THE CHRISTMAS WARS:
How the Radical Christian Right is Bastardizing Christmas and Christianity
A Brief History of the Christmas Wars
By Advocate 1 and Brandon
-------""I am not going to let aggressive totalitarian and anti-Christian forces in this country diminish, denigrate, the holiday and the celebration. 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.."
Bill O'Reilly trying to sound like a Christian.
-------It seems as if the Radical Christian Right has stepped up its attack on America and mainstream Christianity by extending the Cultural War to include the words Happy Holidays; and while they may not realize it, they haven't exactly done a lot to equate their battle cry of "Merry Christmas" with anything especially Merry or Christian either.
-------On the surface, the whole thing seems rather bizarre. Christ, after all, never politicized his religious teachings; and the last we knew, bringing horror into the world of concerned Americans who oppose a Christian Republic or a Fundamentalist theocracy isn't exactly a Christian standard. So you just have to wonder: Why would the same professional misanthropes who so fervently complain about political correctness, want to demote the words "Merry Christmas" to the mere equivalent of right wing political war chant? Why would they want use Christmas, of all things, as an excuse to infuriate the American people at what they claim is the holiest time of the year?
-------First and foremost, we need to remember that this isn't the first time that the Pseudo Christian Right has used Christmas as a weapon against its opponents.
-------During the 1920s Henry Ford warned us about a Jewish conspiracy to remove Christmas from the public square. According to Ford and his ilk, there was a Jewish plot to eliminate Christmas caroling and Christmas pageants. Ironically, the current crusade against the term "Happy Holidays" also has a certain racist/antisemitic ring to it as well. The only other religious Holidays during the month of December are Hanukkah and Kwanzaa--a Jewish holiday and an African-inspired holiday. So you have to ask yourself, " what are the cultural warriors complaining about this time?" Are they really offended because they can't hear the words "Merry Christmas" on demand or are they just offended by Blacks and Jews? If it's the first scenario, we would suggest that they need to develop a few grown up characteristics such as patience and perspective; if it's the second scenario they clearly need to get a grip on their racist/antisemitic tendencies Granted, one might argue that conservative Jews and Christian Fundamentalists have forged a political alliance of convenience, based on Israel's right to exist and the Fundamentalists' literal interpretation of Revelations, but let's not deceive ourselves. This does not mean thay the Radical Christian Right has become more tolerant and accepting of the Jewish people. Rather, the Fundamentalist take on the Jews and the Nation of Israel is that Jesus, the beloved "Prince of Peace" will come back at the end of times to punish the Jews to eternal damnation because they refused to accept him as the Messiah.
-------Real love and compassion there.
-------The supposedly "Pro Christmas" crusade was renewed during the 1950s, when the John Birch Society decided there was a United Nations plot to replace Christmas decorations with symbols of one world government. In 1959 this fanatical little group (think KKK in street clothing) published a revealing pamphlet, "There Goes Christmas," claiming, "...one of the techniques now being applied by the Reds to weaken the pillar of religion in our country is the drive to take Christ out of Christmas -- to denude the event of its religious meaning." This time the targets were American department stores, which they assumed were a part of a clandestine Soviet/United Nations plot. And the last we knew, the John Birch Society had a decidedly anti-Semitic streak to it as well....
-------The current crusade only combines the worst of both, religious fanaticism and outright paranoia. That much became obvious when Fox Propaganda Minister, John Gibson offered his half baked ideas about Christmas and religion on November 17 of last year. Gibson, the author of The War On Christmas suggested:
-------"Minorities ought to have the same sense of tolerance about the majority religion -- Christianity -- that they've been granted about their religions over the years."
-------Which on the surface, actually sounds reasonable. But Gibson then went on to offer the following remarks.
-------"I would think if somebody is going to be -- have to answer for following the wrong religion, they're not going to have to answer to me. We know who they're going to have to answer to....And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition."
----- -Hardly the image of the devout, Christmas- loving Saint that the folks at Fox and Penguin Books have been promoting, is it?
-------Can you believe this guy? Only moments after he stated that the religious minority (a code word for Jews?) should be more tolerant of the Christian majority, Gibson then revealed himself as a judgemental, Christian supremest who was only saying what God would say if God only knew what was going on down here. (A special hint to our readers. When you die, go to Heaven, and see Mister Gibson there, you should worry about where you went.)
-------Needless to say we really aren't surprised by this.
-------Since the early 1980s the Radical Christian Right has grown increasingly militant, and paranoid. This, after all, is the same crowd that has been warning us about a "Satanic, New Age Conspiracy" which is allegedly poised to take over the entire world; the latest assault on "Happy Holidays," being the most recent in a long line of paranoid conspiracy theories. Granted, the right to both hate and fear your fellow Americans is protected by the American Constitution,, but the Radical Christian Right hasn't only turned these "time honored practices" into art forms; they have also created a delusional, world wide conspiracy that is so involved and so far-fetched that you need a flow chart just to keep track of the various groups, individuals, and practices involved.
3. aerobics at the YMCA
4. Alcoholics Anonymous
5. American Civil Liberties union
6. Amway Corporation
7. Atari Computer Corporation
9. Blue Cross/Blue Shield
10. Buffalo New York Public Schools
11. Campbell's Soup Company
12. Catholic Church/Catholic Communion
13. Cocoon (the movie)
14. Cousins: Norman
15. creative visualization
16. ending world hunger
17. environmental movement
18. Free Masonry
19. gay rights
21. Gorbachev: Mikhail
22. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
23. guided imagery for success and prosperity
24. happy holidays
25. health food
26. holistic health practices
27. The Hunger Project
28. Huxley: Aldous
30. the information revolution
31. Jehovah's Witness
32. Jewish Cabala/Judaism in general
33. Life Magazine
34. Lions International
35. Lockheed Corporation
36. Minneapolis City government
37. Mobil Oil Corporation
38. Monsanto Corporation
39. Mormon Church
40. Mother Theresa
41. The Muppets
43. Nader: Ralph
44. National Aeronautic Space Administration
45. National Organization for Women
46. Native American religious ceremonies
47. NBC Television
48. Newsweek Magazine
49. New York City government
50. Planned Parenthood
52. Polaroid Corporation
53. Pope John XXIII
54. positive thinking
55. Prince Phillip of England
56. Princeton University
57. Proctor and Gamble
58. Readers Digest
59. rock and roll
60. Rockefeller Foundation
62. Save the Whales
64. Social Security Administration
65. stress management
66. transcendental meditation
67. Tutu: Desmond
69. United Nations
70. United States Navy
71. University of Michigan
72. University of Texas
73. vegetarian diets
74. Welesa: Lech
76. world peace efforts
77. Yale University
78. Yeltsin: Boris
-------Those are just a few of the many people, places and things that this crowd considers "New Age," "evil," or "Satanic."
-------And just who are the spin masters behind this unadulterated lunacy? You guessed it: Dave Hunt, Texe Marrs, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Ted Haggard, the late Randall N. Baer, Eric Buehrer, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Douglas Groothuis, Joseph Kennedy, Mel (deceased) and Norma Gabler, ad nauseum.
-------To quote Marrs: "The New Age appears to be the instrument that Satan will use to catapult his Antichrist to power...When Christians refuse to be initiated into this Satanic religious system, they will be dealt with very harshly....The New Age is working hard today to set up an environment against Christians...so the public mood will be ready when the Antichrist begins his brutal anti-Christian programs." (1987).
-------And to make the situation still more interesting, even the Christmas-mocking Gibson himself has couched his arguments in brazenly conspiratorial terms:
-------"It's like the secret bombing of Cambodia--it was a secret from everybody except the people getting bombed. Same deal here. People trying to keep Christmas in schools and parks and libraries and city halls know about the war on Christmas. The people waging this war are trying to keep it secret, but it's too late. They have been outed."
-------Nope. No paranoia there.
-------Worse yet, the Christmas warriors aren't always dependable when it comes to the facts.
-------Consider, if you will, religion in public schools. Our public schools are more religious now than they were at just about any time in our nation's history. Students pray, study the Bible, and hold rallies around flag poles; they distribute literature and discuss religion with their fellow classmates. Or to be be succinct, student-generated(religious activities are perfectly legal and constitutional. But that isn't the main objective. The idee fixe of the Radical Christian Right is top down religion; using the power and authority of school personnel and public tax dollars to impose a particular (read literal) interpretation of a particular faith on people of different religions and denominations. Translated into modern English, they want to turn America's public school system into a hotbed of Ultra- Fundamentalist extremism.
-------Spokespersons for the Radical Christian Right admit as much.
-------In 1990, Robert Simonds, founder of Citizens for Excellence in Education, made no effort to conceal his agenda.
-------"I hope I will see, " Simonds noted, "the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have public schools. The churches will have taken over again, and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be ."
-------In a similar vein, Jerry Falwell, founder of the former Moral Majority went to far as to say:
-------"America was founded by Godly men who had in mind establishing a republic not only Christian in nature, but a republic designed to propagate the Gospel worldwide."
-------The upshot here is that the Christmas warriors couldn't care less about Christmas. Indeed, there are times when it appears as if they don't even care about Christ.
-------They are not trying to promote Christmas and they certainly are not trying to promote Christianity. Instead of promoting the true spirit of Christmas they are merely exploiting the day in their ongoing attempt to establish a repressive interpretation of the biblical text. Instead of promoting the true spirit of Christmas they are wishing the horrors of hell fire and brimstone on anyone and everyone who dares to disagree with them.
-------To call their hateful, paranoid behavior Christian, is a little like calling Adolf Hitler a good samaritan.