Have a Very Dawkins Christmas


The atheist you love to hate surprised some Brits by arguing, rather passionately, in favor of public Christmas celebrations.

On Have Your Say, [Conservative Party MP Mark] Pritchard told Prof. Dawkins there was an "increasing feeling" that "many of the main Christian festivals are being sidelined and marginalised, sometimes by stealth, sometimes openly".

This, he argued, would allow groups such as the British National Party, to utilise Christian imagery for their own ends.

Prof Dawkins, who has frequently spoken out against creationism and religious fundamentalism, replied: "I'm not one of those who wants to stop Christian traditions.

"This is historically a Christian country. I'm a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims.

"So, yes, I like singing carols along with everybody else. I'm not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.

"If there's any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists."

The BBC has some background about Pritchard's quest, and it sounds more or less like the counter-"War on Christmas" that kicks off on Fox News' prime time blog every year after Thanksgiving. I think this puts the lie to the Romneyite attack on atheists weakening America by objecting to nativity scenes in front of public buildings. The UK (where I lived from 1998-2000) has a very public, pervasive Christmas tradition, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming one of those "societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer." The ultra-commercialization and public perception of Christmas (complete with Dr. Who specials! Make sure to check out the Adventure Calender) has chugged right along with the decline of British Christianity.