imaginary family values presents

yesh omrim

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God bless us, every one, with a clue

30 November 2005

Rabbi [sic] Aryeh Spero, envisioning a dystopian future America in which saying “Christmas” is outlawed:

“Some of the people who stood up against the ACLU,” I continued, “were called Conservatives. In those days, you weren’t welcomed in ‘progressive’ circles if you were a Conservative. You didn’t get those high-paying jobs in the media, Hollywood, or in the University. In fact, if they knew you were Conservative, you could even lose your job—and, if you wanted to keep your job, you had to undergo diversity training at Sensitivity Sessions and mouth the appropriate platitudes and apologies, even against your own conscience.”

The Associated Press, describing the present America:

A University of Kansas religion professor apologized for an e-mail that referred to religious conservatives as “fundies” and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a “nice slap in their big fat face.”

In a written apology Monday, Paul Mirecki, chairman of the university’s Religious Studies Department, said he would teach the planned class “as a serious academic subject and in an manner that respects all points of view.”

The department faculty approved the course Monday but changed its title. The course, originally called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies,” will instead be called “Intelligent Design and Creationism.”

The backlash against religion-neutral holiday greetings simply astounds me. Contrast: During the spring, I don’t see random strangers wishing me a happy Passover, or asking my child what present he’s hoping to get in exchange for the afikoman. Despite this inattention, two-thirds of Jews attend Passover sedarim. But if you suggest that it’s not appropriate to say “Merry Christmas” to your heathen customers, the wingnuts whine about the Atheist Inquisition coming to town. Of course, if the wingnuts weren’t gnashing their teeth over this imagined insult to their faith, they might notice that God’s Own Party lost interest in some of their particular concerns (Federal Marriage Amendment? What’s that?) as soon as it was safely re-elected, or that some of God’s Own Politicians need to review Deuteronomy 16:19.

P.S.: No, Virginia, it really is not appropriate to say “Merry Christmas” to someone who will not be celebrating it, and I don’t care how many other Jews tell you it’s OK. It’s like being introduced to someone named “Michael” and calling him “Mike”, without bothering to find out if he actually uses that nickname. It’s like assuming that every pregnant woman you meet would just love to hear your advice about what she should be eating and drinking.

Spero column via Pharyngula