Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Oppression of Christmas

Expat and I have been discussing the "oppression" of Christianity felt by many in this country lately - especially as Christmas approaches.
I haven't read any great experts' opinion on this topic, but I've done some observing and reflecting and have come to some conclusions.

This week, on the whiteboard in my staff room, a message read, "The dress patrol will be enforcing a strict Christmas dress code on Wednesday and Friday." Now, this is a rather cheeky way of encouraging the staff to wear Christmassy garb on the assigned days - and I recognized it to be such. However, even as a celebrant of the Christmas holiday, I felt a little bombarded by this message. First of all, I don't have any Christmassy clothing. Second of all, what if I were Jewish? An atheist (which I was at one point)? A Muslim? A Jehovah's Witness? I realize that my fellow teachers were just trying to spread some holiday cheer. I'm all for that. But could it be done in a more sensitive manner? Could I (and the above litany of non-celebrants)be a little less sensitive?

What I'm getting at, in a rather round-about manner, is that the "attack" on Christmas and other Christian traditions and displays - and there have been some - may be the result of Christian America's inability to realize that not everyone wants to celebrate Jesus, and that's okay. No one has ever benefited from being forced to be a part of Jesus' community of followers. In fact, many have been worse off as a result of their involuntary participation.