Tuesday, December 28, 2004

More thoughts

This is actually a response to a comment on my “No More Christmas Carols” entry, but thought it deserved some space here.

“oh, and be careful what you wish for or your kids will learn that much of the history and customs of Christianity are just borrowed or co-opted from other cultures and religions.”

Not really sure what I did to warrant this comment, but to be completely honest, I’m a little hurt. Why? Well …

I’d like to think that I truly do try to examine issues from all sides (even the ones I don’t like). I do wish that my children will have a chance to examine my faith and what has been done for/by/in the name of it … all of it. There is not denying that the Christmas holiday is largely a conglomeration of customs, rituals and habits from other cultures. In fact, most historians believe Christ was probably born in March or April in the year 4 AD, not December 25, 0. The wise men didn’t arrive for at least two years after he was born. Further, the first several centuries of Christians conscripted many of the rituals of pagan or other faiths in the rituals of worship. Many of the trappings of the Catholic faith, in particular, are relics of other first and second century faiths.

The real question is, does this make any of my faith and the way I practice it less valid? Should I indeed fear that my children learn about the history and customs of the Christian church? I’ll be the first one to admit that for many people, Christmas is not about Christ. I just don’t think that all the trappings of the faith should be forcibly removed from the celebration of the holiday. Whether or not people currently celebrate the birth of Christ as part of their celebration, historically the two are intertwined. Not only do we lose some of the most beautiful, moving music and ritual by banning all Christian-themed carols, we also lose the freedom to celebrate as we choose by forcing the holiday to be a secular one.

So, I really am aware of what I’m wishing for. I resent the implication that I only want the free exchance of ideas and knowledge if it supports my own belief structure. I’m not offended by people who celebrate a non-Christian Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza or any other variation of the winter holiday. I have no problem going to holiday concerts and watching kids sing about those various celebrations. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the coolest things about this nation. I just feel like it’s just as bad to force a secular holiday as to force any particular religious one.


sapsparky said...

I'm sorry that you are hurt, but I think that your religious openmindedness is very much in the minority. i'm jus tok with the level "secular" playing field that is being pushed, mainly because the alternative is the continued marginalization of other religions. Again, I'm all in favor of cultural and religious celebrations, but let them do it outside of the publicly funded sphere. I know I'm fairly well in the minority of American thought with that one.

Anonymous said...

Just two quick comments. We are seeking a freedom of religion, not from religion. This country was pieced together by men and women who fought for the right to express their beliefs - peacefully and openly. In the spirit of inclusiveness, shouldn't we welcome all and actually strive to learn about each other? Second, admittedly biased, Wow am I proud of you Jenn!


sapsparky said...

well, i left this alone for awhile, but i'm bored....

Just two quick comments. We are seeking a freedom of religion, not from religion. some of us are seeking a freedom from religion, but regardles of that there is a freedom of religion and you certainly have it. you get to practice any religion you want anywhere in the union short of government property (and even then you can get the 10 commandments up sometimes or a nativity scene), but that's just an attempt to avoid the perception of an establishment.

This country was pieced together by men and women who fought for the right to express their beliefs - peacefully and openly.i really don't want to get too nitpicky with this idealistic idea about the formation and evolution of the United States. needless to say, I think that the country has come a long way, but it also has a very, very long way to go.

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