Friday, December 16, 2005

Ho Ho Ho!!
Holy crap! Just how crazy has all of this "war on Christmas" gotten? I have never seen such an insane, made-up inconsequential issue in many a day. Steven Colbert just nailed it last night when, with all the faux O'Reilly outrage he could muster, explained that when he found out that "holiday" is derived from "Holy Day," then now he's leading the "war on happy holidays!"

For two examples of great writing on this, check out the following from The Smirking Chimp.

First, there's 'Religious tyranny and the war against reason' by Randolph T. Holhut:

The fundamentalists and their allies in the media are screeching again over the alleged "war on Christmas" by those evil liberal secular humanists who supposedly run the world.

If there is a problem with Christmas, it is that it has become the most secularized and commercialized religious holiday in America. It is a holiday that is all about out-of-control consumerism, not a celebration of the birth of Jesus. If Christmas is under attack, it's under attack by capitalism and the true American religion - making and spending money.


That's the debate that should be out there. Christians aren't persecuted in America. Christianity is the dominant religion and the dominant force in public life. But Christians insist upon seeing themselves as victims, persecuted by evil liberal secularists, because it helps with fundraising and makes for good copy for the right-wing echo chamber.

And then there'sthis article by Ed Naha:

Ah, Christmas is upon us. You can feel it in the air: the crispness of the breeze, the laughter of children, the sounds of caroling, the cling-clanging of Salvation Army Santas' bells, the whining of right-wing religious whack-jobs and the stench of the crap being flung at us by Fox News.

Yes, Christmas is upon us, once again. And, once again, Christmas is UNDER ATTACK! Run for cover, baby Jesus, you're being pummeled by stores and people who say the blasphemous... "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas!" Oh, the horror! The horror!

Ayup. It's seasonal schizophrenia time again, wherein self-proclaimed Christians attack and slur anybody or any corporation using the more inclusive "Happy Holiday" greeting instead of "Merry Christmas." (Forget the war in Iraq, this one is personal!)

The American Family Association has called for a boycott of all stores, including Target, that fails to use the word Christmas in their advertising or in-store promotions. "Target doesn't want to offend a small minority who oppose Christmas," says chairman Donald Wildmon. "But they don't mind offending Christians who celebrate the birth of Christ."

I don't know about you, but when I think celebrating the birth of Christ? I think Target. I mean, who needs churches for that kind of thing?

And, then (as always), there's Jerry Falwell, one of America's Most Addled, who wants us all to shop only in stores that say "Merry Christmas" and play carols. His Liberty Counsel is running a "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign."

The Liberty Counsel has been involved in many of the various local Christmas disputes and operates the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," which includes "free legal assistance by Liberty Counsel to individuals facing persecution for celebrating Christmas" and "a pledge to be the 'Friend' to those entities which do not discriminate against Christmas and a 'Foe' to those that do."

So, the question is: Who would Jesus bitch-slap? Or sue?

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president William A. Donohue has no idea. P.O.'d that the official White House holiday card didn't include the word "Christmas," he took to the airwaves, spinning like a top. (Note: his organization isn't officially affiliated with the Catholic Church. Also note: the word "Christmas" hasn't been on a White House card since the third year of Ronald Reagan's reign.)


But it's Bill O'Reilly (with visions of loofahs or fallafals dancing in his head) who has been leading the charge at Fox. Is he bi-polar or whut?

Worse yet, the Fox guys have been guesting on each other's shows to promote this war! (Closely akin to marrying your sister in Arkansas.)

Here's a classic intellectual exchange between O'Reilly and his "guest" Gibson.

O'REILLY: "See, I think it's all part of the secular progressive agenda -"

GIBSON: "Absolutely."

O'REILLY: "- to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square. Because if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious- based, usually."

GIBSON: "You have France or you have -- or you have Holland, you have legalized prostitution, you have drugs. All those things come in which religious organizations tend to oppose. Once you start taking out even the secular symbols of religious holidays -- Christmas trees, Santas, so forth -- refuse to use the word 'Christmas,' you can shove this religious stuff indoors, out of sight."

O'REILLY: "Yeah, because no kid is going to come home and ask Mom what winter break is."


O'REILLY: "But a kid might come home and say, 'Hey, what's this Christmas thing all about? Who is this baby Jesus guy?' You know?"

GIBSON: "Right."

O'REILLY: "So look, that's on a very intellectual level, and it's behind the scenes. But these retailers are killing -- they're shooting themselves. I mean, they're killing themselves, because millions of people are just not going to shop in these places."

O'Reilly, apparently, a Christian who settled a sex harassment suit out of court (Who would Jesus harass?), has been all over the place this season, barking and braying and, when the facts didn't match what he was saying, he just made stuff up. He showed a year-old clip from "The Daily Show" and said it aired the night before. He accused one town of not allowing kids to wear red and green clothes at school, which was a lie. (The town's government building had red and green lights on it.)

And, while he was howling about the whole "Happy Holidays" deal, the Fox web site was selling O'Reilly "Holiday Ornaments." When the great "Media Matters For America" site pointed that out? They suddenly became "Christmas Ornaments."

Ya' know? When I think of baby Jesus or even Santa? I want O'Reilly on my tree...right next to the cat barf. It's sooooo festive.

Here's a nice rant from our Irish-Catholic friend:

O'REILLY: "What's happened is frightening. A legal assault by the ACLU combined with the media that blatantly promotes secularism has succeeded in convincing some Americans that the words 'Merry Christmas' are inappropriate while celebrating the national holiday of Christmas.

"This, of course, is nuts. Anyone offended by the words 'Merry Christmas' has problems not even St. Nicholas could solve. (NOTE: Saint Nick wasn't either a shrink nor a detective, but a friggin' Bishop!)

"Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable; more than enough reason for businesses to be screaming Merry Christmas."

Ahhh. But there's more. Bill? Take us into Bizarro World.

"I am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. I'm gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people who are trying to do that. And we have succeeded. You know we've succeeded. They are on the run in corporations, in the media, everywhere. They are on the run, because I will put their face and their name on television, and I will talk about them on the radio if they do it. There is no reason on this earth that all of us cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together. There is no reason on the earth that we can't do that. So we are going to do it. And anyone who tries to stop us from doing it is gonna face me."

Incredible. Peace on Earth, goodwill to men? Nah, forget that! It's time for "scorched Earth," and "I'm gonna kick your ass unless you say "Merry Christmas!" What was the line from "Hannah and Her Sisters?" I think it was "If Jesus were to come back, he'd throw up.."

Monday, December 05, 2005

So Just Why the Hell Are You in Government?
My good friend Joe just sent me a piece of a NYT editorial that goes like this:

Mr. Bush and his team don't understand that they merely hold the current majority in a system designed to bring periodic changes in the governing party and to protect the rights and values of the minority party. The idea that the winners should trash the system to make sure the democratic process ended with them was discredited back around the time of the Bolsheviks.

Doesn't that perfectly sum up the current crop of folks in control of this Country? Many of the group in power right now openly display their distaste with government, but at the same time will use their political position to enrich campaign contributors or special interests. A public position is just that; working for the benefit of the public, not just short-sighted desires. I always want to ask the politicians in office who say they detest government, "so just why the hell are you in government???"

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