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Simmons College: Saying 'God Bless You' Is a 'Microaggression' Against Muslims

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The great minds at Simmons College in Boston apparently think saying “God bless you” to someone who just sneezed constitutes a “microaggression” against Muslims.

As first reported by Kat Timpf over at the National Review, Simmons recently published a guide to “Islamomisia,” which Microsoft Word does not recognize as a term and which, in regressive fairyland, supposedly means “a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam.”

“Islamomisic Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicates [sic] hostile, derogatory, or negative slights in relation to the beliefs and religious practices of Muslims,” the guide explains. “They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of religious/Chrisitan [sic] hierarchy.”

Among these microaggressions, Simmons says, are phrases such as “Merry Christmas” (because of course) and “God bless you.” Here’s what they allege:

  1. Assumption of One's Own Religious Identity as the Norm: Comments or behaviors that convey people’s presumption that their religion is the standard and behaves accordingly (e.g., greeting someone “Merry Christmas” or saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes conveys one’s perception that everyone is Christian or believes in God).

This is, of course, woefully ridiculous. For the intellectually challenged, let me explain why.

Firstly, if I offer you a hearty “God bless you” after you sneeze, it is not because I assume you to be Christian. It's actually not much of a religious phrase at all, which most rational people understand.

But even if it were, it would mean that I, as a Christian, am extending to you to a kindness that runs according to my beliefs. If, for example, an atheist were to wish me a “happy holiday” in December, I certainly wouldn’t be offended, any more than I’d expect him or her to be offended by my “Merry Christmas.”

By saying these things as routine public phrases, I’m not assuming I know you or your deep-seated religious beliefs. I’m assuming you’re a halfway decent person with a brain between your ears that can understand general goodwill.

Secondly, the phrase “God bless you” does not specifically reference Christianity in the least. Muslims also believe in a monotheistic God, albeit under an Arabic word. So the phrase “God bless you” should not offend the average Muslim one tiny bit.

And given the cultural normality of the phrase, it shouldn’t even offend those who don’t believe in God at all. In fact, I guarantee you it doesn’t, nor does it offend the vast majority of Nirvana-seeking Hindus and Buddhists, disavowing atheists, or pastafarian noodle-heads who wear spaghetti strainers as hats.

Eh, on second thought, maybe it would offend the pastafarians. They aren’t all there.

So here’s the bottom line: if you, like the fine folks over at Simmons, are offended by someone wishing a generic blessing-related phrase upon sneezing at the Target check-out counter, it’s not the person doing the blessing that’s the problem.

It’s you.

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