by madison brown
Living in the United States has become a goal for millions of individuals around the world who seek to be a part of the land of the free and escape religious persecution. Promises of inclusivity and open arms welcoming all as they enter are quickly shattered by heavily forced Christian values as well as consumerism that drives the American lifestyle. Generation after generation, America has slowly become more diverse with over three hundred religions and denominations being practiced within the borders yet, old traditions of Christmas being pushed onto all residents have persevered.
The Christianity that is practiced today has strayed far from what our forefathers had used in the creation of American society as now, it is less about the actual honoring of religious figures and more about the capitalistic opportunities for the debt-filled economy. Furthermore, Christian values have been overwhelmingly woven into american society over generations of educational without any association to Christmas and other religious holidays. This phenomenon includes the Bible being used as a textbook in the schools and from the words of Frederick A. Packard, an educator and proclaimed musician, wrote, “No child should leave a daily public school in our country ignorant of the generally received principles of the Christian faith.” By making connections between a necessity to be involved in religion and day to day life, the two became increasingly intertwined and make things such as church chaplains being on public payroll seem like less of a problem than they actually are.
Many believe that the lack of representation for the non-christian members of the United States is not a bother as much as an accepted and known practice. In reality, these efforts of suppression only teach hate and lack of acceptance from a young age. The expectations set on younger, non-christian children to not spoil the surprise of Santa and other fictitious figures is completely unfair and often looked over despite this being the point where the process of prioritization begins. And to be clear, Santa is not a religious figure and rather stems from the once religious St. Nicholas who was once known for his generosity but now represents the capitalistic side of christmas. While the “gift” of things like Christmas Break and having Christmas Eve/Christmas Day off of work, in the United States, residents do not receive Election Day off of work. When compared to one another it is clear that a day dedicated to deciding the fate of our country under the hands of politicians is by far more important yet Election Day is only one of several examples of holidays that are not prioritized and often pushed aside in comparison to Christmas.
Within the confusion and expectations of those to conform to the principles of American society, there is some truth to statements of accusal in any other expectations coming into the U.S. being irrational. However, when Americans are travelling outside of the United States is there ever a worry about not knowing the native language or having to stick to a status quo? The answer is no, therefore, why should those that come here be expected to fit that standard? Furthermore, barring five or six countries, there is an overwhelming responsibility for English to be learned and be learned well. Despite efforts by these “diehard” Christians to prove the necessity in having strictly Christian holidays, Christmas is one day of Christian ideals while involve the practice of a day to day lifestyle. Straight from the Bible, Mark 10: 25 says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” meaning that it has become easier for the impossible to happen over one being accepted into the kingdom without having truly earned it.
The ability to become more inclusive within American society and value all of the people within it at equal levels begins with the admittance that this lack of representation is wrong. Without a admittance of guilt, there is no reason to change what is happening. Furthermore, getting rid of expectations to uphold christian beliefs over personal affiliations needs to be a practice of the past. Each generation brings more diversity and knowledge into American culture and that should be reflected in a respectful and well-mannered way.