Remember a few years back when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fell during the same week? It was cool. We had Thanksgivukkah! A patriotic American holiday and religious holiday co-existed. And it was awesome.
But what happens when an American holiday falls during a Muslim holiday? Not quite the same thing.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, the US Embassy has decided to move the 4th of July. THE 4TH OF JULY. Like, THE most American of American holidays.
Why? Because the 4th of July falls during Ramadan. According to the Jakarta Post,
“The United States Embassy enjoyed its annual 4th of July celebration on Thursday, June 4, one month early, in order to respect the upcoming Ramadhan month, which will begin on June 17 and last for one month,” the story said. “U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert O. Blake and U.S. Ambassador to (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Nina Hachigian presided over the festivities, which involved brass band renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and the Indonesian national anthem, Indonesia Raya.”
Lest we offend anyone, we shall move our holiday. Like all other politically correct causes, this makes absolutely no sense.
You’re not ordering Indonesians to celebrate the 4th of July by celebrating a national holiday with you inside the embassy. You’re not forcing anyone to break their fast or participate. And, now we’re just speculating here, but we’re guessing there’s more Americans in the embassy that would be celebrating the 4th of July than Indonesians who’d be celebrating Ramadan. Not to mention that Muslims who fast during Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset… so is there any reason we couldn’t be “culturally sensitive” or whatever and still celebrate on the 4th of July after the sun goes down? That’s usually when fireworks are at their best and brightest anyway.
It’s the American Embassy. Americans celebrate American holidays. Except, apparently, in Indonesia.
But then again, maybe it’s a good idea not to ruffle any feathers in Jakarta. Indonesia isn’t exactly the most tolerant place, after all. In the 95% Muslim country, persecution of Christians is common. Since 2007, Indonesian officials have documented the destruction of 200 churches, with many of them burned down by Islamic radicals. The nation’s also made headlines on more than one occasion for its al-Qaeda linked residents, and is now struggling to keep out the influences of ISIS.
It’s not pretty. It’s not liberty and justice for all. Maybe what Jakarta needs is a little more freedom – of speech, religion, and like… you know, that good ol’ 4th of July American independence?
What do you think? Should our holidays be changed for the sake of political correctness, or no?