Celebrating Religious Freedom Day

Celebrating Religious Freedom Day

January 16 marks Religious Freedom Day—which appropriately takes place on a Sunday this year. In honor of the day, here are a few fun ways to celebrate.
  • Celebrate your own religion. Wear a pentagram or a cross with pride. Sing a hymn, chant an OM, or play some Medwyn Goodall in traffic.
  • Feel free to celebrate no religion. My husband is a happy atheist and shouldn’t be shamed into “accepting the lord” in his life of science. My faith doesn’t condemn him, and it’s unfortunate that so many do.
  • Stand up to would-be oppressors. I was harassed once for wearing a pentagram at work while I was in college. My colleagues were able to wear their crosses, but a customer told me that I was “going to hell” and actually had his little girl—around age four—get in on it, too. I almost cried—not for myself, but for her and her experience with this close-minded man. I told her that I celebrate nature for my religion, and he whispered to her, and she said to me, “Tell the truth!” Wow, right? Don’t let people like this get to you, but do feel free to pity them and the way they treat others.
  • Feel free to experiment. Be a Buddhist for a day if you want. Dabble into Catholicism. Explore your options—you don’t have to stick with the religion you were born into. My father was born into a Catholic family, raised Lutheran, and sent me to a Baptist church. I am none of these things and happy to not be.
  • Try some religious cooking. Have a feast featuring some of the key dishes of your faith, if you know them. Try a hand at a kosher meal; can you do it?
  • Read about other faiths with an open mind. If you’re sure you want to be a Baptist Christian, for example, read about all other faiths with an open mind and see how similar they are to you and your faith.
  • Watch a few religious documentaries. Even if Religulous makes you angry (and it will if you are religious at all), it may still make you laugh—as well as teach you something.
  • Teach children about different religions. Allow them to explore and see which one speaks to them. Be supportive, answer questions, and refrain from condemning them or killing their curiosity with threats of hell, if you can.