The federal holiday hypocrisy package needs to have the wrapping paper torn off it.
The state of Washington and its yearly demolition of religion this time of year has given me an idea. I am making a request concerning the enactment of federal holidays and their relation to the operation of public offices for the 2010 calendar year. In other words, I'd like more days off.
Since our government seems to fight so hard to avoid the blatant Christianity of Christmas -- I mean, the first six letters are kind of obvious, right? -- I find it confusing that they would like a day off of work for something they don't support. So I would like the same opportunities next year. Here's what I'm thinking:
In addition to the current holidays associated with my Protestant faith -- Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving -- I'll officially take Good Friday on April 2 to honor and mourn the death of Christ, as well as Ascension Day on May 13, which is celebrated by Catholics for the ascension of Jesus to Heaven. But those are kind of easy ones.
I'll also have Vesak on May 21 to recognize the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. The birth of the founder of the Bahá`í faith, Bahá'u'lláh, also sounds important, so November 12 will need to be a day off, too. Since I don't want to start a holy war, I'll recognize both the Sunni and Shia days of Mawlid on February 26 and March 3, respectively, in honor of the birth of Muhammad. Of course I'll need Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 8, to celebrate the creation of the world. I mean, the creation of the world! Kind of a biggie. And when Rosh Hashanah ends, that leads to Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, on September 17.
In honor of the persecution of all faiths, and to squeeze in a little Mormonism, I'd also like Pioneer Day, July 24, which remembers the Mormons' escape west and establishment in Utah. We all need a place to call home, right? Come to think of it, I'd better have World Religions Day, January 17, just to cover all my bases. And just to show I'm not some celebration freak, I'd like a day at my discretion to honor Jehovah's Witnesses -- a day to avoid celebrating holidays.
That doesn't seem too much to ask, does it? After all, according to the Interfaith Calendar website, there will be nearly 200 religious holidays in 2010. I'm asking for only a dozen or so. If our leaders -- the completely neutral and irreligious American government -- are allowed to take paid time off for a religion they don't want to endorse, I think it's only fair that I'm given the same freedom.
To ease any concerns, this will not be the first time I've been a part of the vacation exploitation. I was innocently introduced to this phenomenon as a resident of Florida, where Yom Kippur was a government holiday. I found it strange since I lived in a community with an 80% minority rate. I had no idea there were so many black and hispanic Jews. Since I'm not Jewish, I went to the beach. However, I did feel a little guilty about my suntan. I also receive an undeserving day off in my current home of Arizona, where we participate in Cesar Chavez Day, March 31. Since I'm not Mexican-American and I despise labor protests, I certainly feel unworthy of this day. And this prompts an interesting question: We don't celebrate the individual birthdays of the father of our country, George Washington, or the savior of our torn nation, Abraham Lincoln, but some dude from Yuma with a union card gets his very own day?
Now I'm no etymologist, but I'm pretty sure the word "holiday" literally means "holy day." And "holy" specifically refers to something "having righteousness," "divine," "sacred," and "devoted to a deity." Sounds pretty religious to me, and Christmas sounds like the epitome of the word. Some may try to avoid certain days of celebration or remembrance as faith-based, but they don't fool me. They're taking advantage of people's serious sense of history, tradition, and spirituality in order to get another day of taxpayer-funded vacation.
And they shouldn't try to pull this "Winter Solstice" nonsense. We already have a day that celebrates a season, involves wearing silly clothes, having parties, and giving tokens of affection -- it's called Halloween. And none of us get the day off for that.
According to a cursory look at the White House website's federal budget and the accumulation of all state budgets, it costs over $3.6 billion per day to run the nation's governments. We, the public, are paying our leaders $3.6 billion on December 25 to celebrate an idea they politically and legally oppose. No wonder our nation has such fiscal problems! Our education system is deteriorating? Get to class. Our banks are failing? Get to work. Our government spending is too high? The president should be in his office, Congress should be in session, and judges should be in court.
For those so adamant to avoid religion, how dare they take our $3.6 billion for December 25? Those who complain about celebrating spiritual salvation can stand up for their beliefs by working. For them, it will be simply another Friday this year. City buses should be transporting passengers, libraries should be loaning books, and postal workers should be delivering mail.
I would like either my portion of the $3.6 billion or my updated holiday calendar as soon as possible. Thank you and happy -- merry -- season's...whatever.