Yeah, We Noticed

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Bill O'Reilly, to a Jewish caller peeved about Christmas: "You know, the majority can be insulted, too."

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  1. Damn…one of the rare cases where I almost kinda agree with O’Reilly.

    They’re both wrong if they think Christmas is still about religion or “honoring the philosopher.”

    It’s about shopping and putting stupid shit up on your lawn. Everything else is totally elective.

  2. Yeah, Pavel’s right. Jews getting upset over the Christian roots of Christmas reminds me of Christians getting upset over the pagan roots of Halloween. It misses the point. Just treat Christmas like a secular holiday — after all, popular culture’s been doing that for half a century.

  3. They’re both wrong if they think Christmas is still about religion or “honoring the philosopher.”

    A couple hundred million American Christians would probably have to disagree with that statement. Anyway, I agree with the caller. Christians have been proselytizing for two thousand years now – with often disastrous results. I wish they would shut up already. Jews don’t proselytize. I like that.

  4. Pavel, Dan:

    Ultimately, Christmas is not a secular holiday. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Millions of people go to church on Christmas, as it is an intensely religious day.

    Halloween is totally different. No one gets the day off for Halloween. It’s not in our schools and public places (i.e. individuals can choose to wear costumes to work/school, but the school/employer isn’t going to take time out of the day to make everyone do a Halloween ritual). Also, the Pagans no longer exist, so Halloween is a secular holiday. Last time I checked, Christians still exist in America in very large numbers, and they still claim Christmas as one of their holidays.

  5. “Ultimately, Christmas is not a secular holiday.”

    It is for the secularists who celebrate it.

  6. Sorry, but Xmas was originally a pagan holiday, too.

    You’ve got Yule, Saturnalia, and the feast of the son of Isis in Babylonian times.

    And since I think that both Jews and Christians are “wrong”, I wish they’d all keep more quiet. (Although totally agreeing with their right to be wrong.) 🙂

  7. Seems to me the real point of Christmas is to bring your own meaning to it. Christians can claim Christmas as one of their holidays all they want, but I’ll still put up a tree, buy stuff for people, eat candy canes, and play Rankin & Bass drinking games with my friends (Rudolph moved all jerky! Do another shot!) without setting foot in a church. The winter solstice was celebrated long before the baby Jebus – the hippie from Galilee just gave us another reason in a list that continued to grow well after his time had passed.

    And as to the comment about Hallowe’en not being in our public schools, it was in mine. Everyone came to school dressed up, marched around in a kiddie parade and went home early. It was cool. If that doesn’t happen anymore, I weep for the world we leave to future generations.

  8. Dan B,
    Uh my employer made us dress up and do a costume contest and group skits for Halloween. Granted, it’s not like we were sacrificing goats or something for it.

    Correction, there are pagans. Hindus, Buddists, atheists and any non-monotheistic (or by some definitions non-Judeo-Christian) religion.

  9. From a previous posting

    Selling out the holidays is the best thing that ever happened to them

    I once advocated folding all the competing celebrations into the Chrisms holiday. But instead of merging together we seem to be multi-culturally diversifying. Now I celebrate the Solstice (by hanging lights, putting up a tree, and exchanging gifts). I think Festivus and Chrismahanukwanzakah are cool tool. I also think the Chuck Jones animated version of “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” is the ultimate annual TV special of the season.

    PEACE and GOOD WILL
    To Everyone

  10. Ultimately, Christmas is not a secular holiday.

    Ultimately neither is Halloween. Nevertheless I as an atheist quite enjoy celebrating both holidays without ever sparing a moment’s thought to their ultimate religious origins.

    It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus

    It isn’t to me. Certainly that’s what it means to Christians, but why should I care what they think? Isn’t refusing to celebrate because a different set of people are celebrating for reasons of their own a little, well… silly? Should I be angry that I get Saturdays and Sundays off? After all, Jews and Christians celebrate those days too.

    Also, the Pagans no longer exist

    That would undoubtedly come as a surprise to the various pagans I’ve known.

    I think the problem here isn’t that Christians are religious, but that Jews are. They have their own religious faith, and therefore get a bug up their collective ass about the religious implications of Christmas. Whereas I have no religious faith and therefore simply don’t care what the ultimate reason behind the lights, trees and nog is. The solution for this problem is for the Jews to chill. You can put ornaments on a tree and watch “A Christmas Story” without needing to believe all that crap about virgin births and three wise men.

  11. You know, somehow most of the people in this country, regardless of their religion (or lack thereof), manage to have a good time on and/or around December 25. That seems good enough for me. Whether they’re celebrating the birth of Jesus, a secular holiday of toys and food and family, the Solstice, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or whatever else, most people seem to have a good time, and I’m happy to leave it at that.

    And to those who want to make a controversy over it and shout “Bah, humbug!”, I give them a very politically incorrect “Merry Christmas!”

  12. Show me in the Bible were it says Jesus was born on Dec. 25. Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? The winter solstice (usu. Dec. 21) was celebrated for thousands of years (Stonehenge, Newgrange) before J.C. even appeared on the scene. The only reason it is today a “christian” holiday is because the Roman Catholics took it from the pagans and “christianized” it in an effort to proselytize the pagans.

  13. Warren and Jarod,
    Try the Grinch (original), drinking game. Everytime the say “Who” drink. It’s brutal.

  14. I’m an atheist and yet I’m willing to bet I have more ornaments and colored lights on my Christmas tree than most religious people do. I am completely opposed to religious oppression, but getting a paid day off and an excuse to give gifts to people I love and a chance to cover a tree with useless pretty stuff is not ‘oppression.’

    If anyone tries to force me to go to midnight mass I’ll raise hell, but otherwise I just can’t seem to feel oppressed by this.

  15. F Xmas, F O’Reilly, and F you, Tiny Tim!

  16. Jennifer-

    I highly recommend midnight mass at a nice old basilica or cathedral even for atheists. (Notice that I recommend a big, beautiful and old church, not a new one.) Between the decorations, music, and incense it really is an experience. You can even show up early, hear the concert, and then leave after the opening procession and songs (that way you miss the prayers if you don’t want that). But if you stay for the whole thing it’s really quite beautiful.

  17. I’m about as militantly atheist as they come and even I can’t muster the irritation to be mad at Christmas. Maybe my Catholic upbringing taught me to appreciate the only good things to come out of religion (music and art).

    But seriously.

    “Give gifts and be nice!”

    “Enjoy the colorful rituals and pretty ornaments!”

    “Drink the cocoa! Do it!”

    Ok ok, you twisted my arm.

  18. I’m with Pavel. I could care less when Jesus took the time to not exist. Bring on the exchange of stuff. Gift giving is a great chance to give and recieve the stuff we want but would never actually buy for ourselves. We get to eat, drink, hang out with family and friends while getting paid. Religious penis envy is a destructive force best not toyed with.

  19. While I went to public school and had the usual trees and religious-based christmas carols sung in the annual christmas assembly, as I have gotten older I have come to the opinion that I don’t get what Christians are complaining about. Look at it this way: In any given community (and I’m not going to include rediculous examples like National Forests and such), 99% of property is probably private, 1% public. A child probably spends 30-35 hours a week at school, out of a likely waking week of maybe 110 hours. So why are they so upset about the 1% of property that can’t have Christmas displays and the less than 1/3rd of their child’s time (and that’s assuming public school)? Why isn’t the vast majority of private property satisfactory for displays of celebration? After all, if religion is so central to their lives, than I would imagine that the Church and the Home should be far more central to their lives than City Hall, and in those places they are free to celebrate Jesus as much as they like. Similarly, the child’s 2/3s time at home or with others in their church community are going to have far more impact on their upbringing than the 1/3 of their time they spend at school (and if it’s so important, they should have the child in parochial school). It’s like they just aren’t satisfied unless it’s *their* religion, *all* the time, *all* places. It might be the wish of the majority to celebrate Christmas. But any majority can abuse it’s status as such, and that’s why I don’t think it’s fair for O’Really to casually dismiss the caller’s concerns by simply stating that it’s the will of the majority.

  20. dead elvis-

    I have a hard time figuring out who’s dumber: The ACLU types who sue over the Christmas tree at City Hall (even the tree decorated only with lights and shiny orbs and reindeer ornaments, no angels or whatever), or the Christians who act like a City Hall sans Christmas tree is the end of the world.

    And, for the record, I’m a card-carrying member of the ACLU and practicing Roman Catholic, and I love Christmas. I joined the ACLU because I agree with them on many things, but not everything.

  21. Obviously, Christmas is many things to people. Some who celebrate it don’t have an overtly religious connection to it, and some (probably most) do. I think it is an affront to the millions of Christians for whom it is a sacred day and a central part of their faith to tell them that it is a secular holiday. That’s not saying individuals can’t appreciate it as a secular day of family meals, good cheer, gift giving, and whatever they like. It means that, as a religious holiday, the traditions shouldn’t pervade public institutions. A day off is great because it can be used in a totally non-Christmas way if one so desires, but Christmas carols in the classroom can’t exactly be viewed as unrelated to Christmas.

    I don’t want my spirituality from government like I don’t want to be governed by religion.

  22. A few things.

    About O’Reilly and the original post, I read the transcript and I was with the Obnoxious One all the way until the very end. The stupidities of your opponent are just as stupid when you ape them yourself. If he doesn’t want to hear people bitching about dumb shit, why does he let them call in??

    About Dan and: I think the problem here isn’t that Christians are religious, but that Jews are. They have their own religious faith, and therefore get a bug up their collective ass about the religious implications of Christmas.

    Ahem. First, I don’t know what makes you think Jews as a group are more religious than Christians. Most Jews I know are pretty damn secular. If Jews are indeed more religious, it’s not by much. Secondly, WTF is this about us having a bug up our collective ass about the religious implications of Christmas? I think most Jews are pretty well acclimated to the fact that they’re a minority and what that entails, but if you let a few ingrates like O’Reilly’s caller represent Jews in general to you, that’s your problem.

    All that said, I find Christmas mildly annoying and occasionally fun, like many facets of mainstream culture that I don’t particularly relate to. When you look at things differently than most others (like when you’re a libertarian) it can be frustrating and alienating, but if you’ve got at least half a nut you learn to put up with it without whining. And enjoy of it what you can.

  23. And thoreau, has anyone ever told you you’re disgustingly well adjusted? 🙂

  24. “The only reason it is today a “christian” holiday is because the Roman Catholics took it from the pagans and “christianized” it in an effort to proselytize the pagans.”- Jon

    I think most everbody is aware of that. I believe I remember at least one of my Catholic school Religion class teachers pointing out pretty much the same thing. But, why should that make any difference in why Christians consider it a christian religious day? They’ve been doing so for the better part of 2000 years, why stop now?

  25. I think it is an affront to the millions of Christians for whom it is a sacred day and a central part of their faith to tell them that it is a secular holiday.

    Well I think it’s an affront to me to tell me that I’m going to hell because I don’t worship the right way but that doesn’t stop Christians from doing it. Life’s tough all over, they can learn to deal with their pain.

    Besides, the only religious aspects of Christmas are the ones that take place in churches, plus Nativity scenes and a few carols. The trees, the lights, the food and drink, the presents, the parties, most of the carols, practically all of the movies — none of that has ANYTHING to do with the religious aspects of Christianity. So if Christians have a problem with me calling that stuff “secular”, well, tough shit, cuz it is.

  26. Ahem. First, I don’t know what makes you think Jews as a group are more religious than Christians.

    I did not say that they were. I said that the Jewish aversion to celebrating Christmas was a problem stemming from Jews’ religious beliefs.

    Most Jews don’t celebrate Christmas. This fact leaves them somewhat isolated during the holiday season, causes them to miss out on some fun, and (according to frequent complaints from friends of mine) leaves them with nothing to do on December 25th but go to the movies. From an objective standpoint, abstaining from Christmas does not seem rational. It would be easier and more fun to celebrate it (which is why most atheists do).

    But out of curiousity, what’s your explanation for why Jews don’t celebrate Christmas? It’s obvious that the answer isn’t “because they’re not Christian”, because tens or hundreds of millions of non-Christians around the world celebrate the holiday in a secular manner. So what’s the reason for not only sitting out an event that 90 to 95 percent of the country is jazzed up about, but inflating a relatively minor holiday in order to provide a Jewish alternative to it?

  27. Dan, you’re really spouting a lot of unfounded nonsense, and I gotta admit that in a sick way I like watching it sprawl over the screen, like some retarded kid’s vomit in the school cafeteria. The main difference is that I would never think of pushing the kid’s face into his own vomit, while I’d be all too happy to push your face into your own.

    First off, you don’t what most Jews do on CHRISTmas. You think you have a good enough idea to claim it as true. But I’m quite sure you really have no reason to say this.

    This idea of Jewish religion-based aversion to CHRISTmas, this is another thing you don’t really know anything about.

    “From an objectivist standpoint”. Puh-leeze. This is really no different from saying that, ya know, you’re really going to be happier if, like, you’re not depresssed. So, like, don’t be depressed and stuff!

    I think you should stop speaking for Jews. You certainly don’t speak for me. I am Jewish. I celebrate CHRISTmas. And I have an aversion to it all the same. And it’s not because of religion. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in anything transcendental. I have an aversion to for complex reasons.

    Speak for yourself. Stop vomit this stupid crap, and if you’re really pissed about something, just come out and say it.

  28. This Christmas thing is getting old. I say push it back to once every five years.

  29. If Xmas was every five years, the anticipation would drive kids nuts. Oh shit, who am I kidding? I would go nuts.

  30. Dang, Larry, that was just a bit harsh. It strikes me as just a bit hypocritical for you to lambast Dan for making what you see as assumptions about Jews, while, at the same time, you make assumptions about Dan…namely, that he doesn’t know any Jews and he has no idea what they do on xmas, and that he’s just making stuff up and “spewing vomit”.

    While you’re making these assumptions, perhaps you should step back and entertain the possibility that Dan actually knows some Jewish people, and/or knows what they do on xmas, and/or knows if they have an aversion to xmas, and/or why.

    Instead, what you have done is said that, since Dan’s statements about Jews and xmas didn’t accurately describe your particular situation, then he is unequivocally wrong about all Jews. And that argument is just, well, a logical falsehood

  31. The commercialization of Christmas is a phenomenon of only the last hundred years. In the previous nineteen hundred or so, it was very religious indeed. After all, Europeans in the Middle Ages didn’t erect all those massive cathedrals at enormous expense just to have a little fun on Sundays and get extra festive at the end of December. So… I think people can be forgiven for complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. I was raised a Catholic, but now that I don’t believe any of it anymore, I don’t celebrate Christmas with anything more than the giving of a few gifts and a party or two. For the non-religious to follow all the trappings of what is most certainly a religious holiday (despite all the recent commercialization) is a bit strange, to say the least.

  32. Rhywun-
    I’m not exactly patriotic, but I still like the fireworks on the Fourth of July. I’m not French, but if I ever found myself in France on July 14 I’d probably have fun taking part in the Bastille Day celebrations. How’s that any different from non-Christians enjoying certain aspects of Christmas?

    Heck, if the government wants to be PC and give people Ramadan off I’ll support that, too, and have fun at Eid parties, so long as nobody expects me to stop eating at sunrise.

  33. As an apostate Jew (some Orthodox claim you can never resign your membership in the club) I can only quote my grandmother, “Let the goyim have their Christmas.” So be tolerant and indulgent of their goyische ways, for they don’t know any better.

    My father used to make a lot of money as saleman selling hats and men’s clothing to department stores for the Christmas season. To all Christians and Christmas celebrators out there, please buy lots of stuff, and help people like my father support their families.

    Mars Ultor Optimus Maximus!

    QFMC cos. V

  34. Larry,
    You seem very upset about the whole thing. You could just make the celebration about crucifying the sacriligous jew. Well that probably wouldn’t make things better.

    I hate christmas personally. Nothing about it is about me. I don’t have a family that I hang with, I don’t like having to give or recieve presents on a schedule (I generally buy something if I want it). I hate how everything shuts down, and all the programing on tv becomes childish.

    It is all about a pagan holiday based on an agrarian society. We are no longer agrarian. We don’t need to have everybody off work at the same time anymore.

    Stupid lights, stupid trees, stupid presents, stupid pretending that some magical farce is going to make anything better.

  35. everybody has overlooked why christmas is evil: we of the tree-worship society object to the dressing up of a tree like a freak, starving it, and then discarding it out on the corner.

    so there.

    two points for arguments that don’t blanket one side or the other.

    and fyodor: i think thoreau’s well adjusted attitude comes either from 1) ben stein’s money or 2) he’s fooling us and has some sort of surprise in store.

    happy holidays.
    drf

  36. Perhaps non-Christians wouldn’t be so quick to take offense at Christmas imagery if there weren’t so many arrogant pricks who gleefully push their majority status people’s faces. One of the writers at National Review put up a piece last year about how he says “Merry CHRISTMAS” at the top of his voice in public places when he ecounters someone around the holidays, just for the fun of pissing off people who don’t want to hear it. They post annual columns about how wrong it is to wish people Happy Holidays, because you’re not supposed to act is if their religious beliefs are the equal of your own.

    Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Man, and Know your Place.

  37. Who cares if Christmas is secular or Christian?
    Christmas is what you make it. And I plan to make it a day of reckless endangerment. Yay!!!

  38. Dan,

    My Jewish family did celebrate Christmas. Which all my Christian friends found weird. Which was a pain in the ass. But I got over it. Why any particular Jew may choose not to celebrate Christmas is up to him. While I can’t speak for others, one possible reason why nonobservant Jews might be less likely to observe Christmas rituals than atheists from a Christian background (if that’s even true) is practically self-evident. Ie, Christian background. Anyway, understanding people’s different preferences and habits and difficulties is generally a whole lot more complex than your cookie-cutter analysis allows. If you want to think that people are simply irrational to not do what you would have them do, once again, that’s your problem.

    BTW, I have atheist friends who have a much bigger problem with Christmas than I do. I remember telling two different friends how I couldn’t believe it when a coworker told me, “I know you’re Jewish so I hope you won’t be offended if I accidentally say Merry Christmas to you,” and they BOTH thought I was expressing outrage at those damn Christians thinking everyone should be like them! I only meant that couldn’t believe that someone would actually worry about offending someone by saying Merry Christmas! One of those friends is a diehard atheist and the other was looking into practicing Wicca. Anyway, O’Reilly’s caller’s got a problem if he thinks Christians are trying to convert him by simply celebrating Christmas, but you (like O’Reilly) have let yourself be dragged down to his level when you make such sweeping paternalistic generalizations.

    So there! 🙂

  39. joe,
    For Christ sake, settle down. Shouting Merry Christmas in the commons does not a prick make. He who bites his thumb at holly boughs, harms the peace more than them what put ’em there.

    PEACE and GOOD WILL
    Merry Solstice.

  40. “Christmas is what you make it.”

    Again, tell that to hundreds of millions of faithful; or go back in time and tell that to any Christian. Your belittling of one of their most important celebrations is disrespectful. Christmas is a *religious* holiday. I don’t care that its origin was a pagan holiday 2000 years ago, or that today the majority of people don’t see it as a primarily religious holiday. If you want to take some parts of the holiday that you like (trees and presents) and forget all the rest (prayer, faith, reflection, etc.), well that’s fine, but don’t cry if some of the faithful don’t exactly appreciate your version of the celebration.

  41. joe,

    Reading your last post makes me want to echo the words of that flawed, one-line sage, why can’t we just all get along…. While I wouldn’t say that the NR writer’s words proves that his side started it, as you might be implying, such words help demonstrate that belligerance, just like more overt forms of violence, can be part of a vicious cycle. That someone would act that way and be proud of it and think he’s being moral is spectacularly disgusting, even if the offense itself is of course rather minor. Oh well, people….

  42. Shouting Merry Christmas in the commons does not a prick make.

    Sure it does, if his purpose is “for the fun of pissing off people who don’t want to hear it,” as, according to joe, he freely admits. Of course, I’m taking joe’s word that this is an accurate description of what was written, but given that, I’d say that qualifies for prickhood. Although maybe more for writing about it in such a way than the actual doing of it.

  43. I think that another nice thing for people who celebrate Christmas to do, is to ask friends who don’t to tell about their traditions and celebrations.

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays, EVERYONE!

  44. In response to the ridiculous question of why Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, I could equally ask why Hindus don’t fast on Yom Kippur. The answer is because they are Jews, if they celebrated Christmas they would be Christians. I think the whole question is just another example of holding Jews up somehow to a different standard than others. The fact that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas does not necessarily mean that Jews are any more or less religious than anyone else.

    That said, I have no patience for fellow Jews who get upset because of Christmas and the public celebrations thereof. Just take joy in the fact that others are able to experience a time of year that has spiritual meaning for them and hopefully helps them grow and become better people in the faith that they have chosen. I don’t pretend to celebrate Christmas not because I am hostile to Christians or feel “left out”, but rather because I have respect for the spiritual meaning that the holiday holds for those who do and wouldn’t want to belittle that meaning by pretending to celebrate it.

    So yes, leave the Christ in Christmas, and if your Jewish, relax – wish your neighbor a Merry Christmas and thank them when they wish you a Happy and Healthy Rosh Hashana next September.

  45. Your belittling of one of their most important celebrations is disrespectful.

    don’t cry if some of the faithful don’t exactly appreciate your version of the celebration.

    Only the faithful get to “cry”?

  46. This should cover all the bases:

    Enjoy or don’t enjoy the sectarian or non-sectarian winter holiday of your choice.

    By the way, how did this thread evolve from non-Christians getting offended by the holiday to devout Christians getting offended because it’s celebrated by some who don’t take it seriously enough?

  47. This kind of reminds me of the minor controversy this last September when many high schools nationwide and at least one state university (Lousiville) rescheduled football games out of consideration for Rosh Hashana.

    I wonder if O’Reilly’s caller would consider that “Judiasm going into schools” or that to be an attempt to push Judiasm onto Christians?

  48. Whoa, some people are getting way too upset over this.

    I’m a practicing Catholic. I take the religious aspects of Christmas seriously. I also thoroughly enjoy the modern embellishments, many of them secular. The whole thing just seems like so much fun to me that I can’t get upset over people who only choose to celebrate certain parts of it, or who celebrate a similar holiday (e.g. Hannukah, Solstice, Festivus for the Rest of Us, Kwanzaa, etc.). Most of us are having a good time on or around December 25, and that seems good enough for me.

    To those who are upset and saying “Bah, humbug!”, I wish you a very politically incorrect Merry Christmas!

  49. Jennifer, your comment is insensitive to everyone in the southern hemisphere, for whom these are summer holidays. Good try, though.

  50. BTW, the food network recently aired a Christmas special of Iron Chef. I guess that those Japanese who celebrate Christmas (or a secular version of it, or whatever) eat chicken on that day.

    Being a Festivus fan myself, I have a question about this chicken: You got the rooster, the hen, and the chicken. The rooster has sex with the hen. So who’s having sex with the chicken? Something’s missing!

  51. The commercialization of Christmas is a phenomenon of only the last hundred years. In the previous nineteen hundred or so, it was very religious indeed.

    Yeah. That’s why it was banned in the Puritan colonies.

    Learn some history, willya?

  52. merrily beating a dead horse (or reindeer)…

    overwhelmingly, America is Christian.

    Give someone you love this uniquely American gift at Christmas. Throughout the year, as she uses it on her favourite wise men from the East, it will remind her of the coming of the baby Jesus and His message of Love.

    ——————–

    if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then.

    You know, the majority can be insulted, too.

    You gotta go move to the Vatican, then, O’Reilly.

  53. I admire Jews who refuse to celebrate Christmas. If I were Jewish, I would not be caught dead with a Christmas tree or any other Christmas decorations. What I dislike is when people (whether Jewish, of another faith, or not believers in anything) insist on celebrating Christmas, provided that the Christian majority calls it “the holidays” and otherwise strips all religious meaning out of the day. Also annoying are those, like Stephen Feldman in his book Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas, who insist that for a Christian to even mention Christmas in public, especially if someone Jewish is present, is somehow anti-Semitic.

  54. I admire Jews who refuse to celebrate Christmas. If I were Jewish, I would not be caught dead with a Christmas tree or any other Christmas decorations. What I dislike is when people (whether Jewish, of another faith, or not believers in anything) insist on celebrating Christmas, provided that the Christian majority calls it “the holidays” and otherwise strips all religious meaning out of the day. Also annoying are those, like Stephen Feldman in his book Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas, who insist that for a Christian to even mention Christmas in public, especially if someone Jewish is present, is somehow anti-Semitic.

  55. I think you should stop speaking for Jews. You certainly don’t speak for me. I am Jewish. I celebrate CHRISTmas.

    Allow me to reply with a line from the post you were responding to: “Most Jews don’t celebrate Christmas.” Do you see the important word you missed? Hint: starts with an “M”.

    In response to the ridiculous question of why Jews don’t celebrate Christmas

    I didn’t ask why Jews don’t celebrate Christmas. I asked what fyodor’s explanation was. My guess as to the reason is the same as the one you just cited: religious objections.

    I could equally ask why Hindus don’t fast on Yom Kippur.

    Well one possible explanation is that fasting isn’t fun.

    The answer is because they are Jews, if they celebrated Christmas they would be Christians.

    Celebrating Christmas doesn’t make you a Christian, either as a matter of personal choice or as a matter of Christian religious doctrine.

  56. “Stupid lights, stupid trees, stupid presents, stupid pretending that some magical farce is going to make anything better.”

    What about a Walmart Santa that dances, doubles as a karoke machine and sings Christmas songs in Spanish! You can’t possibly be grumpy around that can you? It’s a wonderful life(1947), Jimmy Stewart? Sugar cookies with cute little red and green happy faces?

    “everybody has overlooked why christmas is evil: we of the tree-worship society object to the dressing up of a tree like a freak, starving it, and then discarding it out on the corner.”

    This is exactly why I have a plastic tree.

  57. To get away from the arguments and return to something fun, how many people celebrate St. Nick’s day on December 6?

    In some parts of Europe (e.g. Netherlands, parts of Germany), St. Nick comes on December 6 and leaves toys in stockings. December 25 is the more religious celebration, and December 6 is the more secular (gasp!) celebration. Which is not to say that St. Nick’s day doesn’t have religious aspects (it includes the word “Saint”, obviously) or that Christmas is only for going to church, but that’s the general scheme.

    Milwaukee, my home town, was settled by a lot of Germans. So kids get candy and a small toy in their stockings from St. Nick on December 6. On December 25 Santa Claus comes and brings the main gifts.

    And yes, I realize that St. Nick and Santa Claus derive from the same origin, but a 5 year-old kid doesn’t realize that. So the little kids have fun and they don’t worry about the adults who argue over whether Christmas is a Christian holiday or if it’s been secularized or whatever.

    That seems like a pretty good resolution to me. Eat, drink, and be merry! Don’t worry about the semantics and deeper meanings.

  58. Being a Festivus fan myself, I have a question about this chicken: You got the rooster, the hen, and the chicken. The rooster has sex with the hen. So who’s having sex with the chicken? Something’s missing!

    Comment by: thoreau at December 8, 2004 11:50 AM

    thoreau, you moron!! The chicken was across the road! Everybody knows that. : )

  59. http://www.iowastatedaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/12/08/41b689a9c9804

    Xmas is a pagan festival from the start, adopted by Christianity.

  60. Xmas is a pagan festival from the start, adopted by Christianity.

    Quick, somebody get an angry pagan to complain that his or her holiday was “stolen” and then joe will call for an end to Christmas celebrations ;->

    Or at least that was his response to Wiccans who complained about Halloween.

    joe, I like most of your posts, but sometimes you pick odd causes.

  61. Keep mocking the gods, Thoreau, and you might find some Visigoths or Huns dropping by for a visit.

    I warned the Romans and they wouldn’t listen to me. Look what happened to them.

  62. No religious displays belong in the public schools. Christmas is a Christian holiday, celebrating the birth of one of their god guys. Being a rational person, I don’t believe in god, but I do believe in a secular state and a secular education – one in which no religion’s holidays are celebrated. As one wise person above pointed out, there are many places Christians are free to celebrate a primitive and irrational belief in god, and all the ensuing festivities that go with. Private school, for example. Public school must remain secular. That separation of church and state thingie, you know?

  63. O’Reilly and his caller would have little to argue about if we privatized the schools. No proselytizing would be going on if the caller’s kids were going to a yeshiva, or some secular school more attuned to his sensibility. BO’R could, of course, give his brood unto the ministrations of Sr. Mary Torture.

    As long as our society is still infested with government-run child-storage facilities, they shouldn’t celebrate any religious holidays. It might be nice if they could manage, in history and geography classes, to teach about them. This fall we had such silliness reported that some schools were omitting the religious content of Thanksgiving, as originally conceived by our early New England colonists. I’m an atheist, and I think that is idiotic. That our modern Christmas owes some things to pagan celebrations such as Yule, Saturnalia, or the birth of Mithra/Sol Invictus is fairly plain. That the early Church Fathers “baptized” their competitors’ holy days doesn’t take away from what Christmas means to Christians. It would be hard to set up a proper liturgical year if the Nativity was placed in the spring, hard by Passover/Easter.*

    I keep “the Solstice,” not because I worship any Deity, but because an astronomical phenomenon is as good a marker for the winter and spring festivals as any. Halloween and July 4th round out the year.

    BTW, when I was a Catholic School kid, we did so get Halloween off. Well, school let out at 3:00 p.m., and it really isn’t All Hallows Eve until the sun sets. We got Nov. 1, All Saints Day off, so homework could be put off till after Mass that day. What we didn’t have was an in-school party or parade. I expect that accommodation for the publik skool kids was a consequence of their having to show up for school the next day.

    Happy Humbug!

    Kevin

    *Some are skeptical that Jesus was born in the winter, as shepherds would not have their flocks in the fields in that season. They think it more likely that Joe & Mary’s kid would have been born in the spring.

  64. Christmas is celebrated in all corners of the world now.

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