“All I want for Christmas is to kill it,” seems to be the song conservatives think liberals sing each and every holiday season. Fox News has made a lucrative living pushing a nonexistent war on Christmas, seizing on every example of religious pluralism in this country – that is, the right of people to believe whatever they wish, including nothing at all – and making it seem anti-Christian.
Media Matters reports on an example of this from Fox & Friends. You see, Rhode Island Govenor Lincoln Chafee used the term “holiday tree” instead of “Christmas tree” (the correct identifier would be “Yule” tree, since it’s a very Pagan emblem of the season). And then, not only did he call it a holiday tree, but he didn’t make any big deal about lighting it up for the season.
Well, how dare Governor Chafee recognize that there are non-Christians in Rhode Island! As Media Matters relates, “On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Nauert claimed Chafee made the ‘decision to kill Christmas,’ alluding to a decision by the governor not to host a tree lighting ceremony at the statehouse this year.”
Of course, during those halcyon days of Puritanism our Religious Right pretends to yearn for, Chafee’s decision would have been hailed by religious authorities, given that the Puritans recognized the Pagan origins of the tree.
Even the Christian Science Monitor recognizes the historical context of Christmas in Rhode Island, pointing to the fact that “Roger Williams founded the Providence colony and called for a complete separation of church and state.” Rhode Island thus became a refuge for Jews and Quakers.
It cannot, apparently, be a refuge for those who don’t want to say “Merry Christmas.”
But then, according to conservatives, there can be no such refuge anywhere on these shors. And tomorrow, the world.
But what is funny in this particular instance is that moments later, Fox aired a “Holiday Wish List” rather than what should have been promoted, for consistency’s sake (not to mention hypocrisy’s), a “Christmas” wish list. Media Matters pointed out that “This is not the first time that Fox’s “War on Christmas” them has been undermined by the channel’s own use of the word holiday rather than Christmas” but with conservatives in general and Fox News in particular, it has always been a case of “do as I say” rather than “do as I do.”
How else to explain the illicit drugs, prostitutes, and girlfriends (sometimes, boyfriends) the wife doesn’t know about?
As far as the War on Christmas goes, it is hilarious that Fox News and conservatives would make sport of the War on Women as some imaginary thing while promoting a War on Christmas. The War on Women is amply documented. There are literally dozens of pieces of legislation both state and federal promoted by Republican legislators, including a record number of anti-choice bills, dating from 2010.
There are exactly zero laws targeting Christians and the practice of their religion.
World Net Daily is claiming that half of Americans are at war with God. The obvious problem with this is the underlying insistence that all Americans should be recognizing the God of Abraham, not only as a god but as the only god.
The Constitution does not require this. The Constitution, as it happens, forbids the government to promote this idea by banning the establishment of a state religion.
Only a monotheist could throw a tantrum because not everybody worships their god. Seriously. As problems go, this is not one.
Of course, I am a polytheist. For me, all gods exist, even the god of Abraham, though I see him as a god of northwestern Arabia, a desert god for desert folk.
I haven’t lost anything in Sinai. If folks of European descent want to worship a religion Arabian god, that’s their business. I don’t care. I could not care less if anybody recognizes my gods. They’re my gods. Why would it matter if they’re anybody else’s?
Well, we don’t need to get into the whole “revealed” religion thing here where we all stand surety for humankind’s good behavior so the God of Abraham doesn’t swat us all down, a pretension for which, to my polytheist eyes, the other gods would have a good laugh, if nothing else. Thor wards me. YHWH can take a swim.
My point is that, under the Constitution, my viewpoint is as valid under the law of the land as World Net Daily’s or Heather Nauert’s or an atheist who thinks the whole god thing is a bunch of hooey. Thomas Jefferson said so, famously saying in his Notes on the State of Virginia (Query XVII) that “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
I feel the same. And it’s a healthy outlook to have. Worry about your own pursuit of happiness and don’t feel that your own requires them to share yours, even if you have to coerce them.
But authoritarianism loves obedience and apparently it is required by the Bible (so they insist) that we all obey and celebrate Christmas, even if it is nothing to us. Even if the Constitution, which is the law of the land while the Bible is not, says that we don’t have to.
Craig McMillian at WND says that we’ve all become stupid, that we missed some classes in college or “were too busy enjoying the enforced coed dorms and subsidized abortions at our nation’s most prestigious educational establishments.” He even suggests inbreeding may be to blame for wanting change (I mean, who could possibly want change unless they were the victims of inbreeding?), an event which “dumbed us down.”
It’s all about tantrums here. There is no war on Christmas. There are, however, growing numbers of people who do not share with any great enthusiasm Christian doctrine, or do not share it at all. People like Heather Nauert and Craig McMillan think we’re being anti-Christian by refusing to be Christian and thinks that we all ought to help Christians celebrate Christmas whether we want to or not.
I personally think the God of Abraham, assuming he is the same guy who sent Jesus, would recognize all the stolen Pagan trappings when he sees them (I mean, a God would have to, right?) and probably laud folks for not falling into Heathen ways.
The God of Abraham would certainly recognize that Jesus was not born on December 25, though a lot of Pagan gods were celebrated or born at that time of the year, including my own Odin, who soon will be taking to his eight-legged horse Sleipnir to lead the Wild Hunt across the skies, much like the later Santa.
You see the connection. Odin = Santa.
Look, there is nothing new under the sun, including Christmas. It’s all been done before by somebody else and for different reasons and to different gods.
Apparently, because we liberals are in touch with actual facts, and recognize these things, we are victims of inbreeding, but then you’ve got to consider the source. I mean, who knows stupid like WND and Fox News?
I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.
Oh. And Happy Holidays.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.