NY Daily News’ Ariel Scott: Stop saying ‘God bless you’ if offends atheists, other faiths
Ariel Scott of The New York Daily News may have shocked some readers, pleasing Freedom From Religion supporters and yet, fueled more outrage at the media with his anti-“God Bless You” article.
“It has obvious religious connotations but they’re archaic and no longer make any sense in our modern-day world. You don’t protect your friend from the devil when she coughs so please, let her sneeze in peace,” Scott begins before listing reasons why the practice should stop.
The most insulting is that it’s religious discrimination.
“Religious political correctness. You never know who you’re trying to bless and not everyone’s going to be receptive of your random act of kindness. Atheists, for example, might respond to a ‘bless you’ with a roll of the eyes. Someone of another faith may not appreciate your blessings if they perceive you to be of another (potentially opposing) set of beliefs.”
He mocks the practice and the history will “devil/sneeze connection” remarks regularly.
“There are few things more frustrating than losing a sneeze and that’s exactly what happens when you’re faced with a premature ‘bless you.’ And then, we’re expected to say ‘thank you’ after the unwanted blessing, killing off any hope of a super-gratifying sneeze encore.”
Scott appears bent on removing the practice of good intentions.
“In life, it’s important to understand the underlying feelings behind a message and not just obsess about the literal meaning of the message itself,” wrote atheist Dan Holliday on the topic.
“I don’t say, ‘God bless you’ or even ‘bless you’ (like when people sneeze, because it’s an antiquated custom — like why is it that we say these words when people expel air from their lungs quickly? [yes, I know the history]) — but it’s not like the individual means any harm by the words. I’m certainly not harmed by someone saying that when I sneeze. They’re just being nice.”
Then Holliday offered the best advice to Scott and others: “Not every ball tossed to my end of the court requires me to catch it, let alone toss it back. Discretion is the better part of valor.”