Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking God out of things

I am home for the holidays!

My parents have recently moved to this very odd community in Southern California. I say it's odd because it's not far away from busy, thriving, ginormous cities, but it only has a population of about 22,000. It's two square miles large. And everybody seems to know everybody, either because they all went to high school together, their families have been in this area forever, they go to church together, or their kids go to school together.

Also, everyone here is super rich. The average family's house probably cost about a million dollars because housing is so expensive here. (Maybe that's exaggerating. But there are seriously a lot of wealthy people here. Tag Romney used to live here. Seriously.)

It's very strange.

And I HATE going to church here. I always go to the LDS church. And it seems like every single time, one of the extremely wealthy white privileged people (who are way more privileged than even your average white person) is making some sort of dumbass, ignorant comment.

This week, it was in reference to the Connecticut shootings, as well as other tragedies that they were glumping in there. A woman said that these tragedies are happening because we are trying to legislate God out of everything, and take God out of everything.

I was very angry at that remark, and then I saw this on my Facebook:

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this 
piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America . . . 

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

First of all, Ben Stein only said about the first four paragraphs of this. Does the rest of this "pass it on or feel guilty" bullshit really sound like something a famous satirist would say in an interview? NO.

Second of all ... what the hell? Really, people? I'm kind of ashamed to have you as Facebook friends. (Slightly embarrassed that my mother liked it, but she's kind of a whore when it comes to liking Facebook things.)

The White House has many different people from many different cultures, customs, backgrounds, countries, beliefs, etc. visiting it every day. If they choose to be sensitive in what they call a fucking TREE, I find that commendable. Maybe the people who visit the White House don't think it's necessary, and maybe no one while be offended by a "Christmas Tree." But I believe that it is the thought that counts, and showing that they care enough to try to be sensitive is a good thing.

The comments of this viral post and the woman in church are both ridiculous. The world is changing and becoming more diverse, so it will never be as religious as their "good ole' days." People are going to be generally less religious as time goes on.

But none of that will affect individual religious families. If a family wants to be religious and have God in their lives and homes, they will ensure that it will happen, no matter what is going on outside of their door.

This is also what annoys me about "Keep the Christ in Christmas" and "Remember the reason for the season." I, personally, love being very spiritual around Christmas time. It's really the only time of the year that I enjoy it. However, I find that it is very wrong to try to force that on other people. If people want to celebrate Christmas without being religious, and with being shallow and spending hours playing video games, then let them. How does their behavior change your spirituality?

Also, I really disagree with the logic that God is going to punish us as a community. Or abandon us as a community. That kind of thing is what God allegedly did in the Old Testament, and I really don't believe he does that anymore. I guess that's kind of a matter of opinion.

But seriously, this Christian majority martyr thing is so pathetic. No one is persecuting Christians in this country (except I've heard that maybe in some parts of Utah people are being bullied for wearing cross necklaces. That is ACTUAL persecution). Christians do not need to be upset that the rest of the country is becoming more sensitive and belief-neutral.

Ugh. People. I hate them and all of their ignorant bullshit.

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