Religion as personal fragrance
I tend to think in analogies. The other day it occurred to me that religion – or personal belief – is a lot like perfume. Many people wear a personal fragrance in the form of cologne or aftershave, but there are differences in the way they wear it.
Most individuals apply their personal fragrance in such a way that only people who are close to them can detect it. They know it’s there. Their family and close friends catch a hint of it from time to time, and anyone who is welcome into their home may glimpse the label on the bottle.
Then there are those who splash their fragrance on so generously it becomes a public olfactory statement. Their odor demands attention, drowning out subtler scents in the vicinity. (Sometimes people overdo the cologne as a way to cover up a less desirable smell, like smoke or poor hygiene. It doesn’t work.)
And finally there are the spritzers. You know, the ladies in the cosmetics department who squirt you as you walk past. Never mind that you already have your preferred fragrance or that you might be allergic, the spritzers insist that everyone is going to smell just like them.
In this country we are free to wear whatever scent we want, but we don’t have the right to push it up anyone else’s nose.