Michael Gorman: Happy holidays to all
What’s that? It troubles you that I say “Happy holidays” instead of “Happy Thanksgiving, merry Christmas and happy New Year”?
What’s the best way to put this? Tough!
I don’t indiscriminately wish people “merry Christmas,” because not everyone is a Christian.
My saying “Christmas” instead of “holidays” doesn’t do anything to make my own Christian faith any stronger. All it can possibly do is needlessly alienate someone else. Not very Christian, is it?
GOP presidential candidates blather on about creating watch lists for Muslims, Parish Council members pass meaningless and hateful resolutions and local cable channels recklessly spread vicious and fanciful tales about drug sales and terrorism.
And some of these same people publicly whine about some imaginary “war on Christmas” or “war on Christianity.”
The biggest threat to Christianity and its beliefs comes not from people who believe differently but from this crowd of small-minded bigots.
Those who tell you ours is a Christian nation apparently never read the First Amendment. You know the First Amendment, right? It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...”
That’s pretty clear. Our nation isn’t in the business of endorsing one religion over any other. Still, it is prohibited from interfering with our fee exercise of our religious values.
Those who would set up a Christian theocracy here aren’t much different from the people they see as threats elsewhere.
The people who fret so much about what the greeter at Wal-Mart says while endorsing the wholesale hatred of much of the world’s population aren’t doing Christ’s work.
And those who would exclude refugees based on their religion aren’t embracing the Golden Rule.
In fact, their actions, thoughts and proclamations harm Christianity even as they complain about some “war” on it.
Perhaps, though, some good things can come of this.
If the zealots among us finally win the war on Christianity, we can look forward to some positive changes.
With our nation’s proud and newfound embrace of our supposedly homogeneous Christian heritage, we can anticipate some refreshing changes for the better.
The homeless — who for generations have escaped the notice of those who now favor them over the Syrian refugees — can expect brighter days.
The prisoners — most jailed as a result of nonviolent drug offenses, overzealous prosecution or just lacking bail money — will gladly accept the frequent visits of those who claim to walk with Jesus.
The poor and the hungry will surely be much better off now that those who would deny them food stamps and Medicaid will be personally caring for them as the Lord told them to do.
I’m not sure what we will see in place of the lies currently being spread by some of the people who call themselves Christians.
The David Vitters of the world will likely continue to hypocritically cast stones at people they call enemies of marriage while sanctimoniously soiling their own. But that will just prove that their vitriol wasn’t ever about Christianity or marriage; it was about hatred and bigotry.
So before you go looking for a war on Christianity, ask yourself whether you are behaving as Christ instructed.
Are you looking out for your neighbor? Or are you more concerned with the complexion and makeup of your neighbor’s family than with his or her well-being?
You don’t have to tell me. Honestly, I’m not worried about it. You’re going to do and say and think whatever you wish. And it doesn’t affect me in the least — except when it does.
When your actions — particularly those you undertake in furtherance of imaginary “Christian” ideals of exclusion and racism — affect me and my fellow human beings, it is my business.
So if you want to be a Christian, do it. Be it. Embrace it. If you truly are, it can only make the world a better place.
Houma (La.) Courier and Thibodaux (La.) Daily Comet editorial page editor Michael Gorman can be reached by email at email@example.com.