the irony in the holidays and the icons for them. Each one has a icon like Santa or the Easter Bunny. They raise their children on lies, and wonder in later days why that kid grew up to revolt against it all. You lied to that kid for all those years, and you know want them to believe what you really might believe. So they did not set the proper example to start with.

Now it is not just the holidays that are an example of the stupid things set forth by them. From the earliest age, the christians start the lies by teaching something that goes into adulthood. If you speak to people, how many think an apple was given to Eve? Nowhere is it ever said that it was any particular fruit, other than a forbidden one.

Books read it as an apple, but if anyone can show me in the bible, where it says an apple, I will kiss Ann Coulter and become Michelle Malkin's sex slave! So many lies, and so many reasons to stay from them. I can go on for a long time, giving reasons why they are wrong. My number one reason to run from them, is they just don't wanna let me practice my free will given to me by the GOD they claim to follow.

Susannah Anderson said...

(Did this already go in? The "publish" button just brings me back here.)

I was raised strongly Christian, but in an entirely different "mood"; fundamentalist and proselytizing, but ascetic and anti-Christians-in-politics. I was as offended, even back then, by these displays of greed, arrogance and lousy taste as you are. And you are probably right about the guy with the cross. In the churches I attended, he would have been reprimanded by the pastor, at least.

And Mom would have used him as an example of "Christian who has trouble with the concept". Which seems to be the prevailing pattern, these days, especially in the US.

(I am no longer Christian, so this is past tense, but the offense lingers.)

(And I am glad I live in Canada, surrounded by Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, "other" and a-religionists; the trash on store shelves is still there, but at least you don't see it plastered all over people's cars and homes.)

Thorne said...

Thank you for this excellent introspective post. As a long time practicing pagan (NOT Wiccan-I do not identify with ANY organized religion)I am often met with contempt prior to investigation. Used to be the old "satanist" judgement, nowadays as wicca becomes a familiar term it is yet another label. I have to be careful not to prejudge christians based on their most obnoxious and outspoken proponants, but it is difficult, especially in these times and in this country.
(I don't think I'd knoock on that door, though!)

Traveling Man said...

I'm not Jewish, but I would be honored to be wished a Happy Pasover by one such as you.

Excellent Post!


Traveling Man said...

First, thank you for returning the favor. Second I think you are excatly right in that those of us who believe in freedom will unite, respect and honor the diffrerencees and join together to gaurantee each other's freedoms.

I will revisit your blog and hope that you post about your artistic experience. Through your talent we all shall all come closer to knowing the source of us all.

Have the best of all possible days/weeks/months/years/lives.


FreakyNick said...

Outstanding contribution.

I for one, having been raised in Jewish and Catholic homes, have much confusion when it comes to what holidays to celebrate. I do know that I do not wish to celebrate the commercialized pagan rituals that the Christians have aligned with certain holy dates on their calendar. Jewish Holy days offer a more spiritual observance of religious traditions, and their connections to past events.

Thanks for your excellent post.

Mary said...

I lost all faith in organized religion. Unfortunately the meaning behind holidays which my mother did put alot of emphasis on went with it.
Very thought provoking post.

Clytemnestra said...

hate the way Christmas music is blared out 24/7. I hate the ASSUMPTION that everyone celebrates it.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who is so irritated by this. Even on my secular stations they go to 24/7 Christmas music a few days before a holiday I don't celebrate.

Wal-mart won't commercialize any and all religious holidays of others because they would anger and loose their base. Besides Dobson, et al would be irritated with them too.

Dispite the fact that if they were to start celebrating other religions gift giving holidays (and in so doing reflect what America acctually looks like) they wouldn't have to put so much make or break it stress for sales at Christmas. But diversity doesn't play well in Colorado Springs and other places.

Igt would be nice if those of us who aren't Christian could find holiday lights and other decorations when we need them instead or having to stock up at after Christmas sales. But I guess the discount is nice.

I'm on the verge of going off on a pet peeve.

good post!