It's that time of year once again. Time for the passionate arguments over denominational Solstice holiday greetings. Sympathy seems to run low when The Dreaded Other demands "special treatment."
Facebook is always a place to gauge the social temperature, and popular memes specifically are the thermometer. I am unsurprised this year to see a jokey flow chart posted and reposted all over my wall, which I will summarize: "Don't be a fucking bitch, accept whatever holiday greeting is offered, and accept it nicely."
I suppose this meme is aimed at two distinct groups: on the one hand, those hardcore Christians (a specific group of them) who balk at the idea of kowtowing to Muslims/Jews/Atheists/Pagans/assorted Freaks who don't celebrate Christmas, and offering a non-denominational holiday greeting. On the other hand, those very Outsiders who don't celebrate Christmas and want a nondenominational holiday greeting.
The problem with this frightening demand for a universal standardized Christian greeting is that now, perhaps understandably, there is a backlash against any requirement of special consideration, hence the exasperated tone of the meme.
Yet I must point out that there is a big difference between those who would insist that their Christian belief system take precedence, and those who simply want it acknowledged that we are not all practicing Christians.
In the wake of this incredibly hubristic movement to coerce obeisance (even if only tacit) to a single religion, desire for a universal nondenominational holiday greeting has become tiring to many, another demand made on them as they try to suck whatever joy they can out of the various festivals of lights.
So I'm going to come right out and say what's on my mind. Please, religious Christians, don't make me accept your Christian greeting, for I'm not Christian. And please, kind but weary friends, don't make me accept just any old holiday wish on the grounds that "come on, the offerant was well-meaning and for goodness sake, enough already."
So, no, I don't live in a country with a national religion. No, I do not celebrate Christmas. Yes, I am Other. Yes, I'm asking for special treatment and yes, I am an inconvenience.
Sometimes expression of tolerance is inconvenient: it requires thought, it requires awareness, and even vigilance.
I am a big Jew who just doesn't want to hear the words: "Merry Christmas," over and over. I don't want to be gracious. I don't want to accept the spirit or the sentiment behind it, willy-nilly.
Then again, I'm not a total bitch, and I do wish you well. May the Winter Solstice bring light and warmth and longer days to us all.