The public voice of this defense of Christmas against the oppressive forces of "secular progressives" is FOX News blowhard Bill O'Reilly, who explains things this way:
See, I think it's all part of the secular progressive agenda... to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square. Because if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious- based, usually.
See, when that seemingly nice lady at Walgreens says, "Happy Holidays," it means she wants to get wasted, kill her sick parents, have an abortion, and marry that butch chick that works at the photo counter. And the only way she'll be able to carry out her nefarious plan is to destroy Christmas.
Yeah, it doesn't make a lot of sense. But, then again, it doesn't really have to. He's not speaking to the concerns of deep thinkers here. O'Reilly, who doesn't really strike me as someone who'd be overly familiar with the inside of a church, pulls this "war" out of his butt every year for the right wing religious nuts in his audience.
Meanwhile, there's an actual war on Christians going on and Bill's a big fan. "It may be the end of Christianity in Iraq," Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria told Catholic News Service. "This is very sad and very dangerous for the church, for Iraq and even for Muslim people, because it means the end of an old experience of living together." If you want to wipe out Christianity, you go on a campaign of ethnic cleansing -- you don't call a sale at ShopKo "Holiday Savings Blowout!"
60 Minutes ran a piece last night on Christians in Iraq. In a secret underground church, the Reverend Canon Andrew White, an Anglican chaplain, explains the problem.
"The room is full of children, it's full of women, but I don't see the men. Where are they?" [CBS correspondent Scott] Pelley remarked.
"They are mainly killed. Some are kidnapped. Some are killed. In the last six months things have got particularly bad for the Christians. Here in this church, all of my leadership were originally taken and killed," White explained. "All dead. But we never got their bodies back. This is one of the problems. I regularly do funerals here but it's not easy to get the bodies."
Asked if they're better off now that Saddam Hussein is gone, White tells Pelley, "The situation now is clearly worse... There's no comparison between Iraq now and then. Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. They've never known it like now."
There have been Christians in Mesopotamia literally since year one -- more than two thousand years. And White tells us this is the worst it's ever been for them. Saddam Hussein seemed to have little interest in religion and his state may have had the most religious freedom in the Middle East -- Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Iraq's number two man, was Christian.
That's all changed now. In July, the BCC reported that Iraqi Christians are "targeted by Sunni extremists because of their religion and by kidnappers - who are often Shia Arab militants or rogue members of the security forces - because of their wealth." If it weren't for the collapse of the rule of law that followed the fall of Saddam, this genocide wouldn't be happening.
It's ironic then, that the same people who've invented a "war on Christmas" in the US are also the biggest fans of the war in Iraq.
Inter Press Service:
...Now, in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, Gary Bauer, a former Reagan administration official and longtime conservative activist, is heading up a new organisation aimed at countering liberal groups like MoveOn.org, and supporting President Bush's global "war on terror".
The "Forgotten Americans Coalition" is composed of a number of veteran conservative leaders, including the American Family Association's Dr. Don Wildmon, Christian Broadcasting Network's [Pat] Robertson, the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich, and Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the wildly popular "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic novels, and his wife, Beverly, the founder of Concerned Women for America.
"Just prior to their testimony before Congress of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on the situation in Iraq, the Forgotten Americans Coalition (FAC) issued a Declaration 'warning Americans of the catastrophic consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq,'" IPS tells us. It's impossible to believe that these American Evangelical leaders are ignorant of what's happening to Christians in Iraq.
Of course, you could argue that Christians would be even more screwed if we left Iraq, but that would be true only if they were seeking western protection -- they aren't. "The Christians do not what us to guard the churches openly..." U.S. Army Colonel Rick Gibbs told 60 Minutes. "They feel that if we are overtly protecting the churches that someone underground covertly will come in and murder the Christians because they're collaborating with the U.S. forces."
The extremist propaganda is that Bush's "Global War on Terror" is actually a crusade by Christians to wipe out Islam. By accepting western protection, Iraqi Christians would only be reinforcing that perception. And the American Christian fans of the war aren't helping things any. In 2005, for example, Pat Robertson told the audience of The 700 Club that "Islam, at least at its core, teaches violence." He went on to cite verses in the Quran that demand violence, but I can do the same with the Bible:
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him."
When you cherrypick verses, you can easily misrepresent a religion.
But, by pushing this line of crap, these people -- who no doubt believe they're the most Christian people in America -- are hurting Christians in Iraq. As I said earlier, there's no way they don't know this. I can only assume they don't care. This "we have to wipe out Islam" line of crap is all over the right wing blogosphere. Bush's GWoT is a Global War on Islam, we're told, and if you're not onboard with it, you hate America and Freedom.
If you ever needed proof that the Evangelical right is a political movement, not a religious one, there ya go.
And, the next time you hear one of these idiots whining about their made up "war on Christmas," consider how unconcerned they are about the genocide of Christians in Iraq. It's hard to take their complaints about "holiday trees" and "winter festivals" seriously when they're stoking the fires of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East.
"I was at a secret church service yesterday. A man came up to me and handed me some photographs of his children. They'd been shot to death. Somebody had come by their house and murdered his children because they were Christians," reported Pelley.
It'd be nice if American Christian leaders gave a damn about that, but the war's more important than those who die in it.
Technorati tags: politics; Republican; propaganda; Bush; Iraq; war; The religious right gets to complain about a "War on Christmas" when they start giving a damn about a genocide on Christians