Merry War on Christmas, boys and girls! Only four more corporate shopping days left, so it's time to focus on what Christianity and the celebration of the birth of their savior is all about.
If you're a regular reader of The Political Carnival, then Queen of Church v. State Oversight and author of Being Christian, K.C. Boyd, needs no introduction. If you are unfamiliar with her work, just go here to see all of my posts of her humor-imbued brilliance.
Yesterday she sent me something on the so-called War on Christmas that was share-worthy, and it goes a little something like this:
K.C. created that, wrote it, and thought, correctly, that I'd appreciate it. Oh, I do, I do.
And because I value her perspective, allow me to also share today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter. They are responding to a Times editorial and a news item about efforts to preserve the Mt. Soledad cross, a war memorial in the vicinity of San Diego, California that was constructed on publicly owned land as a tribute to American soldiers killed in battle. A federal judge recently ordered the cross's removal, a decision I strongly support:
I'm disappointed in the Christian community for making no effort to understand the opposition to the Latin cross that sits on top of Mt. Soledad. They only offer criticism to those who find the cross offensive and unwelcome on public property.
Nonreligious Americans are not opposed to Christianity or religious symbols; they just don't appreciate any religious demonstrations on public property — be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or any other faith.
It's offensive to hear the Christian community imply that non-Christians are somehow not as patriotic or worthy of military honors because they don't support the Christian faith.
The letters printed on this subject reflect the breadth of views held by our citizenry of widely varying beliefs. But none addresses the enduring root of religious symbol controversies.
Keeping crosses prominently positioned has become one means by which the Christian majority validates — some would say struts — its bullying of religious and nonreligious minorities. The same principle motivates that majority to insist on prayers to its God during meetings convened by public entities; nonbelievers are thereby marginalized.
The Supreme Court should put an end to institutionalized oppression of this country's growing non-Christian minority. A sweeping decision on the order of Brown vs. Board of Education — which in 1954 reversed the 'separate but equal' doctrine by which blacks were systematically oppressed — is past due.
Such a decision would ratify separation of church and state and help liberate nonbelievers from majority oppression. It would also serve to free the court from endless haggling over prickly religious freedom disputes.
The saying, 'I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you,' comes immediately to mind after reading the letters wondering why someone would want the cross removed. But here's one more attempt:
The cross represents a powerful group that has been, for centuries, trying to obliterate me and mine from this planet. How can anyone seriously say that this honors us in any way?
Mary Ann Steinberger
By the way, of all the letters the L.A. Times received on this topic, only two were in favor of preserving the cross.
If you're not familiar with Stan Freberg (a comedy genius), then watch the video above and then please do yourself a huge favor and get to know him better. He was a huge influence on me personally, and is rarely mentioned any more. His satirical talents and wicked sense of humor were unprecedented back in the 1950s and '60s.
Which leads me to the Los Angeles Times an op-ed by Jonathan Zimmerman (who teaches history and education at New York University). He chronicles the deteriorating meaning of Christmas as it devolved into blatant commercialization to satisfy corporate greed and the insatiable global obsession with profit.
He starts out by mentioning everyone's favorite former Alaskan Half-Gov, Exploita McSellBooks, by noting her rage at "angry atheists"... as she hawks her own commercial Christmas products for all the personal gain she can wring out of them.
Take it away, Jonathan:
Despite what Palin and Wildmon would have you believe, the first war on Christmas was waged by devout Christians. The holiday wasn't a reflection of their religious heritage; instead, Christmas was a sin against it.
Start with our Puritan forebears in Massachusetts, who between 1659 and 1681 made it illegal to celebrate Christmas. (Lawbreakers were fined 5 shillings.) As the Puritans correctly argued, there was no historical or biblical reason to think that Christ was born on Dec. 25. The date was chosen because of its proximity to the winter solstice, making Christmas a pagan holiday in Christian garb.
But there was more.
Yes, there was much more. Please follow the link to learn all about it. Read it and weep, Sarah Palin. Zimmerman ends with this:
The most important war over Christmas was fought between God and Mammon, and it ended long ago. I don't have to tell you who won.
Now because you've been good, fake Santa brought you all a special treat:
The inimitable and brilliant Jon Stewart manages to sum it all up in one sentence:
By the way-- You're upset with a department store, because in their effort to get you to buy a Swarovski crystal Hello Kitty snowman figurine, they're not invoking Christ's name enough.
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