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15.12.02

This Xmas, Keep Your Religion To Yourself

Religion is private. It no longer has a place in the common life. This is why I cannot complain any longer about being pressured to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

- via WitchVox


Normally I would never complain about people wanting to ban religion from the public sphere. Usually that argument is made as a weak and scurrilous accusation against people who oppose things like school prayer and posting the Ten Commandments in government buildings. But this article (as well as some of the comments at WitchVox) reminds us that there are people out there who really would prefer if everyone kept their religion in the closet.

To a certain degree I can sympathize. The public expressions of religion that we hear (and think) the most about come in two varieties -- proselytizing and theocracy. I don't have much patience for people haranguing others about how they need to be saved, and certainly there's no room for making strict shari'a the law of the land. But it's problematic to jump to the conclusion that we ought to act in a purely secular way whenever we're around others. If someone doesn't like another's public affirmation of religion (the writer seemed to have a real issue with religious headgear, for example), that's not the religious person's problem. In some ways it resembles the "keep it in your bedroom" attitude of people who don't like homosexuality, but can't think of any rational arguments against it.

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