Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Post-Christian United States

Stuff that has been hovering in the background for decades has become a Big Deal this year. All of a sudden folks are really torqued about "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas," and Intelligent Design in the public school classroom has emerged as a major news item this year.

This is a post-Christian nation. I raised my children, now grown or nearly grown, to be aware that they were Christians in a culture where that is unpopular. I don't think riding past waves of religiosity is good for individuals -- though I think it is good for the culture at large.

I don't expect public school teachers to teach my children about Intelligent Design. I expect them to be secular smartypants who think they are wiser than that. I think public school teachers who secretly wish to rescue children from this blinkered, conservative society are the norm. The "new ideas" they wish to expose my children to is the same old crap, but that's okay.

I also don't like it when they undermine my beliefs, and I complain about it. These crusaders do need to be reined in and reminded. I also complain when they push their beliefs in dishonest fashion -- like teaching the speech of Chief Seattle, which is a hoax from 30 years ago, and using it to examine American political values. But they are under no obligation to teach my beliefs.

I expect that merchants will teach their cashiers to say whatever will get everyone in the least trouble. I am not going to pick on a poor shopgirl for saying "Happy Holidays."

Further, I don't expect to be given Christmas off. It's a religious holiday, and people should have to work it. If I want it off for religious reasons, I should take it out of my own time -- or take it unpaid.

America has been a Christian nation, but much of that has been a mile wide and an inch deep. That has had benefits for society that unbelievers refuse to admit, but I think it has been a disadvantage to the Church.

1 comment:

Ben Wyman said...

Oh, good, I thought I was the only one.

By the way, what's wrong with being inoffensive? Why is it somehow uncouth to try not to annoy half of your clientele? I thought that was considered good business.

What's more, I've found it difficult to find any enthusiasm to go "taking back Christmas." I'm fine with Christmas right where it is. I still get presents.