Democrats & Liberals Archives

The War on Christmas... Spirit!

It never occurred to me that when I was being wished happy holidays, that I as a Christian was being slighted. Christmas is one such holiday, really. Now we’re getting stories where folks are getting angry about what color skin our birthday boy or jolly old elf have. I frankly don’t know what they’re actually protecting or saving by getting angry. The very fact that they’re going out of their way to pick a fight just makes me roll my eyes.

I know they're trying to make us look like scrooges, but they're really avoiding a significant fact here: not everybody in America is a Christian. The country itself is not politically bound to Christianity. There's no law against giving up the faith. There's no law against converting. Nor should there be. The government has adopted a hands-off attitude towards religion because it simplifies things.

Prime example: those folks in Oklahoma set up that ten commandments monument, and no sooner is that done than the Satanists come along and try to put something up. Though some guy piously says that the framers didn't intend for freedom of religion to extend past Christianity, no such intentions are evident in the rather flat prohibition against a state supported church, or the state denial of religion. So, if you let the Judeo-Christian Crew show up with a monument to God, the devil worshippers can show up with one to their object of affection.

The whole point of putting up that Ten Commandments monument is to use the power and prestige of the government in order to lend support to their religious viewpoint, and to get a foot in the door for more use of official power in that direction. They see it as a way to preserve tradition, beat back the decadence of American society.

But if Constitutional principles matter, they must be applied consistently. Freedom of Religion is the freedom to both believe and not believe. It is also the separation of the mechanisms of state from the mechanisms of religion. No church enjoys an advantage. Shouldn't they be self-sufficient, satisfying the spiritual needs of their flock, or else falling by the wayside?

The notion of the Dominionists, and other to a lesser extent, is that the government needs to be a crutch for Christianity, as a religion tied with unique strength to America's traditions and the culture. Without that support, they contend, the nation as a whole decays.

Whether they really believe that or not, the truth is, once we start playing favorites, then Government becomes involved in decisions over what is acceptable doctrine, because that is the criteria by which favorites must be decided, as we're dealing with a democratic republic here. Here is where I could say a little naïveté comes into play. Once we start talking about the kind of ecumenical state faith popular enough to survive political pressures from the people, then we start talking compromises. A faith that is sufficient for an individual who is free to decide for themselves is insufficient for a government that must negotiate between the many.

And if you do manage to get a stronger brew in that particular cup, how long before it gets spilled out by people who reject it's more pungent taste?

I submit that at the end of the day, you are responsible for how you choose to celebrate the holidays, just as you are responsible for your faith, whether it be in no gods or twenty, or just the one.

I believe one of the great things about freedom is that most often, you don't have to care what somebody else thinks if you don't want to. It isn't like somebody's going to bust into your house and take you away for being a Jew, a Muslim, being a fundamentalist, or being an atheist. You can associate with who you want, speak your peace.

You only have to care about the political stuff if you choose. If it matters to you. This whole War on Christmas thing is just people trying to make the inclination some have not to celebrate holidays they don't believe in into another political wedge issue, another grievance to drive people apart over. What I'd say is that you're not exactly keeping Christ in Christmas for these people, not by vilifying their concerns, nor by cursing them out for not treating the holidays in the same way you do.

I personally did not get into Christianity or anything like that until I understood enough of it, enough of what Jesus, Peter, and Paul were talking about, to see beyond a lot of that wedge issue stuff that had me seeing them as humorless, hypocritical, and vindictive. I had to see and experience Christians in my life who weren't just folks wearing forced smiles and questioning the good in me.

If you really want to show people the Christ in Christmas, you have to realize that some fights don't have winners. If you bash people for talking about the Holidays rather than Christmas, you haven't shown them the love of the child whose birth you're celebrating. They're giving you a blessing. They're including you in that "Happy Holidays" wish. You'd probably sooner get them to stop wishing you or other people Happy Holidays, than you will encourage a "Merry Christmas"

So, Peace on Earth. Goodwill towards man. Wish people a Merry Christmas. The vast majority will not be offended, even if they don't believe. They'll know you mean well. Question is, will you acknowledge their goodwill, will you complete that circuit, and tie that person closer to yourself, rather than alienate them?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2013 7:45 AM
Comments
Comment #375210

I agree wholeheartedly that this whole ‘war on christmas’ nonsense we hear every year is tiresome and boring, especially considering it is a made-up holiday to begin with…

But one line in your article struck me.

But if Constitutional principles matter, they must be applied consistently.

Indeed.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 20, 2013 10:08 PM
Comment #375218

Thanks for the objective post, Stephen Daugherty! Well worth the read.

It is unfortunate the people in Oklahoma chose to single out a display of Satanism while allowing monuments to spagetti monsters and such. Satan is very much a part of organized religion. He is portrayed as the opponent of God and has a desire to reclaim Heaven as his own. He has followers that were cast out of Heaven with him and seeks to persuade others to join him against God.

The people who banned that display stepped in the doodoo pile and did nothing to further the cause of religious freedom in this country. Many people are saying “Enough is Enough”, and then someone comes along and does something like this. It is unfortunate, and discouraging, but I have hope people can put aside religious bigotry on both sides and just being tolerant of others. Maybe then we could concentrate on more important things.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 21, 2013 11:28 AM
Comment #375224

Nobody can seem to see the communist ploy here, make X-mas a point of contention and ruin holiday sales. This is a take-down of our economy. I mean I’d like to play the ethicist but it’s more than that—it’s a means to financial ruin for our retailers when the fake Christians come out.

Now fact: My aunt has worked at Sears for 80 years they have always said “Happy Holidays”. WHY? Because the Catholics have 3 holidays in December not just Christmas. ADVENT, ST. STEPHENS and CHRISTMAS—O’Reilly is a neo-christian dunce fake when it comes to Christianity—he just doesn’t know the Christian faith within a rimshot. Why doesn’t he? BECAUSE HE’S NOT AN ACTUAL CHRISTIAN PROBABLY—ALL CHRISTIANS MOST LIKELY KNOW THERE ARE THREE HOLIDAYS IN DECEMBER, FROM THE POPE ON DOWN—3! CATHOLICS GO TO CHURCH ON ADVENT (DECEMBER 1st), ST. STEPHENS (‘round winter solstice) AND CHRISTMAS—ALL ACTIVE CATHOLICS IN THE U.S. DO THIS.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 21, 2013 3:06 PM
Comment #375225

This is a Canadian style take-down of our holidays straight out of Miterand’s socialist playbook. They dropped X-mas for Boxing Day. This is all commie playbook straight out of the work of Marx.

Question: If “Holiday” means “Holy-day” what’s wrong with “Happy Holidays” is that not Christian now too???? Why is that not a Christian statement now? It certainly used to be.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 21, 2013 4:05 PM
Comment #375226

I am pleased that the United States government and every state in our union recognize Christmas as a national and state holiday. They even name the day “Christmas”, not “Happy Holiday”.

As long as we keep the name of “Christ” in the holiday we celebrate on December 25th I am pleased. Without Christ it is just a secular holiday that can be celebrated on any date we choose.

Christians and others enjoy the 25th of December as a special day of giving and receiving. That’s as it should be. Christians commemorate the birth of Christ. Non-Christians commemorate something else of value to them. That’s as it should be as well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 21, 2013 4:09 PM
Comment #375227

What’s a Unitarian? Congregationalist? Universalist? Is that our religious future—man, this is all Toffler/Marx. Aquaint yourselves with the Marxist works of the big “T”, this will all make sense. We outsource our way to bitter incompetency in product reliability, this gets us used to this era. Get rid of holidays by making them a burden and make us say what the heck to anything, deregulation, outsourcing et al. Make us compliant by destroying all that is good. All republicans are in on it—they aren’t what we think they are—these are foreigners and children of foreigners. ET al Mousselini supporters looking for a free ride here too.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 21, 2013 4:16 PM
Comment #375230

Simple…are you off your meds again?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 21, 2013 4:57 PM
Comment #375231

simple
What was your aunt’s first job at Sears?
What store did she first start in?

Posted by: tom humes at December 21, 2013 6:27 PM
Comment #375232

Isaiah 9:6

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

What wonderful words written long, long ago about the King of Kings whose birth Christians celebrate on December 25th. Is it any wonder that believers cherish this day in commemoration of His birth?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 21, 2013 6:37 PM
Comment #375235

What store she started in was in Paramus NJ (eventually New York City/Manhattan area)and it was with the Whitney Shirt Company(Sears Roebuck 1920’s). She worked at the plant to start I believe, Paramus NJ.
There are three Christian holy-days in December—that history makes me crazy huh? O’Reilly’s a phoney Christian as evidenced by his lack of church-time anywhere or he’d know the Christian Calendar.

And as for immigrants I think we are at a loss for having any of them time memorial. These dingos bred here, they made Rubios, Giullianis, O’Reillys, Krauthammers, Coultres, Palins, Roves, Gingrichs and so on. They even made Kerrys, Pelosis, Bidens and Cuomos. Can we get out of the Republican melting pot? let’s hope so for our sake and our children’s futures. They are a different genepool and they would be better served living back overseas in-a dee ol-a-country-ah.

All they made thus far are politicians that placate you with BS or bar bouncers that annoy you with trying to read I.D.s upside down—The Italians brought us so little it’s astounding (Marconi is a front for Sears Roebuck, it was a question of marketability) nevermind the polish. A European is an idiot which is why these incompetents don’t have any currency over there other than the unbackable “Euro” that the market doesn’t want. A European is an illiterate imbicile—their claim to fame; communism and the horrors of Russia; the end. Europeans are a failure on every level here—hey-a go back-a home.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 21, 2013 7:59 PM
Comment #375245

Clintons,Reeds,Jindahls,Nugents,Koppels,Courics,Watts,Lauers,Stuarts,Chomskys,Naders,Blitzers,Humes,Caputos,Netanyahus, Yes even Mandelas.

The Italians became “Bobby with the Camaro” and “Gina wid’ da’ gum”.
The Irish became deranged phys ed. teachers telling us the true meaning of Christmas (they insist they are Catholics due to something they saw on Frontline about the IRA—they aren’t Catholic here either).
The greeks became school principals of the year and no one knows why, favorite grouch-type guy or gal meanwhile all their students are running a drug-ring from the bathrooms.
The Germans are still looking for shop-lifters everywhere.
The Spanish are in college studying Philosophy, Sociology and Natural history (all oral testing courses) and still trying to develop personalities through hair colorings.
The polish are now all hot headed cops referring to everyone they meet as “Buddy” or really angry republicans running god-aweful restaurants.
The Dutch are thankfully still overseas eating bugs and hemp.
The Russians are somewhere being evil and doing porn.
The French won’t stop with their hate of Ketchup or something else we do equally libertine.
The jews are all strung out on H.

A European is totally and completely useless, there’s an element here we cannot converse with—nobody can.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 22, 2013 3:37 PM
Comment #375258

Funny, seeing how all this nonsense started because the ‘Happy Holidays’ crowd are the ones who couldn’t take ‘Merry Christmas’ as a blessing.

“Question is, will you acknowledge their goodwill”

Yes, with a happy reply of ‘Merry Christmas.’

Posted by: kctim at December 23, 2013 4:01 PM
Comment #375262

No, it was not started by the ‘happy holidays’ crowd, kctim. Some people wanted a more inclusive greeting so they chose something else. And the Christian moralists went nutso…

I’m an atheist and have never, once, gotten upset with anyone wishing me good tidings from their religious point of view. I have been told ‘god bless you’, ‘merry christmas’ and other greetings many times and I warmly accept them because it is the meaning behind them that means something, not the words. If a religious person offers me ‘merry christmas’, I genuinely embrace that, but if I return with ‘happy holidays’, will the Christian feel the same way?

I have a story that relates…

One day I was getting gas. Usually I pay at the pump, but I needed to use the facilities and when inside to pay instead. As I was waiting to check out, the police were there and a guy was being detained. He had tried to pay for his gas but didn’t have the funds on his card that he thought he had. The clerk was not happy about having to call the police but felt his hands were tied, he didn’t want his draw to be short. The police were trying to work out a solution but weren’t getting very far. I asked ‘How much was the bill?’ from the clerk idly as the man was talking to the police and he told me it was about $35 dollars. I told the clerk to put it on my card if that would solve the situation. The clerk told the police, they said if it was paid for they wouldn’t detain him and the situation could be over. The man was extremely grateful and asked me ‘Do you believe in god’? I said ‘no, not really’ and he said ‘I don’t you don’t mind me saying god bless you’, and some other religious stuff. I didn’t mind because I understood that FOR HIM, he was giving me the highest expression of gratitude, of thankfulness, that he could offer as a Christian. I thanked him warmly and told him to just help someone else out one day who needed it. I didn’t get indignant that he would mention the name of (to me) an non-existent ghost to me in his expression of thanks because that was MY view, not HIS.

Does this makes sense?

Now, if we all could accept that the sentiment behind the words are what is important and not the words themselves, what they mean to the person saying them, not what they mean to US, this stupid idiotic nonsense of a ‘War on Christmas’ would never exist. The reason it does is because of those who are engaged in it are more interested in themselves than others, are selfish instead of giving and caring.

The next time someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ to you, instead of getting offended that they didn’t mention the word Christmas during the time of several holidays (including the fact that Christmas was itself the overtaking of a pagan holiday during the early Roman era) understand that that person is wishing you good tidings in the manner than they believe in, that in that respect it means something TO THEM, therefore it should mean more to you because of that sentiment.

Perhaps then we can stop this annual ritual of selfishness that has pervaded our society and actually do what we were supposed to be doing during this time of year, and I say all year, wish each other positive feelings instead of negativity and selfishness.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 23, 2013 6:02 PM
Comment #375263

Good comments Rhinehold.

At one time Christmas was a purely religious holiday. Granted, the date chosen is not the date of Christ’s actual birth, and granted that the date chosen for the commemoration was made by man.

However, the fact remains that whatever date was selected was done so to commemorate the birth of Christ and came to be called by His name.

That the non-religious chose to celebrate something more to their liking on the 25th of December is fine by me. However the mere fact that the non-religious celebrate something on the date the religious have chosen to celebrate Christ’s birthday is incidental to the occasion. It does not change the reason for the celebration on that date.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 23, 2013 6:29 PM
Comment #375264

Royal, you do realize that there were many people celebrating holidays on around that week of the year before Christianity, right? Like Hanukkah? And specifically why the December date was chosen was that when Rome embraced Christianity (after feeding Christians to lions in previous generations) they wanted to bring other religions into the fold, and help make the fact that they were making those religions illegal more palatable to them. So they saw that most of the other religions were celebrating the Winter Solstice with some ritual/celebration of some sort. They co-opted the time of the year when all other religions were celebrating something. So no, it wasn’t ‘incidental’.

So, it may be why YOU celebrate on the 25th of December, but it doesn’t explain why others celebrated that time of year. And have been doing so for much longer than Christianity existed.

Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnalia, became syncretized into Christmas over the centuries. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday’s inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century reformation. Additionally, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical.
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 23, 2013 6:44 PM
Comment #375265

BTW, the date for the celebration in the East was January 8th, it was changed to the 25th of December precisely to coincide with other non-christian celebrations.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 23, 2013 6:45 PM
Comment #375267

Yes Rhinehold, I do understand the origins of why December was chosen. Happy Druid Day if you are one.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 23, 2013 6:55 PM
Comment #375285

Rhinehold

Sorry my friend, but the nonsense over saying ‘Merry Christmas’ was brought about by people who get offended by anything religious. They are the ones who didn’t want store greeters saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ They are the ones who petition and boycott. They are the ones who don’t want Christians exercising their freedom of religion.
The backlash from Christians is nothing more than them saying enough is enough.

I too am an atheist, I also have never gotten upset with people wishing me whatever. I have always, and will always, reply with ‘Merry Christmas’ because it is Christmas time to me. I am not going to change that out of fear of offending somebody.
The fact that the anti Christmas people get so bent out of shape over doesn’t concern me at all.

As for your story, it is a nice one. What bothers me about it though is that the guy felt compelled to get your permission before offering you his gratitude in his own personal way. If it is the meaning, not the words, why have people like him been made to feel like they are walking on egg shells?

“The next time someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ to you, instead of getting offended that they didn’t mention the word Christmas…”

As I said, I don’t have a problem with being wished ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of a ‘Merry Christmas.’ What I do have a problem with is the ‘Happy Holiday’ nazi crowd who demand everybody cater to them. Who demand individuals change who they are and what they believe so as not to offend others.
Those people and their attitudes are the ultimate example of “selfishness,” and if they expect me to take their ‘Happy Holidays’ greeting with a smile, they sure as hell better be willing to take my ‘Merry Christmas’ reply with a smile.

Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2013 10:16 AM
Comment #375286

Yikes some of us just can’t let it go and have a Happy Holiday Season. I don’t take anything from a wish, a wish is given. I just keep hearing a jolly old guy saying ho, ho, ho and that seems to drown out the nastiness.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 24, 2013 10:28 AM
Comment #375297

Kctim,

I am one of those people that really don’t care either way. That said this;

“What I do have a problem with is the ‘Happy Holiday’ nazi crowd who demand everybody cater to them.”

Is absurd. There has to be what, 20 people nationwide, that are being the Christmas “Nazis” and giving even a second of your time merely encourages them.

They’re Bozos, ignore them.

Rocky

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Comment #375407

This whole war on Christmas thing is false outrage over something that doesn’t exist. It’s a vain attempt at self-aggrandizement at the expense of others. A most un-Christian quality. All those who believe that someone is attacking this holiday or their Christian beliefs needs a big cup of “get over yourself”

Posted by: tcsned at January 2, 2014 11:21 AM
Comment #375421

I’m not a big fan of those who either overcomplicate, oversimplify, or simply miss the point entirely of things.

From a public policy standpoint, and from the standpoint of businesses serving a diverse customer base, it makes little sense to pick a winner. The first, because they’re not allowed to, the second because businesses quite frankly want to maximize profits.

This, of course, clashes with the FOXNews business model, which is to cater to a narrow audience in such a way that keeps them glued to that TV screen. They’ve made themselves the go-to station for 24 TV news with a rightward slant. So, they cater to an antagonistic attitude towards the rest of us, which we in due course tend to return the favor on.

I don’t think there’s a real organized effort out there to destroy Christmas as a Christian holiday. There is a market-oriented tendency towards secularizing it, but then, as I said, that’s business-owners wanting to maximize profits by not cutting out demographics.

I think there are two ways to approach that secularization. One way is to project the positive parts of the Christian experience, and to welcome those who celebrate that “Christmas Spirit”, which is pretty much a Christian attitude, even if they’re not practicing Christians themselves.

The other way is to be rude about it, to make it obvious to everybody that you plan on celebrating it in a better way. It’s a nice message to send if you want to convince the people who aren’t already in the ranks that you don’t much like or respect them.

So I’d say this: just relax. You can’t save the world. You are responsible for your own behavior, more than anybody else’s and the holidays are your time to project as much of that as possible.

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