Saturday, April 5, 2008

'Tis the season

March 30's Oh My Gods! reminded me of something.

Many years ago, I was attending a meeting after work one night just before Easter and Passover. During the break, I was having a conversation with a friend who'd sought me out for mutual support: we were the only two non-Christians in a room full of fairly religious people... many of whom kept looking at us oddly. The program was supposed to be "spiritual, not religious," but we often found ourselves, well, misunderstood. The butt of jokes. Fielding "questions" about the same stereotypes, over and over. From people who insisted they were truly accepting. Or from those who were just truly clueless.

"May the Force be with you! [giggle] No, really, I'm not making fun of you. I think it's fine that you're a Witch."

"You're Jewish? Why did you kill Jesus when He's our Lord and Savior?!"

Our best educational efforts reached a number of folks; but nonetheless, cluelessness can be awfully persistent. After a weeks and then months of it, well, our humor got... warped.

That night, my friend drew me off to the side while we drank our tea.

"How's it going?" I asked.

"Okay, okay."

"Ready for Pesach?"

"Not entirely. We still need the blood of some unbaptized Christian babies so we can make matzoh, you know. Hey, you're a Witch -- you know where to get that stuff, right?"

"No, man, are you kidding? We had to use squirrels last Full Moon. Do you know how hard those damned things are to catch? If you get a line on babies, please let me know."
At which point, one rather young and earnest fellow -- the one who consistently greeted me with, "May the Force be with you," followed by giggles and the insistence that no, really, he accepted me -- stalked up to us and said, "I don't appreciate you making fun of my religion like that." And stalked off.

My friend and I looked at each other. We were speechless.


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