“Happy Easter!” — an exclamation not heard much this past month. Why? Certainly not because people forgot, with the massive amounts of decorations in the stores and all of the extra church obligations. The reason this pleasantry wasn’t heard is because there is a notion going around that saying things like “Happy Easter” is offensive to others. This is unfair and does not follow the ideas of culture and society. Society has to acknowledge that other people will have different beliefs. Just because they choose to express theirs openly, it does not mean that they are trying to be offensive.
The United States is a large society full of people with vast differences. That means that there are tons of religions being celebrated by tons of people. Whether it’s monotheism, polytheism, atheism, paganism or simply agnostic, people have a right and a will to worship whoever and whatever they want.
One of the biggest arguments against exchanging religion-related pleasantries is that it’s offensive to others who don’t celebrate said religion. How? How is being nice offensive? Sure, a recipient may not celebrate Easter, but the holiday still exists regardless of what they believe. When people say “Happy Easter,” they mean no offense, so why interpret it that way? Offense can only be taken, not given, so instead of getting angry and ruining your day, wish them a good weekend or just wish them a happy “whatever they just said to you.”
Our society has argued the political correctness of religious pleasantries for years, and it is always a flip-flop back and forth from “it’s infringing on my religion,” to “I can say whatever I want,” to “you saying it’s infringing on your religion is infringing on my religion,” to “you saying whatever you want is infringing on my religion,” and so on and so forth. The truth is the Bill of Rights is worded in such a way that paradoxes exist between the amendments. You can hide behind various articles and precedents and other legal statutes, but that will never solve anything. In a society other people will do things that you don’t want to do, and you have to be okay with that. You will have to pay taxes to fund policies that you don’t personally believe in, you’ll have to be okay with the fact that others have different morals and lifestyles. And in a society, you’ll have to, God forbid, realize that that cashier or stranger is just trying to be nice and does not have an ulterior motive to undermine you or your religion.
As we approach future holidays, do your homework. Find out exactly what holiday is happening when, and make that your greeting of the day. Even if you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or another faith, be happy, and be happy to others. Say “happy holidays” if you want, or say “happy Kwanzaa,” or even “happy December second, 4:35 p.m.” Just whatever you say, say it with conviction and true honesty.