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A Greeting Card

By Carl S ~

My letter-to-the-editor, below, was recently published in the Lincoln County News, a Maine weekly newspaper. I suspect that many of you will appreciate the sentiments expressed.

To the Editor:

It’s been noted that the reason greeting cards were invented was to express feelings the sender had difficulty articulating, but in better words than the sender would use. I wish to say some things in this season on behalf of others whose words are not heard, perhaps because they cannot find the proper words.

For the majority of people in our society, this season represents a time of strengthening and renewing our interconnectedness, of showing and giving care in special ways, even of gift giving beyond what is normally possible.

Along with these traditions is that of celebrating the winter solstice, the beginning of the lengthening of daylight hours. These are all causes of celebration for everyone everywhere. They are the traditions that predate all religious uses for the season. On that note, this is my greeting card for the season:

All of our lives, at various times we have been told the real reason for the season is that, at one time, “Someone died for your sins,” and that that person’s birthday is celebrated at this time of year. This is supposed to be cause for celebration.

Many of us must disagree with this doctrine. It is not cause for celebration. It isn’t fair to bring a child into this world to be a sacrificial victim for the errors of the guilty. In fact, it isn’t any better than what the Aztecs did to appease their god. You know in your heart that this is completely unfair.

In looking back upon my life experiences, I cannot find one example amongst all those I’ve known, who have ever committed any offense that would justify sentencing an innocent person die for them. Yes, in this huge life of interconnections, we all make mistakes, hurt each other at times, even intentionally, but we also love, befriend, take care of, even endanger our personal well-being, for one another.

We are all human beings and it is only the criminal that expects an innocent person to take the punishment for his crimes. We must not accept stories which teach that it is morally good to punish innocent individuals for the guilty ones, nor to teach our children the same.

Our courts and democracy exist to mete justice to the perpetrators of “sins,” and not to mete out injustice by punishing the innocent. It is only when humankind accepts the “solution” of the season, that justice is not done and mercy shown. That’s when we lose our common humanity.

So I say to one and all, be of good cheer, for none of our faults are so bad “to die for,” and the very idea of accepting otherwise should be met with a mass protest movement in any civilized society.

I am sure there will be those who will reprimand me for using my freedom of expression as I do, simply because they have been taught differently, and perhaps many will insist, that to spare their feelings, I should say that I am sorry I don’t agree with them, but that wouldn’t be honest. I’m glad I don’t; in fact, I’m very happy I don’t.

This is a greeting card to say what many don’t articulate. Thank you.