If you’ve never been exposed to the annual deluge of commentary from Christian pundits and lay persons alike, consider yourself lucky. In America today, especially in the Bible Belt (where I so begrudgingly abide) you can’t look twice before you find someone claiming that there is some sort of “War on Christmas or Christianity”. I wouldn’t have a problem with people like Glenn Beck or Bill O’rielly if they actually had a leg to stand on when they make these egregious claims, but the simple truth is that they do not. Today I am going to explore not only why these consistently bad claims are entirely incorrect but also give a surprising retrospective view of my own position on Christmas and other traditionally Christian holidays.
The Marginalized Majority
Glenn Beck, Focus on the Family, and others would have you believe that their Christian faith and their Christmas holiday is under attack by secular agendas, companies, and the ever present “liberal media”. Their main complaint? Well, according to Focus on the Family sponsored website Stand for Christmas the problem they have is with the secularization of their holiday and with the word “Christmas” or “Christ” being marginalized by euphemisms and generic terms like “happy holidays” and “Christmahanakwanzaka” . The website also touts the majority rule philosophy that made slavery such a grand enterprise.
How the term “Happy Holidays” is offensive is far from obvious to me, perhaps I’m simply being dense. In my understanding of the calendar there are a myriad of holidays starting with Thanksgiving in November and ending with Boxing Day in January. “Happy Holidays”, in fact, is the very opposite of exclusive…it is incredibly inclusive. Regardless of this fact some Christians believe that their one holiday should be the only one mentioned and lauded by retailers despite the fact that Hanukkah provides a massive amount of income for them…I don’t know about you but I don’t hear any Jews’ griping about that (the Hasid’s are too busy making everyone miserable with The Law).
For some reason these Christian pundits have convinced millions upon millions of Christians that their status as “The Majority” (a shrinking one I might add) gives them all the reason to be pandered to and influence government policy on every level. Majority rule is one of the cancers that the US Constitution sought to stamp out in America. Majority rule brought us enough slavery, separatism, theocracy, and hate in the past. Majority rule is destroying the rights of consenting homosexual adults to marry. Majority rule sucks.
Living in such a small town like Eastman, Georgia means that I live amongst varying degrees of Christians, all of whom are willing to become extra devoted during this time of year by putting up big red yard signs beside the road that say “Keep Christ in Christmas”. These signs are everywhere, even in front of the homes of people who normally couldn’t care less about their faith. The most disturbing part about this is that despite living in a place where they are the VAST majority, they still somehow believe they are being marginalized! Somehow these people, whom have never in their lives experienced discrimination on account of their faith or for the sake of Christmas, want to express their dislike with a problem that has NEVER affected them at all. Preaching to the choir has a whole new meaning.
A Retrospective View
As a former Christian one might assume that I was once as mislead as the people I have mentioned today are regarding Christmas, that is where you’d be wrong. In fact, since I was 14 I have had a very well defined stance against Christmas (and Easter) because of their undeniable pagan origins. You see, part of my faith was seeking Truth and the truth for me could have no part in a lie, since Christ was my truth at that time there was no reasonable way for me to reconcile my faith with pagan traditions. Everything from the Christmas tree, the Yule Log, and gift giving all had and have roots that are more strongly pagan than they are Christian. Why is it that believers have been able to look past all of these things for so long? Ignorance is my best guess. A few years ago I even tried to educate the locals with a letter to the editor of the Macon Telegraph (beware the awful spelling) about it. There was no revolution following it’s publishing. Now I know that not only is Christmas a borrowed pagan tradition, but so is the whole Christ myth…every single aspect of it.
Another thing I really hated about Xmas was the consumerism involved. For some reason people think that they are supposed to struggle to get by all year just so they can buy expensive junk for their spoiled brat kids in order to properly celebrate this holiday. When I was a Christian my walk was about personal sacrifice to devote my time to my god, I don’t see that anywhere in Christmas gift giving and celebration.
News Flash: There is no war on Christmas folks. There might be a war on intolerance and ignorance, but no one is trying to take Jesus out of your holiday. If you want to keep “Christ in Christmas” do so, but don’t make the rest of us suffer through your unfounded rhetoric. If you want to falsely make Jesus the Reason for the Season do so, but don’t ask it of anyone else. You are not alone on this planet, it’s as simple as that.
Happy Saturnalia – Festivus -Yule – Solstice everyone.