Posts Tagged ‘war on christmas’

…at least he’s waging the war on Christmas as much as you’d expect from any good fundamentalist communist secularist Muslim.

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– I’m going to be way better at being married than this Christian couple who’ve written a whole book about it.

– Anyone remember Christmas With A Capital C, that godawful-looking movie which was being trailed about this time last year, and seemed to be just another outlet for fantasist Christian whining about anti-Christmas oppression? Apparently both the writer and director had a much more thoughtful approach, and it really shows in the finished film. Huh.

– Don’t throw the cat in the furnace… Don’t throw the cat in the furnace… Oh god is he going to throw the cat in the furnace? Oh thank fuck. That was creepily tense.

– And that’s it. I’ll be off for at least a day. Happy Christmas. Or, as we atheists say: Happy Christmas. (Thanks to Robin Ince for that line.) See you soon.

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Rick Perry’s not interesting, and I’d hoped and assumed he was pretty much done after the “oops” flub, where his own policies on shutting down government departments didn’t hold his attention enough for him to recall them during a debate. It wouldn’t be fair to annihilate his prospects based on something as human as momentary aphasia, but I wouldn’t have particularly mourned the injustice in this case.

But he seems to still be around, and there’s at least one weapon in his political arsenal which he hadn’t fully deployed until this week. Namely: being unbelievably whiny.

Here’s what he says in a recent, reassuringly low-budget campaign video:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

The internet’s been having some fun with this one. I particularly like Lord Perrymort.

The Christian persecution complex that comes through when people say things like this deserves all the mockery it gets, given that Christians have consistently comprised upwards of 70% of the US population, including every president the country’s had for centuries.

Obama’s “war on religion” is something they cry about when he mentions being “blessed” in his Thanksgiving speech, but doesn’t give the Christian god a personal shout-out. Never mind the amount of time Obama and his family tend to spend hanging around Christmas trees at this time of year, or with various other denominationally festive business. He’s still not doing enough to make the privileged majority feel special.

Perry can’t even cite a single non-imaginary example of this supposed war being waged. He complains about the things his kids aren’t allowed to openly do, but it’s complete nonsense.

And there’s some homophobic bigotry thrown into the mix too. Gays serving openly in the military is something to be, at best, grudgingly put up with, but it’s still evidence of what’s wrong with this country that we can’t have some more good old religious repression to keep them in their place.

He followed this performance up in a later interview, where he said nothing of any real originality or value, and Wolf Blitzer pointed out a number of pertinent objections without ever making it obvious that he thinks Perry’s an idiot.

Why are our children not allowed to pray in school? Why can they not celebrate Christmas?

They are, and they can, and it’s pathetic how far out of their way everyone else has to go in appeasing and making room for you before you’ll stop whining about unfair treatment.

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While I was offline for a month, I kept a note of any links and news stories worth commenting on. Now that I’m back, I’m aiming to post two short items a day here, about stuff that happened during my online absence, until I’ve cleared the backlog. This is one of those.

Someday I’ll put together a proper analysis of just how empty this War on Christmas business really is. Maybe next year.

But it seems that these days, even before the snow’s had a chance to demolish the entire infrastructure of the south of England, and before atheists have even started popping up to point out that actually Jesus is still made up even on his birthday, the cries of outraged Christian persecution and woe swamp all discussion of this season of joy and goodwill.

Most atheists I know enjoy Christmas. Most Christians I know are fine with that and don’t much care how I want to spend the holidays one way or another. But some people will loudly insist that if anyone else doesn’t do things their way, it’s oppressive and unfair.

Maybe the USA is home to a lot more Hindu fundamentalists than we thought, but I rather suspect this is all just about that branch of conservative Christians making a fuss over nothing.

vjack puts it succinctly:

When I say “happy holidays,” I am being offensive to my Christian neighbors. When they say “merry Christmas,” even if they know I am an atheist, I am supposed to smile and return the greeting. It does not matter how insensitive it might be.

Personally, all my religious friends are happy to be wished a Jovial Hannukwanzaamas, but this is genuinely how some people seem to think. Other people having a different name for something means they’re trying to censor you.

Mind you, I’m all for atheists (and anyone else who wants to) celebrating Christmas as the cultural event that it is, without getting weighed down by its Christian baggage (just like most Christians don’t worry over its pagan origins now). Mitch Benn’s perfect explanation of this point was one of the highlights of 2010’s 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People:

If only Christians get to use the word “Christmas”, then only Vikings get to use the word “Thursday”.

Some folks in America play the “Christian nation” card around this point, and claim that anyone living in the country should abide by the traditions of its heritage.

The thing is, this amounts to saying that there’s something in your country’s laws or culture that exalts and respects Christian tradition specifically, above all others.

That is the opposite of being persecuted. You can’t have it both ways.

Anyway. Christmas is great; don’t let it be ruined by people who like it almost as much as shouting at anyone who doesn’t. That’s my holiday message.

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Nobody’s cancelling Christmas.

Nobody. Let’s get that straight from the start.

Winterval was a thing that happened twice, around the Christmas periods in 1997 and 1998, in Birmingham’s town centre. It’s regularly cited by ridiculous tabloid fantasists as a dastardly secularist attempt to stifle Christian expression and abolish all the religious traditions of Christmas.

This notion has been described by Birmingham City Council as “bollocks”.

Their official statement describing this supposedly atheist-driven, Christian-bashing frenzy of political correctness went on to say:

[T]here was a banner saying Merry Christmas across the front of the council house, Christmas lights, Christmas trees in the main civil squares, regular carol-singing sessions by school choirs, and the Lord Mayor sent a Christmas card with a traditional Christmas scene wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

That’s Winterval, folks.

The war on Christmas is another of those things, like the imminent destruction of the world by the Large Hadron Collider, that’s only really believed by twats.

Ooh, that pesky war on Christmas, forcing supermarkets to put their own Christmas stuff on sale from the start of September, surely as part of some dastardly plot to make sure it’s all sold out or spoilt by the time any sane person would actually want to start buying advent calendars and mince pies.

(I don’t really have a way to integrate that line coherently into the rest of the piece, but I wanted to use it somewhere. It’s true, as well. There’s been Christmas stuff up in my local Sainsbury’s for about a month now, with expiration dates in November.)

There’s also a really terrible-looking movie coming out, to inspire Christians to be brave, stick to their guns, and hope that one day they’ll find wider acceptance, at a time of year when everything becomes all about them and their festival anyway. PZ’s description of it as “pandering to the Christian persecution complex” is spot on.

Ed Brayton‘s observation about this hideous movie trailer is also worth noting:

It begins with one character saying, “This is the only time of the year the entire world has this shared experience of peace and hope for the future.” Entire world? … That’s a very telling statement, don’t you think? They define the “entire world” as being populated solely by people that think like them. No one else exists for them. At the very least, no one else even needs to be taken into consideration.

This is the essence of the tribalistic “Us vs. Them” stance some people seem to find it necessary to take about Christmas. Anyone not joining them in celebrating it, in their way, must be against it and seeking its downfall. The idea of other people having their own traditions but not wanting to interfere with yours is alien to some people. Even the possibility that other people might be tolerant doesn’t occur to them.

I love Christmas. Always have. I’ll be listening to carols and spending time with my family and going along with all the standard festive traditions, except some of the more churchy stuff. But some people aren’t into that. And my suggestion, if you don’t want to look like petulant dicks, is that you leave those people alone and be happy with the substantial chunk of world domination you’ve already got. Stop looking for lies and made-up stories that let you feel like the oppressed underdog. You guys are winning.

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