29 November 2006

Garrison Keillor Bashes Non-Christians

Garrison Keillor's latest salon.com essay is entirely too full of Christian Triumphalism. Some reader responses have suggested that his essay has drifted into coded anti-Semitism.

Here's a brief quote from his essay:
There are people who feel "excluded" by Christian symbolism and are offended by the manger and the angels and the Child, but there have always been humorless, legalistic people. Complaint is an American art form, and in our time it has been raised to an operatic level. To which one can only say: Get a life. When you go to France, you don't expect a stack of buckwheat pancakes for breakfast or Le Monde to print box scores. You're in France. Now you're in America. It's a Christian culture. Work with it.
According to a 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) survey of religious identification, 76.5% of the US population (159 million Americans) identify themselves as Christian. Given this current majority, it's very easy for the Christian Triumphalist bully to tell us "It's a Christian culture. Work with it."

However, it's never safe to assume that one can always be the bully.

The 76.5% of persons identifying as Christian is a decline from 86.2% in 1990.

Christian self-identification has dropped 9.7% in 11 years.

This decline is identical to that observed in Canada between 1981 and 2001. If this trend continues, then by about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S. By about the year 2023, non-Christians will outnumber Christians in Canada.

Given this demographic trend in the US and Canada, perhaps a dose of Christian humility is in order here?

1 comment:

LaReinaCobre said...

I don't know who these people are who are offended by mangers and angels. Wha? I know many people who aren't Christians, and also some people who don't celebrate Christmas, and their attitude is one more of ambivalence than hostility. Maybe Christians are so shocked that some people just don't care about little angels or elves or Santas or what-have-you and read this as hostility.

I think a dose of humility is in order not because they might one day be a minority, but because it will help them reconsider their own behavior and attitudes towards people who practice different beliefs from them.