Open thread for episode 23.17: Tracie & Clare Wuellner

I wanted to add the links to the areas where I pulled the Christian quotes I used in the introduction discussion about how “Have a Blessed Day” is used as a Christian Dog Whistle.

I am linking to this article  to give folks a clear picture of what a dog whistle is, how it’s used, and when and why it’s chosen over other modes of communicating a message. The passage below focuses on using them for political and racist messaging; however, the three parts of the philosophy apply to whistle blowing by anyone and in the cause of any ideology:

First, politicians force race into the conversation through “thinly veiled” racist remarks against people of color. Second, they make sure to not directly reference any one racial or ethnic group, so they can’t be accused of direct racism. And third, they shame any critics who try to call them out on the racist comments.

Here are Christians speaking for themselves:

…I’m thinking that “Have a blessed day” has potential. I’m getting excited about its manifold benefits as I write: It signals that you are a Christian to another stranger out there who may be a Christian-like a secret handshake. It is not overbearingly evangelical to those who are not Christians, and yet opens the door for further discussion if they so choose.

When I hear someone say have a blessed day, I make three basic assumptions. One, the person is religious. I don’t see any reason why non-religious people can’t be blessed, but the basic assumption is they are religious. Two, they are Christian. And again, I see nothing wrong with non-Christians receiving blessings. And that leads to three, which is that the blessings we want to bestow are the blessings of God, and not necessarily the blessings of Jesus Christ.

What does have a blessed day mean to you?
I don’t think I use “have a blessed day”. When I hear it now, I think of it as meaning have a good day and remember to thank God for it.

To me, this is reminiscent of the cross vs. crucifix debate. Although the crucifix might be a more “Catholic” symbol, there’s nothing wrong with a Catholic using a plain old cross at all. I say “Have a blessed day” all the time. I always considered this a very Catholic response, though it’s appropriate for any Christian, or anyone from an Abrahamic religion, for that matter.

When someone wishes you a blessed day, remember these two truths.  First, you will have a blessed day, not because of what happens to you during the day, but because of the attitude in your heart, and the awareness of God’s purpose for your life.  Second, you will enjoy the blessings that come your way only as you learn to share those blessings with others.

The phrase is especially part of the American black experience.
“They call it church language,” says Patrice Sheppard, assistant pastor of the Living Word Church in the southwestern corner of the District. “African-Americans say ‘Have a blessed day’ and Anglos say ‘God bless you.’
“If you’re having a blessed day, then God is with you. It’s a colloquialism in the African-American church.”
Others say it’s part of black church tradition to continually praise God whether in or out of work.
“When people ask us how we are doing, we say we are blessed and highly favored of God,” says Bishop Juanita Turner, pastor of New Covenant Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Colmar Manor. She says the majority of her members use the expression.
The Rev. Bernard Richardson, chaplain at Howard University, calls it an ” ‘evangelical tradition.’ ”
“I’ve heard it in white churches and black churches,” he says. “What’s happening in terms of our culture is people are feeling freer to use the language of their church and their faith than ever before.”
Not everyone was thrilled with the increase of God-talk at work.
” ‘Have a blessed day’ is a religious statement and it’s not appropriate for a secular organization to be making it,” says Matt Cherry, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism in Amherst, N.Y.
“For an employee to say she has a right to make religious statements is not a matter of religious freedom. The company has a right to determine what employees say. If a customer is offended enough to complain, that speaks for itself.
“What she said implies you’re blessed by God. Why not say ‘Have a good day’?”
…But it’s common for black Christians to say “Have a blessed day” no matter where they are, says the Rev. Oliver Dwayne Walker, pastor of Phillips CME Church.
“We are aware that different groups are having negative feelings about that and may not subscribe to faith in God and feel that’s an infringement on them,” he says.

General TAE Links

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Open thread for episode 23.15: Matt & Don

Don talks about some of the legislative action in Texas and what’s going on behind the scenes.

Open thread for episode 23.14: Tracie & Phil Ferguson

Tracie hosts special guest, Phil Ferguson, host of The Phil Ferguson Show, where he combines Skepticism, Atheism, Investment philosophies, Economics, Politics under one roof.

General TAE Links

General useful resources