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War on Christmas

December 15, 2009
by

At 0600 hours, we’ll storm Maryville, TennesseeOur mission: strip the joy from as many people’s Christmas celebrations as possible.   Don’t rest until you’ve jammed needles from every Christmas tree in every Christian home into the eyes of every sweet, godly boy and girlShit in the local church’s manger.  Show no mercy and may Dawkins have mercy on your intellect.

The Fox Hysteria Channel seems to think that the mission of the unnamed enemy in the war on Christmas is something akin to the above.  They never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever seem to get that no one is trying to deprive private entities like families and churches from celebrating their holiday any way they see fit.  The problem is that municipalities in the United States may not participate in religious observances.  If every resident of a town belongs to the same church, let the church hold the annual Christmas celebration.  NOT THE FUCKING TOWN.

Jesus fucking christ.  Now I’m angry.  Are these people so fucking stupid that they don’t see why the Constitution they all claim to care so deeply for prohibits the establishment of state religion?  They have no problem looking one clause over and seeing that their free exercise is protected.  If you are Christian, and you don’t get it, try this exercise: imagine that everyone in your town but you converts to Islam.  They want to have large Muslim observances on town land, using town money.  Would you be happy about it?  Probably not.  Even if you don’t care what they do in their homes or at their mosques, you don’t want the town to give its official endorsement to their religious activities.  And you’d be right.

No one is saying that you can’t celebrate Christmas.  No one is even saying that you can’t celebrate Christmas publicly.  All anyone is saying is that town governments should not be giving their imprimatur to religious activities.  Stop whining, you miserable pieces of shit. 

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. McDonough permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:47 pm

    Barry,
    While I don’t endorse FOX news I am going to call bananas on this argument. You are the grinch who is trying to kill Christmas. You repeatedly harp on people for exercising their free exercise of religion. While I agree with the establishment clause and that there should be a valid separation of church and state I fail to see, in this case, the excessive entanglement or preference of one religion over the other.

    This town has the tradition of 22 years of reading this story. The local police are not rounding up all the townsfolk and forcing them to sit through the reading. In a community that is (most likely) predominately Christian, they hold a ceremony that marks the observance of a National Holiday based on the judeo-christian roots of this country. It is the lighting of a Christmas tree and not the building of a manger or life size baby Jesus. MOST IMPORTANTLY they aren’t prohibiting the lighting of a Menorah or the celebration of Ramadan, if they did then it would be establishing a preference.

    This same ceremony was held on the National Mall by Barack Obama. At which, Michelle Obama read the “Night before Christmas” which includes 3, 3 blatant religious indoctrinating references to Saint Nicholas! How dare our President force the Christian faith on all of us by reading a story rife with religious references. However, they also light the giant Menorah and have a giant Crescent Moon for Ramadan right there on the Elipse next to the big ole Jesus Tree… See no preference, no mass indoctrination or baptisms. Also, I think the tree is donated and powered by green-LED lights, so the cost aspect should be minimal.

    Maybe they could be a little more secular by reading the poem and not the Bible but hey it is CHRISTmas. The Christmas story should be humorous and entertaining for you, all this nonsense about virgin conception and three kings bringing gold, oil, and pot-smoke-coverup etc. sounds like a laugh riot.

    I doubt it is a matter of money because Dr. Babyjesusstoryreader looks like he would do it for free. I think you are going to have trouble advancing the argument that as an atheist tax payer you shouldn’t have to pay for the National Christmas Tree or Menorah. I am sure the tax payers of any number of religious faiths won’t object to paying for your nothing.

    I hope they set up statutes of Vishnu on whatever holiday Hindu’s celebrate, because it would probably broaden religious tolerance and understanding. I may not go to the event where they push the button so that he starts squirting milk for all the young boys and girls, but if they want to read from there book about why, I don’t have a problem.

    If you can’t deal with expression, do what they always used to do and mutter “bah humbug” and move along.

    • Barry permalink*
      December 15, 2009 2:02 pm

      Like I said, anyone can observe religion in whatever way they see fit. They can do it publicly or privately. They can do it on Christmas, Easter, Eid, Diwali, or whatever the fuck they want. They just can’t do it with the endorsement of a municipality. It’s simple. It’s not intrusive. It’s not limiting their right to practice in any onerous way. Indeed, if it did limit the right to practice, I would be fighting alongside the faithful to restore that right. We just happen to live in a secular country, and keeping the lines between church and state winds up helping both.

      As for whether or not I am a grinch – I drink egg nog. I go to Christmas parties. There are typically presents for me in a stocking and under a tree. I would never want anyone to take that away from me. Nor would I ask any city to endorse a big celebration where I stood on a platform reading from The God Delusion or The End of Faith or Why I Am Not a Christian. My own religious views (or my lack thereof) aren’t matters that any government – local, state, or federal – need give attention to. If I want to participate in a big atheist convention (and believe me, I don’t) I will go to one. But I won’t ask a government to get involved.

      This isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of our Constitution prohibiting establishment. Until that clause is repealed by amendment, why not stick with it?

  2. McDonough permalink
    December 15, 2009 3:01 pm

    Barry,
    I think your view of the establishment clause speaks for itself. It is the ESTABLISHment clause and not ENDORSEment clause. This old guy in a sweater reading a brief passage of the bible at a public ceremony is not establishing anything. The town isn’t building a church with state money, the aren’t passing laws to pay for churches, they aren’t prohibiting or punishing the exercise of religion.

    I will give you that there isn’t a secular purpose for reading from the bible or playing a Christmas carol such as “Silent Night” which is essentially the bible story put to music. ( which I think Jordan Sparks may have sung at the National ceremony) But where is the excessive entaglement? What is being established? Ok so they are automatically endorsing a religion by allowing the exercise at a public ceremony?

    You want a solid concrete wall between church and state while at the same time eradicating any tradition upon which that wall was built? Unfortunately there were elements left on the State side of the wall when they put it up but they don’t rise to the level of establishing much of anything.

    If we follow your reasoning, the whole ceremony needs to be shut down, it is a Christian holiday and we can’t endorse that. Public streets and property must be devoid of any wreaths or menorahs. The National Tree needs to be taken down and the Whitehouse cannot be decorated. Our troops shouldn’t be given X-mas trees or allowed to put them up on their bases overseas. No more days off for Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur etc.

    PLUS, stop whining, you WON! They aren’t doing it anymore! We are one step closer from eradicating any mention of the Christian tradition from our public language. Soon we will never need to hear the word religion spoken on public land again. The message of Christmas, Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men will be kept behind private doors and out of our government FOREVER.

    You claim not to be a grinch but you are getting angry at people getting angry about losing a Christmas tradition of 22 years. I guess if you got anger in your heart it is good to let it out.

    • Barry permalink*
      December 15, 2009 3:29 pm

      If that’s the game you want to play, then I can’t help but point out that you’re whining about me whining about them whining about not being able to do what they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.

      But you raise a good point. The intention of my post was to draw attention to the hysteria that Fox News whips up every year at this time. Surely, you concede that my blog reaches a smaller audience than Fox (we are averaging 123 hits per day this month). They spend the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas screaming to a majority Christian country (and a self selected audience within that general population) that they are losing their rights as Christians.

      As for the religious displays and government involvement; for the most part, I am against them. I think that public ceremonies ought to be free of religious rituals or invocations, and don’t think that the military should be paying chaplains to ply their trade. But none of this is really the point of the original post. I simply want to call attention to the bizarre contention that Christians are somehow losing the ability to practice their religion when they are prevented from practicing it as part of a public ceremony.

  3. McDonough permalink
    December 15, 2009 3:53 pm

    I guess I might be whining but I am on the side of good, Jesus, and his uncle Santa Claus. So, Barry, now I see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

    But as for the Chaplains? Didn’t you know there are no atheist in foxholes?

  4. Barry permalink*
    December 15, 2009 3:57 pm

    I know the expression that says there are no atheists in foxholes. I also know that these people take exception to it: http://www.maaf.info/

    I wish there were a way to bring “I bet she gives great helmet” into this conversation. But there isn’t. Except for that.

  5. December 15, 2009 9:22 pm

    I’m don’t see how simply saying you’re on the side of good means anything. You’ll have to justify your position with something else here.

    The problem is as Barry says here. The government cannot in any way seem to be supporting any religion. Separation of Church and State yes? Doesn’t matter if no money’s involved.

    The reason for this is so the minority isn’t ousted by the majority in government. Outside of the government, you can celebrate whatever you want as long as it brings no harm to others.

    And as Barry says, there are plenty of atheists in foxholes. What you’re saying is that people’s fear of God is the reason why there aren’t any atheists. Fear isn’t a good reason for believing something is right. I also thought God was supposed to be omnibenevolent? Or are you one of those that don’t believe that? Even still, if fear’s all you have, then you should fear any totalitarian dictatorship. Believe in the divinity of Kim Jong Il! He’ll kill your ass if you don’t.

    And, of course, you also forget that there are other religions. Why believe solely in the Christian god when you’re in a foxhole? Now the Greek gods actually had some nice punishments. You might remember Titan. He had to hold the Earth up. That’s some punishment.

    My favorite is with Tantalus. Now that’s freaking torture. He’s in a pool of water with a fruit tree above. If he reached for the fruit, the branches rose. If he reached for the water beneath, the water receded.

    After you learn that, I bet you aren’t atheistic towards the Greek Pantheon anymore. Oh wait, no, that’s an utterly stupid argument.

  6. Jonathan permalink
    December 15, 2009 10:14 pm

    Umm, the first amendment does not refer to municipal governments. The constitution applies to the power of the federal government. This is why we also have local state constitutions.

    The text:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    They key word here I want to point out is “Congress.” Congress does not make state or municipal laws. What would be unconstitutional would be if congress passed a law prohibiting a municipality’s right to religious expression.

    • Barry permalink*
      December 15, 2009 10:25 pm

      It’s a little more complicated than that, Jonathan. There is a doctrine called “incorporation” which applies the due process guarantee of the 14th Amendment to the separate states. Everson v. Board of Education is the seminal 1947 case that outlines the broad application of the Establishment Clause.

  7. Jonathan permalink
    December 15, 2009 10:31 pm

    Well, I’m more of an original intent sort of guy.

    • Barry permalink*
      December 15, 2009 10:34 pm

      That’s a fine and defensible position, but it’s not the law.

      • JoJo permalink
        December 16, 2009 1:21 am

        if the constitution has rules for amending the constitution, then the original intent of the framers of the constitution was that the constitution change in the future as circumstances or principles warrant.

        if the constitution is consistent with or allows for the application of laws or precedent to novel circumstances, then the original intent of the framers of the constitution was that an iterative process of applying new statutes to new circumstances be created as circumstances or principles warrant.

        not being a constitutional scholar, i do not know if in fact the antecedents of these conditions are true. i suspect, in my amateurish way, however, that they are.

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