No, I’m not misspelling. I want to encourage JesusWean, a brand new secular holiday to take place on October 31st every year. That just happens to be the day every year of both Halloween and JesusWeen, the lesser-known festival that involves the religious handing out pamphlets to share the love of Jesus with us. You may think I’m joking, but this is for truesies.
Now, normally I’d give a celebration like this a pass. I don’t give a crap if Christians want to door-to-door-sales their faith. Despite what some might think of me, I am the guy who enjoys engaging in non-abusive dialogue with the religious. When people come to my house, which is usually limited to the Jehova’s Witnesses for some reason, we talk politely. I express my atheism quickly, and then engage in their conversation. I like doing that. It’s fun. If Christians wanted to come to my door, I would engage them in the same fashion, with the same courtesy, and with the same outcome.
But JesusWeen rubs me the wrong way for a very different reason. Imagine for a moment that I’m home with the girlfriend enjoying handing out candy to trick or treaters. We give a few treats to some adorable little buggers, when up the walk come people who want to drag us into a religious discussion. Is this really the time and place? I get that this Jesus fellow you believe in is the alpha and the omega to you (or at least his father is), but why do you think that this makes it okay for you to engage me whenever it suits you?
The web site for JesusWeen claims “Being a day that is widely acceptable to solicit and knock on doors, God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel”. What about those of us who actually aren’t all bunged up about Halloween? What about those of us who cherish the fact that it is one of the few acts of community left to children? And you’re going to slip in under my radar so that you can tell me about the glory of the Holy Spirit?
How would they feel if I decided that December 25th was my day to spread the seeds of atheism door to door? Obviously I wouldn’t, but it would be an actively asshole thing to do, right? You’re a Christian family, and on the day of your celebrating the birth of your savior, some prick shows up to tell you that it was all a big lie? You’re not going to take that very well, and you shouldn’t. That isn’t how you engage people in conversation, it’s how you attack people.
I’m not actually concerned that I’ll get Jesusweeners (yeah, that just wrote itself) at my door, but if I do, my first temptation is going to be to rage out at them. I’m going to swallow that one, though. Instead, I propose JesusWean. For every fact they give me, I’ll have chapter and verse waiting to shut them down. I will make it my sworn duty to help them wean themselves off of the Jesus. And why? It’s not because I care what they believe, it’s because I care that they’re trying to thumb their collective noses at Halloween. You want to go door to door on a given day sharing the Good News? Fine by me. But don’t do it when the rest of the world already has plans.
(Note: Before I hit submit, I did a quick search on Jesuswean, and unsurprisingly, this play on words has been imagined before. I hate being un-originally original…)