War On Christmas

For those of you that missed it, Starbucks is the latest front in “The War on Christmas/Christians!“. This is a little crazy to me, refusing to provide special treatment to one group of people does not constitute discrimination or hatred. I think most Christians (and other reasonable people) realize this is a bunch of bullshit as well. This controversy is mostly just a result of the age we live in, where every person is able to spout craziness and some media outlets will pick up on it. We live in a day where money flows to websites that get the most views, and that encourages people to say outlandish things, whether they believe those things or not, and it encourages media outlets to share those things and fire up both sides of the debate. Basically, there is money to be made in keeping people angry and divided.

I don’t think there is really a “War*” on Christmas or Christians, though our culture is undergoing a shift. For much of American history Christians have held disproportionate power in politics and culture. That is starting to change. It isn’t some sort of explicit war, it is just a reflection of America truly becoming a place where all people are treated equally. Equality means that no group gets special treatment, and right now Christians have serious special treatment in the US. For example, they are the only religion that has a national holiday in US, though it is highly secularized. I can’t imagine Christians would be comfortable with equal treatment be given to Pagan, Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim holidays… especially Muslim holidays.

Christians are also disproportionately represented in the Federal government. It is hard to pegged down accurate religious beliefs about the early Presidents, and many of them may have been atheist or deists, but publicly every single US President has been Christian. And, without a doubt, every recent President has been very publicly Christian (yes, even Barack Obama). The same disproportionate representation exists in Congress. 70.6% of the US identifies as some form of Christian (as of 2014) butĀ over 93% of the House of Representatives and nearly 90% of the US Senate.

What we are seeing today, with a move towards secularism and the loss of power many Christians are use to, is not a “war” on Christians or Christmas. It is a our cultural and political representation starting to shift towards a true representation of the United States. It is a growing minority who is tired of being forced to live in a country where their religions beliefs are not represented. Business, including Starbucks, are seeing the value of being inclusive of all people, instead of just betting on the “bigot money” (as Dan Savage calls it). If you are only willing to support businesses and people who put your religion above everyone else then you are going to find yourself in a shrinking company, and a pretty ungodly company, despite what people in that group might say.

* Side note: As a veteran I get really annoyed with how easily the word “War” gets thrown around. Are Christians being shot in the street because of their belief? Are their children being taken away from them? Does the government arrest people for displaying their iconography? That is what a war is, war is the violent destruction of an enemy. Calling anything happening in the US right now a “war” on Christians or Christmas does a disservice to veterans who have fought and to religious people around the world (including Christians) who are facing real persecution. If you are whining about a red cup from Starbucks but don’t care about people being killed for their faith then your priorities are pretty fucked up, and really un-Christlike.

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The Ride Begins Again…

Tomorrow morning I start on a 35,000 miles, 18-month bicycle ride around the United States and Canada with my partner (Anna), our friendĀ (also named Anna), and our dog (Higgs-Bosom – The Dog Particle). I started this blog just over two years ago to track my (mostly) solo bicycle ride from Washington DC to Los Angeles. It is funny how things come full circle.

Anyway, because of the upcoming ride I will have some new writing responsibilities and this blog is going to change a bit. I will still write as often as possible in an uncensored way about the subjects I love (Burning Man, sex, spirituality, BDSM, LGBT, science, transhumanism, polyamory, open relationships, drug legalization, social issues, MDMA, anarchy, libertarianism, veganism, etc) but I really don’t know how much time I will have to spend writing. My Facebook page will probably also lack it’s normal traffic but if you want to add me there to see the articles and stuff I find interesting please do. If you are interested in following my other writing I will be blogging at two other sites:

  • Barely Functional Adults: This is going to be an uncensored blog about our bike ride. Because we are all adults and enjoy adult things (drugs, sex, being naked, swearing, sinning, etc) this blog will cover those things. Some highlights we are looking forward to include visiting nude beaches, going to festivals, the World Naked Bike Ride, Burning Man, and banging in every state. We will be updating 2-3 times per week. (www.BarelyFunctionalAdults.wordpress.com).
  • 10 Legs, Will Travel: This blog will be censored, updated daily, and basically rated “PG”. We all subscribe to the Dan Savage view of dealing with parents/family… basically, there are things parents have a right not to know about their adult children’s lives and they have a responsibility not to snoop. This blog will provide our families with a place to hear about our journey, look at pictures, and keep track of us without hearing about hanging out in the Orgy Dome or seeing our nipples, butts, pubic mounds, etc. (www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com).
  • There are also other social networks:
    • Instagram: 10LegsWillTravel (we will probably take tons of pictures… the Anna’s are both great photographers)
    • SnapChat: pneiger (in case you want to send us pics of your junk)
    • Twitter: pneiger (though this is just my Facebook and blog linked, I don’t actually use it)
    • FourSquare: Peter Neiger

Anyway, I hope you will follow our other travels and still check out this blog from time to time. I will do my best to keep up with everything but it is likely I will only have internet access a couple of times a day… and I’m also working on college courses, Khan Academy, and some other writing so my downtime will be limited. Below is our basic route but if you have any advice on places to check out or know people with open lawn/floor space for us to sleep please shoot an email to 10LegsWillTravel@gmail.com . Much peace and love to you all.

Map Update (1)