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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh, the Inanity

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The "War on Christmas" strawman appears earlier and earlier each year. The absurdity of that claim always amuses me, but I also find it utterly bewildering how Christians can have such a persecution complex when they comprise over 75% of the population of the US, control all but one seat in Congress, dominate the military, and have managed to get prayer instituted into schools under the guise of the Pledge of Allegiance. (Yes, I realize that landoverbaptist.org is satire, but I invoke Poe's Law and state that it sounds an awful lot like some of the rhetoric spewed by the religious right).

In this post about a "Christmas Controbersy" [sic] claims:

I am providing evidence of the Secular Progressive (or Secular Liberal Atheist) actions against the traditional celebration of Christmas.

Yet there is no proof (or even evidence) in that post that "SPs" or "SLAs" are out to ruin his/her precious Christmas. This idea that if you can't make everyone agree with you, you're being persecuted is growing tiresome. Instead of making a decent case for the argument, the author just reposts an article from a couple years back and expects us to believe that the EAC is out to eliminate every aspect of religion in America.

I'm not sure how to get across to these people that we're not out to destroy their faith or force atheism on anyone, but we want respect, tolerance and inclusion. Much of the so-called "War on Christmas" seems to be the decision of many corporations and governments to acknowledge that Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated at the end of the year. We live in a very diverse country with many cultural and religious traditions, almost all of which have some sort of end-of-year celebration, and it just makes good economic sense for businesses to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" rather than ignoring those other traditions, or else spending more money to create signs and advertising for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Festivus (for the rest of us), Saturnalia, Chrismahanukwanzakah, Boxing Day, Yule, Bodhi Day, or any of the other myriad winter festivals celebrated here.

Whining when they don't receive special privilege in the public sphere and claiming that it's discrimination or suppression just makes them look foolish. The author of that post also says:
We do not hear outcries from Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists within this country to reduce the amount of Santa Clauses roaming around, it is mostly being protested by angry atheists who just really do not like conservatives and religious people, so everything gets screwed for the moderates that just want to enjoy the season.

Personally, I don't know any atheists who are any angrier than people of any other worldview. In fact, it's always the Christians who are declaring that they're at "war" about something, then claiming that we atheists are "militant".

For the record, I personally don't care what you call it, or how you celebrate it, or if you celebrate it. Many atheists, myself included, do celebrate "Christmas", it's just not about the alleged birth of Jesus. For me, it's about looking back over the past year, coming together as a family and celebrating the love we have for each other. We put up a tree, decorate with lights, exchange gifts, have a nice meal and generally do the same things as a Christian would, except our decorations are all winter/snowflake themed, our tree is decorated with ornaments that we find nostalgic or meaningful (our favorites include ornaments from the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV show) and our gifts are wrapped in non-religious wrapping paper.


Makarios said...

"we want respect, tolerance and inclusion"

Interesting, you must have missed vjacks post from a few days back calling for atheists to boycott stores that play Christmas music.

Actually, I think your post has a lot of truth. We Christians need to quit the complaining, get on with our lives and allow others to get on with theirs.

mathyoo said...

actually, I did see that, and I think I commented in that post. I'm not sure I agree with that, since it's nearly impossible to avoid Christmas music, and it seems intolerant on my part. However, I would certainly understand and support others who choose that response.

I actually enjoy much "Christmas" music, especially the secular variety (Let It Snow, for example), and I have a particular fondness for novelty Christmas music. It would be very cool if there were Jewish holiday music, Kwanzaa music, etc.