I’ll start off by saying I hate agreeing, even a little bit, with SE Cupp. She just makes me get all oogy (and not in a good way).
While I don’t agree with her basic premise in her latest column in the NY Daily News, Belief and nonbelief are not equal, I can agree that Atheist “solstice” installations placed alongside Christian nativity scenes and Jewish menorahs on public land just don’t seem to get the real point. And don’t get me started on the Festivus decorations. I recognize all of these assorted holidays are social constructed, but I’m not quite ready for George Costanza to get equal billing with other traditions…
I’m all about inclusion, but inclusion should be legitimate not manufactured. And Atheists requesting equal billing for the solstice is entirely manufactured. As an Atheist who knows a lot of other Atheists and has worked for one of the oldest and largest secular organizations in the US, I can honestly say the solstice is not some time-honored holiday tradition we believers in the non (more on this in a moment) have celebrated in secret for centuries. Atheists may be more likely to know the actual date of the solstice than some (because it is determined based on scientific principles and we tend to pay attention to those), but we don’t have parties or go thank mother nature or bond with the moon or whatever might go along with such a celebration.
Wiccans are far more likely to celebrate the solstice. As are other pagan and neopagan groups. As are my touchy-feely new age mother and aunts who like crystals and labyrinths and tarot cards. For Atheists to claim this is our equivalent of Christmas is silly. Frankly, Christmas is, most often, our equivalent of Christmas because it need not have any actual connection to religious beliefs to be celebrated. Coopting and adapting a religious holiday to one that no longer has to have the religious component is far more effective than telling people who came to see a plastic baby that they’re idiots.
So enough with the solstice — let the people who actually celebrate it fight for their right to a display if they want it. We have bigger fish to fry (and, no, I don’t mean “In God We Trust” on your currency…)
Oh, and by the way Ms. Cupp — I do not lack belief as you claim. I believe, quite definitely, that there is no god. And I believe it as strongly and fervently as do many of those who believe there is. Our beliefs are, indeed, equal.