Sunday, December 18, 2022

Out of Many ... One

E Pluribus Unum 

From grade school and up, we have always been taught that our country, the United States of America, is a diverse country founded on "Freedom of Religion" and "All Men Are Created Equal"; in 1972 an amendment was added calling for "Equal Rights for All" (men and women). And in more recent years, there have been calls and laws for inclusivity: acceptance and tolerance of all genders and personal gender identities, acceptance of ethnicities, and respect for all religious beliefs.

So where have we gone wrong? While racial persecution, religious prejudice, and gender stereotypes have, sadly, existed in our country since its inception, it has become a loud-mouthed blight in more recent years. Instead of the acceptance of our common bonds of being Americans and HUMANS, there has been anger and hatred acted all too often. And in a country invaded and founded by immigrants, too many have forgotten our own past journeys and the ancestors that fought their way to our shores.

In 2022, 245 years after the "Founding Fathers" wrote the United States Declaration of Independence and founded our country, we are still fighting many of the prejudices and injustices that our ancestors fled from. All too often we see reminders that the UNITED States of America is not nearly as "united" as, allegedly, it was intended.

It has been said that those who resent and criticize other religions are insecure in their own. While every faith has zealots that spout hate and evil, those are actually the minority, and often those who have limited knowledge of their teachings. The teachings of almost every deity and higher power espouse love of fellow human beings and kindness to all living beings. Hatred of others does not defend your religious beliefs, more often it ignores those teachings.

In the United States, just in the months between December 2022 and March 2023, just one-third of the year, we (collectively) observe at least 17 religious observances:

Feast of the Immaculate Conception  December 8    Christianity

Bodhi Day/Rohatsu (Japan)       December 8 Buddhism

Our Lady of Guadalupe   December 12           Christianity

Hanukkah     December 19-26*  Judaism

Winter Solstice/Yule   December 21  (northern hemisphere)  Native Americans/Pagan

Christmas     December 25           Christianity

Kwanzaa       December 26–January 1  African American

Feast of the Holy Family December 30           Christianity


Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary January 1     Christianity

Christmas     January 7      Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Lunar New Year     January 22     Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism

Maha Shivaratri     February 18 Hinduism

Ash Wednesday     February 22 Christianity

Orthodox Great Lent begins       February 27 Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Purim March 7*      Judaism

Holi    March 8        Hinduism

Ramadan begins (30 days) March 23* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)

In America, we have multiple religions and beliefs observed including Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Druid, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, Latter-Day Saints, Pagan, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Scientology, Sikh, Taoist, Wiccan, and more. 

Frederick Douglass once said, "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Others have said it, simply, "Can't we all just get along?"

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Holiday Season (no matter which way you say it), with warmth, friendship, and love by your side. Here's to hoping for a more unified, peaceful, loving, and accepting 2023... and beyond.

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