The War on the War on Christmas

Avowed atheist Karina Rollins (a former colleague of mine from my days at National Review) celebrates a faithless Christmas and rips leftist party poopers:

While Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas time, the holiday has developed into a Western tradition with many aspects--as faithful Christians lament--utterly devoid of religious content. Many devout Christians--some sport bumper stickers of Santa Claus crossed out with a big X--feel that for large segments of society, the meaning of Christmas has become watered down to a godless excess of presents, food, and glittery lights.

It has. Isn't it wonderful?

Atheists like me can go to church concerts to rejoice in the glorious music of the season, delight in picking out special gifts for family and friends, and wish everyone a "Merry Christmas."

But it's much more than a gorgefest with angel decorations. Just because atheists don't believe in a God in Heaven doesn't mean we can't embrace the Christmas message of brotherhood and peace on earth. While we don't believe in the supernatural, we can recognize Christianity's invaluable contribution to human love. That is worthy of celebration every year.

And while a handful of Christian evangelicals wants to ban Rudolph and Santa, my faithless Christmas celebration is in no danger from them. But it is in danger from the Left.

I agree with much of what Karina says, especially regarding the false equivalence between Christmas and Chanukah that results from patronizing attempts at balance and inclusiveness. But like other critics of "the war on Christmas," she conflates two meanings of public when discussing celebrations of the holiday. I too can enjoy the pretty lights without believing Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, and I have no objection to displays that are public in the sense of being visible to passers-by (aside from aesthetic complaints about some of the tackier tableaux). I'd just prefer that the government not pay for and sponsor displays celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (or the miracle of Chanukah, or whatever it is that Kwanzaa is supposed to mark). I'm not making a constitutional argument; I just don't think it's an appropriate use of public resources, because it's unnecessary, it forces one group of people to subsidize another's religious celebration, and it implies government endorsement of Christianity.

Again, I'm not saying this is tantamount to an establishment of religion and therefore unconstitutional--just that it's the sort of thing the government should not be involved with. Removing creches from city hall lawns and courthouse staircases would leave untouched the vast majority of public Christmas celebrations, since it would have no impact on how individuals, families, businesses, and private organizations choose to mark the holiday.

Given all the other things the government does that it should not do, I can't get as worked up about this issue as I used to. By the same token, I don't quite understand the passion on the other side. The claim to victim status of people like John Gibson and Catholic League President William Donohue--who talks as if Christmas is on the verge of disappearing even while declaring that 96 percent of Americans celebrate it--seems patently ridiculous to me. How do Christians manage to be persecuted in an overwhelmingly Christian country?

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  • Rich Ard||

    As an apatheist who has a tree with presents under it, I couldn't agree more with the happy secularization of "xmas".

    Plus, with the commercialization of the holiday season, I managed to pick up the power tools for my next project at a steal.

    I do, however, look forward to a day when I can be assured that anyone bothering to separate our political movements into "the Left" and "the Right" are more readily branded as kooks.

  • Ed||

    Nothing meaningful has been added to this debate since Linus made his famous speech some forty years ago.

  • ||

    "the contemptible accounts of the Left�s attempts to kill Christmas � and the government�s appeasement of them � are a well-documented refrain: kids forbidden to talk about baby Jesus or Santa Claus in school; teachers instructed to avoid Christmas-themed jewelry; non-Christians who claim their rights are violated by a manger scene; and the censorship of virtually any mention of the word �Christmas"

    Except that whenever anyone makes a specific accusation of something like this happens, the story falls apart. Oh, well, I guess cherished myths are part of the holiday.

  • Rich Ard||

    ...the censorship of virtually any mention of the word �Christmas"

    I know this isn't really censorship, but it struck me as odd - my wife picked up some seasonal hours at an Old Navy, and they're not allowed to reference any specific holiday, so as not to offend anyone - nor are they to strike up conversation with shoppers on any topic but clothes.

    I thought it was the sort of thing that got reported and never happened; and it may well be the policy of the individual store, not the chain (she got nothing in writing). Still, it got a laugh from both of us (since we live in a town heavy on the Dutch and the Christian Reformed Church).

  • Warren||

    My thoughts preserved for posterity here

    WARNING: Retina searing colors ahead.
    copy and paste recomended

  • ||

    Oh, wait, I see Rollins included a pre-emptive line about "despite the smug denials of leftists."

    Since contradicting the latest anti-liberal narrative is a "smug denial," I guess schools really are expelling kids for wearing Christmas tree pins.

  • ||

    People should remember that the feast of Alvis is not about ham or pomp.

  • ||

    Not just that, anyone wereing either green or red get detention!

  • ||

    It got me so mad I can't spell wearing!

  • TallDave||

    This phony war was was cooked up by the elf-industrial complex.

    NO BLOOD FOR ORNAMENTS!!

  • Warren||

    joe,
    FWIW, my cousin's daughter (maybe like five years ago) was reprimanded for singing a "Christmas Carol" and sent home with a note for her parents to sign. My cousin was infuriated because at the time her daughter was taking a "religions of the world class" (or something like that) and was taught to sing "dreidel dreidel dreidel".

    This was in a public school in Lansing MI.

  • MP||

    joe,

    All of these rules are as a result of lawsuits which were due to what one might consider "the Left's attempts to kill Christmas".

  • ||

    Don't get me wrong, MP. There are a lot of thing happening that "one might consider the Left's attempt to kill Christmas," were one looking to pick a fight as the ratings of one's president, Congress, and party were going down the toilet.

    Actual "the Left's attempt to kill Christmas," on the other hand? Not so much.

  • ||

    Happy Winter Solstice everybody, and Zeus Bless America.

  • ||

    Except that whenever anyone makes a specific accusation of something like this happens, the story falls apart.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    http://www.snopes.com/info/inthenews.asp
    The conservative legal group Liberty Counsel says that Ridgeway Elementary School is asking students to memorize "Cold in the Night," sung to the tune of the popular Christmas carol "Silent Night." Liberty Counsel also says the school has decorated its classrooms with Santa Clauses, Kwanza-themed items, Menorahs and a "Labafana" -- which Liberty Counsel says is a Christmas witch -- but has no Christmas decorations.

  • ||

    Why is it that people, and lawyers, too, even extreme court judges have such a hard time reading the"establishment"clause for what it is.It is a prohibition against CONGRESS passing any LAW respecting the establishment of a religion.

    Any thing outside the passage of such LAW is a stretch...a long stretch.

    The display of a religios symbol on the courthouse lawn is a far cry from passing a law.

    The supreme court ruling against such display is closer to passing a law respecting the establishment of the religion of atheism than is allowing the display.

  • MP||

    The display of a religios symbol on the courthouse lawn is a far cry from passing a law.

    Financial appropriations are the result of a legal act. Typically, the acceptance of a gift is also the result of a legal act.

  • ||

    "the holiday has developed into a Western tradition with many aspects"

    The only problem is that the "Christs Mass" is an eastern holiday for a religon born in the east. Western Holidays around the winter solstice pre-date the Judeo-Christo by what? Several Thousand years?

    I wouldn't mind these people so much if they got their history right.

    I don't know of any scholar anywhere who would not admit that "Christs Mass" was an attempt to give Europe an alternative to Yule/Apollo's B-day/any number of Western celebrations that predate the middle eastern import "Christs Mass".

    The funny thing? I was raised in a christian household that was deeply offended by the Roman "Christs Mass". Although we did celebrate the less blasphemous Yule.

  • ||

    Right on, Johnny!
    Because even from a CHRISTIAN perspective, Christmas isn't that big a deal. It's the day Jesus was born (supposedly). Really, who cares? His birth isn't what's important to the religion! Easter, Candlemas, etc. should be the big holidays.

    I honestly think Jesus the man would have been saddened by this misfocused bickering.

    Everyone here is right in saying that Christmas is nothing more than a Western festival. Why can't people just get over it?

  • ||

    "snopes,"

    The Liberty Council says that there are Santa Clauses and a "Christmas Witch" in the classroom, but no Christmas decorations?

    OK.

  • ||

    I know many algebra teachers angry about whoever it is that took the X out of Xmas.

  • Wild Pegasus||

    I think the proliferation of nude models wearing santa hats captures the spirit of the season perfectly.

    - Josh, ho ho ho

  • ||

    How do Christians manage to be persecuted in an overwhelmingly Christian country?

    I keep seeing this argument, and it's not the knock-down argument you might think it is. It's an awful like the "A black person cannot possibly be a racist" (or commit acts of racism) argument. Simply being a member of the majority does not in fact protect you from "persecution" by members of the minority in all places and at all times. Ask Reginald Denny.

    Just throwing that out there. I don't feel particularly persecuted, myself. Happy holidays!

  • ||

    Johnny stole my thunder. The date of the celebration of Christ's birth was even changed so as to draw more of the pagans in to the
    catholic church. Their winter celebration was at a different time (and more popular with the "laity") than the churches celebration.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Jesus Chrysler Warren, you gotta change the colors on that thing. I burned out both retinas (despite the warning) and I honestly couldn't read it because it hurt.

  • ||

    Is it safe to assume that the tits of Christmas witches are even colder?

  • ||

    I don't have a problem with religious displays on public property, so long as the displays aren't paid for with public funds. The use of public property for religious purposes, IMO, does not constitute gov't endorsement. Otherwise we would have to make it illegal for people to express their religion on public roads, in public parks and so on.

    "Simply being a member of the majority does not in fact protect you from "persecution" by members of the minority in all places and at all times. Ask Reginald Denny."

    Reginald Denny was in the minority in the place and at the time he got assaulted. Christians are in the majority in the U.S. at all times. I could see Christians in a majority non-Christian town being "persecuted", but not on a nation-wide scale.

  • ||

    PS: A thesaurus that gives alternate words for "argument" would make a great stocking stuffer for Stevo!

    PPS: I know many algebra teachers angry about whoever it is that took the X out of Xmas.

    That was mifty.

  • ||

    I meant NIFTY!

    Shit, I can't type today.

  • ||

    Who is this "The Left" that MP is referring to? Because the link he provides lists a whole bunch of different court decisions, from districts widely separated from each other, and none of the parties is listed as "The Left." Why, you'd almost believe, if you weren't thinking about it, that these were all different situations involving different parents with different sets of concerns!

  • ||

    Reginald Denny was in the minority in the place and at the time he got assaulted. Christians are in the majority in the U.S. at all times. I could see Christians in a majority non-Christian town being "persecuted", but not on a nation-wide scale.

    I'm thinking of even more limited situations than that, actually. On some college campuses. And in my office of 75 people, I can confidently identify maybe two practicing Christians.

  • ||

    snopes:

    The reason the lyrics were changed in that song is because it's a pre-packaged play that they're performing. The play actually includes several Christmas-themed songs, and has been performed at churches.

    More here.

  • grylliade||

    I think the proliferation of nude models wearing santa hats captures the spirit of the season perfectly.

    Links, please.

  • VM||

    grylliade:

    http://ekstrabladet.dk/
    VisArtikel.iasp?TemplateID=570

  • ||

    Whoa. Good link.

    Not so good for work, though.

  • ||

    It seems that there is a legitimate beef about overly-jumpy schools banning all Christmas-themed speech out of a misapplied desire to avoid government establishment of religion. MP's list of rulings goes to the confusion and overzealousness.

    But the degree of dishonest, implausible accusations flying around makes it clear, to me at least, that an honest conversation about the issue, and making sure that the government doesn't favor or endorse a religion, are the last things on the minds of people like Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson, and the rest of the self-appointed defenders of Christmas.

    If someone tells you their reasons for doing something, and those reasons keep turning out to be untrue, there's something else going on.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Jacob, this is the most reasonable post about the Christmas Wars that I have seen on Hit & Run.

    One observation:

    Ask the average parent whose kid goes to school with mine if they consider themselves Christian and they will answer in the affirmative.

    Probe beyond that and you will find most of them are CHRINOS (rhymes with Rhino). Christians in name only. Yes, they have some fuzzy belief in God as He is loosely defined by American Christianity. But they far more resemble secular Jews than fundamentalist Christians or even good Catholics.

    That, IMO, is where most libertarians lose the rabbit. They seem unable to make that distinction.

  • VM||

    whoops. sorry about that.

    and you'd see the girl of the day on one of the news programs, too...

  • ||

    VM,

    After checking out your link, I understand why Santa is such a jolly fellow.

  • ||

    Probe beyond that and you will find most of them are CHRINOS (rhymes with Rhino). Christians in name only.

    But I thought that upon sight of CHRINOS, most human beings would succumb to temporary insanity and later rationalize the experience as something else entirely?

    (I'm such a damned geek some days. If you knew what I was talking about, you are to...)

  • VM||

    Eric 1/2B:

    C&E Christians...

  • ||

    If libertarians were truly serious about opposing public skools, they could start by mandatory history classes that teach the truth about western/northern holidays celeberated in the vicinity of the Solstice.

    That is where Jacob gets it wrong, the holiday most like "christmas" is Chanukah. Quite literally an add on to make people of a specific faith feel better when we celeberate. (History suggests we-"western" northern hemispher residents-would celeberate this time of year regardless of the oddness, and historicaly inaccurate modern Roman holidays)

    Christmas and Chanukah are exactly the same type of holiday, anti-Hayekian religons attempting to hijack the real traditions of our cultures.

    (But our free market ancestors at Coke fought back with the secular-and appolo related-Santa Claus)

  • ||

    C&E Christians...

    "C&E"?

  • Jeff P.||

    An endangered Christmas has been a trope of holiday specials for decades: Year Without a Santa, The Christmas that Almost Wasn't, The Night They Saved Christmas, Etc.
    Christmas has been overtly assaulted by threats and enemies far greater than secular humanists and liberals. Look at Heat Miser! He had clones of himself to do his bidding! Every year a Winter Wizard or a Snow Monster or a corrupt businessman manages to bring the holiday to within inches of extinction, only to be twarted by some last minute salvation, usually accompanied by singing.

    The fact that The Christmas Crusaders fail to remember the valiant acts and sacrifices of the Bumbles, Whovians, Elves, Reindeer, and every other group who risked their lives to ensure that Christmas happened shows a distasteful insincerity on thier part. Until they can match the valor of the cartoons, puppets, and claymation figures who bravely fought the good fight, they should shut the fuck up.

    Never forget.

  • ||

    Very disappointing link.

    Nude models in Santa hats...why did I think that might actually be males????

    Silly me.

  • VM||

    christmas and easter christians...

  • ||

    Also, "nude model" is a bit of an oxymoron, don't you think.

    Just say what you mean, VM..."naked chicks"! :-)

  • VM||

    linguist - sorry about that. don't know where they are. but the channel in denmark that did that at the end of the news had his and hers christmas elves. (was doing master grylliade's bidding)

  • MP||

    RE: Comment by: joe at December 15, 2005 01:47 PM

    Agreed.

  • ||

    "C&E"?

    "Christmas & Easter"

  • ||

    Probe beyond that and you will find most of them are CHRINOS (rhymes with Rhino). Christians in name only. Yes, they have some fuzzy belief in God as He is loosely defined by American Christianity. But they far more resemble secular Jews than fundamentalist Christians or even good Catholics.

    Erf. How many of them are True Scotsmen?

    You know, I've read the Bible, and been confirmed Episcopalian, and been a regular churchgoer, and my in-laws are fundamentalists to this day. It seems to me that to be a Christian of ANY kind, the only things necessary are to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and God himself, that he died for your sins, and that you accept his gift of salvation. Everything else -- including and especially all the stuff that comes with being a "good Catholic" -- is window dressing, according to the book's own internal theological argument.

  • ||

    C&E = Christmas and Easter.

    People who only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

    Also know as Christers.

  • ||

    Ugh... I think folks who celebrate Christmas minus the religious aspect irk me more than the lefties waging "war" on the holiday...

  • Jeff P.||

    K. Toishi: I'd think the fact that so many non-religious folks celebrate Christmas anyway would be considered a victory by Christians.

  • ||

    You should check out the website of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, William Donohue's group. It's a hoot. Here's their description of a South Park episode which they don't ever want shown again:

    "A 'South Park' character gets a DWI and is ordered to attend AA meetings. Told about the 12-step program, he concludes that he needs a miracle to cure him. The plot then focuses on a statue of the Virgin Mary who is 'bleeding out her ass.' The Vatican dispatches a cardinal to investigate and he is sprayed with blood when he walks behind the statue. He then declares this to be a miracle, which draws even more people. The alcoholic, now in a wheelchair, is also sprayed with blood: he then claims he is cured and jumps out of his seat.

    Pope Benedict XVI goes to investigate. He, too, is sprayed with blood when he walks behind the statue. A reporter says, 'The pope investigated further and determined that the statue was not bleeding out its ass, but its vagina.' To which the pope replies: 'A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time.'"

  • ||

    "I wouldn't mind these people so much if they got their history right.

    "I don't know of any scholar anywhere who would not admit that 'Christs Mass' was an attempt to give Europe an alternative to Yule/Apollo's B-day/any number of Western celebrations that predate the middle eastern import 'Christs Mass'."

    Good point. The Christians stole the Christmas holiday from the Apollo-worshippers, not to mention several other pagan groups.

    So all we have to do is find the pagan groups who originated these midwinter celebrations and give the holiday back to them.

    That might be a bit more difficult than it first appears.

    No, Miss Skyclad Moonbeam Starshine, your neo-pagan cult is only twenty years old, which means it's too young to be one of the pagan groups which did those pre-Christian solstice celebrations.

    You know, it seems that these solstice-celebrating pagan groups aren't around any more.

    So the Christians baptized a pagan holiday, and they can't give it back even if they wanted to, because the pagan groups who started the holiday don't exist no more. Finders keepers, losers weepers.

    (And, by the way, where did the Apollo-worshippers get *their* solstice celebration? For all we know, they took it from some other pagan group.)

  • ||

    Well, as the resident historian here, I note that Christmas (and other Christian holidays) have always been heavily commercialized be it in the form of religious trinkets at medeival market-towns or 18th century china.

  • Jeff P.||

    I repeat my position that Christians who claim to be under assault need to experience some real persecution.

  • ||

    Long Island
    Huntington almost lost Christmas tree-lighting

    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lichri1210,0,5520139.story?coll=ny-main-tabheads2&track=mostemailedlink

    Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at The First Amendment Center in Virginia, said the Supreme Court has tried to set broad guidelines for local officials in such cases. "But," he said, "there is no bright line." The law states if a government puts up religious symbols, there need to be enough diverse symbols so a "reasonable observer" would think it was a holiday display. The courts consider Christmas trees, Santas and candy canes secular displays, Haynes said.

    Still, he added, the real problem is "litigation has replaced baseball as our national pastime."

  • ||

    http://www.snopes.com/info/inthenews.asp
    The conservative legal group Liberty Counsel says that Ridgeway Elementary School is asking students to memorize "Cold in the Night," sung to the tune of the popular Christmas carol "Silent Night." Liberty Counsel also says the school has decorated its classrooms with Santa Clauses, Kwanza-themed items, Menorahs and a "Labafana" -- which Liberty Counsel says is a Christmas witch -- but has no Christmas decorations.


    Even when these people tell a true story, they manage to lie about the connotation. I read the story of "Cold in the Night." Yes, they changed the lyrics. But despite what the 'we're-persecuted' Christians would have you believe, the lyrics were NOT changed for the specific purpose of taking out religious themes; for many years the school has performed a musical play with traditional holiday tunes given new lyrics. The old tunes were chosen so the kids would recognize them. It's no different from the way my old elementary school music teacher, on the first day of school, would make us all sing a "welcome back" song she'd written to the tune of the theme song of M*A*S*H:

    "So welcome back to Merrimack School
    hope your summer was just great
    it's time to start another year
    so join right in and give a cheer.
    We're mighty glad to see you!
    You're looking really super!
    So join right in and have a happy year!"

    Stupid, yes, and possibly fucked up to rewrite "but suicide is painless" as "we're mighty glad to see you," but not meant as a deliberate insult to fans of the original song.

  • ||

    K. Toishi: I'd think the fact that so many non-religious folks celebrate Christmas anyway would be considered a victory by Christians.

    Yeah, not so much. I don't know, I'd rather see New Year's celebrated as the secular, society-wide, feel-good, winter holiday and leave Christmas to Christians. I feel like the Santa Claus, christmas tree, white lights stuff is just a bogus product. Funny enough, my biggest, and fairly irrational, pet peeve is that retailers can't even celebrate the whole Christmas season (i.e. decorations usually come down before the 12 days of Christmas are over).

    [Having said that, the uber-capitalist in me doesn't necessarily mind the year-end retail boom... just the Christian in me.]

  • ||

    Simply being a member of the majority does not in fact protect you from "persecution" by members of the minority in all places and at all times. Ask Reginald Denny.

    Reginald Denny was the target of "righteous anger." Just ask Maxine Waters...

  • ||

    I repeat my position that Christians who claim to be under assault need to experience some real persecution.

    Perhaps what we really need is to bring some Roman Centurions into this debate.

  • ||

    So, Hakluyt, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ was really just an ad for fish? Danged Gnostic multi-national corporations! I suppose ΧΡ was an ad for watches? Jeez.

  • Jeff P.||

    Somewhere in a hidden fortress, Professor Hinkle,
    BurgerMeister MeisterBurger, The Grinch, and Skeletor are drafting thier plans for this year...

  • ||

    Um, á¼ should be Ι. It's all Greek to me, anyhow.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    If you read Chaucer you'll note that in many of the tales Chaucer makes off-hand remarks about the commercialized nature of religious belief, and he heaps much scorn on folks selling crap they claim is holy in origin. Also, the various local groups which took care of shrines, pilgramage locales, etc. also advertised their services to the pilgrams along the way to the site. Commerce has went hand in hand with Christianity almost from the start. Indeed, I'm certain that I've read of 2nd and 3rd century polesitters (individuals who literally sat on poles) whose locales were surrounded by hawkers of various items.

  • ||

    Until they can match the valor of the cartoons, puppets, and claymation figures who bravely fought the good fight, they should shut the fuck up.

    Never forget.

    Hear, hear!!

  • ||

    Until they can match the valor of the cartoons, puppets, and claymation figures who bravely fought the good fight, they should shut the fuck up.

    Never forget.


    RRRAHHHHHHH!!!!

  • ||

    Slartibartfast,

    I like the post, but I think you miss the post, in a correct kinda way.

    The solstice is the holiday. It belongs to anyone who lives in the northern hemisphere. If the "christian" celeberation would disappear tomorrow, or had never appeared in the first place, we would still be celeberating. The confluence between the solstice and the beginning of "true" winter would give us a holiday (think new years).

    Christians (TM) merely placed their celeberation here to take advantage of the marketing situation. Good for them! It was a brilliant marketing move. But so was Coke's, and all the other retailers. This has been a secular meteorological based holiday since before recorded time.

    And come on, if we can't say Santa Clausism isn't a religion (Cross Thor's goats with Appolo's sun chariot), I don't know what is.

    All hail the Claus, may he rule the world in Peace.

    And hey, Clausmass is much freindlier to business interests.

  • Jeff P.||

    Many points to whoever has the best punchline for "What do you get when you cross Thor's goats with Apollo's sun chariot?"

  • ||

    Yes, I used that because a picture of Claus as a horny old goat on fire who liked children, as a figure of repute in a Catholic originated holiday, is very enjoyable to my heathen mind.

  • dhex||

    goatmeat hamburgers for everyone!

  • ||

    Hmm...I wonder how Miss Skyclad Moonbeam Starshine looks in a Santa hat?

    ;-)

  • ||

    Jeff P.: Hunka, hunka burnin' goat?

  • ||

    Goat Riders in the Sky?

  • Jeff P.||

    Sorry, the correct answer was Capri-Sun.

  • Jeff P.||

    But the judges groaned sufficiently at Goat Riders in the Sky for it to score points...

  • ||

    No fair! I just saw the contest now...

  • ||

    Swing Thor, Greek char-i-ot.

  • ||

    Crom asks for no trees to be lit in his honor.

    The only gift he demands is the blood of my enemies.

    The only carols he hears are the wailings of the disemboweled.

    Abandon your weak and forgiving gods.

    Learn the riddle of steel and you may feast at Crom's table once your pathetic life has been cut short by my blade.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Everything else -- including and especially all the stuff that comes with being a "good Catholic" -- is window dressing, according to the book's own internal theological argument.

    Phil, you're right, but that doesn't stop Fundie Baptists from insisting the Catholics are heathens who will burn in hell. The Four Square folks, JW's, and 7th Day Adventists acutally worship on the Sabbath instead of Sunday. Mainstream Protestant churches fund leftists world wide as well as abortion mills that conservative Protestants would have apoplexy over. Many churches forbid or frown on alcohol, smoking, and even coffee drinking. Calvary Chapel doesn't mind if you show up stoned wearing your old jeans and in bare feet.

  • Jeff P.||

    But Conan, what about the lamentation of the women? It's not Christmas without lamentation!

    I will now go find a way to use the phrase "wailings of the disemboweled" in conversation...

  • ||

    Hey, Conan, what does your god think about titanium? Huh? Loser.

  • keith||

    Hmm...I wonder how Miss Skyclad Moonbeam Starshine looks in a Santa hat?

    Apparently, no one ever sent you the link to hippygoddess.com, or you wouldn't ask that.

  • ||

    Christmas and Easter Christians ... I should have known there was a goy analogy to High Holidays Jews.

    Oh, and Hannukah is only our second stupidest holiday. Instead of celebrating the Maccabees kicking Greek ass, we focus on the parlor-trick miracle of the oil. Stupidest holiday, though, is the kabbalah fest of Tu Bishvat.

    I declare war on Tu Bishvat!

  • ||

    Watch your tongue or I shall feed it to Cimmerian wolves.

    I once coupled with a Zamoran whore named Titanium, but what has she to do with Crom I know not.

    I'm sure she would have pleased him, as her bosom was bountiful, her woman flesh was taught and she rode like a Khauran bandit.

    As for Lamentations - They're really more of a birthday thing.

  • ||

    My favorite holiday movie, actually, is The Hebrew Hammer.

    (The Hammer has to save the holiday when Santa's evil heir, Damien Claus, declares war on Hanukkah.)

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    so Keith, did she send *You* the link? Cough it up.

  • ||

    I watched a portion of some news program a few weeks ago (can't remember who it was or what network as the TV was on mostly for background noise and I only paid attention to it for this particular topic) where the newsperson was talking to some pastor or minister of some large mega-church. The news person brought up this subject about Christmas really being a pagan festival that wasn't even celebrated by the church until it was "appropriated" in the 4th(?) century. The pastor's reply was something to the effect that he had "heard" of this debate but that "informed scholars and historians" still hadn't resolved this issue (words in quotations are words I distinctly remember the pastor using). Not knowing very many practicing Christians and not having had this discussion with those I do know, is this ignorance on the history of "Christmas" prevalent among the Christian faithful, or is it found more among evangelicals? Or is this less ignorance and more willful historical revisionism? Or is this just another example of the typical lack of knowledge of history among the general American populace? Or a combination of any or all of the above?

  • ||

    taiko,

    I'll take the ignorance combo with fries.

  • ||

    Anyone interested in delving into the pagan origins of Christmaas should google up Sol Invictus and Mithra. As for those who object to Xmas, when I was an altar boy I learned that the "X" is the Greek letter chi, most often seen overlaid on what looks like a Roman "P", but is actually rho, and represents the first 2 letters of "Christ" as written in Greek. So Keep X in Xmas is a thoroughly Christian sentiment.

    As for goyish terms for half-assed Christians, we had A&P Catholics, who only showed up for ashes and palms. Then there were those who only darkened the sanctuary doors to be hatched, matched and dispatched. (Baptized, married and buried.)

    Have a Cool Yule, y'all!

    Kevin

  • ||

    "I repeat my position that Christians who claim to be under assault need to experience some real persecution."

    "Perhaps what we really need is to bring some Roman Centurions into this debate."

    Ha ha ha! That made Me laugh until My side split!

  • ||

    is this ignorance on the history of "Christmas" prevalent among the Christian faithful, or is it found more among evangelicals?

    I'd say more among evangelicals. My own sense is that "born agains" often have less understanding of the history of Christianity in Europe than Protestants or Catholics. I got a pretty heavy dose of the history of Christianity growing up Catholic and Episcopal. But, I just made a mass generalization, which is always suspect.

    As for those who object to Xmas, when I was an altar boy I learned that the "X" is the Greek letter chi, most often seen overlaid on what looks like a Roman "P", but is actually rho, and represents the first 2 letters of "Christ" as written in Greek. So Keep X in Xmas is a thoroughly Christian sentiment.

    I also recently read that it was used to represent Christ when the faithful feared government persecution for speaking of him.

  • ||

    Stevo, Have you seen Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    You know back in the sixties concerned parents used to say that the Peace Symbol was a broken inverted cross used in certain Satanic type rituals. And it was. But that didn't matter very much because in the REAL WORLD it was a frikking PEACE SYMBOL. I think the lesson here is not that Xmas is a pagan celebration but that for somewhere near 400 years it has been celebtated as the birth of Christ in America. Reality makes it so despite the origins.

  • ||

    I think the lesson here is not that Xmas is a pagan celebration but that for somewhere near 400 years it has been celebtated as the birth of Christ in America. Reality makes it so despite the origins.

    True, but it is still interesting to see how pagan influences have been woven into the Christian holidays. Its just evidence of one of the earliest and most successful of all marketing campaigns.

    If you like Saturnalia you'll love Christmas! All the feasting, all the gifts and, if you act now, the added bonus of eternal salvation.

  • ||

    Keith, did you give the right address? I would think you were trying to refer to

    http://hippygoddess.com/

    It seems kinda gross, but if anyone has a strong stomach, they might want to look (probably not at work, I would think).

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ralphus, I wholeheartedly agree. The origins of special days is absolutely fascinating, especially Halloween and Thanksgiving. Just pointing out that widespread ignorance of the history of a sacred day isn't grounds for dismissing the current cultural validity of a holiday.

    Biggest family row I ever had was when I casually pointed out that the first Thanksgiving was likely a secular feast and party and not a Day of Thanksgiving.

  • ||

    Stevo, Have you seen Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life?

    No, but I guess I'll have to now ... especially after seeing that the part played by seven out of 12 cast members is "party girl."

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    So we're finishing up the Christmas Tree and we want to turn on the Sirius Christmas Music station but all we can find is Sirius Holiday Music, which, surprise is nothing but traditional Christmas music. Boy those folks looking for Kwanza or Chanukah Music are in for a rude surprise when they dial in and hear Bing singing Little Drummer Boy

  • ||

    Just switch it over to Howard 100. Crack whores, angry midgets and retards - now that's holiday diversity.

  • ||

    Ho's, ho's and more ho's!

  • ||

    You know, pretzels were specifically invented as a food that adhered to the medieval Catholic church's strict rules for Lenten fasting and abstinence. They also symbolically mimic a medieval "crossed arms" position of prayer. So every time one of you so-called "atheists" eats a pretzel, you aren't performing an act devoid of religion -- you're really slavishly bowing down before papist Rome!

    Bwahahahhahahaha! (Mine is a papist laugh.)

  • kraorh||

    Jacob,
    I'm surprised you didn't mention this recent development from the 9th circuit of appeals...
    Activist Judge Outlaws Christmas

    From the Onion, of course.

  • ||

    Ooh goody, a Richard E. Grant flick I hadn't heard of (prob'ly because it's a short).

    So shouldn't it be "Xpmas" then?

  • ||

    Ed wrote:

    Except that whenever anyone makes a specific accusation of something like this happens, the story falls apart.


    Matt Wrote in Response:

    Maybe, maybe not.

    http://www.snopes.com/info/inthenews.asp
    The conservative legal group Liberty Counsel says that Ridgeway Elementary School is asking students to memorize "Cold in the Night," sung to the tune of the popular Christmas carol "Silent Night." Liberty Counsel also says the school has decorated its classrooms with Santa Clauses, Kwanza-themed items, Menorahs and a "Labafana" -- which Liberty Counsel says is a Christmas witch -- but has no Christmas decorations.

    And now for the rest of the story....

    http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/12/9/202447/331


    Dec 09, 2005 -- 09:33:49 PM EST

    A quick google reveals:

    Diane Messer, administrator of the Dodgeville School District, said the holiday show is titled "The Little Tree's Christmas Gift'' and was copyrighted in 1988. It's about a family that goes to buy a Christmas tree and uses a collection of familiar Christmas carol melodies to tell the story.

    "Somebody totally misunderstood and had the belief that one of our teachers took it upon herself to rewrite the words to 'Silent Night,''' she said.

    Like Ed initially stated: when ever you look into these things they fall apart.

  • ||

    Bwahahahhahahaha! (Mine is a papist laugh.)

    The Vatican employs all those mad scientists?

    The FIENDS!

    Wait... What does that suggest about our own resident Catholic scientist? Will we one day hear of Thoreau being chased by pitchfork-wielding villagers for crimes against optical nature?

    Great Scott!

  • Jadagul||

    Poco: "Χ" is the first letter of Christ (a chi is generally transliterated into roman letters as "ch," but the closest roman equivalent to the appearance of the letter is X, hence X-mas). ρ is a rho, which is transliterated as 'r.' The full thing would be Χριστος, "Christ".

  • ||

    Ya know what I miss? My favorite commercial from last year, "Christmahannuquanzaaka." Sing along, gang:

    It's OK, if you're a Muslum, a Christian or a Jew;

    It's OK if you're agnostic and you don;t know what to do...

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