Friday, December 25, 2009

The "War on Christmas" 2009

The first shot fired in the War on Christmas in 2009 was heard in California in early November. It seems that in San Francisco, a woman with the unfortunate name of Merry Hyatt, a 61-year-old substitute teacher, felt that children were being deprived of their childhood (or some crap) if they couldn't sing Christmas carols in public schools. Even the relatively balanced story showed her to be too mentally deficient to teach anyone not in a coma, since it closed out with her explaining her own mental blind spots:
But she added that in her experience as a substitute teacher in schools in largely Latino, largely Christian neighborhoods in Southern California, she had not often encountered people who do not celebrate Christmas.

"I don’t think I’ve ever had a Jewish child in one of my classes," she said. "If so they never said anything."
If you don't believe in Jews, does that make you an atheist?

The rightards, of course, don't get it. They, living in their dream of victimization, like to make factually incorrect claims:
The month of December has arrived and with it comes the annual attacks on Christmas by the atheist movement and their legal/political arm, the ACLU. For some reason, the Nativity, songs of joy and the celebration of the Christ Child’s birth bring out the rage and open hatred of many people across the United States.
While the truth is, it's only when government money is being spent pimping out Mary and her kid that the activists feel a need to make noise; private celebrations of whatever faith you practice aren't an issue.

And then you've got people who make so many justifications for their belief that there is a "War on Christmas" that they manage to make the term even more meaningless.

So, a quick disclaimer: I'm sure if you search long and hard enough, you'll find somebody who gets cranky and shouty about any religious display. Don't worry, True Believer, that's a significant minority. Less of a percentage than the number of Christians who are so fervently pro-life that they think it's OK to kill people.

Of course, it's possible that available merchandise like this won't make them any happier. (I think it's pretty cool, though.)

But just like in years past, you can find websites dedicated to telling you which retailers are "Christmas-Friendly" and which are "Christmas-Offensive."

Of course, you can always use that same website to tell you which retailers you should go to, because they don't kiss the butt of the theocrats and religious loons. So maybe they do serve some kind of purpose.

The soldiers in the War on Christmas apparently feel that they can put words in their Savior's mouth. There'a a billboard in Ohio reading:
I miss hearing you say "Merry Christmas." - Jesus
Ignoring the fact that... well, shouldn't Jesus be able to speak for Himself? I mean, really now, "Son of God" should probably mean something, shouldn't it?

Now, sometimes the whole "Battleground: Christmas" thing morphs into something so twisted that it gives you a headache roughly the size of the township of Waterbury, Connecticut.

See, what's happening in Waterbury is that the principal of Walsh Elementary School decided to downplay the use of Christmas symbols. It got more publicity when a member of the school board tried to promote a policy allowing each teacher the freedom to decide for themselves whether to hang icons to Santa Claus in their classroom.

The right wing, of course, completely lost their shit over this, with comments like:
"so for a few many must suffer.... you ar in a senses teaching not allowing these CHRISTMAS celebrations you are teaching the children that there is something wrong with them , so in effect you are teaching the Atheist beliefs..... whats next you going to remove the American flag because that offends someone "

"Another example of why this country is destined to fail"

"What the hell is this country coming to???
We have Christmas, like it or not! And if you are of the faith that does not celebrate it, too bad for you."
Of course, as it turns out, the problem was not the atheists trying to drive God out of the classroom, but the faithful Christians getting upset.

See, that particular school district has a very large community of Pentecostal and Jehovah's Witness families, and they objected to secular decorations causing damage to the Jesus-lobes in their children's brains.

So that particular battle in the "War on Christmas" involved Christians demanding that less-faithful Christians stop interfering with their worship of Christ (or, at least, their particular flavor of Christ). Am I getting this right?

And then you have Taunton, Massachusetts. According to initial reports, a young boy was sent home from school for drawing a crucifix when a teacher asked the students to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas.

This, of course, caused the testicles of much of the right wing to suck up inside their body cavities, causing them to make annoyingly high pitched shrieks of anger. Michell Malkin's testicles, for example, sent her voice to E over high C, as she compared this to murder and alleged child molesters.

Of course, the problem was that the newspaper got the story completely wrong. In reality, the kid drew a crucified stick figure entirely on his own, and then labeled it with his own name. The teacher, reasonably enough, saw this as something to be concerned about. But the rightards were too wrapped up in finding the next Great Liberal Atheist Conspiracy to pay attention to little things like "facts."

Of course, if they even listened to their own wide-eyed rantings once in a while, they might have picked up on the fact that it's unlikely that the teacher would have asked her students to draw any kind of Christmas picture. ("War on Christmas," remember?)

A better clue, though, was unavailable in initial reports. The father came right out and made the following statement.
“It hurts me that they did this to my kid,’’ Chester Johnson, the boy’s father, said in an interview with the Globe. “They can’t mess with our religion. They owe us a small lump sum for this."
I'm thinking that statement explains exactly what this is about. Doesn't take Sherlock Holmes, does it?

But generally, I think that even Jesus would agree with the following statements:
1. If you want to worship Christ, go ahead.

2. If you want a whole manger scene erected, showing the Wise Men coming to Bethlehem to worship the Baby Jesus in the manger, set one up. In your own front lawn. With your own money.

3. If you want the state to pay for it, what the hell is the matter with you?
Is that clear enough?

Update (12/29): And it looks like I missed one: Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) has introduced congressional resolution 951, to condemn people who say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas."

Of course, Rep. Brown's head is so far up his ass that he's licking his own taint.
Indeed, Brown has even attempted to use his resolution as a jab against President Obama. Declaring that the Obamas’ holiday card doesn’t mention Christmas, Brown said, "I believe that sending a Christmas card without referencing a holiday and its purpose limits the Christmas celebration in favor of a more 'politically correct' holiday." Brown’s fight to preserve Christmas and shun "happy holidays" has earned him the title of "patriot" from noted culture warrior Bill O’Reilly.

However, Brown’s 2008 December newsletter wished a "happy holiday" to his constituents for the "holiday season." Although the newsletter had a link to the White House Christmas tree website, it made no other mention of Christ or Christmas. (Click here for a screenshot) And as Slate’s Chris Beam has observed, Brown didn’t introduce his resolution last year, even though President Bush’s 2008 holiday card didn’t mention Christmas either.
So obviously, Henry is doing his best to uphold the fine tradition of inbreeding in South Carolina.

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