‘Tis the season to put up festive decorations, share time and gifts and food with friends and family, and apparently for some Christians to get riled up against atheists over the specter of persecution.
Every year around this time, in spite of my efforts to avoid watching Fox News, I invariably hear about the supposed “War on Christmas” in which I am unwittingly a foot soldier, seeking and destroying all mention of the C-word in the public square. On occasion, Christians who know I’m an atheist wish me a Merry Christmas with a tone of rebellion in their voices, as though they’re brazenly defying some unjust law by doing so, just daring me to call the Secular Spetsnaz on them. I like to respond by thanking them and wishing them a “Happy _____”, inserting a random late December holiday to throw them off.
All this divisive talk of who owns the reason for the season can make the holidays a stressful time to be an atheist, a time when all I want to do is don my gay apparel, look at the pretty lights, sip on a peppermint mocha, brave the pandemonium at the mall to find thoughtful (and/or practical) presents for the people I care about, and then snuggle on the couch with my wife and the dogs. It just so happens that the only December 25th birthday I’ll be giving a nod to will be that of Sir Isaac Newton.
I’m not out to take away anyone’s Nativity scene or last can of Who Hash. I couldn’t care less about who in my vicinity is celebrating the birthday of which mythological/religious figure, so long as they aren’t forcing their beliefs on anyone else or using taxpayers’ money to promote their faith. I don’t think those are unreasonable requests, and I don’t see why we can’t all have a pleasant December while following those guidelines.
So, fellow humans: be ye faithful or godless, whatever the reason you’re celebrating, let’s all have a good night and a merry day tomorrow.