Everybody wants to be happy, or so it is thought. Women want to be happy, men want to be happy, boys, girls, puppies and kittens -- they all want to be happy. What about your average -- underscore average-- atheist?
Just listen to the most popular song in recent years about the emotion: "Happy", by Pharrell Williams. That guy is happy all the way to the bank, and rightfully so. He is so happy his house does not need a roof, so-to-speak, which means, I think, that the whole world makes him happy, a world with all its...its goop and mess and joy and tears and laughter.
Some people though find joy in being a victim, or if not a victim, an advocate for alleged victims. Around this time of year, Easter, it is usually the Activist Atheist.
Easter is this Sunday for most of the Christian church, and it is the one Holy Day that has not managed to be secularized, through marketing and gloss and glitz. Sure, there is the "Easter Bunny, but it is still the Easter Bunny, not the Spring Bunny. Not yet.
Easter, to believers, is a day of promise, hope and renewal. It is much different from Christmas, because the risen Christ is the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament prophets, where Christmas holds only the promise of the coming of the Savior. As the angel says to Mary Magdalene, when she races back to the tomb, "He is risen. He is not here."
Imagine her joy, because Jesus the Nazarene was her friend and was still with her, though she has a shady background; but then Jesus came to befriend the helpless and the hopeless and the sinner, not to hang with the Roman and Jewish pop stars of the day.
Every Christian holy day ultimately brings a discussion of church and state, and whether the United States is a "Christian nation", and that discussion can get rather biting on both sides. It usually brings out the worst in people, with lawyers lining up to remove any vestige of Christian totems from the public square against those who seek to keep traditions they know from being removed. It gets messy, especially at Christmas, when it is open season on Creches, with a baby and a bunch of cows symbolizing the goodness of the nation to Christians and the buffoonery of the nation to Activist Atheists.
This volley back and forth becomes shriller each year, because more and more of ordinary life has become politicized, and with more actions and institutions (such as health care) coming under the oversight and control of politics and politicians, and therefore subject to the questioning of religious influence vs public law or separation of church and state.
The question is, can your ordinary Joe or Jane Atheist be happy with the affectations or celebrations of the majority, or do they support the Activist Atheists in wanting to see every icon or reference to any religious figure or happening set safely inside the Religion Lockbox, to be opened by foolish believers in private only?
Will the extermination of Easter as a recognized day make Joe and Jane Atheist happy, or just the Activist Atheist?