“The True Spirit of Xmas” from ReasonOnline.com.

Julie Sanchez has an excellent article up titled The True Spirit of Xmas: How 4/5 of the country became an oppressed minority over at Reason Magazine’s website that is well worth a read.

It’s a Christmas tradition as venerable as mistletoe and caroling: As the days grow shorter, conservative activists claiming to speak for American Christendom raise their voices, not for a rousing round of “Good King Wenceslaus,” but to complain that the roughly 75 to 80 percent of Americans who profess allegiance to some denomination or another of Christianity constitute a cruelly oppressed minority. 

The kvetching is especially loud this year, with a spate of stories chronicling the outrage over a particularly insidious form of anti-Christian bigotry: the Satanic phrase “happy holidays.”

National Review‘s John Derbyshire reports bristling at these two seemingly innocuous words with the sort of fascinated intensity he normally reserves for buggery. There’s even a
Committee to Save Merry Christmas, urging a boycott of stores that spit on Christians by deploying such bigoted phrases as “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings.”  And in case you thought those phrases were, in our increasingly pluralistic society, just nice ways of creating a festive atmosphere without seeming to exclude the folks celebrating, you know, those other holidays happening around this time, CNN’s Lou Dobbs shakes his jowls to remind you that those phrases have “excluded everyone who is celebrating Christmas” (which is apparently neither happy nor a holiday). The Christian Law Association has released a vague list of horror stories under the rhetorical headline: “Has Christmas Become Illegal in America?

The article touches on a number of news items we’ve talked about here at SEB over the past months and puts the lie to the favored claim of the religious right that Christianity and its followers are being marginalized or persecuted. A claim we’re going to hear more and more after the outcome of the most recent presidential election. A lot of the True Believers™ have been emboldened by their success at the polls and are convinced now more than ever that there is a receptive audience for their claims of victimization. It’s already a tired mantra on their part and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. The worst thing we can do is to let those claims go unchallenged as can be seen in some of the comments in some of the more active threads here at SEB.

5 thoughts on ““The True Spirit of Xmas” from ReasonOnline.com.

  1. Great roundup, Les! I noticed a large spike in ‘Whither Christmas’ stories on both the extremist and the mainstream media- most notably CBS news, which appears to be showing its true colors post-election.

    I’ve been tracking some of these stories on one of my Live Journal communities, and some of us see this whole “Christmas” boondoggle as the Dominionists (the extreme religious right) being sore winners and making a fuss over nothing. “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” have been around forever- but the apparent ‘permission’ to Christianize the country has given fuel to these people, and lit the anti-generic holiday season fires.

    Personally, I don’t care one way or another. I don’t celebrate Christmas- either religiously or secularly, and I think that the whole season has become like kudzu at the end of the year- spreading its greedy green tentacles further and further into autumn. The starting of ‘all Christmas all the time’ radio stations before Halloween was the last straw for me. Next year, I might see if I can sell “Bah Humbug” lights for those amongst us who have had enough.

    Sunfell

  2. I posted this in the IPB forum as well so I won’t offer up a new thread for it, and although it’s not specifically about Christmas, I think it fits in the category of, as Les puts it “it’s only going to get worse before it gets better”.

    Here is the acceptance speech given by Bill Moyers on December 1st when presented with the Harvard Medical School Environmental Citizenship Award.  What struck me the most was the potential of this movement.  If the learned Mr. Moyers seems frightened by the enormity of this potential, what are we to think.

    Moyers Speech 

    This scares the hell out of me (and I’m not a environmental activist in any way, but that’s not what this is about).  After reading it I walked around in a funk for two days wondering how we got to this.  And what, if anything, we can do to stop it.

    What I have found interesting is I have posted this on three message boards (two with large rightwing Christian populations) and have yet to get a single comment on it.  Pro or con.  I am surprised quite frankly.  Either it’s only preaching to the converted or the religious right has redefined their tactics and have stopped defending their actions and agenda.  Preferring to ignore any dissenting opinion because they truly know just how wrong they are.

    (It could also be that people think the speech is too long and are easily bored)

    This attack on the rights of everyone not to have the Christian morals (often extremist) rammed down our throats is not only offensive but utterly erodes the diversity of humanity.

    There was a post made on the 21st by Daryl Cantrell

    You claim that “the Christian majority in this country

  3. Scorn, the main reason I believe you haven’t seen any response from your posting is because most fundamentalist Christian’s understanding of topics like this are shallow at best. Instead of doing the leg work to understand what their leaders preach to them they simply believe in every word as the truth. So, when confronted with an opposing view point they simply can not move to the next step of response!

  4. Iv posted on this very same subject many times on various boards and have also never had any answer whatsoever from ANYONE, be they Christian nutjobs or anybody.

    Here is usually the information I post on this horrifying subject, this to me is really why I think Atheist/Agnostics and even various religious humans that have not fully lost their minds yet need to stand up and fight this scourge of Fundamentalist Dominionist Christianity that is infecting this country like a plague.
    We desperately need a Scopes part Deux.

    http://www.emagazine.com/view/?757

    http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm

    http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/DirectoryRiseOfDominionismInAmerica.html

    http://www.theocracywatch.org/environment.htm

    http://ramsey.dca.net/envirodisaster.htm

    Just like the fact that the Bible is merely an Astrological Drama with its main character Jesus an allegory for the SUN, this information is positively irrefutable, but doesn’t really seem to matter does it?

    This is what religion has done to the human condition on this planet.
    The destructive force this insanity has wrought onto the human race is incalculable.

  5. Could it be that what we are starting to see in this country, in the form of religious conservatism, is in fact a backlash against technology and mass consumerism? I beleive many people are feeling lost in a sea of shit and are looking for a life perserver to help them try and make some sense of it all. We are constantly being encouraged to consume more, but to what end? You would think that people in the wealthiest country in the history of mankind would be happy and generous to one another. I feel that many people are asking themselves just what is the point of all of this? Where is it going to lead? They seek answers where people have always sought answers: religion. Now it seems that American religious dogma is being unduly influenced by the very corporate culture that is encouraging us to continue to consume and seek some sort of pathetic self-aggranizement. Instead of appealing to the good nature of most people by exemplifing the good and wholesome aspects of Christian teachings these corporate christians enrich themselves and their masters by formenting division and hatred in our society. I do have faith that most people don’t want upheaval or pain for their fellow Americans—no matter what Bill O’Reilly and his ilk scream. Most people want to get along and wish to help others. We can only hope that the purveyer of Anti-Christian attitudes such as the aforementioned Mr. O’Reilly are not sussessful in thier goal which is the consolidation of thier personal influence and wealth. In the long term if they succeed I see these cultural rifts turning into cultural chasms and like what happened here in 1861 there may be only one solution. Never underestimate the power of words.
    The side that preaches tolerance and togetherness needs to gather its voice or it may be too late in stopping this tide of hate.

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