Heresies

National Religion

Americans are a people of deeply held religious conviction.  If any has doubts, let him look on the most serious of our sacred holidays and believe.

Naturally, it is a federal holiday, but that fact alone does not convey the magnitude of this special day.  For, unlike other federal holidays, this one carries with it a gravitas—a holiness—that says it is special.  You can tell, because we don’t mark the day with fireworks and pop music, or the pardoning of a turkey, but by a singular devotion to the very words of our national religion’s founder.  There’s no public debate over it.  No one says, “Hey, it isn’t fair to the x’s and the y’s and the z’s if we focus on one tradition and ignore the others.”  This is our tradition, and we are not ashamed.

In the former days, when we were weak and ignorant, we had to be taught to be ashamed of our Old Religion.  At first, when the bigoted (“one who is obstinately convinced of the superiority of one’s own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions”) nature of our Old Faith was exposed, we attempted to sand down all the rough edges, especially when it came to our Former Big Day.  We hired some members of another religion to write us some new songs, and we transformed our Former Big Day into a celebration of shopping.  This, of course,...

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