Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christian Anger

There is one thing that has really been getting on my nerves lately and it's time for a vent. Feel free to ignore me (although I get a lot of satisfaction as I write imaging that someone out there is reading this). This has been building for a few days and you know how once you ponder something, all of a sudden, it's everywhere?

I have this friend from church. She's a lovely, kind, generous woman but she posts stuff on Facebook all the time that DRIVES ME CRAZY. She is very conservative and often posts things about how a lack of discipline (i.e., spanking) has led to the decline of civilization and how the lack of prayer in schools and respect for other faiths has led to discrimination against Christians. It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and I spent a fair bit of time over the last few days pondering why.

First of all, I have decided that other than in a few limited cases, there isn't all the discrimination against Christians that certain people like to cite. Absolutely, there are places in the world in which people definitely face what ranges from inconvenience to risk of loss of life for their Christian faith. Those people have something to complain about. I work in the (very) secular public school system in Ontario and I boldly teach Christmas and yet, I have never had a single complaint. The only complaint I have had was from a Christian parent when I taught the class about Rosh Hashanah. I really teach Christmas, too (and Easter for that matter) - I cover the Nativity and what Christians believe about Jesus and we get into the nitty-gritty about the crucifixion. I have had muslim parents give me crosses as Christmas gifts (!) because they knew and honoured my faith. I am proud of being a Christian and I am very open with my class about the fact that my faith helps me to decide how to behave and how to treat others. I have never had a principal tell me not to discuss it and every year, in our school concert, my choir performs songs that reference the nativity. Again, I have never had a complaint.

You know what I think it is? People aren't against Christmas (at least, not the faith Christmas, as opposed to the commercial Christmas, which, frankly, I could do without, too). They are against ONLY Christmas, which is a very different thing. If I teach Ramadan and Eid and Navatri and Holi and Hanukkah and Passover and Purim, they are very happy. It is my intention that every child leaves my class knowing and respecting others. Christianity is my faith and my journey. Regardless of whether I agree with someone else, I can't believe that God would want me to disrespect people for being different. I don't believe that most people of other faiths and backgrounds really want Christmas out of the schools - they want its exclusive domination of the culture addressed. I know that there are some people of extreme beliefs who do complain (my husband has dealt with more than a few of those in his teaching career) but, at least in my experience, those people are most often atheists who object to a theistic faith in all its forms. Sorry, the very vast majority of people in the world believe in a God or many Gods and we are not going to avoid addressing that fact, regardless of whether faith makes you uncomfortable.

The other thing I can't help but think is that Christians walking around complaining about being hard done by and being angry so misses the message. Sure, Jesus got angry, but He got angry about true injustice, oppression of the weak and the minority and the poor and commercialism of the holy. I can't help but think that aggressively complaining about "foreigners" and ranting about how "they" should be like us since they have come to "our"country is unBiblical. There were many good outsiders in the Bible and caring for the outsider was a message of the gospels.

So, I guess what I am saying is that if you want to rant on Facebook about muslim prayer in TDSB schools or about the lack of Christian prayer in public schools (and I don't actually know of anything that would prevent a Christian child from praying, should he or she choose - I know that I wouldn't be bothered about it in my classroom, provided that it wasn't in the middle of a lesson I was teaching), that society is taking the Christ out of Christmas (I think the retailers have a much bigger charge to face on that one), drop me from your friends list. I don't want to hear it.



    I want to post your blog on my blog and link it to my facebook so everyone can read this!

    Good for you for stating your mind!

  2. I'm glad that I am not the only one who feels this way. It's just been really getting on my nerves (as I am sure you can tell!)

  3. I have a very hard time, sometimes, keeping my mouth shut. I have been seeing a lot of hypocrisy in Christianity lately. A lot of judgement when we should be more accepting. I find it very hard to figure out my own path when some people are so adamantly against things that really doesn't make sense. I feel like you and I are constantly on the same page about things and it's just nice to read that someone else understands what I'm thinking. ha ha

  4. I read it! And yeah, as a fellow (well, former, or at least on-hiatus, in my case) teacher, I didn't hear any objections when we taught Christmas (both some religious & some Santa)... and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Diwali and other winter holidays as part of a culture study in December. I myself, even as a Christian, consider it very important to teach tolerance and, to my children, that this is what WE believe...but not everybody else does. We live in a large and varied world, let's get to know it and the people in it!

  5. Hooray, ladies! I'm glad I am not alone. It's funny, at the beginning of the week, this wasn't even on my radar but between the annoying Facebook comments and an equity conference I went to at work this week, it's been in my face all week. I spent last night on itunes putting together a playlist for the school in the morning since my V.P. has already started in on the Christmas music (and all secular). You'd laugh at me, not only do I have music for Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Eid, I snuck in several Christian songs (which she also wouldn't allow) since their titles don't immediately sound Christian and I know she won't preview these before playing them :-)