Ho,ho,ho, Who’s Really Waging the War on Christmas?

Christmas Warriors

Once again tis the season to be jolly, and once again, tis the season for the annual “War on Christmas” conspiracy drivel. With Bill O’ Reilly out of the picture it was anyone’s guess on who would pick up the battle cry this year. No, I’m joking. We all knew it would be none other than the deranged orange clown himself.

At a speech Wednesday in Missouri to publicize the GOP tax overhaul, Trump kicked off his remarks by saying: “I told you that we would be saying Merry Christmas again, right?”. To quote the idiot-in-chief, WRONG!

There has never been a time in modern history in which we the people of the United States of America have been prohibited from saying the phrase “Merry Christmas”. Hell, there is nothing stopping you from yelling from the rooftop on Easter! You can say it any time you like for as long as you like. In fact the magazine Mother Jones reported a few days ago that since 1970 the use of the the word “Christmas” has gone up by 50%, while the use of the word “Holiday” has only gone up by 33%. If there is a war on Christmas, the other side is losing.

If by “Christmas” you mean the holiday that includes garish decorations and a sea of presents (followed closely by a mountain of debt) then, no there is no war on Christmas. We can point to the facts to prove it.

Fact: In the last decade the Christmas season has made its way into November, starting with Thanksgiving evening. For you die-hard Christmas warriors, malls across America are opening their doors earlier and earlier just for you. No longer do you have to wait in dark of night to storm the gates to plunder and pillage for bargain prices! The doors open at 6pm and stay open almost all-damn night. If you don’t want to battle for your Christmas spoils you now have the convenience of shopping Black Friday (now Gray Area Thursday) online. Missed it? Don’t worry, you get a second chance the following Monday, now called “Cyber Monday”.

Fact: During the Christmas season consumer sales damn near double what they are for the rest of the year. CNN Money reports that this year’s online sales hit 5 billion dollars. That’s right folks, in less than 24 hours, 5 billion dollars was spent on Christmas gifts (I have no doubt some of that money was spent for other reasons, but not as much as it was on Christmas). So to say there is a war on Christmas is laughable.

I know, I know. Some of you are still not convinced. You cling to the argument that the store clerks no longer say “Merry Christmas” and Starbucks sell “Holiday” cups and for some reason I cannot fathom, this offends you; all I can say is that if this is the worse thing that happens to you this season, count yourself blessed.

While you may not hear “Merry Christmas” from the clerk who waits on you, do you know what you do hear throughout the store? CHRISTMAS music! You can’t get way from the fucking noise! You hear it in the bathroom, in the food court, in the dressing rooms, and at the check out station. You are hearing the words “Merry Christmas” over and over again. Can someone please come up with some new Christmas music?! How many times can we hear Jingle Bells without going crazy?

Just because the clerk doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean the store is boycotting Christmas, it simply means the clerk is being inclusive and sensitive to all the December holidays even if you and the damn music are not. I know it may be hard for you to conceive, but there are other winter holidays besides Christmas; yet is Christmas music all season long! Remember our religious freedoms? They extend to all religions, not just yours.

Speaking of religion, let’s get the heart of the conspiracy. It’s not the consumer driven Christmas that Christian conservatives are worried about. They know good and well that capitalistic Christmas is under no attack. It’s the idea that Christian values are under attack. Again, WRONG!

According the World Atlas.com, The United States tops the list of Christian nations with 226,886,418 Christian living in the country. While other Western countries are believing less and less in a deity who cares about our daily lives and who wins the Superbowl, America is holding steady at 70% of those who do. As of 9am this Sunday morning no one is stopping you from going to church or praying for that big win. In fact here in America you can even start your own brand of Christianity. Joseph Smith started Mormonism, and Mary Baker Eddy started Christian Science. Both were very unconventional Christians. True, Smith was killed, but lets face it, he pushed a lot of people for a lot of reasons to the breaking point. The fact remains, Mormonism is proof that anyone can start a church. John Oliver the host of Last Week Tonight, did just that last year in order to prove this point.

If we are talking about a war on Christianity then I have to agree that there is a grain of truth to the argument. But I would argue that the war is being waged by the vary people, like you, who demand everyone say “Merry Christmas” as you ride store to store seeking the best possible deals in order to cram as many presents under the tree as you can. How Christian like is this behavior? Lets see what Jesus has to say about your shopping habits shall we?

So, the next item on my Christmas list is..

John 2 15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Luke 14 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Mark 10 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Do I have to go on? Because I can. It seems he has a lot to say about possessions and worldly delights.

In other words Jesus, the Savior of Christians, wants you to give up your worldly goods. Let me say that again- Jesus is quoted as saying that having and loving worldly goods, is the opposite of loving God.

There is nothing in the Bible that has Jesus demanding that you gather up your family under a well-lit carcass of a dead tree in order to pay tribute to your materialist needs. Again he is preaching the very opposite of what has become known as the “Christmas Christian Season”.

Can you imagine what he would think if he ever did return and it just happen to fall on his birthday? I doubt he’d be impressed.  Heck, tt may well even give him a heart-attack! And he’s gone again..

So the next time you find yourself faced with a store clerk who doesn’t say Merry Christmas, or outraged that your local Starbucks has dared given you a cup that says “Happy Holidays”, ask yourself who is being less of a Christian, you the greedy consumer or the person who is patiently serving you?

Works Cited

The Bible, English Standard version Print.

Works Referenced

CNN Money Black Friday Holiday Shopping 217

Mother Jones War On Christmashttp://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/11/war-on-christmas-update/

World Atlas.com Christian Nations

Fantasyland Part 2 The myth of Thanksgiving

There is probably nothing accurate about this picture.

Happy Sunday everyone! Before we begin, I want to give a big thanks to everyone who responded to my last post and a big hello to my new followers. You all made me feel a bit better knowing I am not alone in my worries about our current situation.

To my fellow Americans, I hope you had a pleasant holiday weekend. Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast? I made plans to stay home and enjoy one of the last warm days of the season by doing yard work. I can’t remember a 70-degree (21 celsius) day in November since moving from California many moons ago. But I changed plans and headed to a good friend’s house for dinner. After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Spending time with those for whom you are grateful? Kinda like how the Pilgrims were grateful for the helpful Wampanoag tribe as they struggled to make ends meet in their new environment. At least this is the myth we teach our children.

The story we tell ourselves concerning the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Indians is the corner stone to the foundation of the making of America myth. Even though the Pilgrims were not Americans, and not in the least bit interested in starting a new country, the whitewashed story we tell ourselves about them bleeds into the myth of how our country was started. It is one of the first things we teach small school children about America; how early settlers tried to make peace with hostile Indians. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is historians do not know much about the first Thanksgiving other than a few lines in a letter from Edward Winslow dated Dec. 11, 1621:

..after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others.  

Historians cannot be sure if the local tribe was invited to the harvest feast or if they just came around after hearing gunfire. One thing we can be certain is that the feast was not something special, nor was it as we are taught, the Pilgrim’s way of thanking the local Wampanoag tribe for teaching them how to plant and harvest in this new world If it were, Winslow would have made much ado about the feast and would have padded himself on the back for thanking the Indians for their assistance.

Speaking of new world the other persistent myth, and part of our corner stone, is the idea that the Pilgrims (who by the way called themselves “Separatists” not Pilgrims) left England for North America to peacefully practice their religion. In actuality the Separatists left England and first went to Holland, eventually settling in the city of Leiden. Winslow found that Holland afforded them “peace and liberty”. If the Separatists were only looking for religious freedom they would have stayed. But secular needs were wanting in Holland; they found it hard to make a living and harder still to identify as English, so they made out for the New World hoping for a “better and easier life”.

Unfortunately for the indigenous people the Separatists eventually found life better, though not easier. It is true that the local tribes educated them about what to plant and how to plant it, but as the first wave of Separatists thrived others followed and the fragile peace between the groups grew strained. Which leads us to the next recorded “thanksgiving”.

In 1637, in retaliation for the murder of a man the settlers believed the Wampanoags killed, they burned a nearby village, killing as many as 500 men, women, and children. Following the massacre, William Bradford, then Governor of Plymouth, wrote: …

From that day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanks giving for subduing the Pequots and for “the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.

So to summarize: America celebrates a holiday tradition that was decreed to be a day of thanks by a group of British settlers in honor of a bloody victory over a group of people that included burning to death women and children.

It became an official national holiday in 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln who issued the proclamation of thanksgiving following a request from writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who asked that the day “become, permanently, an American custom and institution.” One has to wonder which part of the custom she wished to institute.

Our American tradition of taking a day to give thanks for what we have is fine. I think we can all agree that it is a good idea to at least once a year, gather friends and family around and show love with gifts food. But isn’t it time we stopped believing in the myth of Thanksgiving? We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes. We could just as easily keep the spirit of the holiday as it has evolved to mean without having to keep the myth of the first thanksgiving. If we have any hope of leaving the world of fantasyland, we must stop clinging to fantasy.

The truth is:

The Separatists wanted to be separate from the Protestant religion, not English identity.

The Separatists’ secular needs outweighed their religious needs so they left Holland for the New World.

As new settlers arrived they demanded more and more land for themselves (and you though immigration is a problem now? Imagine being indigenous back then) without a thought to the people already living on it.

In a span of a few short years the settlers went from trading with the Indians to thinking nothing of wiping out whole villages and tribes & giving “thanks” to God for allowing them their victories.

Our nation is steep in myths about who we are and were we came from. I would argue that the very reason we find ourselves living in fantasyland now is precisely because we have an abundance of stories like these. America was built on fantasy. From the stories we tell about our founding fathers to stories we now share on Facebook. It is hard for us to tell fact from fiction because so much of what we believe is based on fantasy. Let’s change that one story at a time.

Next up, the “War on Christmas, or how Fox news gets you spend more money”.

Works cited

Mayflower History.com Primary Sources A Relation or Journal of the Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth

Smithsonian.com Edward Winslow