Monday, December 12, 2005

The War On Christmas

All of my hopes that Wisconsin would remain a demilitarized zone in the "War on Christmas" have come to naught. The Republicans in the State Legislature have sent a letter to Governor Jim Doyle asking that Madison's "Holiday Tree" be renamed the "Christmas Tree". I cannot, in good conscience, stand quietly by while the forces of legislative silliness assault my new home.

I am enlisting myself as a warrior in this great kulturkampf; a battle to decide what an aluminum evergreen covered with plastic trinkets really means, metaphysically. So let's take a look at some of the major fronts in the "War on Christmas" and take stock of the war effort.

The Battle of the Wisconsin State Capitol First Floor Rotunda

As referenced above, the Republican party of Wisconsin has initiated a ground assault against the fortified buttresses of liberal democracy in Madison, Wisconsin. The so-called "Holiday Tree" on the first floor rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol was thus named by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. For many years, the Christmas Crusaders observed an uneasy alliance with the state's Republican governor. But the geopolitics changed with the rise of mighty Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, who has displayed a terrible lack of timing by facing re-election next year. An election where he is thoroughly trouncing Republican challengers Green and Walker. Certainly the renewed hostilities over the Republican-named "Holiday Tree" have NOTHING whatsoever to do with 2006 being an election year.

The Holiday Trade Embargo

Numerous large retail chains have felt the chilling sting of the trade embargo initiated by the Christmas Crusaders. Thus far, both Kohls and Target have seen a completely non-existent change in sales due to their refusal to stop saying "Happy Holidays" as a store greeting. Even the normally stalwart Wal-Mart has taken some flack for its refusal to recognize Jesus' Official Birthday, though as the nation's leading seller of Bibles it has certainly carried the red-and-green Christmas torch for Him in other ways.

The Bush Card Incident

Sadly, this is not a joyful Fitzmas tale involving Bush's chief of staff; at least not yet. It seems that George W. Bush himself fell victim to the ideological wishy-washiness so pervasive in our Godless liberal society. The Bush White House has come under much criticism for its failure to acknowledge the "Reason for the Season" in its holiday greeting cards. Puzzling, given Fearless Leader's normally gluttonous appetite for divisive ideological stances in his politics. Perhaps the passage of his latest tax cuts have caused his heart to grow three times it's normal size this year.

The "X" Offensive

In a move designed to set the proper tone of public discourse, religious conservatives have also ramped up their attacks against those who refuse to acknowledge that "there is no X in Christmas". Surprisingly, they are actually correct about this, though they clearly don't know why. You see, the "X" in "X-mas" is actually the Greek letter chi. Clever folks, those ancient Greeks, in repressing the use of God's English in the ancient Bible. See, in the days before the printing press, it was quite laborious to write the full Greek for Christ (kristos) so only the first letter was used as an abbreviation. The loudest voices among the conservatives don't seem to be aware of this. Of course, if one considers how hostile conservatives are to other languages, then one can only imagine how they feel about other alphabets.

The Psy-Ops Campaign: Too Many Fa-La-La's, Not Enough Jesus

In further news on the Wisconsin front, the small town of Waukesha attempted this weekend to break the world's record for most carolers at one time. Unfortunately, the War on Christmas touches us all, and the village of Waukesha is no exception. Protestors at the event complained of not enough "traditional" Christmas carols in the mix and by "traditional" they mean "Christian". As one resident put it: "How can we be celebrating Jesus' Birthday without more songs about Him?"

These are just a few small examples of the struggle being waged for the ideological purity of our nation. Ain't war hell?

In all seriousness, this issue is more sad than anything else. Many who have called in to WPR's call-in shows about this topic have remarked at how ridiculous or how much a waste of time this issue is. But it's more than that. It's a very ideologically driven attempt to further divide the country along religious lines. It's difficult to imagine anything that could be further from the ideals of the men who enshrined a separation of church and state in our Constitution.

Christmas is first and foremost an American holiday, not just a Christian holiday. Christmas as a Christian holiday was essentially created out of thin air; no precedent exists for it in the Bible. Additionally, the Winter Solstice has been celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere for thousands of years, including in the times before Christ. Just because Christianity is given a privileged status in the United States does not mean that any other interpretation of the holiday must be quashed.

The American ideal of Christmas is a time of celebrating family and friends. A time of peace and joyfulness, celebrated for many reasons, some religious and some secular. Conservative Christians, largely being led around by Republican pundits and politicians, have taken one more important thing that mattered to all Americans and attempted to make it a flag to be captured in their culture war. It's nothing but cynical divisiveness, a futile attempt to bolster a faith that is failing grandly in this country. Once the symbols of a faith have become more important than the values of a faith, then that faith no longer has any meaning. Such is the case with the "War on Christmas" crowd.

No comments: