Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter among the heathens

You know, I usually avoid the World Nut Daily, because it's just a cesspool of everything that could possibly be wrong with religion. But because I took a look at Chuck Norris' column, I was curious about exactly what was going on these days in that rank, steaming corner of the internet.

And it turns out that they're just the gift that keeps on giving, aren't they? They're the all-Birther, all-fundamentalist, all-the-time network, and they don't care who knows how freakishly crazy they actually are.

CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Group) isn't conservative enough for him, so Joseph Farah, the head lunatic in this Internet Arkham Asylum, decided to set up his own convention. ("Taking America Back"? From whom? OK, Joey... we need to explain that whole "democratic process" to you, OK?)

I mean, maybe they should clear up the lawsuits from the first convention before they move on to the next money-making weekend. What'd'ya think?

(Hey, Joe! Maybe you could get Jeff Gannon to speak! I hear he isn't doing much these days...)

But World Nut Daily has these little problems with things like reality, and they really don't seem to care whether they're telling the truth or not, just a long as the story they're trying to tell fits their single-minded agenda.

For example, they have an article titled "Praying in park puts man in jail for 9 days," which is the story of Julian Raven from Elmira, NY, who... well, let's let WND tell you the story.
A Christian who prayed in a public park with six other people is serving a nine-day jail sentence for disorderly conduct even though his case is under appeal and charges against the others were dismissed or overturned...

"According to his wife, police escorted him out of a court hearing … in handcuffs in front of his crying children to begin serving his nine-day jail sentence," the organization said in a report.
But wait! There's more!

After a quick ad trying to sell you survival kits in case you aren't taken to Heaven in the Rapture, they tell you how Raven and three other people were arrested because they prayed in the middle of a Gay Pride gathering! Terrible, isn't it?
Three defendants were removed from the case almost immediately, leaving four to be convicted by Elmira city Judge Thomas Ramich of "disorderly conduct."

But the convictions for three – Gloria Raven, Maurice Kienenberger and Walter Quick – later were overturned in the Chemung County Court.
Funny thing, though. If you try to find this story in the media, some of the details don't quite match up. You know, little things. Stuff that really doesn't matter.

Like, well... you know, the other three people's charges weren't overturned by the court. It seems that they accepted a plea bargain. But our boy Julian? Yeah, he wasn't arrested for praying - he refused to pay a $100 fine. So the police picked him up.

That's the kind of high-quality journalism you find at WND.

But there's more than just twisted versions of the news on this site. Reality hardly ever intrudes into their little world. I mean, you poke around a little bit, and you suddenly discover that, even though WND has been leading the fight for years in the War on Christmas, suddenly, they decide to start their own little War on Easter.

I'm serious. Another guy named Joe (Joe Kovacs, this time) is opposed to Easter. The sight of fluffy bunnies, baby chicks and colored eggs apparently drives him into an incoherent rage (although, technically, many of these people are incoherent most of the time, so Easter just gives Joey a single topic to focus on).
...there's a very dark side to this centuries-old tradition, and it has to do with the famous Ten Commandments of God.
As opposed to the somewhat less well-known "Ten Commnandments of Google."
The very first commandment of the Big Ten is perhaps one of the most overlooked in everyday life.
You can't wear white after Labor Day?
In just eight words, it states: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3)
Well, yeah, eight words if you're using the King James translation. Nineteen words if you use the Lolcat Bible. ("No can has other ceiling cat!! U gotz other Ceiling Cat, I shoot yous wit mah lollazer eyes. Srsly.")
Most Christians, whether knowingly or unknowingly, violate this very first commandment of God each year by placing before God the actual name of a pagan goddess of fertility and the dawn.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, her name is – believe it or not – "Easter."

That's correct, folks. The word Easter is actually the name of an ancient, heathen goddess who represents fertility, springtime and the dawn.

Some of her symbols are flowers, bunnies, eggs, the sun and the moon. Who'da thunk?

...In different languages and through a variety of cultures, the name of this deity – who in reality does not even exist – is spelled different ways, including Ishtar, Astarte, Ostara, Eostre and Eastre.

Even in the Bible itself, many of God's own chosen people actually followed the customs of numerous Easter goddesses, with her name spelled in the King James Bible as "Ashtaroth" and "Ashtoreth."
And see? That's the real beauty of a WND column. This guy isn't just ignorant about his own religion, he's simultaneously ignorant on two entirely unrelated families of religions!

To be specific, Ishtar is Assyrian and Babylonian, which were essentially the same religion, although there are scholars who might argue the details, and Astarte was a northern Semitic deity, cognate but not identical to Ishtar; but then Ôstarâ, Ēostre and Ēastre are three versions of an unrelated diety from the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon tribes (Ôstarâ being Old High German, and the other two being Old English variants - Ēostre being the Northumbrian form, and Ēastre being the West Saxon version).

But since mass transit really wasn't all it could have been back in the Bronze Age, there wasn't a whole bunch of intermingling between the tribes in England and Northern Europe, and the cultures of the Middle East.

I mean, come on, Joey! Just because these particular mythological beings aren't your mythological beings doesn't mean you have to be completely ignorant about them, does it? That's like saying Odin and Zeus were the same god.

And anyway, it's a little late in the game to start complaining that one of your High Holy Days happens to be rooted in pagan tradition, isn't it? That was standard practice in the early Christian church: if the people were going to have a party on a certain date anyway, the local Christian priest just had to give them a good Biblical reason to have the party, to make their new religion a little more palatable to them.

Be real, Joey. If you're going to fuss about Easter originally being a pagan festival, you're going to have to do away with Christmas, too. And this website you publish your drivel on is pretty heavily invested in keeping Christmas as a Christian rite. You might make them a little cranky if you do that.

Ever hear of "Yule"? That's an old Nordic/Germanic festival, equally pagan in origin, that the Christians stole, and started claiming that Jesus was born on that day. And how do we know that Jesus wasn't born on December 25? (Assuming He was born at all, that is?)

Luke 2:8 - "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

Israel is north of the equator. So what do we know about December in Israel? It's winter! The shepherds don't take their flocks into the hills on winter nights unless they're trying to kill them. (Not a lot of call for freeze-dried mutton in those days.)

So, if the Bible is to be believed, Jesus was born in the spring or summer. Meaning that the early Christian Church just grabbed the biggest pagan festival they could find, and pasted the biggest Christian festival across the top of it, just to keep the former pagans happy.

So, yeah, feel free to do away with Easter. But be consistent and kill off Christmas while you're at it.

Of course, you can't expect consistency from Joey K, can you? I mean, after all, the man spends 1,200 words bitching about Ēastre and all her variations, and how this heathen goddess has corrupted the good bible-reading Christians, and then right toward the end, he says this.
And here's a Bible newsflash for you. We're not even supposed to be saying the E-word.

Crack open your own Bible and read it for yourself:
"Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." (Exodus 23:13)
Uh... yeah, Joey. That's nice. So, what is it you've been ranting about this whole time?

1 comment:

Gloria Raven said...

This is Gloria Raven, just stumbled upon your article...good one.