Two hundred, thirty six years after the Declaration of Independence America is still a slave to bigotry and intolerance even while it overthrows other governments that exhibit the same. It is no surprise to read about the death of Private Danny Chen who was stationed in Afghanistan and who enlisted in the Army in response to what he considered his duty to his country. A son of Chinese immigrants who believed in the call of the ideals of this country, Chen was either driven to suicide or as his family asserts murdered because he was different ethnically from the others with whom he served. It is inconceivable that people in times of war against an enemy make enemies that in reality don’t exist, within their own ranks, but that’s what happened with Chen. Teased, hazed, singled out, harassed because of his ethnic background, even the Army says he was driven to the point of suicide. His family recounted stories he told them
“They (other soldiers) ask me if I’m from China a few times a day. They also called out my name ‘Chen’ in a goat-like voice sometimes for no reason,” the message said in part.
“I’m running out of jokes to respond back to them,” Chen wrote, according to OuYang.
His relatives said that Chen told them of being pelted with rocks and forced to hold liquid in his mouth while being hung upside down.
Hazing has become an increasingly worrisome practice, not only in the military, but within students of all ages. University campuses have fought back with strict rules against it and it’s getting the attention it deserves on a national level. Why it’s still acceptable in some quarters means we will continue to lose bright, intelligent, talented people driven to the point of insanity by their peers too immature to realize its dangers.
Every Christmas season, people on the Right of the political spectrum, and especially now with a black President with a funny sounding name or whenever the opposition party is in power, tell America how they are being denied their right to celebrate Christmas, or how the religious significance of the holidays is being taken away from it. We won’t even talk about how rarely do those same self-righteous right wingers talk about spending time in their houses of worship or how extremely commercial the season of Christmas is and how important it is that people BUY things or SPEND all of their money and then more money that they don’t have to pull the economy out of its year long doldrums in order to keep alive the god of Capitalism. The Right wants America to feel victimized that the lack of mentioning the baby Jesus will get in the way of celebrating Christmas; saying Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays is akin to ethnic cleansing, racial bigotry, and makes the holiday season far less rewarding for them. Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com wrote about this phenomenon six years ago.
….the Right’s media has created another world for its followers – where Christians are persecuted for celebrating their faith, where they are repressed by cruel non-Christians and evil secularists.
This perceived persecution exists even as America’s downtowns and shopping malls are bedecked with the red-and-green Christmas colors and Christmas symbols are everywhere, even in cities like New York with large populations of Jews and Muslims.
Somehow, listeners to Fox News and right-wing talk radio are convinced that Christmas is threatened despite the fact that Christmas carols are pumped into nearly all public places, including elevators and grocery stores where both Christians and non-Christians must go.
Another major beef from conservative Christians is that the federal courts have restricted displays of the baby Jesus in the manger on government property and that public schools have replaced “Christmas concerts” with “winter concerts” and the “Christmas vacation” with a “winter vacation.”
Nevertheless, schools are closed for about two weeks to accommodate Americans wishing to celebrate Christmas. Despite the U.S. principle of separation of church and state, Christmas remains an official federal holiday, an exception to the rule that is afforded no other religious observance. Jews, for instance, don’t expect Christians to honor Yom Kippur by taking the day off, nor do Muslims expect the government to show undue deference to Ramadan.
In 2005, led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, some conservative Christians boycotted stores that offered their customers the non-sectarian greeting of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” In some cases, “Merry Christmas” is now spit out as fighting words…
This season is no different. Among some of the articles lamenting the absence of “Christ” in Christmas is this one from Conservative News Central
The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree’s base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.
This very first paragraph speaks to the immaturity of the argument that follows. Because no one sees an ornament of Christ while standing at the foot of the 63 foot tall tree but did see one for Obama means there is a war against Christian is an insanely absurd notion that in today’s America is too easily believed by far too many people. It doesn’t matter to the purveyors of such filth that what was done to this tree is the same thing that has been done in years past, where a state theme is selected and citizens of that state determine what it is placed on the tree. For the previous three years, Wyoming, Arizona and Montana have had the honor, or rather distinction of doing the same thing, with the same results but no mention of the heresy of omitting Christ from their ornaments was written about. Perhaps Terrence Jeffrey, the author of CNC’s article, didn’t get the memo on how the Capital Christmas tree is decorated or maybe he was confused with it and the White House Christmas tree urban legend, categorically denied, that said the 2011 Christmas tree will be referred to as a “Holiday tree” and will not display religious themed ornaments. Accuracy or truth is the first casualty in the war being waged by the Right for the soul of America.
Rachel Maddow uncovered another one of the war on Christians during Christmas themes, equally false and easily verified as such, with respect to Sarah Palin. You can read and hear about it here. Instead of spreading holiday cheer, members of the Right want to spread dissension and discord…hardly the themes worth mentioning when celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. So, my question is why are Americans so easily distracted from that fact by such charlatans of faith? Not everyone in America is a Christian, that’s a fact. Not everyone believes in Christ as the son of God…that’s a fact but that should not deter those who do from enjoying and celebrating this holiday. Neither should they make non Christians feel they are any less citizens of this Republic for not joining them in that celebration. That is the beauty of freedom of religion. No one is a victim when it is practiced unfettered by each and every one of us. Christians should tell those who make it a seasonal war of hate and division to get on with the celebration and spend less time with the fighting.