Friday, December 14, 2012

Joseph O. Patton: Meanwhile, back in the middle…

  I’m deep in the bunker, y’all. It’s simply not safe to wander above ground these days, notably due to the bloodletting inherent to the “War on Christmas” and the Christian Taliban forcing everyone at gun point to celebrate Christmas their way. Between overzealous Christians seeking to use our government as a means of indoctrination to overzealous atheists ripping candy canes from our hands and sacrificing our inflatable snowmen on altars to the great atheist god, I’m hesitant to step into the light of day… though I do need to get the mail.

  On one side you have a group of people who couldn’t care less about the “true meaning” of the holiday Christmas and instead want to use it as a way to force their will on everyone. And on the other side, you have a group of people who must get some type of intellectual boner and sense of high school superiority by stomping all over any form of religious belief. It isn’t about “freedom of religion,” and it isn’t about “freedom from religion.” It’s simply about power, control and forcing others to believe or behave as they do. It’s about having someone or some group to target and vent hatred toward. It isn’t productive. It doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t foster understanding. In fact, it’s pretty damn annoying.

  So what are my options when I find both sides to be insufferable assholes? I can – and do – respect religious beliefs of all strains, assuming those beliefs don’t lead to said individuals oppressing or discriminating against others. I also believe in the freedom to abstain from religious beliefs and live without our government using public schools, courtrooms or public spaces to advocate a particular collection of religious beliefs. But it becomes impossible to respect either side – or to even grasp their point - in this mindless pissing contest when both seem to have no other goal than to demonize, belittle and insult each other.

  So should I decide to emerge from my bunker – popping out during the holidays like an eager groundhog (mostly because folks expect me to bake for them) -I will do so on my own terms. It would not give me any joy to be a condescending jerk toward those whose beliefs don’t jibe with mine, nor would it produce any happiness to force others to believe as I do. And perhaps that’s what I believe this time of year to be – a time for family and for friends, for memories, for religious expression and observance, for secular celebrations, for gift-giving, for charitable acts or to quietly and without harassment abstain from all of it… and most importantly to engage in acts of gluttony with total impunity and without remorse.

  And for everyone who insists on using this time of year for whining about imaginary wars and laughably painting oneself as some persecuted soul, or for behaving like an arrogant prick to those who chose to have faith in whatever higher power, you can suck my mistletoe.

  I wish you all a Merry Christmas… a Happy Hanukkah… a rockin’ Kwanzaa… a bitchin’ Winter Solstice… or merely some mild form of amusement that it’s the last month of the year… and there are probably others, but I have cookies in the oven. So yeah… cheers!

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press. He is a former news editor for the Coosa County News, lead reporter for the Montgomery Independent and editor-in-chief of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn-Montgomery. Patton is also the creator of and writer for the satirical news radio segment "Goat Hill Gossip," which previously aired on WAUD in Auburn, Alabama and has appeared on several Central Alabama radio programs as a political analyst.

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