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Friday, November 16, 2007

A One-Sided "War"

POSTER: 'Crush a creche! Keep America FREE from a religious Christmas this year. It's up to YOU!'

In my experience, you can divide Christians into two camps, those who live their faith with quiet dignity and humility and those who are total dicks about it. Guess which group we'll be talking about today?

Let me give you a hint -- Bill O'Reilly, FOX News, Jerry Falwell, and a whole slew of right wing nutjobs.

Yeah, it's about the dicks.

FOX News blowhard Bill O'Reilly has fired the first shot in the "War on Christmas," a seasonal PR stunt the religious right pulls every year to convince Christians that they're being oppressed in America. See, Christmas is under attack by "secular progressives." That's why, when you go to the mall, there aren't any Christmas decorations, no department store Santas, and no "Carol of the Bells" playing over and over and over and over and over on the Muzak speakers that seem to even be in the bathrooms. It's why there are no Christmas specials on TV and no Christmas movies at the theaters. It's why you have to go to special Christian stores to by Christmas wrapping paper and ornaments and trees and big inflatable snowmen.

Bill's first seasonal freak out is based on a story out of Fort Collins, Colorado. According to the report, Fort Collins would celebrate the season with "'an educational museum display, plain wreaths and garlands on city property, and trees with white lights' rather than traditional Christmas decorations such as trees with 'colored lights.'" Yikes! It's positively satanic!

Bill didn't waste a lot of time getting to what the real point of all this was. He plugged his book right off the bat.

Colorado Media Matters (emphasis mine):

O'REILLY: 'Tis the Season. As you know if you've read my book Culture Warrior, many secular progressives despise Christmas -- want to wipe it out in America. They deny that, of course, but actions speak louder than words. Here's the latest. In Fort Collins, Colorado, the city council will vote on whether to ban colored lights and every other specific symbol of Christmas. A task force has recommended that city buildings only be decorated with white lights and things like snowflakes and penguins. Any specific Christmas decoration is deemed to be dangerous to our, quote, commonality, unquote.

The whole thing is to shore up O'Reilly's "culture warrior" bona fides. And, being Bill O'Reilly, he sucks at it. Where in the Bible does it mention that you must use colored lights? In fact, where in the Bible does it mention Christmas at all? Bill gets freaked out over things like this because he goes out of his way to look for them. Jesus didn't call him and tell O'Reilly that an inflatable penguin in the town square was an abomination unto The Lord.

Not surprisingly, O'Reilly completely misrepresents the story. In fact, he flat out lies about it. He continually refers to the city's task force as the "holiday diversity task force," when it's the "Holiday Display Task Force" -- see, "diversity" is a big bugaboo on the right, where uniformity and lack of individual thought is celebrated.

In fact, Bill gets just about everything wrong here. Karen Schwartz, a member of Fort Collins' task force, wrote in the Coloradoan:

I was reminded how quickly misinformation moves when the Coloradoan's story Nov. 2 said the Holiday Display Task Force was recommending that no Christmas trees and only white lights be allowed on city property. The story was picked up by the AP and sent to hundreds of newspapers, Web sites, radio and TV stations. Within hours, it was fodder for talk shows and blogs.

But those stories were largely incorrect. The Coloradoan ran a correction Nov. 6, four days after the story appeared. By that time, the erroneous article online had 100 comments posted with it.

The AP sent its correction a day later, but it went unnoticed by some. Indeed, Web sites still have the inaccurate story posted.

Not surprisingly, there's been no correction offered by O'Reilly. He's not interested in telling the truth, he's interested in getting you freaked out -- and in plugging his book. It makes a nice stocking stuffer for the gullible right wing moron in your life.

Others are just as bad. It turns out that if you say "Happy Holidays," you hate Jesus.

Concerned Women for America, 2005:

"More and more retailers are realizing, too late, that Christian consumers now understand that the constant use of 'happy holidays' and 'holiday' is grating and insulting," said Robert Knight, director of CWA's Culture & Family Institute. "It's an act of cultural cowardice and even an overt attack on Christmas and ultimately the Christian faith.

"When something is clearly about Christmas itself, it is dishonest to ban the very mention of Christmas on the grounds that it might offend a handful of people. This is a nation where surveys show 96 percent of the population celebrates Christmas. There is no survey showing that people of other faiths are insulted when the majority celebrate Christmas or wish anyone a 'Merry Christmas.'

"The tyranny of a tiny minority of Grinches to veto any mention of Christmas must stop," Knight concluded. "We are very encouraged that some major retailers like Macy's are starting to get it and hope that more will join them."

The article goes on to list some of the Christian-hating businesses -- Red Lobster and the US Postal Service hate America.

Just as an aside, it seems like every time one of these "Concerned Women for America" has something to say, the concerned woman is a man. But saying "Happy Holidays" is "an act of cultural cowardice and even an overt attack on Christmas and ultimately the Christian faith?" Tell it to those Christian-haters Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

These people are so crazy about this stuff that they study catalogs, looking for listing that aren't Christian enough. The right wing CNS News Service reports, "An early skirmish in this year's 'War on Christmas' ended on Tuesday when the nationwide home improvement chain Lowe's apologized for referring to Christmas trees in its holiday catalog as 'family trees.'" In 2005, Jerry Falwell wrote:

In the most recent issue of the National Liberty Journal, a publication I publish, we highlighted a series of stories on the national "Friend or Foe" movement that has been initiated by attorney Mat Staver and his Liberty Counsel, a 700-attorney religious-freedom firm that is affiliated with Jerry Falwell Ministries.

That's right, Falwell was ready to sick lawyers on businesses and communities he thought were being insufficiently Christian during the holidays.

It's easy to laugh all of this off. It's ridiculous, it's stupid, it's paranoid, and it's delusional. But it's also something much, much worse. It's an attempt to bully everyone -- Christian or not -- into celebrating their holiday. Put the shoe on the other foot; how would all of these outraged Christian morons react if everyone were forced to celebrate Ramadan or Yom Kippur? How would they like their tax dollars being spent on celebrating a non-Christian holiday?

We all know the answer -- hell, they have a problem with Halloween and the stuff they believe about that isn't even true. Make them celebrate a honest-to-goodness non-Christian holiday and I can practically guarantee they'd crap their pants.

As always, when you get right down to something the right's freaking out about, you find BS and hypocrisy.

Happy Holidays, guys!


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DB said...

Why is O'Reilly worried about secular symbols like lights and trees? Shouldn't a good Christian like himself be concerned about secular items like Santa replacing Jesus?? I know he is all about Santa being drunk on every street corner, but shoudnt he take issue with that?

Drive through your town and even in the private yards will you hardly ever find a religious symbol. You will see sleighs, reindeer, Santa, lights, and candy canes. Once in a while you might find a manger, but not that often. But it is all secular symbols for a commercialized (and now more secular) holiday. I am far from Christian, but you can bet your ass i have trees and lights and everything else up!

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