Dear Mr. Atwood,
I am a regular reader of your blog and have been for a long time now. I think carefully about what you say, even when I disagree with you and it is because of you and your ability to make me stop in my tracks and think, that I have stopped using the words “retarded” and “fucktard” even though, quite honestly, I adore the word “fucktard.” I don’t adore it enough to hurt other people by my casual use of it and so I’ve worked to erase it from my vocabulary.
I am speaking to you tonight in that same spirit, hoping that you will consider my words, even if you disagree with me, as carefully as I’ve considered yours. Your post this evening, your memo to the Woodland Middle School teachers, stopped me in my tracks:
It’s OK. You can say the “C” word.. We all know what you mean when you say “Winter Break” anyway. We live in Tennessee. We still celebrate Christmas.
You don’t have to do a rundown on the Luke 2 story when you say the “C” word, just use it as a demarcation of time in the school year. Know that you have a lot on your plate what with your spending time with my kids and a zillion other jacked up junior highers, just wanted you know that no worries over the “C” word here.
Yes, we all know what “Winter Break” means, but no we don’t all still celebrate Christmas just because we live in Tennessee. Is it really so important to you to score points for Jesus that you would exclude non-Christians in your definition of who gets to be Tennesseans?
I recall Jesus spending a great deal of time reaching out to people who believed differently than him, showing them compassion and extending friendship to them. But perhaps I’ve skipped some chapters where Jesus encouraged his followers to set up little exclusionary in-groups where they could make sanctimonious cracks at non-Christians in order to remind them repeatedly that they aren’t “real” Tennesseans the way the Christian Tennesseans are. And I’ve perhaps forgotten the verses where Jesus encouraged his followers to do what they can to make the children of non-believers feel like outsiders and like they aren’t ever going to really fit in because they aren’t a part of the state religion.
But perhaps you can bring those to our attention.
If not, I’d ask you to remember that the separation of church and state is for the well-being of both the church and the state and that the man you profess to follow has a soft spot for children and maybe act towards those teachers with the compassion and understanding that comes from remembering those two things.
I’ll see you around the blogosphere.