Religion, penises and best wishes

I cross-posted First Amendment thought for the day on Facebook and the following day I posted the following:

L’Shana Tova! Happy New Year to us all. We all need it.

Some people observed the juxtaposition of the two and didn’t know what to make of it. One reader characterized the first post as “anti-religious.”

I don’t think that’s true, and in all honesty, I didn’t think to connect the two posts at all. “Religion is like a penis” seemed a novel and clever way to support the First Amendment while acknowledging there are limits to the freedom of expression. Crying “Fire!” in a crowded theater is not only not protected speech, it’s a crime, and imposing one’s beliefs— religious or otherwise— on people who don’t share them is similarly abusive and indefensible.

Seizing the occasion of Rosh Hashana, when Jews celebrate the beginning of a new year, I sent everyone— Jew and gentile alike— my wishes for a happy new year. Though I’m not Jewish, I’m always happy to receive good wishes from anyone who chooses to give them to me. When my Jewish friends wish me a happy new year, I’m grateful and thank him or her. Why would anyone turn down wishes for health and happiness for the next twelve months? Especially at this time in our history?

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