This Christmas, I would like to remember those Christians wickedly persecuted in the Middle East. A genocide is going on, routinely ignored by those Western leaders who choose instead to trumpet that 'Islam is a religion of peace.' Not just Christians are victims there, of course, but Jews, whom the Muslims are taught to hate and want to kill, atheists, though I doubt if anyone in that whole area would be willing to admit to being an atheist, and the Yasidis, subject to constant attack, but luckily with the courage to fight back. Even ones the Islamists consider insufficiently devout or not devout in the right sort of Muslim way, are killed. Children are massacred.
I think of the victims of Islam in our own reasonably civilised countries as well - the women forced to cover up as if they are not people at all, and especially the ones who are so brain-washed that they think it their own idea. It is not. Making a woman into a mere parcel is an assault on women's rights everywhere.
I think of the children of Islam, too many of whom are subject to the rite of female circumcision, indicative of that strain of sick sexuality that runs through Muslim cultures. If it was not there, they would not consider a bare ankle a provocation, and rape would not be so prevalent.
I think of girls forced into marriage too early, and to men they may not like, and I think of those who are not sufficiently docile, and who wind up killed by members of their own families - 'Honour' killings, as if there was any sort of honour in murder.
And I think of Muslims who would think all of this a foul thing to say. Because if they dare not to believe, then Allah will take an awful vengeance on them. The Koran is full of threats of a dreadful hell for unbelievers. It is its most common message. Muslims are not permitted to think about their religion, and especially not to criticise any aspect of it.
I would like to deliver some good news for religious people everywhere. Hell is a man-made concept. It does not exist. And since it does not exist, you can live free, free of this ghastly threat.
For many of us, Christmas is a joyful occasion, a secular event, no longer religious in spite of its 'true meaning.' There were midwinter celebrations before Christianity, but now it is Christmas, and no matter what you choose to believe, it is for enjoying.
So cast aside the teachings that lead to killings and guilt and fear. Live free and enjoy your Christmas.