To all my fellow Atheists...
Don't do stuff like this. When Bill O'Reilly and the other self-absorbed blow hards on Faux News rail against the War On Christmas, don't give them fodder. Bill O'Reilly is a bigot, a racist, an ignorant, pompous, jingoistic, pig-headed, conceited, sexual deviant who shouts much but says little; in his dogmatic little brain anything that dares to impose upon the sanctity of his precious holiday is automatically going to be suspect of nefarious intent to disrupt, deprive, destroy, rape and pillage the very spirit of Christmas. A holiday of which he does not know or understand its history (I know this because I have watched the man many, many times, and have noticed his insistence on not acknowledging anything remotely resembling that which we call reality, so far as it it contradicts what he already believes...)
These a-holes in Vermont thought it would be funny to piss off every civil minded person by posting this sign in the city park near the traditional nativity scene. Well, congrats. You took a perfectly good holiday tradition and turned it to crap. For us. What does the sign (depicting an image of the burning World Trade Center Towers accompanied by the words "Imagine no religion" from John Lennon's song) tell people about Atheists? Well, my interpretation of the sign is, "Hey, we're Atheist's, and we're assholes too, so fuck you and your family, and enjoy your holiday, but, while you do, don't forget about the horrible atrocities that people doped up on your stupidity have committed!" I'm an Atheist, and that's what I take from that image. Guess what every Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, Hindi, etc. is going to think? Wow, Atheists really are assholes!
We are the least trusted minority group in America. This is because people do not understand us. They are told things about Atheists that are at best untrue, and at worst hateful, fear inspired, and ignorant. So, when we are given a chance to express our beliefs, at a time of the year when everyone is frustrated from shopping and stressed out by their travels, just wanting to make it home, bake their cookies with the kids, put on a movie and drift asleep in the warm comfort of tradition; they see that sign and think, "Wow, whoever put that there really is an asshole." They go home, forget about the sign as soon as the dog tracks muddy paw prints into the kitchen, but the damage is done. Things like that stay in our minds. A powerful image like 9/11, a well known lyric of John Lennon's, seen while already annoyed with people you don't know, against a background of the birth of the savior of man in many minds; that is precisely the type of meme we must never imbue upon the consciousness of our society.
You want to put something up this Christmas? How about something we value? Something we love? That's what they do. That's the whole point behind this commercialized, politicized aberration of a holiday season we celebrate. Its about unity, about love, compassion, about celebrating what we have accomplished and what we have to look forward to. Do you know why we put up the gaudy decorations, spend billions and travel vast distances to be with the ones we love? Because 11 months of the year life is violent, difficult, stressful, strenuous, demeaning, demoralizing, demanding, painful and bitter; for a month we try to let go of everything, embrace the merriment and cheer, revel in what we have achieved, rejoice in each others company. We enjoy ourselves, shake off the stress of the year, and prime ourselves for a new one.
On Christmas Day, 1914, the western front fell silent for the day, as the Germans stopped fighting and shared food and goods with their British enemies. It happened the next year with the French, all in spite of orders from higher up. The reason they did it is simple. They had had enough of killing and living in squalid conditions; they wanted to regain some of their humanity.
I think this is why we all like this time of year (even though we say we hate it). It gives us a chance to let go of things, to ease our burdens, to forget about our troubles for a while. Sure, its hectic, and sometimes can be a pain in the ass; but I feel that we all recognize that we need some time in our lives to let go of things. The coming of winter is the perfect opportunity for this. The pagans recognized this; so did the early Christians; so should we. I think that it is foolish to abandon such a terrific time of year over such a petty difference as faith. I say, Happy Holidays everyone. Just enjoy it. Don't be selfish and demand the day all to yourself (War on Christmas), or mock it (Festivus), or rub peoples faces in the bad things (Imagine no Religion). Just enjoy the season, and save the hate and spite for after new years.