Mandatory Religious Deference
In the United States, we live under the protection of religious freedom. This means that, as far as government and the law are concerned, we may believe, or not believe, as we wish.
However, this is a legal protection, not a cultural one. Culturally, there can be all sorts of religious discrimination. More than that, there can be religious bullying.
Think of it in terms of working at an office where most of the people there are, let’s say, die-hard Dodgers fans. They not only hang Dodgers pennants and other paraphernalia up, they get offended when you put up a banner for any other team (especially if it’s bigger than their pennant). In fact, they get upset if you don’t put up a Dodgers pennant in your cubicle or office. They get downright pissy about it, in fact. A coworker emails everyone:
Can I just say how disappointed I am that even though the Dodgers won yesterday, Linda chooses to celebrate by hanging her daughter’s artwork instead.
And you know you’re going to catch all kinds of dirty looks and snide remarks all day.
You would probably dread working in an environment like that. Not just because you’re the outsider, but because the majority of people there are such asses about the fact that you’re not—and that you’re not praising or worshipping them or their favorite things.
Well, welcome to the United States of America. Today, Google did not choose to represent the mainstream holiday or event (as is often the case) and instead chose to post something out of the mainstream—Caesar Chavez’s birthday, in this case.
Conservative Christians across the nation were offended. Some were livid. A few representative tweets:
Google thinks Cesar Chavez is more important than Easter. #whoareyou #happyeaster
Why is Jesus not on google but Cesar Chavez and his 86th birthday is ???
Wow. Congrats Google, youve managed to alienate all Christians in America today: instead of celebrating Christ, they celebrate Cesar Chavez.
That last one has just about the right ring to it: fail to put us above and before everyone else, and you risk our wrath. Many reported their intent to move exclusively to Bing.
Seriously, you would think that Google is a church or something, in that not recognizing Easter is completely out of character, a slap in the face. Since when has it become a requirement for businesses to genuflect? Why expect them to celebrate Easter with a special graphic? Why on earth would you get upset if they don’t?
“You said ‘happy birthday’ to Mark on his birthday, but not to me on mine? Well, don’t expect me to give you the time of day from now on!”
Yes, it is just that petty and pissy.
Not that it is anything new. You know about the infamous “War on Christmas,” right? Same thing. It consists mostly of Christians whining about how a few people are saying “Happy Holidays” instead of joining the popular chorus of “Merry Christmas.”
“Happy Holidays” is inclusive: it includes Christmas, but also everyone else. It’s perfect when you are speaking to a large number of people or are unsure of what holiday a particular person celebrates.
“Merry Christmas,” on the other hand, while perfectly fine for addressing someone you know celebrates the holiday, happens to exclude anyone who is not a Christian.
Demanding that retailers say “Merry Christmas” and forbidding them to say “Happy Holidays” is like men demanding that crowds be addressed as “Gentlemen” only, and getting all offended when “Ladies and Gentlemen” is used instead.
Seriously, if you hear “Merry Christmas” two dozens times a day, hear Christmas carols on nearly every radio station, see special Christmas episodes of most of your favorite TV shows, are bombarded with Christmas decorations and jingles everywhere you go… is it really going to put you out that much to hear the occasional business cheerfully wishing you a happy holiday?
If you can’t be satisfied with hogging 99% of the pie and then sharing the last sliver with others, then you’re a whiny, selfish, self-centered ass.
And you’re giving Christianity a bad name.
Honestly, would you want to be a Dodgers fan if all their followers were dicks?