Three things seem inevitable: death, taxes, and the yearly ritual of an imaginary war on Christmas. That’s right. Every year the forces of persecution band together and claim that if everybody in the country doesn’t at least pretend to be Christian during the Pagan holiday season, they are waging a war on Christmas.
And while the Religious Right is perfectly happy to grant corporations personhood status when it comes to religion and contraception, woe unto any corporation that decides it is NOT Christian. A corporation engaging culture war is great. Declining to participate in the Religious Right’s culture war is somehow persecution.
The Religious Right’s idea of religious “freedom” is simply and starkly put: be Christian or else.
It is a perfectly stupid recipe for what the Religious Right excels at: combining bigotry, dishonesty, and hypocrisy in order to celebrate the birthday of baby Jesus. I bet Jesus never imagined that one day he’d become a poster boy for “Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have a First Amendment Day.”
Who better to become its spokesperson than Sarah Palin? And who better to cheer her on than fellow bigots and hypocrites Mike Lee (R-UT), Steve King (R-IA) and “Original Mama Grizzly” Phyllis Schlafly? This convergence of “You Better be Christian at Christmas” advocacy took place, appropriately enough, in Iowa, at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Annual Family Banquet.
This is where Sarah Palin clumsily and awkwardly read from ill-prepared and often incoherent notes as a way, I suppose, of showing up President Obama and his hated teleprompter.
Iowa, she said, is the “heart of the country” and “just so reflective of what’s good about America,” proving two facts, that she is somewhat cognizant of America’s geography (the actual geographic center of the contiguous U.S. is nearby, in Kansas) and that Iowans really like religious zealots.
What she demonstrated she does not know is the meaning of “oxymoronic” when she said that the term “war on Christmas” sounds oxymoronic. It does not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But hey, it’s Sarah Palin. Keep your expectations low. Pretend you’re a Republican.
“Everywhere,” she told the crowd, “it seems that faith, religious freedom is under attack. It’s pushed out of the public square.”
In other words, some people resent being forced to become Christian and these people are a problem.
“You’ll see it blatantly,” she warned, “come this holiday season. Around Christmas time, it really seems to rear its head. You’ll see the censorship and the double standards” (apparently saying religious freedom applies to you but to no one else is NOT a double standard).
If people like Palin can’t force us all to be Christians, they feel they are being persecuted. And how better to drive home this point than by profiting from it? It is no coincidence that Palin has written a book, or at least, let somebody else write a book she can attach her name to. It is called “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
“I’ll say this in a very jolly and Christmasy way, enough is enough!”
Yes, because being forced to participate in your religion is such a jolly thought for us all. And no, this is not a heart-warming Dr. Seuss tale. She said “the Grinch wants to force Christ out of Christmas.” Ironic, since Christ was forced into Christmas in the first place, by Church fathers eager to replace the Pagan gods with their own god.
But hey, since when do facts matter to Sarah Palin?
Palin – and you have to give her this – knows how to dish it out: “Christmas is under attack and it’s a symptom of a bigger issue,” she said, ignoring the simple fact that not everybody is a Christian and will therefore even want to celebrate Christmas, in favor of conspiracy theories and paranoia.
“The war on Christmas is just the tip of the spear in a larger battle to marginalize expressions of faith and make America’s true religious freedom just a thing of the past,” she said instead, telling the crowd that the government is trying to become a church, which is part of that whole “everything we don’t like is a religion” trope, even non-religion and even inanimate objects and concepts.
As with anything coming out of the mouth of Sarah Palin, the concept seems to be a little fuzzy and in the best Bartonesque fashion, the facts few and far between.
“The crowning achievement of their church of big government,” is Obamacare, and the Republicans she said, despite making themselves guilty of sedition, just didn’t do enough to stop it. It is hardly surprising coming from somebody who thinks we all ought to be forced to become Christian for Christmas that nothing short of armed insurrection is waving “the white flag of surrender.”
You know by now that Palin loves to hear herself talk so she never resists an opportunity to publicize her ignorance. Her appearance gave her the opportunity to say she is concerned about the U.S. owing China $1.3 trillion, claiming that “It’s going to be like slavery when that note is due,” but she did not tell the crowd, probably because she doesn’t understand economics, that the money in question keeps not only interest rates low in this country, but tax rates as well, and isn’t Palin supposed to love lower taxes?
As Rick Newman at US News wrote last year in response to Romney’s complaints about the China debt,
China is an easy bogeyman for U.S. politicians, because it’s an ocean away and it’s still run by the Communist Party. But the economic threat posed by China is routinely exaggerated. Investors in China do hold about $1.2 trillion in U.S. government debt, but that’s only about 7.3 percent of all U.S. debt, and 10.3 percent of debt held by the public. (Government agencies such as the Federal Reserve hold about $5 trillion of America’s $16 trillion in total debt.) Japan holds nearly as much U.S. debt as China does, but nobody ever complains about Americans being in hock to the Japanese.
Why isn’t Palin angry at Japan?
A better question would be to ask why Sarah Palin isn’t honest, but there the answer is easy. ‘Tis the season to be fleeced, she has a book to sell, and besides, what grifter ever profits by honesty?
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.