For those of you who don't know, our family is interfaith. One of the things we've tried to instill in GK is respect for other people's beliefs regardless of his own or ours.
Which means at some point, the in-laws will find out that GK has declared himself an atheist. And damn, will that be entertaining!
But my in-laws' heads exploding wasn't the point of this post. While getting last minute groceries yesterday morning, I had a lot of folks wish me "Merry Christmas!" I'm not Christian, but I'm not offended. The greetings were sincerely meant.
But a lot of folks get pissed off if someone says "Happy Holidays!" I don't really understand why some people feel this is a personal attack. Christians aren't the only ones that have a holiday this time of year. There's Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, and more that I've forgotten. (My sincere apologies to those I didn't name.)
I name a specific holiday greeting to a person if I know their religion. For example, I wish my friend Kat "Merry Christmas," and she wishes me "Happy Yule."
But I don't always know a stranger's religion, it isn't obvious (like wearing a yarmulke, a hajib, or a cross), and frankly, their religion isn't my business. So I go with my favorite standby, "Happy Holidays!"
And when I did that to a customer years ago at the last Day Job, he went freakin' ballistic and accused me of being anti-Christian. At the end of his tirade, I asked him how I was supposed to know his religion. He blinked several times before he answered, "This is Christian nation!"
"But not everyone in the U.S. is Christian," I said.
That prompted another tirade. Again, I waited patiently for it to end before I asked, "Should there be a law that everyone in the U.S. wear the symbol for their religion?"
"And how did that work out for the Jews in Germany seventy years ago?" I asked quietly.
The blood drained from his face, and he marched out of the store.
I never saw him again, and he never filed a complaint with my manager (I half-expected it). I hope I made him think. I hope he now sees those of us who aren't Christian as people and not enemies. I hope he realizes that a sincere non-specific December holiday greeting is just that--a greeting, not an insult.
Since today's the last day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, I wish everyone a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
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