October 31, 2017

Merry Jesusween!

Merry Jesusween!
If you do a quick Internet search for Jesusween (or Jesus Ween), you'll find that it received considerable attention in 2011 and relatively little since then. Despite some of us trying to keep it alive, it largely seems to have fizzled out. So what exactly was Jesusween?

From what I've been able to gather, Jesusween was the idea of a Christian pastor who wanted to use Halloween to promote Christianity. Participants were expected to dress in white, skip the costumes, and distribute bibles and other Christian propaganda to any children unfortunate enough to ring their bells. Eventually, the alternative holiday was supposed to "become the most effective Christian outreach day ever."

Of course, there wasn't anything new about this other than the unfortunate name. Evangelical fundamentalist Christians have long been terrified of Halloween, and the practice of distributing Christian tracts to trick-or-treaters goes back at least as long ago as my own childhood. In many ways, Jesusween was just a minor update to an old set of concerns.

I've had quite a bit of fun mocking Jesusween over the years. If some Christians are actively trying to destroy my favorite holiday, I feel like a bit of mockery is justified. At the same time, I recognize that plenty of Christians find Jesusween every bit as ridiculous as I do. Some have serious problems with the name but are on board with much of the rest of it. Many others enjoy Halloween and have no interest in trying to inject Jesus into it.

Jesusween provides atheists with a great opportunity to reflect on what some Christians claim to believe. It is also an opportunity to consider how and why efforts to inject Jesus into things that don't have anything to do with Jesus almost always end up ruining them. And sure, I suppose it also raises questions about how some Christians choose to raise their children and what implications these choices have for our shared future.

Here's hoping that you and yours have a Merry Jesusween!