Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"War on Christmas" my ass (rant).



I'm not a religious man, but I no qualms in saying that I LOVE Christmas. I get stuff, I get to be with the people I love and, most importantly for me, it's the one time of the year that I truly can go back to my youth, back to a time when the world was a magical place and everything still made sense to me. It's a wonderful holiday...so why do some people think that others want to destroy it? Why is it that, year after year, some people think that there is a "War on Christmas?"

Ok, let me back up for a bit here just in case you don't know what I'm talking about. The whole "War on Christmas" is an idea put out there by mostly right-wing Christian advocates, who believe that because some corporations and the government want to be inclusive and acknowledge that, ya know, other religious traditions do exist within the United States, that they are out to destroy Christmas, Christianity and everything associated with it....somehow. It doesn't really make any sense. Although, to be fair, some of this inclusiveness does get out of hand at times. Just as an example is there any real reason to change the name of a "Christmas Tree" to  "Holiday Tree?" The answer is no. No there isn't. You know why? Well, if you all look it up, then you would find that the Christmas Tree doesn't actually have anything to do with Christmas or Christianity...kinda. Oh and by the way, while this "War on Christmas" concept isn't unique to the United States, the "front" (so to speak) I will be referring to in this post will be the one in the United States, because its the one I'm most familiar with. I just wanted to make that clear.  

My Christmas Tree from 2015.
Anyway, I don't have time to go into a detailed history of the Christmas Tree; but the short of it is that the Christmas Tree, as we know it today, has nothing to do with Jesus or his teachings. It's a custom that comes from 18th century Germany, and said custom evolved from Pagan tree worship that was repurposed by the Catholic Church to help explain Christian beliefs during the conversion of Europe after the Fall of Rome. Regardless if this was intentional or not, The Christmas Tree is as associated with Christmas as the nativity. And let's be honest, if you want to be culturally sensitive about it, changing the name is the last thing you want to do. Everyone knows what it is and what holiday it represents. It's a largely inoffensive symbol. Changing the name is just gonna piss people off, and it turns you into the culturally insensitive prick you're trying not to be.  

By the same token, however, dose changing the name of, say, "Christmas lights" to "Holiday Lights" or having cards saying 'Happy Holidays" instead of  "Merry Christmas" also make the Government and Corporations mentioned above "culturally insensitive" to Christians?  No. No it doesn't.  Why? Well, remember what I said about December having a diverse set of holidays attached to it? Well, here's the complete run down of the major holidays happening this month. Now for completeness sake, I am including holidays that are not widely celebrated in the U.S. as a whole. And yes, I am aware that when Ramadan happens changes from year to year. But, unless my source is in error, then during this year, 2015, it's happening during December. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong down in the comments:

1. Ramadan (Muslim)
2. Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
3. Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
4. Eid'ul-Adha (Muslim)
5. Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
6. St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
7. Hanukkah (Jewish)
8. Christmas Day (Christian)
9. Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
10. Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
11. Kwanzaa (African American)
12. Omisoka (Japanese)
13. Yule (Pagan)
14. Saturnalia (Pagan)
(source: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson246.shtml#sthash.cRUgIdxO.dpuf)
                              
Fourteen Holidays, that's a lot guys. Now you tell me, If you run a business making general winter holiday decorations, does it make sense from a business standpoint for you to go through your entire inventory and make sure that every one of your products list of all the holidays happening in December. The answer is no. Unless you are targeting a very niche demographic (which, spoiler, the corporations in question are NOT), you have as much chance of turning a profit as a fox caught in a trap does of getting away with its leg intact. So instead, they need a general term that will encompass all of them, fortunately we have this magical phrase for that, "Happy Holidays" or just "Holidays." And this is what gets the ones who believe in the "War on Christmas" knickers in a twist, because they feel that just because Christmas and Christian iconography isn't everywhere, that this constitutes an attack on them and their religious beliefs and freedom.

War on Christmas. Bah Humbug. 
Really, War on Christmas believers? They are attacking your belifes? Then answer me this: Are these corporations or the government shutting down and/or destroying your places of worship? No? Well, are they having you jailed because of your beliefs? No? Well, Are they rounding up and murdering you & your family because of those beliefs? No? Well, are you being legally or culturally marginalized because you see "Happy Holidays" on a card (or whatever) instead of "Merry Christmas"? Good God, no. This is NOT Nazi Germany, and you are NOT being persecuted simply because Christian iconography doesn't dominate December anymore. And if you believe otherwise, then YOU'RE A ****CKING MORON.

Oh, and speaking of the government and Christmas; yes War on Christmas Believers. Christmas is a federal holiday, so what? So is New Year's Day. Is it the federal government's job to pay for the ball dropping in New York City? No. And nor should there be a nativity scene at government-run schools and public places. And no, that's not a "War on Christmas," nor is it being "Politically Correct", that's the government not favoring one religion over another. Look, If someone vandalizes the holiday decorations on your front lawn, or a religious display at a place of worship gets destroyed, then that's one thing. And it's another thing entirely, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the government to tell a public school to remove religious iconography from its halls. That's not shot fired in a war, that's the government being as religiously neutral as possible.

I'm not saying that Christians, or any group for that matter, shouldn't cry foul when they feel they are getting a bum deal. This was merely my two cents on the matter.

And that's all out of me. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas,  A Happy Holidays, and an even better New Year. See you in 2016.                                        

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