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Thursday, December 12, 2013
From Old English, meaning, “Holy Day”(OED).
It has become a sort of unofficial Tradition in America, for certain folks to lament a supposed “War on Christmas”...largely due to the efforts of business and government to acknowledge this Season without offending anyone, of any Faith...or even those of no faith, at all.
While I, too, find the Hyper-Consumerism that has come to dominate this time of year to be somewhat Petty and Childish, I can find no intention to Persecute anyone in the use of the phrase “Happy Holidays”.
Rather, I find it to be Inclusive,not Exclusive.
There is a lot of confusion, it seems,about Religion in America.
It is often Asserted and Assumed that one version or another of Christianity is the only “True” Faith...and further, that everyone that matters is a Christian; even that the USA is a “Christian Nation”. I find this offensive, as there are many Faiths, represented right here in Mason...the Majority are Christian,of many flavors, but there are also Universalists, and Pagans and even a few Agnostics and Atheists.
Religion is only specifically mentioned twice in the US Constitution...in Article VI, forbidding Religious Tests for Public Office...and in the First Amendment, forbidding the Government from taking sides in Religious matters, and Codifying Everyone's Right to Religious Freedom.
“God”...specifically,”Lord”...is only mentioned in passing, at the end where they write “In the Year of Our Lord...”...a common way of stating the date, at the time.
The Founding Fathers were very careful in assuring us a Secular Government, having witnessed the wars and endless strife over the matter, in Old Europe.
Hence the much maligned(in some circles) “Separation of Church and State”...wherein it is not the Business of Government what the Individual Believes, regarding the Divine.
Everyone is Free to make those decisions for herself,or himself.
In other words, we are a Pluralist Nation, above all, and by Design.
So go on...celebrate Christmas, this December 25th.
America is, after all, a Christian Nation.
On December 8th, you could have celebrated Bodhi Day, when the Buddha achieved Enlightenment...because America is a Buddhist Nation.
If you are Hopi, you may ritually open the Kiva on December 21st...because America is a Hopi Nation.
From Sunset, November 27 to nightfall, December 5, earlier this month, you were Free to light candles and eat Latkes...because America is a Jewish Nation.
From December 21st, to the 25th, you are Free to celebrate the Pancha Ganapati ,
in honor of Lord Ganesha...because America is a Hindu Nation.
And of course, if you so desire, on the Winter Solstice, you are certainly Free to celebrate the Goddess Rhiannon, giving birth to Pryderi, on what is known in Gaelic as Meán Geimhridh.
For America is also a Pagan Nation.
From the Zuni Elders, gathered around the Sipapu, to the Druid in his Grove; from the Imam in his Mosque, to the Rabbi in her Synagogue; from the Christian in his Pew, to the Atheist walking her dog in the park on Sunday morning...
America has no Religion,
Because America embraces all Religions.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
(this is a LTE)