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Merry Whatever!

By Pantophobia ~

Dear Whiny Christians*,

There is no “War on Christmas.” I know Bill O'Reilly has insisted otherwise. I know that Rush has kept you all whipped up, and the AFA and the Million Moms (give or take several hundred thousand) have almost daily updates of the atrocities committed upon your sacred holiday. But years into your annual tradition of false persecution, it's time to look at the information in front of us all. Let's see what is really being served on your holiday table and mine.

Frankly, I'm not the only one who is sick of having you acting like you are victims of something tragic. You are not being “persecuted” for your faith. No one is trying to “destroy” anything. No one is preventing you or anyone else from celebrating Christmas, and doing it as Jesus-y as you want. In every retail outlet in the country, you can't escape Christmas. You can buy cards and wrapping paper and ornaments all emblazoned with the word in just about any given shop; you can buy Adoration scenes and Jesus-ornaments and manger snow globes at all major retailers, and you don't have to go to a back alley secret “Christmas only!” store to find it. In stores, in restaurants, in your car, you can hear publicly broadcast radio stations that play Christmas music for two solid months, with songs all about Mary and Jesus and God and herald angels and the savior and the holy spirit and Silent Nights and We Three Kings. There are two dozen movies per day airing on cable TV with Jesus-Christmas themes. You can wear your cross necklaces and your “remember the reason for the season” t-shirts. You can put up a Nativity on your front lawn. You can even include the shepherds stabbing Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman in front of the manger with their hooks and letting their sheep eat the entrails with signs that say “It's about Jesus, not these jackasses!” if you want. Rename the green bean casserole “The Casserole of Christ” if it makes you happy. Bake Jesus a birthday cake instead of serving pumpkin pie. No one is preventing you from any of that at all.

However, if the suggestion that maybe not everyone in your community celebrates Christmas, or does it the same way you do, makes you apoplectic with rage, then maybe you might be missing the point of Christmas yourself.

There is no “liberal plot” to take away your holiday. In fact, most “liberals” would firmly advocate your right to celebrate your holiday your way. Nor is this isn't about some agenda of “political correctness” (and really, anyone who has used that phrase in earnest since 1995 hasn't been paying attention). Stop being divisive. Christmas is about love and peace. That's what Jesus was, if you know your bible like you say you do: God's ultimate gift of love, personifying the hope that the world might be united in peace some day. Read those chapters in Matthew again. Heck, even listen to those song lyrics. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that Jesus's message was to be loving and inclusive... and not just to people who share your particular religious beliefs?

Every year, there are “news” reports with your anecdotal evidence about how crazy people are depriving you of your holiday and ruining everything. EVERYTHING. It's your local news affiliate's ratings grab. The suggestion of anything other than Jesus-cetnric Christmas sends you squealing in fury about “intolerance.” Someone pointing that this country includes Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, pagans, Jedi, and Pastafarians makes you froth like rabid dogs. Don't believe me? I'm not making this up. Go to Fox News's website and look up all the stories they've tagged “War on Christmas.” Read the comments. Google “War on Christmas.”

Sorry, Christians. Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December. I don't care if you don't like Kwanzaa, or don't get atheists, or are offended by Muslims or Jews. I don't care if Christian rhetoric insists that Christianity SHOULD be the only religion. The fact is, it's not, and that value is one America was built on. And it's not just about religious holidays in December, either: there are also secular celebrations like the winter solstice and the New Year... in other words, “holidays,” plural. Saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” isn't some hapless retail drone's attempt to take Jesus away from you. It's acknowledging that people are celebrating a lot of different things, and in different ways. That's also an American value. And if that offends you, you are a spoiled brat, not a true Christian patriot.

No, Christmas is not the only game in town during this time of year, nor was it always Christmas, either, like you try to claim. Go ahead and try to insist “Christmas came first!” and all the other December holidays are just co-option, and I'll happily serve you an ass-full of history. Argue that the Puritans came to America to be able to celebrate Christmas, and I will point and laugh at you outright. Even if you want to insist that no one but people who believe in Jesus should celebrate Christmas, you are missing centuries of traditions and multicultural history, because, no matter what you think, even Christ's Mass itself isn't just, and has never only been, about Jesus. Spend ten minutes on Wikipedia and you can see that much. Sorry, gang, but Christmas isn't some reward that's earned by believing in Jesus; it's become an intrinsic part of Western culture. You don't get to keep it all for yourself because you don't like people who do it differently.

You don't want your tax dollars going for healthcare for poor people? Great. I don't want mine going for war or abstinence education or religious-dominant displays that exclude everyone but Christians in state-funded places. However, we don't get to pick and choose where tax money goes. You can, however, point out when “separation of church and state” is lacking. Most atheists don't object to your crosses and mangers. Many of us do, however, object to them being on government property, with state funds, and at the exclusion of non-Christians. And I'm going to hazard a guess that if the city wanted to put up a display honoring Ramadan, you would lose your collective minds. Furthermore, if you can scream about how wrong it is for there to be no Jesus in the schools' history books or for a school to teach sex ed. because that is “against your personal beliefs,” then you damned well better accept that the flip side of that is that some parents don't want their children attending school sponsored Jesus-centric Christmas plays.

Bottom line is, Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace and love, of giving and hope, hope that even for one day out of the year, all of us disparate groups of people can come together, however briefly, and feel that maybe generosity trumps selfishness. Ironic, isn't it, that every year, Christians from all corners of the US of A are ready to rally around pop culture figures getting ratings for their TV and radio shows, agreeing wholeheartedly that THEIR holiday is better than all those other holidays, and should be the ONLY one allowed, and to THEIR specifications. How many times do Christians, in the name of their religion, insist that anyone who doesn't believe exactly what they believe should not be allowed to have anything to do with Christmas? Read some of those aforementioned op ed pieces or blog things; check out how many times Christians insist “respect our faith!” in the middle of logical fallacies about “you are wrong, there is no Christmas without Jesus!” and “if you don't believe in Jesus, you will burn in hell!” “My way or the highway,” Christians, and all in the name of what is supposed to be a holiday, a holy day, of unselfishness. Go, you guys.

But okay. If you are still going to stamp your feet and argue that every non-Jesus thing that happens in the month of December is a personal affront to you, then there are many, many options available to you here in America. If you want your children to sing “Away in a Manger” at school pageants, send them to Christian school. If you think that Christmas should be all about Jesus, go ahead and wear that “He the Reason for the Season” pin on your “Happy Birthday, Jesus” sweatshirt. If you want everyone everywhere to celebrate Christmas as the only holiday, and do it the way you do, then do what many Christians have done historically, and go found your next “City on a Hill” someplace away from this godless nation that has disappointed you so. There are plenty of islands, or you can chip in with a bunch of the other “War on Christmas” people and get a decommissioned aircraft carrier and rename it the “SS Jesus is God.” See if O'Reilly will sponsor you.

Or, better yet, take your own advice: Quit whining.

Merry Whatever, everyone!

*Note: Believe me, I know that not all Christians are on board with this “War on Christmas” thing. I know plenty of wonderful Christians who have no problem saying “Happy Christmakwazukkah” or even saying “Merry Christmas” and receiving a “Happy Holidays” in return. I know plenty of wonderful non-Christians who see hope and beauty in a manger scene or “O Holy Night.” The bottom line is, the “War on Christmas” is not only a giant lie, the people who you think are attacking your Jesusness are probably on board with you celebrating however you want.