Lauren Mayer: What’s Next After Politics? Religion?

There will probably never be a shortage of inspiring antics in the political arena, between the fiscal cliff and assorted sex scandals.  But for the next few weeks I’ll be tackling the subject of interfaith acceptance, inspired by our host’s No Labels approach to bipartisanship, and illustrating the challenges of being in a religious minority.

Even if you’re not Jewish (or a member of another religion that doesn’t celebrate Christmas), you may be a little bothered by the fact that we’re already surrounded by Christmas decorations, signs and music, plenty of it before Thanksgiving.

So try to put yourself in our shoes – and since it’s probably impossible to imagine being surrounded by tacky Chanukah decor, what about other times you might have felt like you were an isolated minority? Any liberals in red states, or conservatives in blue states, or vegetarians in a family of carnivores? I’ve had a few of those moments, like being the only girl on the math team in jr. high, or being the only actual female pianist in a gay bar (and constantly having to tell the guys that I wasn’t just in underdone drag).   That sense of being different gets particularly strong during this time of year.

Please don’t get me wrong – I think Christmas is a beautiful holiday, and as an entertainer I’m extremely grateful for the extra work (as well as the infinitely superior music – I’d hate to do a gig playing 3 hours of Chanukah music!)  But just try to remember that not everyone celebrates it, and even a totally secular ‘Merry Christmas’ still is etymologically derived from the religious basis of the holiday, so if you can occasionally wish your jewish friends “Happy Holidays” instead, they’ll appreciate it.

In this spirt of interfaith bipartisanship, I’ve enlisted some friends & relatives to create our own version of those ’80s ‘videos-for-a-cause’, “Don’t They Know (Not Everyone Does Christmas).”

Note: While I am unfortunately not able to use this space to plug my upcoming appearance on The Daily Show (since they haven’t invited me on yet), I can let readers know that the song is from my album, “Latkes Shmatkes – Comedy Songs for Chanukah and Beyond”, available at this link, and on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and Picklehead Music, among others.  It’s a great gift for any of your friends who are Jewish, or who will be flattered by receiving something that implies you think they have a good sense of humor!


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