Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The War on Christmas

Fox News Channel continues its ridiculous media campaign against intelligence by maintaining that there is a “War on Christmas.” They cite differences of opinions as harbingers of the doom of their sacred capitalist-version of the holiday.
But to this day, no actual evidence exists that this war has ever been waged. It’s enough for them that you might disagree with them.

Granted, it’s a stretch to call them a news channel. One-sided opinion and hate mongering aren’t really journalism. What they’ve actually succeeded in doing is scaring their viewers into thinking that Christmas is endangered - even as those same viewers lined up at 6pm on Thanksgiving to be the first to take advantage of misleading “deals” at those gigantic box stores.

And yet, when someone says “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” that’s all the “proof” they need to say that the war is ever present and coming for your faith-based sensibilities However, a cursory glance at any dictionary will show that the word holiday is a form of “holy day.” Wishing someone well on a holy day seems like it would be exactly what people should do on a holy day.

Their hosts blather that the phrase should always be. I would counter with this: shouldn’t the birth of the Christian savior be the holiest of days? Would not the phrase “Happy Holy Day” be acceptable considering the sentiment? Unless they’re not concerned with the holy part of the holiday.

But it’s more than that. Considering how many religions do something in December, does not “Happy Holidays” encompass everyone? Consider the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. On the current Gregorian calendar, it comes up during a range of late November through December depending on the Jewish timetable. Does wishing a person of the Jewish faith a happy holiday infringe on their Hanukkah celebration? And why is there there not a peep about the War on Hanukkah on Fox News.

What about someone that celebrates Kwanzaa which is a week long celebration beginning the day after Christmas. How many times are you in a store and someone says “Joyous Kwanzaa” to you? And where is the kinara? Admittedly, this is cultural observation rather than a religious one, but where is the outrage about the War on Kwanzaa?

Islam uses a lunar calendar and as such their holidays don’t mirror dates that would pop up on the Western Gregorian calendar at the regular intervals that American and European Christians are used to. However, in saying that, some holy days could end up in December. Fox never declared a war on Ramadan, for example. Not that they would. They’re already fighting a different War on Islam in both an overt and covert sense.

Regardless, those are just the big holy days in America. With so many so close together, it seems right that you wish everyone, regardless of faith, a Happy Holiday. Doesn’t that count as a no-brainer? It’s means you get to promote those warm feelings we want during the holidays without having to guess what the next person observes.

But think about the people that celebrate the pagan Roman holiday Saturnalia. That’s the celebration that occurs in accordance with the Winter Solstice in late December. Many cultures that predate Christianity have been celebrating it as the sun coming back and bringing with it the future of the spring. You know, the entire basis of the Western version of Christmas.

Being born in Roman occupied land back in 4 B.C., Yeshua (Jesus’s real Hebrew name) and his parents, Yehosef and Miriam, would know about Saturnalia but wouldn’t have celebrated. And more importantly, Jesus was a Jewish man with a calendar of Jewish holidays. He didn’t find a way to participate in Saturnalia. He didn’t claim it for himself so that capitalism could run rampant and force people to spend money they don’t have in an effort to keep up with the people next door who did exactly the same thing?

Or did you forget that story of throwing the money changers out of the temple? Or his ministering to the poor?

The larger question that should be asked: would Jesus care?

Of course He would, but not in the way Fox News would have you think. He would be appalled at what many Christians have turned this time of year into. The commercialism, the lack of support for the poor, the willful giving of the masses to the 1% in the form of shopping would go counter to his message (full disclosure: I celebrate Christmas that way, too, and I need to do better).

That’s not even considering the fact that He was born sometime between March and May, by historical accounts. The Bible maintains that shepherds were in the fields and it’s too cold for that in December so the date observed as his birth isn’t even right.

Perhaps Jesus would ask why Fox News condones those things and conducts its war on His values?

You know, its War on Christmas.

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