Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Real War On Christmas

[Originally published at on Dec 14, 2005]

As Christmas approaches once again, the Republican noise-machine is incessantly reminding us that the war on Christmas is raging. For once, I find myself in total agreement with the Bill O'Reillys of the world. The war on Christmas is ablaze. Before shock overcomes you and you go meet your maker, let me explain.

When I think "war on Christmas" I am not referring to the daily accusations leveled against liberals by the likes of O'Reilly and his cohorts, who allege that liberals, along with some unlikely allies such as Wal-Mart, Target, etc., have declared war on Christmas. An example of this ongoing war, according to 'Oh, Reilly' is the fact that the United States Post Office no longer offers stamps with a spiritual theme (an allegation that is, as it turns out, flat false; I myself have a book of "Madonna with Child" stamps in my wallet). Another example, also false, is a Plano, Texas, school's refusal to let students wear red and green, colors traditionally associated with Christmas (this falsehood has been documented by Media Matters for America). John Gibson of Fox News Channel even wrote a book called "How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought," for Christ's sake.

No, when I think of the war on Christmas I am thinking of yesterday's execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. I can't help thinking that Jesus would have found that to be out of sync with his teaching, regardless of whether the man was guilty or innocent, as he claimed to the very end. Jesus would be wondering why he let himself die, an innocent man, on the cross while people continue to waste their time arguing about the permissibility of red and green in schools around Christmas time. He would wonder what is it that possesses men to think that he was advocating the death penalty when he said "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," in order to save an adulteress from death by stoning. He might ask us why we concern ourselves so literally with the laws of men, like Pharisees, instead of focusing on God's love.
Jesus was, ostensibly, of a different ilk than the pharisees that inhabit Congress. He might have reminded them to "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me... [for] it is hard for a man with much money to go into the kingdom of heaven," instead of devising cleverer ways of redistributing wealth toward to the top of our society. What could be clearer than Matthew, 19:24: "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
Jesus might be wondering what went so wrong, that almost 2000 years after he gave his life on the cross men are still waging wars in his name, promoting the idea that foreign leaders should be removed by assassination, and generally ignoring his words: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew, 5:9), keeping in mind that you should offer the other cheek to him who has smitten you.

And on the issue of whether homosexuals have the right to engage in marriage, which the "moral" right wants to ban by constitutional amendment, convinced as they are that homosexuality is an abhorrent sin, Jesus might have quoted Luke 7:37-50. Particularly, these verses: "her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much," and "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

With Christmas ten days away, we are allowing the Republican noise-machine to steer our attention away from the teachings of Christ, so that THEIR war on Christmas and the daily pillaging and plundering of our and other people's lives and societies can continue unhampered. We are being programmed to believe, through the repetition of consistent talking points, that the real tragedy this Christmas lies in the stance of an alliance of unholy stores and liberals who refuse to wish their fellow men and women a "Merry Christmas," even as the hypocrites in the White House and at Fox News print "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" on their cards and party invitations.

Jesus on the cross said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Back then, perhaps, people did not know. 2000 and some years of Christianity later, that should no longer be a valid argument.

May Christ bless you all with His love, this holiday season.

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