Before we start today’s sermon…
This is a public service announcement for people who haven’t quite worked out where I sit on the whole fabric-of-society food chain thing.
People who have met me laugh. I don’t know if it’s with me, or at me. But if they are laughing I have succeeded. If I haven’t made you laugh, then someone should check your pulse. If you’re OK, someone should check MY pulse. Now that you understand my position in the greater scheme of things, I just have to make a comment about the direction of the comments from my last post. SUCKED IN!!! My XY-chromosome pair are healthy and almost constantly encouraging me to search out the company of an XX-chromosome carrier. But in clarifying the nature of yesterday’s spoof entry, I would like to quote from one of the more memorable Seinfeld episodes: “… not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
And now back to our regular program.
It’s Christmas time. I have two things to say about Christmas. The first is sort of serious, the second is frustratingly annoying.
#1. Where has the foundation of democratic society gone? Where has the tolerance and acceptance gone?
It’s not holiday time, it’s Christmas time. I have read recently in blogs and news articles from various perspectives about people getting up in arms regarding “Christmas”. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. The word is not going to hurt anyone. December is dominated by Christmas. Not everywhere, but in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, USA and every other society that has Christianity as it’s major religion.
Every society, everywhere in the world has festivals and celebrations that have their foundations in the dominant religion of that country. No-one would win a popularity contest by going to a country that is predominantly Muslim and complaining about “too much Ramadan”.
This whole debate all seemed a little bit silly and definitely very distant until today. Today the problem arrived on my doorstep. In my country, a country similar in land area to the USA, less than 300 miles from my home a high school principal was forced to provide a written retraction and apology for “excessively” referring to Christmas in the final school newsletter of the year.
Our country is principally Christian. You either came here voluntarily, knowing it was a Christian society. Or you came here as a minor and an adult in your family made the decision to emigrate knowing about Christianity being alive and well here. Or you made an active choice to commence practicing a minority religion. Or an ancestor made one of those choices. How you came to be a minority does not matter. The very fabric of our democratic society is acceptance and tolerance. Right thinking adults do not fear diversity.
In many societies you either conform or suffer the consequences. That’s not acceptance or tolerance, that’s prejudice and bigotry. But you wouldn’t actively seek out a place to live knowing that you would be singled out and persecuted for your religion. If it was necessary for you to be there, you would be meek and introverted about your religion. Why would anyone want to stand on a street corner and protest “stop the XYZ celebration because you are offending my ABC beliefs”? Just quietly go about your business and enjoy the public holiday.
If you drive on the freeway, don’t complain about the fast drivers. If you jump in the river, don’t complain about all the water and fish touching you.
#2. My wife got the dreaded phone call today. Her mother was heading out on the last major shopping expedition and as usual she will be bestowing items of clothing upon the majority of my household. Everything will fit perfectly because she spends hours on the phone meticulously discussing, confirming and rechecking every measurement of every family member.
Sadly it’s not the fit that’s the problem. It’s not even the quality that’s the problem. The problem is that the woman buys clothes she would wear herself. She’s in her mid fifties and loves pastels and florals. My wife is more of a strong colours and block patterns kind of girl. The kids will accept anything, sort of. Miss4 shows a preference for pink, so pastel pink will be a guaranteed winner. Mr7 will smile politely and never wear the inevitably mismatched shorts and Hawaiian print shirt. Not even as pyjamas. Mr10 will enthusiastically accept something with horizontal stripes on the pants and vertical stripes on the shirt. They were obviously bought at 2 different stores without any cross-referencing of the ensemble.
Me. I’m the lucky one. I’ll get some sort of self-help book or financial planning book like “How I went from zero to 23 properties in 5 years without borrowing or inheriting”. Just the thing to help pass the time while sitting on the can contemplating the damage done by the extra serving of that suspicious meat-like substance at the buffet at the family Christmas gathering.
There is always a great present somewhere in the whole mess, but brace yourselves for the inevitable barrage of crap gifts you know your relatives have got in store.
My permanent post script.