Well, by this time, Thanksgiving has been and gone. Leftover turkey waits (or lurks) in the fridge until such time as it is redeployed as "another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat," and the countdown has begun: N shopping days left until . . . The Holiday Which Must Not Be Named.
This bugs me.
If you've been reading this journal for any amount of time, you'll know that I'm Jewish. You'll also know that I am very direct, if not downright rude, in my assessment of the world. I don't believe in what is derisively called "political correctness."
I got an e-mail from a Co-Worker asking me if I would object to any
Holiday Which Must Not Be Named (HWMNBN) decorations. I told her that as long as she didn't want to turn our entire work area into a creche
I was cool with it. In fact she wanted to display a small creche
that she did not feel she would enjoy at home, because it would become lost in the clutter. I told her to go ahead. This was an interaction between two adults, one showing the sensitivity to ask before placing religious iconography in a mixed-faith work area, and the other showing the tolerance to say "go for it." I thought that this was what "diversity," "multiculturalism," and "tolerance" were all about. Apparently, I was wrong.
An E-Mail went out to our entire organization from our facilities people explaining that seasonal decorations would be allowed (most gracious of them) but must be secular in nature (my co-worker was not free to display her creche, nor would I be free to display a menorah, if I wished). I am so glad that I can count on facilities (and truth be told, probably legal as well) to save me from having to make any decisions about what I may or may not consider offensive.
So anyway I get home and morgan1
is searching around frantically for some antlers we bought to put on the cats. She was planning to wear them for her company's holiday picture. We find them, and she gets some wrinkles ironed out of them and the holiday picture is taken. A day later, her company announces that the holiday picture must be retaken because some people had worn Santa hats or Antlers. They were evidently trying to avoid a holiday theme in their holiday picture.
Now, I just need to ask, what the HELL is going on here? What's so bad about Christmas that we must scrub the word from our national vocabulary? True, not all Americans celebrate it. Some of us celebrate Chanukah, some Solstice, some of us, nothing at all. And why solve the "problem" of creating a potentially "hostile" religious environment by creating an environment uniformly hostile to religion? I know that the answer lies in corporate fears of liability.
But I have another question. What if I did
bring in a Menorah? My coworker has been forbidden her creche
, but since mine is not the religion of the dominant regime would anyone say anything to me? Or would they too be afraid of being accused of discrimination because I am a minority? I have a hypothesis, of course, but the failure of the only experiment I can design to test it could result in major loss of income for me, so I shall refrain.
But it occurs to me that both my coworker and
I are being discriminated against. As people who might be inclined to actually show a shred of spirituality, we are being denied the freedom of speech to do so. Which raises another question in my mind -- for all the right wing talk of this being a "Christian nation," for all the disputation about whether to cut "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance (itself a prayer to an idol), and the inscription "In God we Trust" on our coins, for all the separation of church and state, do we perhaps have a state religion which has nothing to do with spirituality? Of course we do.
Every year, those Mammonite priests called "analysts" take measure of our shopping habits, spending, "confidence," and other factors, and are ready to tell us as early as December 26th whether we have upheld our religious duty to provide the economy with a good "holiday season" or if we have failed, and will be punished by Mammon himself with that most horrible of plagues, a "downturn." If you're unemployed, its because you didn't spend enough during the holiday season.
Indeed the admonitions begin the day after Thanksgiving, when we are all supposed to hit the malls in a great horde, and the very size of that horde may be sufficient to divine whether Mammon will inscribe us in the book of "growth" or the book of "downturn" for the coming fiscal year.
And the Christian who thinks about Jesus may just decide to go to church on Christmas.
And the Jew who contemplates the miracle of the oil may decide that the lighting of the Menorah and eating Latkes, and giving the kids some Chocolate to gamble at dreidel with is enough.
And the Wiccan who thinks about the Solstice may just decide that a really big Bonfire is the best invitation for the sun's return.
In short it serves the needs of commerce very well to cut us off from our spiritual centers, and the despiritualization of America is less about not offending anyone than it is about leaving us all with a void that we seek to fill at a mall.