Christmas, Satire, and Reality
This article appeared a few weeks ago, and it took at least thirty seconds for me to realize that it was satire. Well worth reading, it approached but did not then seem quite to achieve the degree of credibility associated with exceptionally excellent satire. It noted:
"'Political Correctness' is where it’s at nowadays," the governor began as she showed Hugh to his seat. "No more of this Jesus and God stuff," she said sternly, as she pointed to the crucifix in her wastebasket. "As governor of this state, I must defer to the Founding Persons, who said that there must be a separation of Church and State, and that government may not tolerate religion," she continued.
"Excuse me, Ma’am," the reporter interrupted, “but I did not see anywhere in the Constitution that the Founders intended to ban religion per se."
"Well, that may be," the governor continued, "but, as governor, I cannot risk the prospect that the one thousandth of one percent of the people of this great state who either do not believe in a Supreme Being, or worship Satan, or paint themselves blue and dance naked around evergreen trees, might in theory be offended if someone displays any religious symbol anywhere in the State, so I have decided to ban all religious expression in my state."
Surely, I thought, things are not really that way, even in "her state." Then, I read this article, which explains why a school principal in Oregon had removed a
holiday giving tree at the school after a family complained that the tree was a religious symbol. After removing the tree, Zundel created new guidelines this week for school-sponsored holiday displays -- effectively banning holiday trees, Santa Claus figures and Dreidels, which are "legally categorized as secular," she said.
As best I can determine, the article is not satire; it tells what a government employee actually did and said about it. But wait! There's more (probably a lot more), but here's just a small (not statistically valid) sample. In Amelia, Ohio, the annual Christmas parade has been canceled because "one person threatened village mayor Leroy Ellington with legal action." And:
The following public places in Pittsfield ban Christmas symbols: the post office, schools, City Hall, North Street, and Park Square. In public schools, students and teachers are forbidden to say "Merry Christmas." They can't sing Christmas carols. A student wearing red and green, if the clothes are judged to be a Christmas message, can be sent home. Boys dressing like gang members and girls like hookers, meanwhile, are fine.
That's ridiculous. It's the (new) American way, I guess. People howl about a burqa ban in France (Islamophobia), but red and green clothing at Christmastime (Christianophobia), well, that's different. Right.
Maybe I should (but don't) feel modestly uncomfortable when writing on religious topics, since I have no religion. However, I do have (and have experienced) enough idiocy to recognize idiocy when I see it, and the lengths to which elected and unelected civil "servants" go to do idiotic things distresses me.
Just as I thought I had finished this article, I read "Atheists Deserve Better than the ‘Good without God’ Campaign." I agree with the author that the atheist advertising campaign is silly. I do wish he had drawn some distinction between agnostics and atheists, however. There is a difference, and it is not merely semantic. As an agnostic, rather than an atheist, I neither know nor claim to know whether there is a god. It would probably be nice to know, and I have thought about it a lot over the past half century or so. I still don't know, and while perhaps socially beneficial I would consider it highly hypocritical and condescending to proclaim a belief (either way) which I do not have.