Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Reason For The Season: Baby Jesus

How we went from the beautiful story and celebration of the birth of a heavenly baby who came to save mankind from sin, to a fat, bearded White Man posing for pictures in a mall and  the death of this baby on a cross 33 years later to an Easter bunny bearing cooked colored eggs is tragic.

How can we be so afraid of offending others with our beliefs? In the watering down of religion, any religion, we lose its original meaning, intent.The clerks who are told not to wish clients a "Merry Christmas" and replace it with "Happy Holidays", the teachers who are warned not to decorate their classrooms with "religious symbols", to the debate of whether we should "ban" the nativity scene from the White House lawn is debilitating.

Have we gone overboard on separating Church and State? "In God We Trust", is still emblazoned on our national currency and "one nation under God" still uttered in the Pledge of Allegiance, which some Americans are now refusing to take.

Whether we believe in Jesus or not, in God or not, this is part of our American "culture" and we need not fear it. Doesn't Freedom of Religion guarantee that too? Religious freedom is not about the absence or banning of religious beliefs but about the right to believe what we choose, or not believe at all.

At the very least, shouldn't we preserve Christmas and Easter for example, just as they are, with all of their religious associations, as a cultural tradition, as we would any other cultural tradition, native arts, language or history?

In a society that includes so many distinct cultures as does our own, this seems to me especially vital, especially valuable.

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