I am angry and frustrated by a number of things and I cannot help but shake my head. In an earlier post tonight I took a fellow M.O.T. (member of the tribe) to task for comments that were offensive, distasteful and just downright shameful.
And now I have read a couple more pieces that take the same stance as the piece of fluff I skewered earlier. The premise of these opinion pieces is that there is a war on Christmas and that it is Jews leading the charge. I haven’t any problem looking at myself and considering my own actions, nor do I have a problem with pointing fingers at other Jews. We are people and like all people we are composed of good and bad. There are moral Jews and immoral Jews. There are Jews who beat their wives and Jews who are among the finest people humanity has to offer.
My problem with the aforementioned opinion pieces lies in a couple of places. The allegations that these writers make are not substantiated with any facts. There is nothing that we can measure or verify, but they are written as if they are. They are presented as expert opinion and they make no allowances for mistake, misunderstanding or misrepresentation.
I am Jewish and I am American. I am entitled to the same rights as every other American and there is no requirement, need or reason for me to sit in the back of the bus as these other men would have us do. I need not thank people for allowing me to be an American. My family has a long history in this country. I have relatives who fought in every war of the 20th Century. I have relatives who helped liberate the camps and fought all over Europe and the world not because they were trying to save Jews but because they were Americans fighting for America.
So why should I apologize for demanding the same rights as anyone else.
I understand and appreciate that I am not part of the majority religion. I haven’t any problem with that. I understand that means that certain things are going to come with the package. It is more likely that retailers and their employees will wish me a merry Christmas. And I understand that the stores will be jammed full of Christmas decorations.
If I were Christian I would be offended by the commercialization of the holiday. As a Jew I find it to be a little distasteful, but I don’t like seeing my own holidays commercialized either. I am not even asking for equal time for Chanukah or other holidays.
But I have no problem asking that we honor the First Amendment by not inserting religion into the public arena. Much of this will be subjective, so for my intents and purposes let me provide Jack’s guidelines.
- Public buildings- I don’t want to see crosses, Nativity scenes, or things of this nature. I am not interested in equal billing meaning that I am not interested in any religious symbols there including my own.
- Public School Events- It is inappropriate to pray in Jesus’/Buddha/Allah’s name. If push comes to shove I can accept a moment of silence.
If I wanted to I could come up with a much more extensive list, but there is no reason to. This is not a war on Christians/Christians. It is not a war on religion. It is part of a cultural battle in which I can attest to there being many people of faith who agree that religion is something that should be kept out of the government. We want neutrality.
My adversaries can characterize it as being a battle to kill G-d and I’ll be happy to call them some ridiculous over-the-top name too.
This is about equal rights based upon the law, not the law that we wish existed.
Just a couple more comments to share, especially for those of you who remain unconvinced. For all intents and purposes the Federal and State governments shut down on Christmas day. Thousands of businesses do too.
The most important holidays in the Jewish calendar do not receive this kind of attention. If I want time off to observe them it requires my taking a personal day, be it sick leave or vacation time.
I don’t begrudge the majority time to celebrate your holiday, but it is hard for me to feel badly for you when I look at things like this.
In short, I won’t lie. If no one wished me a Merry Christmas I wouldn’t miss it or be bothered by it. I don’t care if I ever hear any one sing about the little drummer boy or Rudolph. But I am not asking for that to be removed. I am not asking for anything close to that.
Go ahead and sing your songs, decorate your homes and wish the world a merry christmas, it really is cool with me.
All I ask is that you respect the First Amendment and that I am not given grief for using the same rights that you have.