This time of year, in particular, one reads article after article, letter after letter, about incident after incident concerning "the violation of my rights as a citizen/resident of this country" and how someone wants "it STOPPED RIGHT NOW or I shall SUE and WHINE SOME MORE and WRITE SOME MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR and COMMENT ON WEBSITES and DEMAND THAT MY RIGHTS BE HONORED." Not anyone else's rights -- just theirs.
I really don't think anybody was being singled out for abuse when that snowman and the reindeer were put out in the yard. And if someone wishes to put out a nativity scene, well, they've got rights, too. If you don't like it, just don't look. Why can't we all make these diverse ways of celebration a time for learning instead of a time of hostility and tempers and taking offense?
In this country, we all have a right to our rights. But shouldn't the rants be reserved for issues that are more, well, life and death? Because if you're raising such a stink about a wreath and a candy cane, what have you left for horrific death and tragedy?
When Sam Levinson came home from school and announced to his mother that "I'm the 'S' in 'Merry Christmas!'", his mother didn't go bonkers and storm the school demanding that this very non-Jewish program be removed immediately for the sake of her Jewish family. She sighed, and smiled, and said "Oy." Her family was secure enough in its beliefs to allow a little participation in other people's beliefs as well.
More people shuold follow her example. What's happened to people? Why are so many people out there up in arms because the majority of this nation's population is happy and smiling and sharing and putting up symbols of a belief system that so many of us believe in? (Instead of protesting, they should just go home and put up their own stuff.)
Because it just seems to me that if you've chosen to live in a country wherein the majority of the population believes in celebrating Christmas, you're a bit of a jerk if you make a big loud stink about your "rights" and get all huffy when a little old lady smiles at you and wishes you a Merry Christmas. That's just plain bad manners, oh sensitive one. You don't have to participate, but what's the harm in letting others do so? Are people storming your home and forcing you to be jolly? I didn't think so.
People who pressure others to conform to a particular sect or belief system, now, that's another subject altogether. But people who just want to express a wish for happiness to another person, using terminology they are already familiar with? Thank them and smile back. Your face won't break (unless your belief system is based on finding offense in other people's belief systems, in which case you're a jerk). People want to be friendly and wish you well. Don't throw it back in their face.