The War on Christmas is destroying families, and not in the way you think.
I am essentially an atheist. I’m an atheist but not an asshole about it. I’ve described myself as atheist-agnostic – godless lifestyle, but without an accompanying dogma. Penn Jilette explained it quite well once – to the question “Do you believe in god?” I answer no; to the question “Is there a god?” I answer I don’t know. It would be nice if everyone answered the latter question agnostically. That would remove the “WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! WRONG WWRRRROOOONNNGGG!” from the dialogue.
I’m an atheist as part of a secular upbringing for most of my life, but even in a Judeo-Christian secular world we still acknowledged that Hanukkah is a thing, and celebrated Christmas because previous generations did go to church. Stemming from those previous generations and adding a bit from our own, there are traditions passed down that include exchanging gifts, baking, a decorated tree, and turkey dinner.
My family stopped going to the Christmas pageant years ago, just a few times since we altogether stopped going to church. We don’t say grace before our feast and our decorations are mostly Santa themed with the Jesus-based ones mostly for specific sentimentality and kitsch.
We put up Christmas lights on our house when I was growing up, but we were one of few on the street to do so because many of our neighbours were Jewish or too frail to put up their own lights. We didn’t do so out of protest or a sense of insecurity that our neighbourhood was infringing on our Christian tradition, yet the religious side of the War on Christmas may very well assume we were spokespeople on their behalf. What a disincentive to celebrate the holiday openly.
Logically extracted from the paragraph above, I grew up in peaceful coexistence with Jews. Imagine that! In elementary school we were taught about Hanukkah, had a poster of a menorah in class, and played with dradels. I’ve eaten latkes before. My Jewish classmates also ate some of the Christmas baking our parents sent with us to school in this season. We sang O Christmas Tree and Oh Hanukkah; Frosty the Snowman and The First Noel. It was the holiday season. They were happy holidays, and we extended the season’s greetings to everyone.
Under the current conservative lens, this wouldn’t pass the test. Why does Dradel Dradel Dradel come before Hark The Herald Angels Sing on the school pageant song list? Who dare indoctrinate the children in our Christian nation of the Zionist agenda?! (Oppressing Palestine, of course, is still legit to these folks.)
The Christian right is infringing on our family values, denying us the right to Love Thy Neighbour, and persecuting us for our belief that our beliefs are not their beliefs and they should chill the fuck out. SUDDENLY, people get so offended if I say “Happy holidays” or “Seasons greetings” or “Stay warm” instead of accusing everyone of making baby Jesus cry and on his BIRTHDAY. I don’t want my traditions associated with this oppressive stance on religion. In fact I’m so intimidated by this in-your-face political correctness that I might have to stop celebrating Christmas altogether.
When they learn that Santa Claus has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, that penguins don’t live anywhere near the north pole, and that the yule log predates Christianity, these zealous fanatics are going to go bezerk. They’re going to denounce Christmas as we know it – kill their own holiday just so no one can celebrate it without the corruption of broader happiness and enjoyment. They will remove Santa, whose name is used in vain to give gifts that are not directly related to Jesus, and replace him with Bill O’Reilly – who will only give children gifts if they watch his show and all their black friends vote Republican.
Whatever happened to the Christmas I remember? It wasn’t about a war; it was about peace, and on earth for that matter! It was about singing, not screaming, and about celebrating everything together, not tearing us apart.
Christmas is ruined. Thanks, non-Obama.