One of the things that makes me most angry in the world is intolerance. Who cares if there's a moment of silence in school? Or pledging allegiance to the flag? Who cares if a group of students wants to pray on campus? Who cares if people say Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? If someone doesn't wish to participate, they won't. I think there should be a mutual respect for all religions. And as long as they're not hurting anyone (like extremists) they should be tolerated and even welcomed.
Values are being whitewashed. Assimilate! Just like the great immigrations; people came from everywhere around the world, and eventually just became the same. They were encouraged to do so. Not to mention the Native American children being taken from their homes and forced into American schools and American cultures. In other countries today people are forced into silence. They will be punished if they try to practice anything but their required religion. I never want our country to be like that. I think the only concern would be for anti-religion in this country. I don't aspire to belong to a plain vanilla society, where people have to practice their beliefs behind closed doors because they might offend someone else. I want everybody mixed together and learning and understanding about one another. I want choices. I want non-judgement. Since when did anti-religion become our religion? It is freedom OF religion that our country has promised us, not freedom FROM religion. That covers all religions: Christian, Jewish, Wicca, Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, etc.
"Put Christ back in Christmas" they say. Well, sure, if he's in Christmas for you, feel free to put him in. But when someone replies with "Happy Hanukkah" don't get all pissy about it. There's no way to know what someone's religion is unless they let you know. Opening up this discussion in an adult way, which is nonjudgmental and generates from interest in someone's culture, is very healthy. If someone prefers "Happy holidays" then good for them. They are trying to be considerate of all beliefs, and I respect that. But of course there are people who get pissed when they hear "Happy holidays!" These snobby a-holes should get over themselves. The whole world doesn't revolve around them and their particular beliefs.
On the same token, I retreat when someone is trying to force their religion on me. There's nothing that turns me off more than someone getting pushy and telling me what I should believe. One evening (in my teens) I was attending a youth group at church and the youth leader felt it was time to teach us that all other religions are going to Hell. By that time I was already questioning religion, but that really put it over the top. I walked out and was lead to the current belief system which I hold: "I don't know anything."
So many wars have started over religion; I honestly think it is toxic. Hey, religious leaders, you could have thrown us a bone and at least TRIED to foresee people disagreeing with you and starting wars. They might have included something in their religious texts along the lines of "be fucking tolerant"? I think Buddha worked out something similar. Kudos to you, Buddha. You're kind of a badass.
Every December I hear a lot of bullshit being expressed about how everyone is doing it wrong. I guess you might be able to add this rant to the list, but I had to say my piece because I've heard too much about how certain people are bad or wrong or putting Christian culture at risk of extinction, blah blah blah. I'm just so spent on all the negativity and judgement that I had to say something about it. Thanks for listening. Feel free to speak your bit.