By Burt Prelutsky, www.BurtPrelutsky.com
Usually, when people say theyre not religious, theyre looking to pick a fight or at least start an argument. Thats probably because people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics are often as dogmatic as Cotton Mather and have merely made a religion of their own non-belief.
In my case, however, religion simply plays no role in my life. Or perhaps I should say institutionalized religion, seeing as how I very much subscribe to the Judeo-Christian value system. Its the reason that Im so grateful that two sets of Russian Jewish grandparents had the guts to pack up their kids and caboodle and move to America.
Unfortunately, theyand many others like themincluded in their baggage several hundred years worth of religious antagonisms. In far too many cases, these fears and prejudices, although initially well-founded, have been passed along like precious heirlooms from one generation to the next.
Even among some of my friends and relatives, there are those who half-expect their Christian neighbors to start organizing pogroms any day now. They remain unconvinced that Hitler and the Nazis were pagans. And even when I point out that it was American and British soldiers, mainly Christians, who brought down the Third Reich and liberated the concentration camps, it often falls on deaf ears.
So, although I do not accept that we are all fallen creatures or that Jesus Christ died for my sins, I am thankful that I live in a Christian nation. I realize that its only my dumb luck to be an American. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to ones religion, it is usually determined by geography, not by choice. If youre born in Japan, you are likely to be a Buddhist; if youre born in Italy, youre likely to be a Roman Catholic; in India, a Hindu; in England, an Anglican; and in Utah, a Mormon.
This is not to suggest that, even in my eyes, all religions are equally valid. Youd have to be one of those non-judgmental pinheads who sound the trumpets for cultural diversity, pretending to believe that all nations, all religions, and all ideologies are equally good and equally bad. So long as Islam is around, only an idiot could seriously promote such nonsense.
Muslims are people who believe that freedom is a naughty word, who believe that women are no better than cattle, and who refer to the ninth century as the good old days. It was bad enough when they used a newspaper cartoon as an excuse to go berserk. Now theyre outraged because of a Sudanese teddy bear! These Neanderthals actually wanted to torture and execute English schoolteacher Gilliam Gibbons because, at the behest of seven-year-olds in her class, she named the stuffed toy Mohammed.
These simpletons seem to spend half their lives on their knees praying, and the other half up in arms, looking to kill somebody for some utterly stupid reason. They are a blot on humanity, and humanity, I think wed all agree, isnt that great to begin with.
Imagine if Catholics were as psychotic as Islamists. Just having a little Jesus on your dashboard or a crèche in your front yard would be like signing your own death warrant.
So, even though I havent a religious bone in my body, I have every reason to be grateful I was born in a country in which its Christs birthday, and not Mohammeds first slaying of an infidel, thats celebrated as a national holiday.