Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"War on Chrismas" spilling over into Europe.

America can sometimes export good things but occasionally some really bad things too. Of course, whatever they can sell abroad says much more about those who buy it than it does about those who sell it. (and who is to blame the most?)

ANYWAY - one of the bad exports of the U.S. this year is the uniquely American concept of the “War on Christmas”. As we reported last year, this is a notion invented by right-wing conservatives who claim that there is a liberal conspiracy to rid Christmas of its “Christian meaning”.

The result has been that if you innocently used a phrase like “Happy holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas”, you may have run the risk of being associated to this "great conspiracy" and be even labelled a “liberal” (Oh my!). Cynics have noticed that the supposedly assault on this Christian holiday has been very profitable for many Christian groups who have used it to raise funds.

While this so-called “War on Christmas” has essentially died this year in America, it has gained some momentum in Europe. As can be expected the Vatican has complained that "societies in Europe are taking Christ out of Christmas”, but that’s no surprise and who listens to them anyway.

More surprisingly, the “War on Christmas” concept seems to take hold in Britain.

Like an unwelcome guest arriving at midnight on Christmas Eve, Britain has imported America's "culture wars," in which Christmas becomes a pitched battle between Christians, secularists and minority faiths.

The Christmas cards of Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his heir-apparent, Gordon Brown, have been scrutinized to see whether they offer anemic "Seasons Greetings" rather than a stout "Merry Christmas." Journalists have been dispatched to find school canteens that have replaced the traditional fattened goose with halal chicken. The tabloids are full of trendy teachers that have banished the nativity play in favor of a multifaith "festival of light."

The passions spilled over the last few weeks suggest that this is no silly- season frippery. Christmas has become the latest battleground in a series of skirmishes over whether Britain will remain a Christian society. (IHT)

I suppose it is another sign that some people feel threatened by change and that others have not much on their hands. But at least the British are a bit more coherent, after all Britain remains officially a Christian country. However, despite what Rob Blackhurst says in his HT article, I tend to think this is essentially spin – a fade of sorts that will be over by next year. Who is really worked up about this anyway?

It must be added, that this has one benefit, it underlines the great ignorance of those people! (What else is new?!) Not only Jesus never said anything about celebrating his birth, but Christmas was not celebrated before the 4th century anyway (when Pope Julius I set that date as an attempt to Christianize Pagan celebrations) and most theologians agree that Jesus was not even born on December 25th.

Besides, as we said last year, it is quite ironic to remember that the Puritans thought that “Christmas was too strongly linked to the Pagan Roman festival and were opposed to all celebration of it” (here).

So maybe those so-called Christians should read their bible again and see that if there should be one Christian Holy Day, it is Easter, not Christmas.

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