Friday, December 02, 2005

I Hate Christmas

Did I mention already that people are stupid?

Christmas proclamation under fire from Jewish group

A motion proclaiming December the Christmas season in the town of Oxford, N.S., has drawn criticism from members of a Jewish group in Atlantic Canada.

"I'm somewhat taken aback that the town councillors felt they had to legislate in this manner," Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Congress, said in an interview with the Halifax Chronicle Herald on Thursday.

"I can't help wondering what is next. Are they going to legislate that everyone has to go to church on Christmas Eve?"

Oxford town council also decreed earlier this week that Christmas would be the only name used to describe the holiday season because "the holiday originated from the birth of Jesus Christ."

Deputy mayor Leonard Allen, who introduced the motion, said he hoped other towns would follow suit. He also said he'd like schools to go back to calling their holiday concerts Christmas concerts.

"the holiday originated from the birth of Jesus Christ." This makes me want to punch people. Especially ones who claim to be Christian but don't know the history of their own religion.

From Wikipedia: Link.

Connection to modern Christmas

Many of the symbols associated with the modern holiday of Christmas such as the burning of the Yule log, the eating of ham, the hanging of boughs, holly, mistletoe, etc. are apparently derived from traditional northern European Yule celebrations. When the first missionaries began converting the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it easier to simply provide a Christian reinterpretation for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations themselves to go on largely unchanged, rather than trying to suppress them. The Scandinavian tradition of slaughtering a pig at Christmas (see Christmas ham), and not in the autumn, is probably the most salient evidence for this. The tradition derives from the sacrifice to the god Freyr at the Yule celebrations. Halloween and Easter are theorized to have been likewise assimilated from northern European pagan festivals.

English historian Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum ("Ecclesiastic History of the English People") contains a letter from Pope Gregory I to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the heathen Anglo-Saxons. The Pope suggests that converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the one true God instead of to their pagan gods (whom the Pope refers to as "devils"), "to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God". [1] The Pope sanctions such conversion tactics as Biblically acceptable, pointing out that God did much the same thing with the ancient Israelites and their pagan sacrifices.

Also from MetaFilter: Link.
"This is their holiday, I hope they enjoy it"?

Well, the obvious reason is that it's also a secular holiday. The pagan ritual of bringing in an evergreen and singing joyful songs and getting together with family & friends in the darkest time of year is still celebrated by many, including many christians. Some christians also celebrate the christian incarnation of the holiday - midnite mass & the ceremonial birth of jesus. But to suggest that a midwinter festival requires a belief in a particular ancient prophet's claims is just silly.

It isn't a "war on xmas" but in the public realm the inclusive holiday is more polite. If you're technically christian, you do technically believe that non-christians will go to hell, so there's kind of an undercurrent of nastiness in a christian wishing a non-christian a happy xmas. But anyone can have fully positive wishes for a joyous holiday season...

Or if you told me, "I hope you have a nice winter solstice" why would I get upset because you believe in it and want me to enjoy a time.

but there's nothing to believe or not believe in when it comes to a winter solstice. It's the darkest, coldest time of the year, and someone is wishing you well, to have a warm, cozy, homey place to spend it, to make it feel warm & enjoyable in spite of its objectively being the most depressing part of the year. A real fundy Christmas is not like that - christmas, technically, is asking the person to celebrate the birth of the man-god prophesied to cast all unbelievers in a lake of fire. If the person is not christian, it's not really that nice a thing to say.
posted by mdn at 3:47 PM AST on November 30 [!]
I don't have much to say on the subject beyond pointing out that these so-called Christians seem to be fighting for the continued commercial corruption of Christmas. I'm trying to tell them they have egg on their tie.

And anyway, the concept of the separation of Church and State was that it was for the protection of both, and one look at the drop in religious observance in European countries that have an official State religion vs. the United States should tell you that it works.

And as for people saying "well, most people are Christians so what's wrong with celebrating it in schools?" I will point out my own experience, which is that Jehovah's Witness' children, who were forbidden from taking part in any celebration, were singled out and picked on by the other kids for not conforming.

Anyway, 'holidays' is derived rather obviously from 'Holy day' so it really isn't any great loss to have a 'happy holidays' sign hanging in Wal-Mart as you carry out your consumer's duty and spend money on violent video games for Jesus's sake than if the sign said 'Merry Christmas'.

What I really object to is the idea that I should be happy or merry at all. This goes against my right to be moody and despondent.

Update: James Wolcott fights the good fight of the secular progresive cabal against Christmas:
Scenes from the War on Christmas
Posted by James Wolcott

Today this nice saleslady handed me the blue Tiffany box she had tied with a ribbon just so and, with a twinkle in her smile, wished me a Merry Christmas. So I socked her.

12.01.05 10:46PM
Update 2: Daily Kos points to more Bill O'Reilly racist idiocy disguised as 'defending Christmas'.
In honor of the increasingly repugnant O'Reilly, we shall repeat below a post on the subject from last year, featuring great moments from Henry Ford, David Duke, and other voices who similarly explain the origins of the so-called War on Christmas. As well as a few hits from Bill O'Reilly himself, last year.

By al - 2:24 PM |

Comments:
Hey,
I heard you have a question just ask I'm the answer man.
http://1bigasshole.blogspot.com/
 
I was going to delete that comment since it looked like spam but that blog is funny as hell.
 
Well he did put the effort to do the word verification. . . . as long as it's not spam, I don't mind even though it's sorta off topic.

Yeah, that decision didn't go over very well with me. Now, I don't really like the term "Xmas" as people shouldn't be lazy and spell out the entire thing. However barring all other equally valid references to the holiday season with the exception of the Christian one isn't right.
 
I love how Christians love to proclaim that their holiday is the only one there. You mentioned others. It's like the english speaking popution believing that every one else should speak their language.

I don't mind many issues here, like calling the Christmas pagent a Christmas pagent, or Christmas Holiday...Or Christmas day or things like that...But December is filled with other religious holidays and the end of the Fall and Begining of winter, to come up with the idea that the only thing going on in December is the Christian Christmas is simply an uneducated stands.
 
this is ranked as one of my favorite entires, al.
nicely done.

bring on that lake of fire.
 
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