Religious Right Claims Obama Desecrated Easter, a Holiday to Which They Have no Right

Ostara by Johannes Gehrts
Ostara by Johannes Gehrts
So apparently the Pagan holiday of Easter, which is, after all, named after the goddess Eostra, has been desecrated by President Obama because he let a gay Christian speak at the Fifth Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast on Monday. I don’t know. I am having trouble wrapping my head around that, and I will tell you why.

Now I know Christianity long ago laid claim to Easter just as it has laid claim to the Pope’s Pagan high priest hat and title (Pontifex Maximus), the “Jesus” fish (a Pagan fertility symbol suggesting the vagina), Christmas (the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or Birthday of the Invincible Sun), and so much else.

(I also know that they did this by the expedient of having exterminated through centuries of genocide and forced conversion, Europe’s Pagan population. Disingenuously, they now claim that Europe’s common heritage is Christian. It is not. It is Pagan. And Germanic Christianity in particular has been influenced by Paganism (Russell, 1994)).

It is a fact that Easter, like Christmas, has Pagan antecedents, or that Pagans have never relinquished possession of it. Or that the world has entirely forgotten that spring is for begetting. You know, as Cole Porter said, birds “do it,” bees “do it” (you get the drift). Yes, spring is the season to celebrate life renewed after the year’s dark winter, and you guessed it: fertility. And yes, Easter is in its origins, suitably enough, all about the vagina.

Let me explain: For the record, Easter is named, as I said, for a Heathen goddess, known to history (thanks to the Venerable Bede) as Eostra, who is equated with Ostara, a West Germanic goddess of the spring-time (Simek, 1993). Here is Bede’s testimony, lest the habitual liars on the Religious Right question the facts (and yes, I know they will anyway):

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.

The Pagan Easter festival itself was known as Ostarun (pl. of Ostara). As Rudolf Simek points out (see the genocide referenced above), it is impossible at this late date to know whether “the goddess derived her name from the Easter month or vice versa” (Simek, 1993). Because the Pagan month was Eosturmonath, as Bede relates, the Christian festival of Easter was named for the Pagan month, thus our modern “Easter.” In other words, April.

In this case it doesn’t matter if the chicken came before the egg, because they both came before Christianity.

Yet Jeff Allen, the senior editor of BarbWire, conjures up a medieval crime called blasphemy and pins it on President Obama for asking a gay bishop, Gene Robinson, to offer a closing prayer. Thus, says Allen, Easter was desecrated.

So, background and context in place, here is what happened, according to Allen:

President Barack Obama hosted about 150 Christian leaders at the Fifth Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast on Monday. At the conclusion of the event, the president chose to desecrate the Easter observance by spontaneously inviting the Episcopal Church’s first self-avowed, practicing homosexual bishop to offer the closing prayer. In his and the culture’s celebration of everything “gay,” apparently nothing is sacred.

I beg to differ. And not only because the Religious Right doesn’t give a fig for Jesus. Easter, like Christmas, was desecrated when Christianity laid its paws on both Pagan holy days. In the first place, you can’t desecrate desecration, and in the second, frankly, this sounds all too much like Fox News’ “War on Christmas” myth: essentially crying theft over a holiday that Christianity stole in the first place just sounds ridiculous.

No, clearly nothing is sacred to Allen’s new barbarians. Nothing is sacred to the Religious Right as they have proven again and again in their half-century culture war against the United States Constitution and the world’s first modern liberal democracy. Since they can’t haul is back to Salem and beyond, the best they can do is cry persecution and attack everyone who has a free-thinking bone in their body.

Yet Allen complains,

At one time, even Bishop Robinson thought marriage should be defined only as the union of one man and one woman. But he later embraced apostasy and began an open homosexual relationship with Mark Andrew. The two made it legal in a civil “union” ceremony in 2008, followed by a “religious” service, both held in St Paul’s Church, Concord, New Hampshire. Earlier, Robinson reportedly said, “I always wanted to be a June bride.” Oh, please!

Apostasy, really? Allen has already hauled out blasphemy, which is no longer a crime, thank the Founding Fathers, who recognized the threat of religious tyranny, but now he pulls out another non-crime, apostasy as well?

“Evidently,” laments Allen, “there’s solidarity between fellow “evolvers” on this issue.”

The Religious Right will never find its Zen where evolution is concerned. They have a predictable knee-jerk reaction to any reference to evolution, which is rather interesting given how much Christianity has evolved over 2,000 years. Now granted, it can reasonably be argued that they are not themselves Christian and that they have no more right to whine over Christianity than they do Paganism, but if they want Christianity to be a “historical” religion they must at least pay some attention to history.
They don’t want to do that, of course, which leads to people like David Barton and the Heritage Foundation, who make a living re-writing history to be more amenable to the Religious Right’s culture war pogrom…oh, I’m sorry, I meant to say “program.” Mea culpa.

Sources:

James C. Russell. The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation. Oxford, 1994.
Rudolf Simek. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Cambridge, England: D.S. Brewer, 1993

17 Replies to “Religious Right Claims Obama Desecrated Easter, a Holiday to Which They Have no Right”

  1. Thank you for putting so much effort into this article. BUT, check John 1:1. Christianity is older than paganism.

  2. It’s.. really not, John. Christianity evolved from Judaism with some admixture from Mithraicism, the Cult of Asklepios, and other Greco-Roman faith and cults. Some even suggest Buddhism but that’s more difficult.

  3. Since when can you prove your religion’s dogma is the oldest by quoting itself? That’s the equivalent of ‘because I said so’ which every one stops buying into about age 10…

  4. Christianity is at its most 2000 years old, founded in the last century of the Roman Empire. The roman ruled most of Europe for over 5000 years and Paganism the worship of the roman gods was the prevalent belief system… of course the term pagan did not exist back then as it was invented by Christians to describe any religion that was not their own. And after taking control of the roman empire set about to eliminate the evil pagans this cleansing failed under the protection of modern law many sects have resurfaced and are once again practicing in public.

  5. compassion, love of our fellow man,humility to admit we are not always right in our beliefs..acceptance of others..these are all to me christian values. All that I hear from the far right christians is if you don’t believe as I do then you are wrong…..all this nonsense from Fox to find another talking point to add to their list of crazy complaints…maybe the easter egg hunt should be cancelled on the white house lawn because that surely is promoting paganism by this administration inspite of the fact it has been done for years.

  6. Everyone John may be right. I mean the earth is after only 6,000 years old and since Jesus was foretold in the old testament that might make it true.
    Paganism has been around since man first stood upright and looked to the heavens with wonder and saw Gods everywhere. So I guess it’s been around for about 20,000 to 30,000 years, which would make it much older then Christianity and Judaism for that matter.
    But lets make this Easter one for reflection and peace within ourselves and with others.
    Happy Easter everyone.

  7. great. As always.
    But you left out the ears on the chocolate bunny! If Jesus died on a specific date, WHY is Easter a moveable feast? And how do you calculate when Easter falls?*

    The Sister who taught 1st grade didn’t care for that question. My young BS meter was already well-honed. A curse and a solace.

    *The first Sunday after the first full Moon after the Spring Equinox.

  8. Don’t forget the Holly and Mistletoe that are used to celebrate “Christmas”.

    They were BOTH used by the Druids in England for
    Centuries BEFORE the Roman empire arrived.

    The “Christmas” Tree came from the tribes in Germany.

  9. Just think if we didn’t have all this religion standing in our way of becoming a truly great society. All it does is cause division among people, and keep us chained to centuries old myths. We have evolved to a point where we can be a moral filled, just, and science oriented society. If we did that we could actually excel as the human race and be a shining little beacon in the universe.

  10. John Mogler,
    Paganism was old when the Jews first came to believe in the concept of “one god”. The worshiping of nature, of respect for the natural world, was something that most people in the ancient world had, no matter what concept of god or gods they may have embraced.

  11. So President Obama is committing sacrilege by allowing an Episcopalian Bishop to speak at a Christian event? Episcopalians/Anglicans wrote the KJV bible that the fundamentalists are so keen on. Have they forgotten? And while Christians hijacked Easter in Britain, further south they tried to hijack Passover – hence the pascal name in the Romance languages. Personally, I’m with the Pagans on this one – chocolate bunnies, brightly colored eggs, and scantily clad goddesses are way better than prophet zombies.

  12. LOL, whats baseless? Not believing or believing in one of hundreds of religions over time? Why did christianity have to hijack a pagan holiday?

    Being gay has nothing to do with whether someone is religious or not.

    Whatever religion you pretend to belong to, its certainly one of a severe lack of education, a severe lack of love for your fellow man and hardly one of humility and caring.

  13. Actually, the movable holiday thing is a really easy question to answer. The original Christian tradition links the crucifixion to Passover, which is a movable holiday. When Easter was established, they decided to keep it attached to Passover rather than put it on a specific day. Of course that doesn’t negate the many pagan influences on Easter.

  14. The celebration of Easter is not based on the Bible. If you look into its history, though, you will see the true meaning of Easter—it is a tradition based on ancient fertility rites. Consider the following.

    Name: The Encyclopædia Britannica says: “The English name Easter is of uncertain origin; the Anglo-Saxon priest Venerable Bede in the 8th century derived it from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre.” Others link it to Astarte, the Phoenician fertility goddess who had the Babylonian counterpart Ishtar.
    Hares, rabbits: These are symbols of fertility “handed down from the ancient ceremonial and symbolism of European and Middle Eastern pagan spring festivals.”—Encyclopædia Britannica.
    Eggs: According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, the hunt for Easter eggs, supposedly brought by the Easter rabbit, “is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite.” Some cultures believed that the decorated Easter egg

  15. New Easter outfit: “It was considered discourteous and therefore bad luck to greet the Scandinavian goddess of Spring, or Eastre, in anything but fresh garb.”—The Giant Book of Superstitions.
    Sunrise services: These have been linked to rites of ancient sun worshippers “performed at the vernal equinox welcoming the sun and its great power to bring new life to all growing things.”—Celebrations—The Complete Book of American Holidays.
    The American Book of Days well describes the origin of Easter: “There is no doubt that the Church in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a Christian meaning to them.”

    The Bible warns against worshipping God by following traditions or customs that displease him. (Mark 7:6-8) Second Corinthians 6:17 states: “‘Separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing.’” Easter is a pagan holiday that those who want to please God will avoid.

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