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Stop assuming everyone is like you

Assumptions are made every day. No matter how many times someone may say and say that they are not a judgmental person, they’re wrong. Judging someone and making assumptions is a normal part of life. While there is no reason to take shame for doing something that is so natural to humans, there is blame when someone refuses to even entertain the thought that not everyone is like them. As time continues to go on, and the country we live in becomes even more diverse than the decade before it, it is still almost silly to even entertain the idea that everyone is a practicing Christian. While the country has grown more and more diverse throughout the years, some have tried to become more inclusive by using different terminology and focusing on broader spectrums that aren’t just Christian-based. However, doing this is not an attack on Christianity. Being inclusive does not mean that the one religion that has always been accepted is now not; it is a conscious effort to make everyone feel welcomed and included.

Christians are the majority in this country, and though there are many different forms of Christianity, they do still hold the majority. There is no doubting that, however, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of people in America who identify as Christian has fallen in the past 10 years, from 78% of the country saying that they are Christian in 2009 to 65% in January of 2019. While Christianity rates have fallen, the rates of those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” have risen from 17% in 2009 to 26% in January of 2019.

In another study done in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, it was found that people who practice non-Christian religions, such as Jewish people, only make up 1.8% of the American population. While that might seem like a small number compared to the 65% of Christians, that is still 4.2 million people who do not practice the Christian faith. That is not including those who are different religions, like Muslim. In 2017, Pew Research Center found that 1.1% of the American population is Muslim. Yet again, this is not nearly as large as the Christian population, however, combined with those who practice the Jewish faith, that is still over 7 million people who do not believe or practice Christianity, not including additional religions like Hinduism or Buddhism. 

When it comes time to think of inclusivity, the simplest example that comes to mind is “merry Christmas” vs. “happy holidays.” The term “happy holidays” isn’t used to erase Christmas; it’s used by those who don’t celebrate Christmas to help them feel included. When someone who celebrates Hanukkah hears “merry Christmas,” they possibly have no attachment to it, but by using the phrase “happy holidays,” it might be easier to imagine what that time of the year really is for: being with family and enjoying each other’s company, regardless of what religion they practice. 

No one is pushing the idea that Christians cannot practice their religion, or that they are being prosecuted against. All that is being asked, as humans before anything else, is to remind yourself that all people are different, and that does not just mean that my eyes are different than yours or that I have freckles and you do not. As the human species, each and every one of us will think differently, from our religion to the lack of it. It does not matter what I practice, but it does matter that everyone can feel included no matter what they practice.

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