I am beginning to wonder whether religion should be subject to some sort of universal “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Back in the days of my youth, conventional wisdom was that the three topics one simply did not discuss were sex, politics and religion. I’m sure these things were discussed among friends, but certainly not in public. Today, of course, everything is fair game.
I don’t mind sharing, really I don’t. After all, I keep a blog, so I share with the world. And you know how I like to blather on and on about our holiday traditions. I am Jewish, my wife is Christian and we have learned a lot about each other’s beliefs over the years. After 9/11, I became particularly interested in learning more about Islam, primarily because of the discriminatory remarks I kept hearing (openly!) were making me want to puke.
When the Christmas hoopla is all around me and someone asks about Hanukkah, I feel touched. It is an act of kindness and generosity, and I appreciate it greatly. If someone tells me about their Lenten prohibitions and their Easter celebration, I will listen attentively in the hopes of learning something. And I will share a little bit about my Passover prohibitions and celebration. I will happily explain any Jewish holiday or ritual you ask me about. But I will not force it on you.
What I don’t do is assume that everyone celebrates the same holidays I do. I will certainly wish a merry Christmas to those who I know celebrate that holiday. But I will not do so to a stranger and I will not do so in a group. It’s not that I fear offending someone, it’s just that I’d be unfairly making assumptions.
So please don’t greet me with “Christ is risen” when I see you at the supermarket at Eastertime. Sure, I see you around town, but I’ve never thought about what, if any, religion you may profess, nor would I expect you to know anything about my faith. I am sure you meant well, but please don’t assume. It really does make an ass out of u and me.
I don’t have a very quick wit, so I generally smile and respond “have a good holiday.” If I were a bit better at thinking on my feet, I would have wished the guy a zissin Pesakh.
The look on his face would have been priceless.