Once again, the news is rife with reports of violence, rudeness, greed, and graft associated with Black Friday. Black Friday has long been a major shopping day in the United States, but, in the past few years, it has become simultaneously a holiday in its own right and a force of chaos that is tearing our social fabric apart.
I think most folks would recognize that Christmas has been poisoned for a long time by the Consumer Culture. That poison will eventually work its way towards Yule and Hanukkah, too. However, the holiday most in jeopardy now is Thanksgiving.
This is one of those opportunities in which Americans of all spiritual persuasions can take a stand against the spiritless religion of the Consumer Culture. The major retailers are gradually opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, forcing workers to leave their families on one of the most significant celebrations of family that we have as a nation.
The advertising schemes and media glorification urge people to throw their Thanksgiving meal dishes into the sink and run off to the stores right away, thus eroding this major holiday to the point where it will be little more than "Black Friday Eve."
It is up to the adherents of all religions and to Americans who understand the value of the spirit of modern Thanksgiving observances to take a stand against the onslaught of emptiness from the Consumer Culture.
On Black Friday, it would be far better to spend time at a craft show with our families than getting in fights with people over parking spaces at Macy's. Chances are that we won't be hit by a taser by someone at a craft show, unlike the victims of some nut in Cherry Hill, New Jersey earlier today. How crazy is this?
While the shopping will continue, I urge folks who take family and community seriously to shun the Consumer Culture at least through Thanksgiving. Sure, we may pay more financially for gifts later in the season, but we cannot place a value on the time spent with loved ones in a shared observance of gratitude for the miracle of life.