Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's almost St. Patrick's Day...So let's talk Christmas!

Or, Christ's Mass with the Palins.

Pay attention to me!
Sarah Palin is trying to get into the limelight again, following her fall from the heights of punditry. And, one could go into her, her family, and the sad pursuit of fame. So many posts, pieces, and tweets cover it. Still, her ridiculous schemes for validity offers a chance to talk on some of the tired fears and claims that Conservative Christians like to trot out annually.

This morning I went on twitter and was presented with the suggestion that Sarah Palin (late of FOX News, later of governing, even later of failed campaigning, and never of relevance) would be writing a new book. This time it would be on the great and dire War of Christmas.

Hey! A Christmas tree!
Just in time for...
World Kidney Day.
Oh, Christmas. Forever the pawn of villainous secular progressives, out to destroy you.

It is a favorite refrain for conservatives. It implies liberals are all godless (or non-Christian, which is the same thing) and trying to take away presents from kids. It's kind of like the way they say the president wants to take away people's health care, money, and then place them education camps. Both statements have no real bearing on reality.

So let's considered how Christmas is being bombarded by secularism. As people like Palin suggest, it's being homogenized, it's being commercialized  and it's marginalized or ignored. Hmm? Interesting points. They are bull pucky, but scary to some people.

Christmas, as a religious a religious event. That should be self-evident. If you are a church goer, you know how yours treats the day and the season. You have hymns, passages, and rituals you turn to, year after year. In the home's of the most pious, things no doubt run just as when dad and granddad ran things. So what is the wartime attrition being dealt with? It seems churches and homes seem to be able to operate, in their space, as always. Christians remember the day and tale well enough.

No. What is obviously meant is the public space, and business space. Once Christians could be assured that they were exclusively catered to, and now they have competition for attention. Sometimes people will put up menorahs (They don't understand them, but they want to be friendly.), or snowmen and Santa, to be inviting to all. But being inviting to all isn't what Conservative Christians want from Christmas. It is all supposed to be about them.

Christians are not getting the preferential treatment they are used to. Suddenly it's harder for them to see and receive to their preferential seating in the great banquet of society. (Though don't worry. Many places still give Christianity special dispensation in the community.) Suddenly, city halls, city parks, and town squares are not automatically handed over to church interests for the month to use as they have in the past. Instead, these spaces are seen as the property of all Americans. So, in some cases, anyone can put up messages or imagery on public property, to celebrate their tradition. In other cases, it is left neutral to the season. And in other cases, it is left open and unused.

Mangers/creches aren't being guaranteed funding or center stage status in towns. And for some this is a great crime against religion. It's an affront to the faithful (Christians). And, yes, that is silly. It's ridiculous to hear. In my city, in a very red state, I saw no manger scenes at city hall or in the major park that had Christmas lights up. But mangers were EVERYWHERE, on front lawns, at churches, etc. , it's just not being sponsored by government. (Side note: I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that none of the lights at the park were set up to reflect any religious scene, just reindeer, snowflakes, etc. And they blasted Christmas music through the park, and I noticed it was all nonreligious. It was way too much country music, but it was about the winter and the secular holiday stuff. Because that is what it is all about these days. And I also noticed how everyone would pass through the park and enjoy it. And they could do this before or after going to church, if they wanted. But I saw a place where people of all cultures and traditions were welcomed. And, to some, that is a bad thing.)

Christians are not getting the same level of priority and deference. And this, to Conservative Christians, is victimization. Instead, other faiths are also acknowledged, or just seasonal frivolity is enjoyed. And, to Conservative Christians, this is victimization.

Society has changed. We no longer just tolerate Others in our communities. We celebrate them, just as we celebrate ourselves (Whoever "them" are, or "ourselves" are.). Things are not centered just on the white christian male perspective (THIS REALITY IS STILL BUFFERING.).

And, is "it" commercialized? Yeah. Welcome to how every holiday and event is treated. And, welcome to Capitalism. You don't like? Ha ha ha ha ha! But, really, how many of the people complaining also sell Christmas items to make a buck? ...Like a book on the War on Christmas?

It is all silly. But it is also a go to paranoid money maker. From Palin to Bill O'Reilly to Bryan Fischer. It's all about a silenced voice. The excising of Jesus from society, the evil plot of it all. And when you're raised to not be aware of the world outside your home, home school, or church/megachurch, it can be damn scary to hear.

But I have to break this to you, societies change. American society, and even Christian societies, change and shift over time. Religion often desperately works to keep things frozen in place and time, but it's inevitable

Do you know why more and more people say "Happy Holidays" now? Looking passed fear of "PCness", other religions, and evil liberal agendas, we've simply changed as a people. That's it. Some people found it annoying to say "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years". Then some people found it awkward to wish Jewish people a "Merry Christmas", and Jewish people no doubt didn't care that much for it. And then the holiday expanded to swallow the month, and...for a lot of people it just became natural to say. Society shifted. And I know people, from Sarah Palin to Richard Dawkins, are pissy about the change in greetings. Sorry, old timers, the world's moved on. And soon enough it will move on in someway, leaving me behind. As it is, I noticed that I still use terms like Christmas tree, Christmas lights, etc. Many don't say that now, but they are terms I've used since childhood. My vernacular may prove to be anachronistic before long. And I am fine with that. That is life. Sadly for Conservative Christians, it's war.

This change does anger some faithful. Faithful who want communities to honor their faith before all, who want a one day holiday honored in daily greetings for a whole flipping month, and who want to kill Santa (Yeah. It can go both ways.).

Oh, yeah. This is way better than
being part of a moving and
changing modern world.
But, you know, that is fine. If you don't like all the fancy and alien affectations glomming onto your special day, you can celebrate it how you like, in church and at home. And many groups do that, sticking to their ways and shunning the modern and impure. But, Sarah Palin, and others like her, don't want that. They want the world to revolve around them. They don't want to do without TV, cars, reality shows...buttons. The only people that actually find really standing heading off are nutty as Glenn Beck.

The reality is that they don't care that much.They don't care about Santa Claus, or Easter Bunnies. All the new bits and pieces that have been added over centuries are fine to them. The Christmas tree is a weird little tradition from Germany, that came over to England with Prince Albert, and became trendy. So it has no ties to Christ, at all. But the Palins put one up every year. Santa? A European tradition. But even O'Reilly will defend the idea (Though their are stories to the contrary, where he'll fight Claus.). And gift giving? Yet, everyone is up for some presents. Today most of us, Christians and non-Christian, like the secular side, the side that has grown and evolved. But it wasn't always so.

Back in the day, when the Puritans landed in America, they took Christmas serious. How serious? They banned it. That's how a serious Christians handles that. No drinking. No parties. No gifts. Nothing...Except church and prayer. Want to know what folk are actually supposed to call for, when they say they want to put the "Christ in Christmas"? That's what they are supposed to mean. On Christmas, you go to Church and pray. Otherwise you work, sleep, and pray.

But nobody wants that. It's part of the reason no one cared to have them in England in the first place (Their was also the whole civil war, killing the king. etc.). People want to have a party. And people, before and after Christians, will want to celebrate the end of the year and the midpoint of Winter. It is a happy holiday. And that's why, despite the complaints of commercialism and "add ons", most Conservative Christians take full advantage of the holiday season. But they aren't satisfied.

They just want you to treat them as the superior. Teach their religious views in school. Place their commandments in the courts and town squares. Write law by their vision of their holy book. And, fucking, say "Merry Christmas" to them, and smile while you're doing it. Okay? Thanks.

Now that that is finished. Let's get back to some proper religious celebration. It's almost St. Patrick's Day. Where's the green dye and the massive keg of beer?! Let's party like Christians! Woo!!!

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