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

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dmase:
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.

*points to ClockworkPenguin and GunsmithKitten's posts*

Because of its Pagan origins and traditions, Christmas was actually looked down upon in the USA for much of its history.

Skeleon:

dmase:
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.

*points to ClockworkPenguin and GunsmithKitten's posts*

Because of its Pagan origins and traditions, Christmas was actually looked down upon in the USA for much of its history.

Ok 1850's on and I disagree with the Pagan aspect looking it up it was looked down upon because it was considered a English tradition. The puritan argument holds little water considering most weren't puritan and puritan had little to do in the way with buying power and celebration in the united states, they probably disagreed with a great many things concerning merriment and decorum in the US as the majority of americas face changed to one accepting of new ideas. Not to mention I doubt most in 17th century america could detail the pagan tradition behind christmas including the puritans it was probably because drinking excesively and being greedy weren't there cup of tea. That and New England(where puritans where mainly located) != US.

The "War on Christmas" is a bit of a misnomer. It isn't so much Christmas that is being attacked, but the unspoken implication that Christmas solely belongs to Christianity. It is a rallying cry for Christians who lament and possibly resent the fact that their religion is no longer the only one that matters. You hear much the same sort of thing whenever someone says "America is a Christian nation", which is also untrue. The secular Christmas, the part with Santa and Rudolph and Frosty and Charlie Brown's pathetic twig of a tree and Burl Ives on the radio roughly 24/7 for a month is perfectly safe. I'm sure there are people who hate that part, but they're such a small minority that it isn't worth talking about. Christmas is fine.

But Christmas, the religious holy day, has experienced a sharp decline in popularity. The rise of atheism, as well as a more vocal appearance for Hanukkah and various pagan holidays around the Solstice, and the creation of Kwanzaa has made what was basically a hugely Christian event less and less about the church. The "War on Christmas" is, ultimately, a political tool. The Republicans can point to all of the outsiders who want to steal Christmas from the Christians, and force them all to worship at the altar of Santa and Satan, or some malarkey. And this sort of thing resonates with people who feel that America isn't as Christian as it used to be, and think this is a negative change rather than a positive one.

this war on christmas is messed up and wrong. we all need to get back to the original message of having a week long orgy of alcohol, gambling and over eating with gift giving and gladiator fights as the romans used to :)

come on people ! where are the christmas specials showing santas elves fighting to the death in the arena in honour of saturn

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

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.

I expressed myself poorly, i thought you were against those who wanted to remove christmas from the public sphere ie (nativity scenes from buildings). What i was trying to say was:

People who try and remove nativity scenes from outside buildings and public spaces should understand christmas is pretty much everyones culture. Its been around in Britain longer than Christianity and i agree with you that they are "Out of touch with reality" (thus quoting you) because to say that christmas is some sort of forced affair is silly. The festivals of solstice have been a fun and great event for a thousand years, it IS basically inherent to our culture regardless of what label is recently assigned to it, hell people still celebrate the stone henge solstice event and thats thousandS of years old plural. I feel that the christmas label is arbitrary. Its religious for some but christmas isnt inherently religious nor is it required for you to be religious to enjoy it at all because it has been a cultural event since time immemorial. Christians just made the event extra special for them and we joined in on the funner traditions. To take offence at christmas for religious reasons is odd since thats only a more recent party of the tradition thats been tacked on, the original festivities that have always been accessible to those of every faith are still totally there and theres no need to believe in god to enjoy things such as presents. Im saying i dont understand those who oppose christmas on religious grounds or feel excluded because its such an inclusive event, marketing is NOT aimed at christians nor is the event ever described as a "christians only" affair.

Im not arguing against people who dont celebrate it because and i quote: "If you hate it and dont wish to celebrate power to you". Its merely those who think that its purely a religious event and not part of our culture. It WAS religious before granted. As was thorsday, the day of thor. Id hardly say either of them are particularly religion ONLY events anymore even if they still have religious undertones and those who belong to the religion that founded the tradition take extra pride in said day. I think i said what i wanted to say very badly. Sorry, i was tired :S

Helmholtz Watson:

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.

What I meant is that I could understand why a Jew or Muslim would get offended, not to say that any large percentage of them would. Religions tend to be mutually exclusive. As such, its not unlikely that a member of a given religion would be offended by the promotion of other religions.

I still don't see why an Atheist would be offended.

There's a War on Christmas? Awesome, I've always wanted to shoot a few mall Santas.

Kitsune Hunter:

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?

***CONTROVERSY ALERT***

Christmas is under as much threat after this as the USA was after 9/11.

***CONTROVERSY ALERT***

BiscuitTrouser:
People who try and remove nativity scenes from outside buildings and public spaces should understand christmas is pretty much everyones culture. Its been around in Britain longer than Christianity and i agree with you that they are "Out of touch with reality" (thus quoting you) because to say that christmas is some sort of forced affair is silly. The festivals of solstice have been a fun and great event for a thousand years, it IS basically inherent to our culture regardless of what label is recently assigned to it, hell people still celebrate the stone henge solstice event and thats thousandS of years old plural. I feel that the christmas label is arbitrary. Its religious for some but christmas isnt inherently religious nor is it required for you to be religious to enjoy it at all because it has been a cultural event since time immemorial. Christians just made the event extra special for them and we joined in on the funner traditions. To take offence at christmas for religious reasons is odd since thats only a more recent party of the tradition thats been tacked on, the original festivities that have always been accessible to those of every faith are still totally there and theres no need to believe in god to enjoy things such as presents. Im saying i dont understand those who oppose christmas on religious grounds or feel excluded because its such an inclusive event, marketing is NOT aimed at christians nor is the event ever described as a "christians only" affair.

Im not arguing against people who dont celebrate it because and i quote: "If you hate it and dont wish to celebrate power to you". Its merely those who think that its purely a religious event and not part of our culture. It WAS religious before granted. As was thorsday, the day of thor. Id hardly say either of them are particularly religion ONLY events anymore even if they still have religious undertones and those who belong to the religion that founded the tradition take extra pride in said day. I think i said what i wanted to say very badly. Sorry, i was tired :S

Ah, ok. I don't reallyknow what the status of the "War on Christmas" is in Britain or whether it's even a salient issue over there. I was speaking only about America, where our Constitution forbids the state establishment of any religion (and therefore government institutions are precluded from having overtly religious holiday displays) and where Christmas certainly is not part of everyone's culture. Sorry for not making that more clear.

What, is the War on Terror not cool enough anymore?

I see Bill O'Rly is being ridiculous as usual. That said, I can't fully agree with Silverman either. All this insistance on "the winter solstice" and shit as if they were trying to pretend that's why people in the current United States began celebrating on that day in the first place. I know if I could pick my own holidays, I wouldn't give gifts and fatten myself over the goddamn Winter Solstice.

Christmas was never about Jesus to me. I couldn't care less that supposedly a bunch of mages followed some arbitrary celestial body and found Superbaby in some pig sty or whatever. It was always just the day where I relaxed and threw a party because everyone else was doing it. And honestly, who needs more than that?

I do agree with separation of church and state though, even though I don't agree with forcing it like that. It's cool though. Maybe it'll work.

Christmas lost that war to Capitalism. It really is nothing more now than the celebration of Captalism and what ever meaning is now dying, from the ass whopping it got.

wombat_of_war:
this war on christmas is messed up and wrong. we all need to get back to the original message of having a week long orgy of alcohol, gambling and over eating with gift giving and gladiator fights as the romans used to :)

come on people ! where are the christmas specials showing santas elves fighting to the death in the arena in honour of saturn

.

It all adjusts to local cultures, so no blood sports for us...

The War on Christmas is one of the most bullshit conspiracies ever dreamed up. Christmas isn't in danger just because you can't have a bunch of nativity scenes all over government lands, or having a "holiday" tree in stead of a Christmas tree. Its just another piece of the irrational victim complex that the religious right, and in some instances the right in general has.

The fact that some Christians even celebrate Cristmas in December, or even have pagan winter rituals such as the decorated evergreen trees is ironic considering their view of paganism. I AM NOT Christian, but find Christmas a great tradition, and love to partake in the event. Though it was pointed out to me that not all Christians even celebrate Christmas, and instead have a celebration in January that is nothing like the event Celebrated in December.

I have known quite a few people with trees, festivities and gift giving that are not Christian, so not sure why anyone would be against people doing it when it really is a fun event that doesn't harm anyone. I am not offended in any way of their nativities and such wherever they wish to put them, public property or not. That would just be making an ass of myself over nothing. It isn't harming me, No, I would much rather them do that instead of tieing me to a chair and forcing me to read the bible aloud. Now when they try to force you to do something against your will, well that is a different matter, and a serious issue. Putting a jesus and some animals on a public lawn.. why would I care? If they wish to do that they should be able to, but if someone else wishes to put up a big kachina, they should be able to as well. People really make much to do about nothing.

Next thing you know they will want to ban Christmas parties at school and "christmas vacation". Just imagine how many pissed off kids you would have over that! LOL

They go on about christmas decorations on public property.. there are Christmas trees in every classroom in public schools, santas running around the school, kids wearing reindeer antlers, Kids singing Christmas carols, kids happily eating Christmas goodies at their school sponsored christmas parties and making Christmas floats for their christmas parades. They wouldn't have to worry about the christians being pissed if they made them stop that, they would have to worry about the children forming lynch mobs and leaving flaming poo in their car for taking away their winter fun. Kids really do not care about the legality of their actions when they are angry in masses. LOL

Batou667:
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.

Actually, I've heard that quite a lot. "Religion is a terrible thing. Luckily for me, Christianity is not a religion, it's a personal relationship with Christ". Generally the people saying this do so in an extremely smug fashion, as it simultaneously infers that people who follow religion are somehow lesser than people with a "personal relationship" and that any prohibitions against religion (ie separation of church and state) don't apply to them.

cthulhuspawn82:
I don't get offended by a cross because there is nothing in me to get offended, to me its a stick of wood.

As long as it remains a stick of wood, there is nothing offensive about it. Hell, even as a cross it's not offensive, it's just a symbol that is important to someone else and that's fine.

However, when people are continually waving that stick of wood in your face and then telling you you're a bad person for not enjoying it, it's kind of offensive. As a non-believer I have no problem with people wanting to celebrate Christmas like the religious festival it used to be, but I do have a problem with people insisting that I should celebrate it that way too. That's why the more militants get upset by this sort of thing - they feel like they're being told to conform to someone else's definition of what Christmas means.

GrimTuesday:
The War on Christmas is one of the most bullshit conspiracies ever dreamed up. Christmas isn't in danger just because you can't have a bunch of nativity scenes all over government lands, or having a "holiday" tree in stead of a Christmas tree. Its just another piece of the irrational victim complex that the religious right, and in some instances the right in general has.

I am confused though, If the issue is Nativity scenes on government lands, why would it make a difference if the lands were court houses or schools? Public schools openly decorate and celebrate Christmas, have Christmas plays, sing Christmas songs, have Christmas trees, and Christmas parties. Would that not be the same issue? Now if anyone were to attempt to take away the kids Christmas fun at public schools, you can be sure that there would be a huge uproar, and yes, they would consider that a " war on Christmas". But it would be the children coming after "the guy who did this to them" and not the " Christians". LOL

Danny Ocean:

Kitsune Hunter:

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?

***CONTROVERSY ALERT***

Christmas is under as much threat after this as the USA was after 9/11.

***CONTROVERSY ALERT***

Are you suggesting we invade the North Pole to bring freedom and democracy to the elves?

Lil devils x:
I am confused though, If the issue is Nativity scenes on government lands, why would it make a difference if the lands were court houses or schools? Public schools openly decorate and celebrate Christmas, have Christmas plays, sing Christmas songs, have Christmas trees, and Christmas parties. Would that not be the same issue?

I imagine intrusive or very explicitly pro-Christian christmas celebrations would indeed be a problem. Christmas can be celebrated either normally or as a Christian thing. I am not opposed to it as long as it's not treated as something exclusive to one religion.

After all, it has roots that way outdate Christianity and has become a mix of various branches of religions found in western and northern Europe at the time (the Germanic pantheon, its midwinter celebration), Sol Invictus, the traditional Roman pantheon (Bachus), the Invincible Mithras and a few other religions. Christianity mostly took elements from those religions, mixed them together and then proclaimed them to be something Christian.

At the same time, if someone would present it as a purely Christian thing and celebrate mandatory, that would become a violation of the freedom of religion, since it would be explicitly trying to stuff one specific religion down someone's throat.

For the same reason I'm not opposed to holidays coinciding with Christian holidays. Here, there's a compensation rule that allows people to take days off at times, swapping it with Christian holidays. For instance work during Christmas, take a day off at the end of the Islamic Ramadan. And also, I can't propose a sensible alternative to the current situation, since no such thing as an atheist celebration exists.

Blablahb:

Lil devils x:
I am confused though, If the issue is Nativity scenes on government lands, why would it make a difference if the lands were court houses or schools? Public schools openly decorate and celebrate Christmas, have Christmas plays, sing Christmas songs, have Christmas trees, and Christmas parties. Would that not be the same issue?

I imagine intrusive or very explicitly pro-Christian christmas celebrations would indeed be a problem. Christmas can be celebrated either normally or as a Christian thing. I am not opposed to it as long as it's not treated as something exclusive to one religion.

After all, it has roots that way outdate Christianity and has become a mix of various branches of religions found in western and northern Europe at the time (the Germanic pantheon, its midwinter celebration), Sol Invictus, the traditional Roman pantheon (Bachus), the Invincible Mithras and a few other religions. Christianity mostly took elements from those religions, mixed them together and then proclaimed them to be something Christian.

At the same time, if someone would present it as a purely Christian thing and celebrate mandatory, that would become a violation of the freedom of religion, since it would be explicitly trying to stuff one specific religion down someone's throat.

For the same reason I'm not opposed to holidays coinciding with Christian holidays. Here, there's a compensation rule that allows people to take days off at times, swapping it with Christian holidays. For instance work during Christmas, take a day off at the end of the Islamic Ramadan. And also, I can't propose a sensible alternative to the current situation, since no such thing as an atheist celebration exists.

Considering in School plays in Public School, I played Angels, virgin Mary, and made a Star of Bethlehem that was on display with the school nativity I would say it is pretty religion based here. I can't say that it would be okay to only allow pagan rituals such as decorated evergreens, but then not allow Christians to have Jesus. I don't feel that is right either. The trees and festivities are religion based as well. We can;t just chop the religion out of it, it is why it is here in the first place. I would think that instead of attempting to rewrite history to our liking, we allow all of the celebrations in their own way, and have them " optional" for participation. You don't have to believe in the "virgin" Mary in order to play her in a school play. It was not any different for me doing that than it was to play The witch in the wizard of oz. If I don't believe it, it is no different than any other fiction. It is just a matter of how you choose to take it.

I know a Jewish woman who puts up a Christmas tree, complete with a "Punching Rabbi" tree topper...

Don't know how Christmas can get more broad support than that outside of forcing people who don't want to celebrate it.

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