Gretchen Carlson of Fox News is increasingly worried about “a Festivus for the rest of us.”
Festivus, of course, derives from a 1997 episode of Seinfeld, “The Strike,” (full episode here) and takes place on December 23 of each year. Significantly, Festivus is in that episodes a response not to Christianity, but to the commercialization of Christmas, something conservative Christians would be concerned about if only they had not come to the bizarre belief that Jesus died for the sins of corporations.
Unsurprisingly, quick to grasp any excuse to be a persecuted minority, the self-styled spokespeople for the largest religion in the world, see Festivus instead as an attack on Christianity.
People should be celebrating the birth of Jesus by buying crap and putting little plastic Jesuses and Marys on their front lawns lit up like Vegas. Because, you know, that’s how first century Bethlehem rocked its mangers.
Interviewed by World Net Daily, Gretchen Carlson tried to get all persecuted by this quite reasonable response to commercialization of what should be a spiritual holiday:
Over the last decade, I do believe there has been more emphasis on trying to strip our society of certain things that have been in existence for a long time,” added Carlson, “such as lawsuits to take crosses down in the western part of our country, lawsuits to take out the word ‘God’ from our money or not allowing our kids to say it in their valedictorian speeches, forces pushing for atheists to lead campus Christian groups and petitions at state governors’ offices during the Christmas season to put up a ‘Festivus pole’ – from the made-up holiday of ‘Festivus’ from the ‘Seinfeld’ TV show – next to a Christian crèche on public lands.
As a journalist, I see these stories frequently,” she said, “and I just want to make sure Americans realize if you don’t stand up and take notice of some of these things happening, before you know it, our heritage starts to erode.
You mean our heritage of religious freedom? That’s what really scares her here, the specter of religious freedom, that other religions have equal standing in our public marketplace, that Christianity is no longer privileged above all others.
The problem of Festivus, bad enough in itself, has, as Carlson admits, been compounded due to the adoption of the holiday and the Festivus pole, by atheists, as Wikipedia explains:
In 2013, an atheistic organization erected a Festivus Pole constructed with six feet of beer cans next to a nativity scene, menorah and other religious holiday displays in the Florida State Capitol Building. The year before, a Festivus Pole was erected on city property in Deerfield Beach, Florida, alongside Christian and Jewish holiday displays. A similar group of religious displays in the Wisconsin State Capitol also included a Festivus Pole.
Good God man, you can’t mean that an empty beer can has equal value to plastic baby Jesus!
Yes, I can. The First Amendment says so. And there’s the rub, as Shakespeare would say. My beliefs, like his beliefs and her beliefs, are all equal to your beliefs, Gretchen. And that really bothers you, doesn’t it? This bothers conservatives like all the icky brown people thinking they’re equal to white people bother conservatives.
For me, during the Christmas season, I don’t want to take my kids around in the car to see all the crèches in the town where I live in and hear them say, ‘Mom, where are they? I don’t see them anymore.
This just isn’t the America they knew. It is being taken away from them. What Gretchen is saying is that, someday, you won’t be able to drive around and look at all the happy white people with their glowing plastic baby Jesuses. There will be brown people too. Some of them not speaking English as a first language. And there will be Festivus poles and symbols of other religions alongside crosses.
It has become clear throughout history that other belief systems, including especially the belief that there is no god, are a threat to Christianity’s elevated image of itself. Conservative Christians especially have a difficult time understanding that there are options to be found outside of their religion.
The very possibility that anyone might consider for even a moment that there might be a viable alternative to their religion must be eliminated, root, branch, and Festivus pole. The mere existence of alternatives is a form of persecution.
In other words, you don’t even have to say no to the Religious Right to persecute them. You just have to believe something else.
What Gretchen is saying, to the extent that she has thought this out at all, is that we can’t let people get the idea that there might be things to do other than stroking the egos of patriarchal totalitarians. Like her employer.
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.