Much has been made in the media recently about “White Privilege.” On the average, white people receive and achieve things better than people of other colors, generally the darker the hue, the greater the exclusion. This ‘Angel Aura’ thing extends from jobs, wages and promotion, to housing, education, banking/financing, and general treatment by those in power (AKA lighter skin), particularly police.
White men came to this continent, and made it in their image. They marginalized the Indians and other natives, and imported black slaves. There were some who did disreputable things for financial and social gain, and there were some who performed unspeakable acts to justify eliminating anyone who ‘wasn’t them.’ Mostly, they did it from the perhaps-mistaken, but honestly-held belief that they and their way of life were superior.
So too, did the Christians come here and mold society so that they would reap the benefits, and all others would be ignored and excluded. Some questions and comments on my recent Religism post, as well as some predictable “Christmas” articles, show that many Christians just don’t get it – or believe it.
Religism is real. It’s the hatred of a particular faith or set of beliefs. Some ‘Good Christians’ hate Jews. Many Muslims hate Jews, and also Christians. Catholics hate Protestants. Ego and insecurity drives it, and the hatred is often for the wrong reason, or for no reason at all.
The blind, unquestioning faith in the pre-eminence of Christianity often has its proponents mistakenly claiming Religism, when other groups’ rituals are included in secular life. A woman writer recently spoke of knowing about Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Wiccan Solstice and the like – but wondered why they would want to celebrate at the same time as Christians, and exclude Jesus.
Because of her (and many others’) assumption of the universality of Christianity, it just never occurs to her that the members of these other religions all have their own year-end celebrations, which they would still practice if Christ had never existed. A few of them have done so for thousands of years before Christianity came along.
There are the Christian haters who are the equivalent of the bigots who gave blankets infected with smallpox to the Indians, because they regarded them as sub-human. Most of these folks however, are just the ones who have been subjected to the constant, low-level religious conditioning. The Catholic Church calls it responsive reading, and catechism. The Government does the same thing and labels it ‘brainwashing.’
Protecting one’s religious rituals can be a good thing – until you try to force them on others. Inclusion of what is important to others is not exclusion of any portion of Christianity. Falsely claiming Religism to justify a Christian-only secular public, makes Christians guilty of the same exclusionary tactics that they accuse others of.
A usually level-headed male newspaper writer pumped out a column labeled ‘Stop Diluting Christmas Traditions.’ It might better have been titled, ‘I ain’t gonna share! You can’t make me. I’m gonna take my ball and go home.’ A previously Catholic hospital had gone public. Now funded by taxes from ALL citizens, it provided care for people of ALL faiths, and none. They decided not to put up the usual nativity display. Well, how DARE they??!
He was lost, because he couldn’t parade his faith, and held no-one else’s valid. “It waves away the possibility of any faith. It empties our plate, and bids us to eat.” Actually, it removes the “His-only, a-la-carte” plate, and sets up a smorgasbord of beliefs to sample and compare, but there’s no trying religious chili or curry for him. He’s a dedicated meat and potatoes Christian.
He complained that, “It’s like trying to speak language in the abstract, but no specific tongue,” apparently unlike me, studying all languages, or in this case religions, and seeing how they influence my favorite.
“It’s not a generic ‘Holiday Tree’, because there’s no generic holiday.” It’s a generic Holiday Tree because it’s everybody’s ‘holiday’, Christmas included – just not exclusively Christian, even though that’s what he, and many like him, want and expect. There’s reverse Religism here. They just don’t see that they’re giving, not receiving.
The history teacher of the 15-year-old atheist son of one of the Free Thinkers was ranting about people who wouldn’t accept “proven historical facts.” When one of the other students asked for an example, she came out with ‘the proven existence of Jesus Christ.’ School policy prohibits discussion of any single religion. She was in the wrong, no matter how well-intentioned, or deluded.
Our lad pointed out that there was no ‘historical proof’ that Christ really existed. “Well, it’s all right there, in the Bible!” That may be, but no other contemporary Jewish – or Roman – document mentions Jesus, his exploits, his execution or his resurrection. The boy was sent to the Principal, who chastised him for causing a disturbance in class. No thinking allowed. Believe what we tell you.
A local mall has a public meeting room which various community groups can book to present their particular points of interest. The Free Thinkers recently requested a booking, and were, at least initially told, “We’re not sure you qualify as a ‘Community Group’.” The Ontario Civil Rights Tribunal has dealt with Sofree(Southern Ontario Free Thinkers) as a community group dozens of times, establishing a precedent. The president even has the complaint form document bookmarked on his smart phone. A few keystrokes will rouse the Government to set them straight.
Too often, Christianity acts as a big, unthinking, entitled bully. While less bloody, the difference between its head-in-the-sand stance, and ISIS’ off-with-their –heads methods, is one of only a minor degree. President Obama recently compared the atrocities of ISIS with the actions of the medieval Inquisition, and the usual suspects immediately began screaming about being attacked, and how dare he compare ISIS’s actions with those of the church. That’s not Religism, that’s reality.