Monday, December 8, 2008

War on Christmas II

I'm sick of the War on Christmas nonsense... So this is the last you'll hear from me on the subject, but I wanted to clarily and expland on what I said in my last post, as it was written hastily as I was waiting for some hard drives to finish reimaging. A friend e-mailed me taking issue with some of my points, so here's a clarification:

First, my bulleted list -- particularly the part about Christmas trees -- is just my opinion. Other atheists and secularists have other opinions on the matter, and quite reasonable ones at that (I'm sure that religious people have a gamut of opinions on this matter as well). It's just that I personally have no problem with X-mas trees.

Also, as for the Freedom From Relgion Foundatiuon's "religion enslaves minds" display: I'm with them on the sentimentm, and I of course support the right of the FFRF right to put it there. I stand by my assestion that religious displays or symbols should not be allowed on government space. If, though, any government property does sponsor a religious display of any kind (nativity scene), then in order to show that the government does not show favor to any one religion (Christianity), these displays need to be made available to any religious group, including atheists, and these displays should be allowed to express whatever sentiment that gorup wished to communicate.

My issue with the FFRF sign is that I think it's unfortunate that the sentiment they chose to express here only serves to reinforce the image of atheists and secularists as uptight, crotchety jerks.

Now, I don't think what the FFRF said is any more severe than, say, Christians saying "Jesus was born this day. And those who reject him will spend eternity being tortured in a fiery conflagration" (and this meaning is carried, for me at least, by anything including the word "savior"). Indeed, it's far LESS severe than that... But is this a game of escalation? Seeing which "side" can say the most offensive things?

Sure, this stuff makes the news, and lets people who might be questioning religion know that they are not alone. But those "fence-sitters" might be scared away from exploring those questions when the only image of atheism is this. I would love to see atheist displays that are a little more creative and welcoming. But that's just me.

Anyway, there is no "War" here. X-mas is certainly religious in origin (even pre-Christian), and though the word "Christmas" itself is surely religious, I consider it a secular holiday, all about family and presents and nutmeg. ("Gonna cover you in my nutmeg.") I would probably prefer to shop at retailers who use more inclusive terms, like "Happy Holidays," than "Merry X-mas," but only because of the Culture-Warization of the terms by O'Reilly et al. Frankly, if Bills Donahue and O'Reilly and their ilk hadn't made such a big deal out of "Happy Holidays," I probably wouldn't even really notice. If Christians would rather shop at Walmart because they use the word Christmas, then more power to them. Walmart's not getting my business anyway, so they may as well market to their audience of hillbillies and klansmen (talk about gross overgeneralizations!).

This "war" is manufactured by the right and sensationalized media (particularly, sensationalized right media).

And now, I'm officially done with this issue.. at leasyt until next year. ;)


Judy said...

All I have to say is...make love, not war. OH MY GOD. How trite! But in a way...profound. I am sick of the stupidity of Chris Buttars and everyone else who jumps on this bandwagon.

It's about a SEASON, people. Not a religion. But I guess I do understand how some would wish/want it to be otherwise.

Let us all just embrace equality and acceptance of all. That's all I want for "holiday," Santa...truly. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. But one might ask the question: Why not have a war on Christmas?

I know that sounds silly, but it might be a hidden assumption, that needs questioning.