The so called "War on Christmas".... thoughts?

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December means only one thing....CHRISTMAS! Yes that time of year to deck the halls, praise Jesus and something else that's now becoming a tradition, the Republicans complaining about Liberals declaring a war on Christmas. I decided to make a thread on this topic after hearing about a story on the Daily Show were Atheists campaigned for the taking down of a Nativity scene and after watching a particular interview on the O'Reilly Factor

Personally I get why some are against Christmas, mainly those from a different religion who don't want to get repeatally slapped in the face with it, but the attitude Republicans are getting across is that they believe Christmas is under threat is absolute bull, Christmas is far from under threat, with the amount of media attention, music, Christmas specials and amount of Christmas decorations in towns and cities that (and I quote Jon Stewart) look like Santa's balls have exploded. So, what do you think about the "War on Christmas", is it true or just pure exaggeration and overreaction?

definitive exaggeration and overreaction. It's fox that's what they do. plus more than likely they won't take the nativity down anyway. It's a bunch of bitching and moaning. I mean yeah it sucks that they have to have it up but it aint a big deal anyway.

"Christianity isn't a religion, it's a philosophy"

No shit for brains, religion itself is a philosophy, like how atheism is a philosophy and like how i think Bill O'Reilly is an idiot is also a philosophy.

The meaning and practise of seasonal holidays changes all the time- so how you view one seasonal holiday is subjective. My celebration of Christmas is no more or less valid than how a Christian celebrates Christmas, or how i celebrate Halloween compared to how a neo-pagan may celebrate it. There arn't any right answers as to what Christmas is how it should be celebrated.

Manufactured outrage to keep Fox News viewers pissed off about who they're always pissed off at and more likely to buy more Christmas shit. Personally I find it obnoxious but I'm only made aware of it by my facebook being clogged with shit about how stupid Fox News is and as a result I refuse to get angry about it myself.

It's like VATS - it's the "Hey, look over there" button for the right wing media to distract people who care from issues that concern them and their lives.

Serge A. Storms:
Manufactured outrage to keep Fox News viewers pissed off about who they're always pissed off at and more likely to buy more Christmas shit. Personally I find it obnoxious but I'm only made aware of it by my facebook being clogged with shit about how stupid Fox News is and as a result I refuse to get angry about it myself.

I agree, but you've put it rather bluntly.

Oy vey. It's never an auspicious sign when Bill O'Reilly gets invoked in the OP - that eminently slappable red-faced screaming goon just misrepresents everything. "Christianity not a religion" - you heard it here first, folks. What bullshit.

This "War on Christmas" is something that as a Brit I only ever hear about through the filter of American TV, so I'm not sure it even exists - or at least, in the form that it's presented. Are there American Atheists out there who really want Christmas to be abolished and who are offended by Nativity scenes? If there are, I would conclude that they're straying into the territory of antitheism and conflating secularism with cultural whitewashing.

Not even Richard Dawkins, the "shrill and militant" voice of organised atheism, advocates trying to erase the cultural ties with Christianity. The US, like the UK, is culturally Christian and that means Christianity is embedded in language, laws, our history, architecture, cultural celebrations and public holidays. But you don't need to be Christian to share in and enjoy any of this - hell, Christmas, as practiced in the West, is the least overtly religious holiday I can think of.

Also, we need fairness and even-handedness. I wouldn't dream of telling a Muslim to "stop fasting for Ramadan, it offends me. And tell your wife to uncover her hair, that offends me too." I don't tell Hindus to stick their "damn fireworks where the sun don't shine" (after all, that'd be rank hypocrisy since Diwali usually falls right after Guy Fawkes' Night). That wouldn't be the actions of a "good atheist", that'd just be mean-spirited, puritan pettiness. If other religions are exempt from this kind of petty picking, then why should Christianity deserve it? Because Christianity is "the majority"? Because "historical injustices"? I reject those kind of arguments when people try casting Straight White Males as the Antichrist, and I don't think they apply to the Church either - at least not in modern, secular countries.

Kitsune Hunter:
So, what do you think about the "War on Christmas", is it true or just pure exaggeration and overreaction?

Despite being rather religious myself, I tend to side with the more secular people on this one. Government should not be entangling itself with religion to such a a degree. I don't mind things like trees, but come on, Nativity scenes? I feel as though this in general fails the Lemon test, specifically a lack of a secular legislative purpose to putting up a scene depicting the birth of Christ.

As for the whole "Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays", I say Christmas to those who I know celebrate it. When people say "happy holidays" to me, I'll say the same thing back to them. I think people are missing the "On earth peace to men" bit. Just chill and drink some eggnog

All I'm going to say is that I find it kind of nice to live in a place with a language where Christ is not in the name of Christmas ("Weihnachten", "hallowed night" I think) and where saying the equivalent of "happy holidays" ("frohes Fest!") is actually a standard greeting for Christmas as well. Makes it very easy to wish people a happy holiday season without being annoyed by anti-PC outraged people.

As for O'Reilly, I think my recent "Gangnam Style"-thread on him demonstrates well enough what I think of this buffoon. "Tide goes in, tide goes out. I can't explain that because I'm too dumb to look up tides and the effect of the moon and all my authority in this interview is based on volume and arrogance rather than a sliver of competence."

I work with a die hard Democrat who will always first warn me that he doesn't hate Jews, he blames them wrecking big parts of his Christmas. Some of it is because of the law suits. Yes, they happen. It isn't an invention of Fox. Some of it is good business. He used to go to the Christmas show at the Boston Pops but stopped when, he reports, they started incorporating Chanukah songs and making it more a "Holiday" concert.

I don't know why something like this happens. I don't think it is the Jews doing it though.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/merry-christmas-charlie-brown-performance-canceled-following-atheist-complaints-86149/

Gorfias:
I work with a die hard Democrat who will always first warn me that he doesn't hate Jews, he blames them wrecking big parts of his Christmas. Some of it is because of the law suits. Yes, they happen. It isn't an invention of Fox. Some of it is good business. He used to go to the Christmas show at the Boston Pops but stopped when, he reports, they started incorporating Chanukah songs and making it more a "Holiday" concert.

The question, really, is whether they are "wrecking his Christmas" by trying to enforce the constitution. It sounds like this is about public displays and the establishment of a particular religious celebration, after all. Jews have as much a right to public displays in this season as any other group. If his enjoyment of Christmas is predicated on the exclusion of everybody else in the public places, then the problem is with him, not them. That's what public space is all about, after all.

Ah yes, everyone has to go to 'war' about something. The atheists are 'at war; with Christmas, the Republicans are 'at war' with women, and life goes on in the big state of hyperbole.

Look, Christmas is something we have celebrated for a long time here in the States. We like to think of it as a time of good cheer and good will. Is it not understandable how some would be irked by being perpetually confronted with people who want to tear down decorations because they somehow 'offend' them. Now, of course, it is NOT APPROPRIATE to get all bent out of shape because someone doesn't think there should be a nativity scene outside city call. If it really bothers you so much; you're free to put one as big as you like on your own yard (that is, unless you're part of an HOA; in which case: how does that communism pie taste? /jk).

And for those who DO seem to take such issue that they're willing enough to rally legislation to get it banned; gee whiz, could you really just not stand to let it go one freaking month out of the year? Seems to me that the main problems here is that everyone is taking themselves and their traditions way too freaking seriously for something that's just supposed to be a celebration.

Is this still a thing? I thought even the Daily Mail stopped going on about this rubbish.

Historically of course only one group has seriously tried to ban Christmas and that was fundamentalist Protestants.

Christianity.....not a religion.....what?

O'Reilly could not be a/pretend to be a bigger fool on this. Not only is he denying that Christianity is a religion (which according the government it is) he is pretending CHRISTmas has nothing to do with CHRISTianity. That and calling someone a fascist is just rude.

Edit: Just watched this video and more and more I'm thinking Bill O'Reilly is laughing his way to the bank.

Well, if I'm going to be in a war, better it be against Christmas elves than High Elves.

Nobody is fighting Christmas trees or elves though, it's merely the religious symbolism, which shouldn't be more or less allowed than usual just because it's that's time of the year again. No nativity scene would kill me, but if it violates the seperation between church and state, then it needs to go.

I think those who think there is a "war on Christmas" by atheists and those who oppose Christmas are completely ridiculous, so I get to feel smugly superior either way. XD

Sure Bill, you don't look down at Atheists. You don't look down on anyone...

Anyway, this guy is an embarrassment and always has been. Seeing as he's the president of the American Atheists, I've never seen him do particularly good or even average in any kind of discussion. Not that I know too much but he's always seemed like a clumsy and uninformed person and now I might add a childish tendency to ruin things for others just because he doesn't like it.

There is such a thing? I always though that it was some stupid fabricated drama on people being too PC.
Anyway, I'll just lower my head in shame.

Hasn't this guy heard about "pick your battles"?

Old Bill is a nut job, is anyone surprised?

If it's what I think it is this might be relevant:

Basically Atheist snapped up a bunch of pubic displays to stop nativity scenes being put up. A Christian tries to sue the city into having Christian only displays (breaking the rules on separation of church and state) thankfully gets slapped down.

Fox news however reports that it was the Atheists that sued to stop Christmas displays going up, because y'know, the atheist war on Christmas sounds better than 'Christians expect privilege'.

OT: There should be a war on Christmas, the Christian side at least. As Christianity is the main religion it dominates our culture, however governments should be looking at a more balanced approach than allowing Christian saturation. Say there were 10 of these displays; give one to any major religion that has a holiday at this time and if there's any left have generic 'Happy Holidays' stuff. That way there's no privilege to any group and the city doesn't have to deal with people suing over Christian material violating the constitution.

I think Fox News blows this out of proportion but there are at least some "attacks on Christmas" out there.

I honestly don't see how atheists get so upset over Christmas. I understand why a Muslim or Jew would not like a nativity scene, it offends their religious beliefs, but why are atheists offended. Atheism isn't the presence of something, rather its the lack of something (i.e. religious belief). I don't get offended by a cross because there is nothing in me to get offended, to me its a stick of wood.

There's really no grounds to talk about a 'war on Christmas' when our culture is so innundated with Christmas itself. I kid you not, the local grocery store had set out christmas decorations by Halloween, and I started seeing Christmas decorations around town less than a week later. Don't get me started on ABC Family's Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas, or just how much Christmas music tends to take over the radio by Thanksgiving. It's more than a bit of stretch to say that there's a war on a day-long holiday we spend 2 months of the year focusing on.

Batou667:

This "War on Christmas" is something that as a Brit I only ever hear about through the filter of American TV, so I'm not sure it even exists - or at least, in the form that it's presented. Are there American Atheists out there who really want Christmas to be abolished and who are offended by Nativity scenes? If there are, I would conclude that they're straying into the territory of antitheism and conflating secularism with cultural whitewashing.

Depends on the location. I'd find it offensive inside a courthouse, but I'm perfectly happy to see them in front of people's houses and churches (though it does bug me to no end when they have a little baby in the basket before December 24. Though that's due more to the fact that my understanding is that they aren't supposed to put the kid out until then).

The only reasonable argument you could make for there being a "war on christmas" is the ongoing secularization and commercialization of what is ostensibly a religious holiday. Anyone complaining because there's a chanukiah by the christmas tree, or that city hall can't have a nativity scene out front, is so laughably out of touch with reality that they aren't worth listening to.

Gorfias:
I work with a die hard Democrat who will always first warn me that he doesn't hate Jews, he blames them wrecking big parts of his Christmas. Some of it is because of the law suits. Yes, they happen. It isn't an invention of Fox. Some of it is good business. He used to go to the Christmas show at the Boston Pops but stopped when, he reports, they started incorporating Chanukah songs and making it more a "Holiday" concert.

Appealing to Jews and other non-Christians seems like a much better business decision than placating anti-Semites. (If you irrationally blame Jews for "ruining" something you weren't entitled to in the first place, then yes, you hate Jews.)

cobra_ky:
The only reasonable argument you could make for there being a "war on christmas" is the ongoing secularization and commercialization of what is ostensibly a religious holiday. Anyone complaining because there's a chanukiah by the christmas tree, or that city hall can't have a nativity scene out front, is so laughably out of touch with reality that they aren't worth listening to.

Agreed. God this REALLY gets my goat as an atheist when people make a big deal out of this. Parts of certain Religions are part of our culture. Get over it. You go to work on a fucking THORSday for the love of jegus so you live EVERY single 7th day (maybe more, im not too sure on the etymology of the rest of the days of the week) in the name of a god that basically no one worships anymore. You dont care about that so why care about this. Sure christmas was religious. But its been stolen and changed and stolen and changed SO often you cant really claim its excluding non christians anymore. Its equally open to pagans and pretty much anyone since its basically a bastardized solstice festival and who the fuck cares its christmas. Heres a fun comic.

image

Christmas is a nice time of the year and has been before Christianity to throw a festival. Who cares which group most recently lay claim to it or how they wanna express that. Be nice to others and enjoy presents and cheer. ALL people regardless of religion can take a little joy in those things no? Basically if christmas offends you with its existence SO much that you feel the need to try and stop others showing it stop being a whiny asshole. If YOU hate it and YOU dont wanna take part power to you. But we have cultural standards and settings and even if they are irrational you cant start bitching about the presence of christmas anymore than you can about thorsday. If YOU wanna invent a new day of the week and make it into common usage go ahead and try. Likewise try and invent a more idealized version of xmas.

When you can find a holiday from any other religion that gets as much exposure in the Western world as Christmas does, then maybe I will take the claim seriously that Christmas is threatened.

I really think it is stupid that america is a patchwork quilt of culture, yet we have to hide those differences and pretend they don't exist. I want to see a giant menorah in a front yard next to a Christmas tree in another front yard. And, lets have a Kwanzaa celebration on both lawns. I want a Jewish man to wish me a happy Hanukkah and me to wish him a merry Christmas, and us both be happy with the whole thing.

How do we go about celebrating the winter solstice? 'Cause let's do that too. Let's all have one big holiday run this year. On the menu is Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and a winter solstice celebration.

BiscuitTrouser:

cobra_ky:
The only reasonable argument you could make for there being a "war on christmas" is the ongoing secularization and commercialization of what is ostensibly a religious holiday. Anyone complaining because there's a chanukiah by the christmas tree, or that city hall can't have a nativity scene out front, is so laughably out of touch with reality that they aren't worth listening to.

Agreed. God this REALLY gets my goat as an atheist when people make a big deal out of this. Parts of certain Religions are part of our culture. Get over it. You go to work on a fucking THORSday for the love of jegus so you live EVERY single 7th day (maybe more, im not too sure on the etymology of the rest of the days of the week) in the name of a god that basically no one worships anymore. You dont care about that so why care about this. Sure christmas was religious. But its been stolen and changed and stolen and changed SO often you cant really claim its excluding non christians anymore. Its equally open to pagans and pretty much anyone since its basically a bastardized solstice festival and who the fuck cares its christmas. Heres a fun comic.

uh, from what i'm reading here it sounds like you don't agree with me at all? Christmas is still religious for a hell of a lot of people and plenty of non-Christians still feel excluded by it, because Christmas not and never has been a part of their culture.

BiscuitTrouser:

Christmas is a nice time of the year and has been before Christianity to throw a festival. Who cares which group most recently lay claim to it or how they wanna express that. Be nice to others and enjoy presents and cheer. ALL people regardless of religion can take a little joy in those things no? Basically if christmas offends you with its existence SO much that you feel the need to try and stop others showing it stop being a whiny asshole. If YOU hate it and YOU dont wanna take part power to you. But we have cultural standards and settings and even if they are irrational you cant start bitching about the presence of christmas anymore than you can about thorsday. If YOU wanna invent a new day of the week and make it into common usage go ahead and try. Likewise try and invent a more idealized version of xmas.

and now you're arguing AGAINST people who don't celebrate Christmas? I'm not sure what your angle is but it deosn't have anything to do with what i just said.

yeti585:
I really think it is stupid that america is a patchwork quilt of culture, yet we have to hide those differences and pretend they don't exist. I want to see a giant menorah in a front yard next to a Christmas tree in another front yard. And, lets have a Kwanzaa celebration on both lawns. I want a Jewish man to wish me a happy Hanukkah and me to wish him a merry Christmas, and us both be happy with the whole thing.

How do we go about celebrating the winter solstice? 'Cause let's do that too. Let's all have one big holiday run this year. On the menu is Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and a winter solstice celebration.

Who told you you have to hide anything? And why not wish the Jew a happy Hanukkah, and let him wish you a Merry Christmas? That you're receiving wellwishes for the holiday you actually celebrate.

Gorfias:
I work with a die hard Democrat who will always first warn me that he doesn't hate Jews, he blames them wrecking big parts of his Christmas. Some of it is because of the law suits. Yes, they happen. It isn't an invention of Fox. Some of it is good business. He used to go to the Christmas show at the Boston Pops but stopped when, he reports, they started incorporating Chanukah songs and making it more a "Holiday" concert.

I don't know why something like this happens. I don't think it is the Jews doing it though.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/merry-christmas-charlie-brown-performance-canceled-following-atheist-complaints-86149/

As someone with Jewish family members, let me just say that there are some people who are jaded about Santa not visiting their house when they were a child and that they are some of the biggest critics of Christmas that I know.

cthulhuspawn82:
I understand why a Muslim or Jew would not like a nativity scene, it offends their religious beliefs, but why are atheists offended. Atheism isn't the presence of something, rather its the lack of something (i.e. religious belief). I don't get offended by a cross because there is nothing in me to get offended, to me its a stick of wood.

Pray tell how Christmas is offensive to Judaism, because I can't figure it out for the life of me.

cobra_ky:
If you irrationally blame Jews for "ruining" something you weren't entitled to in the first place, then yes, you hate Jews.

Have to disagree with that, the most vocal people who I have met that strongly criticize Christmas are Jews that I have met and the impression I'm always left with is that its just a case of sour grapes.

cobra_ky:
snip

It's not that I'm told I have to hide anything. It's more that our politically correct winter greeting/goodbye is "Happy holidays!" or that same sex marriage is illegal in many US states.

on the "why not wish the Jew a happy . . . you actually celebrate."; It's about a feeling of brotherhood, togetherness, unity. A feeling of "Despite all our differences we can come together as a nation of humans".

Skeleon:

The question, really, is whether they are "wrecking his Christmas" by trying to enforce the constitution.

I think some people just like to exercise power and bully other people. That they're just trying to enforce the Constitution gives them a rationale for what they are doing.

It sounds like this is about public displays and the establishment of a particular religious celebration, after all. Jews have as much a right to public displays in this season as any other group.

I agree that much of his issue is his lack of ability to create a sphere where only his celebration matters. Many in the "war on Christmas" actually want just this: not to bully, but to say, I'm not a part of that particular holiday, but I deserve acknowledgement.

If his enjoyment of Christmas is predicated on the exclusion of everybody else in the public places, then the problem is with him, not them. That's what public space is all about, after all.

I think it less about exclusion of others than about a zone of absolute power/privacy/authority. You can get this in the private sector, but you have to be willing to pay for it. For many people, happily, I don't think they are. They're pretty happy having other's holiday's acknowledged. So, that is what the Pops are doing, and to my knowledge, they're thriving.

cthulhuspawn82:
I think Fox News blows this out of proportion but there are at least some "attacks on Christmas" out there.

I honestly don't see how atheists get so upset over Christmas. I understand why a Muslim or Jew would not like a nativity scene, it offends their religious beliefs, but why are atheists offended. Atheism isn't the presence of something, rather its the lack of something (i.e. religious belief). I don't get offended by a cross because there is nothing in me to get offended, to me its a stick of wood.

I've never heard of an atheist vandalizing or filing a lawsuit against private displays. Every single story I've ever heard about the supposed "war on Christmas" has involved a public institution, such as the city hall or courthouse, hosting a Christian display to the exclusion of all others. I don't think there's anyone actually "getting upset over Christmas" (and if there are people like that, I disavow them); rather I think they're getting upset that the establishment clause is being violated by exclusively Christian displays on governmental property.

yeti585:

cobra_ky:
snip

It's not that I'm told I have to hide anything. It's more that our politically correct winter greeting/goodbye is "Happy holidays!"

Here's a novel idea:

If you don't like the politically correct greeting/farewell, don't use it. You have freedom of speech. Say what you want. And if someone gets offended that you said "Merry Christmas" to them, ignore them, because they are clearly an idiot.

Christmas is a time for sharing,
Christmas is a time for caring,
If you believe in Christmas things,
You'll know the joy that Christmas brings.

cobra_ky:

uh, from what i'm reading here it sounds like you don't agree with me at all? Christmas is still religious for a hell of a lot of people

What some people view Christmas as != what our culture views Christmas as. There is a significant difference between the two.

and plenty of non-Christians still feel excluded by it because Christmas not and never has been a part of their culture.

You see, I don't get this. Why get offended at another culture celebrating one of their holidays? You are not a part of that culture, so why do you give a crap what they do at a certain part of the year? It doesn't make sense to me. :\

BiscuitTrouser:
Heres a fun comic.

That website has comics?

cobra_ky:

BiscuitTrouser:

cobra_ky:
The only reasonable argument you could make for there being a "war on christmas" is the ongoing secularization and commercialization of what is ostensibly a religious holiday. Anyone complaining because there's a chanukiah by the christmas tree, or that city hall can't have a nativity scene out front, is so laughably out of touch with reality that they aren't worth listening to.

Agreed. God this REALLY gets my goat as an atheist when people make a big deal out of this. Parts of certain Religions are part of our culture. Get over it. You go to work on a fucking THORSday for the love of jegus so you live EVERY single 7th day (maybe more, im not too sure on the etymology of the rest of the days of the week) in the name of a god that basically no one worships anymore. You dont care about that so why care about this. Sure christmas was religious. But its been stolen and changed and stolen and changed SO often you cant really claim its excluding non christians anymore. Its equally open to pagans and pretty much anyone since its basically a bastardized solstice festival and who the fuck cares its christmas. Heres a fun comic.

uh, from what i'm reading here it sounds like you don't agree with me at all? Christmas is still religious for a hell of a lot of people and plenty of non-Christians still feel excluded by it, because Christmas not and never has been a part of their culture.

If I've never had a television in my life, that won't stop me from taking a television from someone else. I will have a television, and the other guy won't. He was using it as a fish tank, but somehow I managed to repair it. I'll be watching programs it. The television would then be used for I Dream Of Genie, not for cichlids and underwater castles.

Only one religion was able to successfully ban the celebration of Christmas in the US.

They were called Protestant Christians.

That video was pretty funny, but like most things Oreily does I have to stop watching after 2 minutes for fear my head might implode. I mean the way he makes it sounds christianity and all it entails is a philosophy to be used like a lot of eastern philosophies(that where mainly religious at their inception), in my mind that means O'reilly doesn't believe in Jesus christ as his savior purely in the good teachings a hypothetical divine teacher taught people in the middle east. Holy shit... Oreily just admitted he doesn't believe Jesus was divine or the son of god. At least that makes more sense than the words he was trying to put in this guy's mouth.

Directly to the point people act like christmas is under attack because it's been a staple of american culture since... it's inception and suddenly people don't think christmas should be the focal point of the winter holidays. Just another example of the country diversifying and mostly christian majority to need to fucking get over it. So what if you go to macy's and there isn't a banner with a christian psalm or a nativity scene in a major shopping area? Who does it hurt by taking down? Versus who does it alienate by keeping it up?

But I really couldn't give two shits one way or the other and I'm an atheist... that may be because my entire family is christian though so I have to deal with it no matter what.

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