Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Third Ghost of Christmas: Looking ahead

A couple weeks ago I stopped in to pick up a quick lunch and saw a type-written sign in the Subway store in St Michael, describing their hours during the holidays.


I wasn't sure what to think of this. I was encouraged that the store manager or owner had decided to emphasize Christ in their sign. It smacked of a defiant smirk at those who would rather describe Christmas Day 2008 A.D. as "the fourth day after the Winter Solstice in the Year we elected Barack Obama." And I smiled myself. Then the conspiratorial side of me worried that we are being reduced to subtle if clever ways to accomplish what used to be natural in our society, back when we weren't sued or reprimanded for demonstrating our faith.

What will our society be like 50 years from now? Perhaps we will not only disguise Christ in the font of printed signs, but perhaps resort to code words, or languages not readily recognized (Latin or ancient Greek, for instance). Special clothing or jewelry will work until the very display of it is equated to religion and intolerance for diversity. Or, how about secret hand shakes? It might seem fanciful to imagine this happening, given the majority of Americans who say they believe in God and in Jesus. But, think about the last 50 years, from 1958 to present. How have we changed over the decades to legalize the rejection of faith in the public discourse?

I am an optimist. And in this case I'm optimistic that things won't get that bad. But I do believe the protection of our religious freedom will come at a very high price. We will have to fight, and some of us may have to die, before our victory is gained.

History informs us that this is so.

1 comment:

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

That doesn't surprise me at all. I used to know the owner of the Subway there and she was proud to call herself a Christian, her daughter even taught at the parish school (but she wasn't Catholic). She was a very nice lady. I think we may already have those "secret handshakes" in the form of buzzwords and certain actions in public. I wish we could all just be who we are without having to "hide" it but that's the way it is, I guess.