Ho ho ho

Here’s my take on the Christmas/Holidays issue: Bah, humbug.

And it is humbug, an artificial, entitled aggrievement of the right, a dangerous division put about by people who want to take what should be a gentle wish of good cheer and turn it into a partisan battering ram.

I make it my personal business not to be offended by other people’s religious beliefs. If someone were to wish me Happy Hannukah or Blessed Kwanzaa or even Super Solstice, that’s great. The more good wishes coming my way, the better, I say.

However, Mr. Bill O’Reilly (the one they call the big, fat liar) has decided to bolster his sagging ratings by inventing some kind of bogus liberal war on Christmas. Rally the troops, he cries, and boycott any business that doesn’t acknowledge this nation’s Christian founding by wishing you a Merry Christmas, damn it.

And there you have it. Shouldn’t he be advising you to avoid churches that refuse to use the C word? No, it’s the businesses who are at fault for not recognizing your deeply held belief in Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.

This is crazy talk. Businesses are in business, and their business is to make money from customers who may or may not be Christian. The crazies cry that anyone who might be offended by a Christian greeting is free to shop elsewhere, but folks, that’s not what this country is about. Separate economic, political, and educational systems for different religious sects is what you get in places like Iraq.

If you want to cling to the idea that this nation was founded by Christians as a Christian nation, you will want to follow that idea to its very roots: the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, they outlawed it. They saw no connection between the birth of Jesus Christ and the licentious feasts and gift-giving of the homeland.

And you know what? They were right. There is no connection. We celebrate two entirely separate holidays on December 25. One is a religious commemoration of deep significance to a majority of believers in this country. The other is a great social festival that has become vital to the economy of retailers everywhere. They happen to have the same name, but they have nothing to do with each other, unless you count the tenuous connection of “peace” and “good will.”

So the next time you manage to get yourself all offended because a place of commerce hasn’t acknowledged your religious beliefs, you need to ask yourself: exactly where are you worshipping?

Merry Christmas.

15 thoughts on “Ho ho ho

  1. This didn’t fit tidily into the main post, so I’ll write it here: News Corporation, Fox News’ parent company, has sent out its invitations to one and all to attend its holiday party. Even on the Fox News store website, Bill O’Reilly’s own ornament (if you can imagine hanging such a thing in your home) was listed as a holiday ornament for your holiday tree, until the blogosphere exploded in ridicule and the webmaster hurriedly changed it to Christmas. (It took him a couple of tries to get all the “holidays” changed, though.)

  2. Well said. The amount of perceived offense that The Right has managed to generate against their pet causes is staggering to me. I don’t recall actively wanting to take away anyone’s rights to celebrate what they want – if anything, it would mean less holidays for me, As a fat, lazy American I feel I deserve stacks and stacks of days off.

    Also just wanted to pop by and say “Hello,” and thank you for the immense influence you’ve had over my life since high school. I daresay I’d have had a third of the vocabulary and a tenth of the charm without knowing you. My pitiful attempt at a “web site,” dedicated to comics, is linked up there if you care to visit and harass.

  3. The right control all three branches of government, own the allegiance of the country’s most vocal and popular media mouthpieces, and enjoy widespread popular perception as the party of “morality,” whatever that is.

    Yet, somehow, they’re the beleaguered underdogs in the ideological war with the Liberal Secular Humanist Commie Pinko New World Order. It’s a Christmas miracle or something.

    Oh, and as I lack Kevin’s knavish charm and brobdingnagian vocabulary, I’ll just go with “What he said.” Good teacher, you. Thanks very much.

  4. I was just wondering about this the other day, and sure enough, here’s a report on many Christian megachurches, churches that host events like this one, which are closing for Christmas day. A couple are actually closing for New Year’s Day as well!
    Happy Holidays!

  5. Wow. Wow. Since I refuse to even watch Bill O’Reilly anmore on the premise that it was sending my blood pressure into dangerously high levels, I was unaware of this War on Not-Christmas. (I call it that because every time the republicans (little “r” on purpose) get their panties in a wad about something and want to challenge it, it has do be a goddamn war: i.e. War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Illiteracy.) I’m surprised he didn’t just tell the terrorist that they should blow up any businesses that don’t support Christmas. I suppose he’s just waiting until they take his advice on Coit Tower first.


    Keep reading, friend. You’ve found a sympathetic soul. I, too, lean forward for Fox News. My pulse quickens with Limbaugh. Coulter knows just how to hold it, when to stroke and when to tease.

    They want to rob us of everything, these godless and bloodless sissies who sip their expensive wines in their leftist t-shirts and make cell calls to their brokers over tofu. Make no mistake, they want to snuff out our God and our passion and our liberty.

    I like knowing who the enemy is. I like feeling the heat rise in my face when O’Riley talks about those who would try to steal my Christmas under the cover of political correctness. It gets me feeling like a soldier and O’Reilly is the general. And he says take no prisoners. I get ready for a blood feast. I don’t plan to die with the rest.

    It feels good to hold the face of the enemy in front of me and pummle it into stew and know I will survive. This country will survive. These over-educated girls can’t even begin to understand what it feels like to be a Patriot. To fight for the truth. It’s as hot as it gets when you get a true taste of freedom. Happy Holidays, right. Look, I’m sticking my baby in a manger and I don’t care how they feel about it. I’m singing Silent Night and you better just back off. I’ve worked hard and I deserve a little release with my Jesus in my country in front of my Christmas tree. You tree huggers who don’t like it, well maybe you should be tied to a tree or hung from a tree or burned with a tree. You don’t want to see a bunch of us on your street this Christmas Eve. We’ll carve you for the feast. And our children will sleep with visions…

  7. I don’t mean to go on a rant here, but…

    I am one of those right wingers that the “tolerant” left likes to demonize. That being said, I don’t frankly care what the cashier at Wal-mart (or anywhere else) says to me this time of year. I do think it’s a bit spineless for them to label the trees “Holiday Trees” when they know damn well folks don’t put them up to celebrate Columbus Day, but what the hay, it’s their store. If this marketing approach increases (or prevents decreasing) sales, more power to them.

    The thing that DOES crank my tractor is the ever growing subset of the population out there (on the left and the right) with a metaphorical Ray-O-Vac on their shoulder (or heart on their sleeve if you prefer) daring someone to knock it off.

    If someone were to walk up to me, and in the best spirit of their system of beliefs or culture, wish me a “Happy Hanukkah/Kingly Kwanzaa/Beautiful Boxer Day/Super Solstice”, I would like to think I would appreciate the kind wishes behind the sentiment and return them a “Happy/Kingly/Beautiful/Super Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/BoxerDay/Solstice” and perhaps even a “and a Merry Christmas, too”. It just seems to me that the statement ought to reflect the sincere expression of the individual speaking it. Saying “Merry Christmas” or other-belief-system-equivalent-statement should not imply or require that the hearer of the comment share identical beliefs with the speaker, only that the recipient be gracious enough to accept the wishes with the intent with which they were delivered.

    Do we really have such a surplus of kind and positive statements floating around in daily dialog that we can parse and filter them down to only accept a “Merry Protestant From a Somewhat Conservative Background Christmas”? Not in my view. I’ll gladly take your “Super Solstice” if and when offered.

  8. And I vehemently agree right back at you. Of course it’s a Christmas tree, complete with Christmas ornaments. Anyone who says different has been affected by the right wing’s poisoning of the public discourse.

  9. I finally witnessed it today. I saw someone Merry Christmas someone else (yes, I just made that a Formal verb) in a manner that resembled an assault. All in the spirit of the season, of course.

  10. I’ve been lucky. Everywhere I go, I am sincerely and warmly wished a Merry Christmas by everyone I meet, whether in a social or a business setting. I know that I never think Bill O’Reilly knows what he’s talking about, but this time it’s pretty obvious that he’s clueless.

  11. multiculturalism does not mean I have to respect your values. not all values are created equal. create your own holiday on december 25th; fine by me. but don’t expect everyone to respect your wish to be an idiot.

    multiculturalism is such lukewarm kitsch. everyone wants to parade around exalting, not tolerating, the views of others. hug the gay man, kiss the wiccan, celebrate the black man and scorn the nazi christian! what complete hypocrisy. but it sounds good; it feels great and it clearly generates more goodwill.

  12. After close to a year’s experience with my baby daughter, I’ve decided that all the cranky mouthy people on both the left and the right just need some pacifiers, some soothing music, and a darkened room. After a nice lie-down, maybe we can all wake up refreshed and not screaming at each other over stupid crap anymore.

    There’s so much more important crap to be screaming at each other about.

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