Christmas 2011 has come and gone. I have enjoyed Christmas season for as long as I can remember, and this year was no exception. Not only is Christmas a special time for our nations predominate religious group, it's observance is by now a significant part of our culture. While it means different things to different people, the Christmas celebration generally brings out the best in us. Our attention turns to good things: to family and friends, and helping the less fortunate, and giving to others. It is a time when our better side shows and we behave nicely. But despite those good feelings, I can't seem to shake one bad memory.

         That is the report I read about atheists in Santa Monica who were granted 18 of 21 plots in a public park allotted for holiday displays. They used the plots to erect signs mocking religion. I don't much understand the need to celebrate not believing - but if one wants to do so, it could be done at lots of other times that don't impinge on this major Christian and national holiday.

         It is difficult to interpret this (I expect small) group of atheists' behavior in any other way than as an intolerant, selfish, even hateful act. Because they choose not to celebrate Christmas, they do their best to prevent others from doing so  - even though others celebrating Christmas poses no threat to them. It pains me to know that we have people in our society who not only lack tolerance for the views of others but who go to great lengths to try to "rain on their parade". Why can't each of us, having decided what type of religious beliefs we espouse, simply accept the right of others to do the same? Why can't we all just be nice?

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Tags: Russell Buckley

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