Home > Religion, Right-Wing Hypocrisy > Mandatory Religious Deference

Mandatory Religious Deference

April 2nd, 2013
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 the Dodgers won yesterday, but 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?

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  1. Troy
    April 2nd, 2013 at 10:16 | #1

    Japan is pretty good in this department, LOL

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/29/eight_of_the_best_countries_to_be_an_atheist/

    In Japan the more religious a person is, the nuttier he is considered to be, more or less.

    Speaking of Japan, I just got a crazy business idea . . .

    So it costs maybe $2000 to ship a 40′ container from Long Beach to Yokohama.

    And in this container you can pack around 500 20″ x 20″ x 15″ boxes, so that’s around $4/box shipping cost.

    Sagawa Express charges around ¥2000 to “cool” ship (2 ~ 10deg C) that box (up to 20kg) anywhere in Japan.

    I’ve been looking at The Flying Pig and their air-ship prices are hard to beat (via USPS air express), and of course there’s FBC to compete with but I think there’s a niche for this package-based model (both TFP and FBC’s websites positively suck).

    Dunno what the costs would be for customs processing and forwarding in Yokohama, probably another ¥2000 per box or so I’d guess.

    But ¥5000 per box overhead still leaves ¥5000 or more operating margin, since if I were in Japan I’d easily pay ¥10,000 over US cost for a pretty big box of stuff (still be loads cheaper than buying it in Japan).

    And ¥5000 x 500 boxes is . . . a cool ¥2.5M yen gross . . . imagine doing that every month . . . I think most foreigners in Japan would like a box or two of stuff every month. . .

    Maybe I should just talk directly with the FBC people, as of course they’ve been around the block a million more times on this than I have, LOL.

  2. Troy
    April 2nd, 2013 at 14:23 | #2

    weird, I went off on that same tangent almost a year ago . . .

    http://blogd.com/wp/index.php/archives/9459#comment-24583

    the idea of moving to a no sales tax state is probably a good one though. Plus Portland is much closer to Japan.

  3. matthew
    April 2nd, 2013 at 18:22 | #3

    I really like the baseball analogy. It makes a stark contrast that the for some reason religion fails to do. Perhaps it is that most Americans just assume that everyone else is a believer.

    But that seems to be changing—slowly.

  4. Luis
    April 2nd, 2013 at 19:45 | #4

    Troy: yeah, that’s the nice thing about Japan, no attempts at Shinto conversion or to force you to follow Buddhist morality or anything. The only people knocking on your door are (natch) the Christians, though sometimes the odd nutball Buddhist-breakoff group will swing around.

    I recall when I lived in Asagaya in the 80′s, there were these political posters up for candidates, kinda weird-looking people in robes, in particular this one bearded guy with droopy eyelids. Turned out it was Aum Shinrikyo running for local office; they had an HQ in that neighborhood…

    Matthew: I was trying to think of some analogy which would be equivalent to how Christians are acting, and nothing reasonable presented itself. Apply their actions and attitudes to anything else, and it sounds so bizarrely asinine as to be unbelievable. The baseball thing was the closest I could think of…

  5. Tim
    April 4th, 2013 at 09:39 | #5

    To bad traditional mainline Protestantism can’t make a big enough come back, and Catholicism right itself. I tell people I am an Avignon Catholic (meaning lapsed, but well, whatever – just can’t escape the cultural inculcation I guess). It’s handy for one thing – whenever anyone comes calling on religion, or ask me if I’m saved, I just tell them I’m Catholic and they walk away – almost disappointed (then again, same here).

    For some reason, these days, most other religions have some iota of respect Catholicism, not just protestant and evangelicals, but non christians too. There was a short burst of time when it might have been worthy of that respect – and while I think the new guy is promising on several levels, his background suggest that he’s just another falangist, only perhaps a little more engaged in the message that needs to be sent to the poor to keep them where falangism needs them to be.

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