Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Christian War on Christmas

This has nothing to do with science and medicine, the usual fodder for this blog, but I've wanted to say it for years and it's my blog!

There is indeed a “war” against Christmas. By Christians. The evangelicals and the Fox commentators ought to be reminded of the sagacious Pogo, who exclaimed that he had met the enemy and “he is us.” It is the Christians who have become the enemies of Christmas, certainly in the U.S.

I always thought this was a good time of the year not to be a Christian. I don’t have to be offended by what they’ve done to my most important religious holiday. “They” are not Jews or Moslems or secularists. They are Christians.

Some historical background would be useful here. Christmas doesn’t really coincide with the birth of Jesus. If the New Testament is accurate, he was born in the spring. Remember the shepherds and lambs? There are no lambs in December. The holiday in December derived from the pagan worship of the winter solstice. The Yule tree is one of the pagan symbols, which is why the Puritans banned Christmas trees. In fact, they banned Christmas for several generations because for the holiday’s pagan origins.

Christmas itself was not always the major Christian holiday it is now. Easter was more important. It became a big deal during the Victorian era, at least in the English-speaking world. Most of the Christmas carols, which sound so ancient, actually were written in the 19th century. Americans tend to give credit to Clement Moore and his poem about the night before Christmas, written in 1822, which morphed St. Nicolas into Santa Claus, the holiday’s prime icon—a jolly old guy who drove a sleigh of reindeer and dropped down the chimneys of homes—millions of them simultaneously—to bring presents to the families. You see a lot more pictures of Santa than Jesus these days.

But a more likely fashioner of the modern Christmas was Charles Dickens whose A Christmas Carol (1843)—one of several Christmas stories he wrote, created the aesthetics of our current holiday. Think of how many images of Christmas come in Victorian dress. Throw in a little Currier & Ives, and you have our idealized holiday.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Indeed, it’s quite lovely, actually, especially the music. But that’s the ideal. It turns out Christmas is nothing like that at all.

It has become a materialistic orgy with the Jesus part just noise.

When I was a kid, the rule was that the Christmas season began the weekend after Thanksgiving. Now the ads and the decorations begin before Halloween and the ads come in torrents. Christmas has become not a religious holiday, but a commercial event, the biggest of the year. For many businesses, your profit comes in November and December or it comes not at all. I stay out of malls in November and December because the goyim are out in droves shopping and dropping credit cards.

What the hell does any of that have to do with the purported birth of the messiah. Ain’t my messiah, but if he is yours, why aren’t you offended? You cannot name a product that doesn’t have a Christmas ad, sometimes invoking the melodies of carols to sell stuff. From celebration of what you believe is the most important event in history we get a holiday of consumption, materialism and bad taste.

It wasn’t the ACLU that did it. We Jews don’t care what you’ve done to your holiday and I doubt many Moslems do either.

Is there a war on Christmas? Yes, and Christmas lost. And Christians did it.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year. Don't bother me with Kwanza.

And, as my Christmas present to you all, the words of Walt Kelly:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!


Bill O'Lielly said...

I take offense to your column. Chistians have not ruined Christmas. It has suffered a direct attack from an army of non-believers and falafels.

stevie said...

Being raised catholic, I'm a witness to how the right-wing christians and propagandists have given jesus a bad name with their lies and hate over the years. And now, once again, they're busy bringing their hateful message into the holidays by delivering a flurry of attacks on the spirit of christmas and spirituality in general. (If you believed in Satan, you would eventually come to think that Satan really controls them).
Eagerly, the right-wing partisans and hack-propagandists see this as yet another avenue to disingenuously attack the left and cause division and distraction--distraction which the mindless cattle electorate eagerly suck up.

It's amazing the many ways these fanatical christians and hate-mongers mirror the islamo-extemists they so hate and want to destroy. We should let them all move to the "holy land" to fight it out to the death. Let hate rule there. Imagine how much peace there would be in the world without these psychotic dogmas poisoning our environment. Then actual true spirit would have a chance to flourish. Alas, that's only a christmas dream of mine.

"I like your christ, but I don't like your christians. They are very unlike your christ". Gandhi

Tom said...

From my web log:
Jesus Christ
(sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, born on a bed of hay,
Came to earth to save our souls and wash our sins away. Yay!
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, born on a bed of hay,
Came to earth to save our souls and wash our sins away!

Two thousand years ago, in a shed behind the inn,
Midst asses, sheep, and camels, no crib but just a bin,
All alone his mom and dad, assisted at the birth,
And above the angels sang, good will and peace on earth.


And when he was a man, he gave the world so much
He loved lepers, whores, and taxmen, cause he had the common touch,
But scribes and pharisees were feeling Jesus' scorn
Moneychangers and powerful men wished he'd never been born.


The politicians quaked, he said the truth would make us free
So they pulled him down and nailed him up and killed him on a tree
For God so loved the world he sent his only son
With the Golden Rule the Prince of Peace is stronger than a gun.

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, born on a bed of hay,
Came to earth to save our souls and wash our sins away. Yay!
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, born on a bed of hay,
Came to earth to save our souls and wash our sins away!

Zeno said...

I rashly listened to a recent broadcast of EWTN's Open Line program. EWTN is a right-wing Catholic broadcasting network and Open Line is a daily call-in program for people who want answers to their questions concerning Catholic faith and practice. The hostess of the program opened with a cheery account of the joy of the Christmas season and how she set out on a happy shopping expedition after Thanksgiving. Then tragedy struck! A Salvation Army bell-ringer smiled at her and wished her "Happy holidays"! It was like a dagger in her heart! It ruined the Lord's special holiday!

Stupid bitch.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Christians most of all. Imagine being so insecure of yourself and having a religion so fragile that words alone can shatter your faith.

Imagine being in a position where everything that offends you and your faith has to be removed from sight, burned, killed or otherwise before you can feel any sense of joy at living.

Fade said...

Well, Anon= If you read the bible and then study history meticulously to find information about Jesus- You will see EXACTLY why Christians are in such a fearful state all the time. Their religion is based on the flimsiest of myths. It is false, and the more you read history the more you understand that Jesus is just a myth, and the Reason for the Season Is the Winter Solstice and nothing else.

Ludwigson said...

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Thank you, Father Christmas (aka J. Shurkin). Enjoyed this little present immensely.

And to you...

MERRY CHRISTMAS (and all the other best wishes, too!)

John L.