The holiday season is upon us now, when the barrage of negativity with regard to how “offended” people are becomes exacerbated. I’ve grown tired of this trend in America – everyone taking offense to things that, quite frankly, they simply disagree with, or don’t believe in, claiming it to now be something they’re “offended” by.
The Jewish religion celebrates Rosh Hashanah every Autumn, also called Yom Teruah or The Feast of Trumpets. This is a two-day celebration, the Jewish New Year, wherein some of their traditions include sounding a trumpet and eating traditional foods like apples in honey.
Vesak is celebrated every May to commemorate Buddha’s birth as well as his enlightenment. Buddhists go to temples, raise flags, sing hymns and release animals and birds in a symbolic act of liberation.
The Bahai Faith celebrates Ridván, a twelve-day period in late April into early May that commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration of His mission. Believers abstain from work on the 1st, 9th and 12th days of Ridvan.
Christians celebrate Christmas; hence the “Christ” prefix in the word Christmas. It is a Christian holiday, celebrating their belief in the birth of the savior, Jesus Christ. They spend weeks decorating trees, buying gifts, baking cookies and listening to Christmas music. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, they go to church.
I’m not going to list the thousands of holy or other sacred or traditional days celebrated by every religion and culture that comprises America, so please don’t be offended.
I have never once celebrated Rosh Hashanah or Vesak. Why would I? I’m Christian, not Jewish, not Buddhist; but do I need to feel offended if I see a Star of David? A statue of the Buddha? Does it offend me when I hear about Cinco de Mayo celebrations in May because I’m not Mexican?
Being offended is a decision.
You can change the channel, get off the website, not drink tequila shots, stay out of houses of worship where you don’t identify with or believe in the religion they practice. If someone comes to your door to share their religious beliefs, you can say “no thank you” and still act like a decent human being toward them.
Some argue that at this time of year, the Christians spend almost two months cramming the Christmas holiday down everyone’s throats. The Christians didn’t do that; marketing did. Christians are the first to speak up, begging that Christmas be taken back to where it began before commercialization bastardized it.
I’m tired of hearing about how we need to be tolerant of everyone’s religion or culture, but then the exact opposite happens. If we were really tolerant, we would leave each other the hell alone and respect one another’s differences, not force everyone to hide their beliefs because we choose to be uncomfortable. I’m extremely uncomfortable by damn near everything being sexualized; advertising, music, clothing – I’m trying to raise a young lady to respect herself in and among that crap. But why would I be offended by it? Irritated? Sure. Disgusted? Sometimes. But personally offended? I’m an adult.
The truth about choosing to be offended, is that when someone doesn’t agree with what you think, you decide you’ll take offense to it, as though it were a personal attack, rather than realizing that it’s simply a difference of opinion, or in religious belief. Sometimes it really is just an opinion, or a cultural or religious tradition. No one is trying to offend you because they stuck a wreath on their front door or lit a menorah on their mantle.
One of the biggest reasons European settlers came to the America’s was to practice the religion of their choosing, and not have another religion or belief system forced upon them. We still fight wars to this day to protect that freedom. People have lost, and continue to lose, their lives so that we can practice religion however we choose to.
America used to have a proud heritage of being made up of many different cultures, religions, traditions and languages. We have very few foods that are “American” because most of what we eat has come from another country – Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Thai, etc. We did family tree projects in school as kids, tracing our roots, and sharing our heritage with classmates. It’s what made this country great, we were all so different; it gave this country a colorful tapestry.
Now we’re at a point in American culture where everything that rubs someone the wrong way needs to be silenced? Get over yourself.