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come, all ye grinches

Continuing on the theme from yesterday - and inspired by this NY Post editorial by blogger Dawn Eden -, I offer you another repeat on the subject of religion during the holiday season (I've got a busy schedule this morning, so content will have to wait until later). ---

Dear Holiday Grouches,

I am an atheist. I don't celebrate the birth of Christ, I don't believe in the Virgin Mary. Yet, I love Christmas. My kids are Catholic, my family is Catholic and I think of Christmas as time to share my love and imitation wealth with those I love. Good cheer, good times.

It upsets me that so many of you are making a bad name for all atheists, agnostics and non-Jesus believers. You write letters to the town council, to your legistlators, to the editor of the local paper and you complain about some plastic statues in front of the post office or library or any other publicly-maintained building.

What is that you find so offensive about a nativity scene? I hardly think that a piece of plastic that represents Mary and Joseph, a few animals and a baby will turn your children into Catholics overnight. We aren't talking Jack Chick here. There are no signs on these little stables that say "Become a Catholic or Die!"

Back when I was young (walk, snow, downhill both ways, etc.) I was in the school chorus. For our holiday spectacular we song both Oh, Holy Night and The Dreidel Song. Nobody made a fuss about it. No letters were written. My principal did not have to appear on CNN defending himself.

What has happened to this world that so many of you are offended by signs of religion? Does it harm you in any way to see Mary kneeling in front of the post office? Are there beacons of light shining out of Joseph's eyes, beckoning your young ones to receive the body of Christ? Does a menorah hold some mystical power so it sends out a secret signal that directs you to a Temple? How can candles be offensive? It's not like each nativity comes with a sign that says My God is Better Than Your God!

It's the holiday season. Yes, it's the Christmas season, but with merchants and retailers setting up their winter wonderlands at the end of October and not taking them down until January, the season now encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and New Year's.

It's a great time of year, which you would find out if you stopped being so pissed off at everyone. People are cheery. Towns are lit up in beautiful lights and the telephone poles are strung with garland and if you are lucky, it snows just a bit, just enough to lend a feel of authenticity to the season. There are parties with spiked eggnog and trees adorned with colors and stars and angels. Houses glow brighter each night as another candle on the menorah is lit.

Yet there you are, hunkered down in your basement, writing another letter to another congressman, demanding that action be taken against the library director who had the audacity to hang Christmas and Hannukah decorations in the children's room. You're busy picketing in front of the school that is putting on a performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas because it's too overtly religious. Here's an idea: stop your letter writing campaign, stop bothering politicians who have more pressing issues to deal with and go find some holiday cheer. Even if you find it in the bottom of a bottle of rum.

And it's not just you anti-nativity people that bother me. It's the anti-capitalism crowd as well. Stop making the holidays about your issues. Like the damn Canadians who erected a giant sign that read Gluttony. Envy. Insincerity. Greed. Enjoy Your Christmas. Get over yourselves. I'll go about spreading comfort and joy to my family and friends while you hang around with your humorless, cheerless selves and toast the Grinch. Hell, even the Grinch came around after a while.

There are people in this world who think it is their calling in life to complain about everything. They find no joy in a kid opening an X-Box on Christmas morning. They find nothing wonderful at the sight of new fallen snow gathering around Mary and Joseph's feet as worshipers file out of midnight mass. You are one of these people. You are a joyless, bitter, antagnostic grinch. Do us all a favor and hibernate from Halloween until New Year's. Let us enjoy our holidays in peace, without people like you trying to take the beauty and wonder away from us.

Thank you.

[See also, Dustbury]

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference come, all ye grinches:

» Halleludicrousness from dustbury.com
Regular readers, assuming any remain, will be familiar with Dawn Eden, from whom I crib a great deal of material; beyond the simple fact that more often than not I... [Read More]

» Happy Friday! from Darleen's Place
Poor Thursday gets little respect, wedged as it is between HumpDay and TGIF. We rush by Thursday as fast as possible, barely looking back on our way to the weekend. Thursday is, at least glad, not to be Monday, the... [Read More]

» Halleludicrousness from dustbury.com
Regular readers, assuming any remain, will be familiar with Dawn Eden, from whom I crib a great deal of material; beyond the simple fact that more often than not I... [Read More]

» Holidays Redux from d-42.com: Josh Cohen online
In honor of Michele's old-school holiday posts that she's digging up and reposting for our reading pleasure, I would like to present What I did on my holidays, which I wrote back on November 21, 2003. I would've posted it... [Read More]

» Religion's Place in the Public Sphere, Holidays Edition from Notes & Musings
Michele and CG Hill have excellent posts on this topic, along the lines of: "lighten up, Francis". Both are based on this op-ed by Dawn Eden, "The Grinch Who Stole 'Messiah', describing a school district in New Jersey that has... [Read More]

» Missed tackle blogbrowsing from Six Meat Buffet
While Tennessee again displays its complete inability to tackle, let's take a look around the Sphere™. [Read More]

Comments

I don't think those of us who love Christmas are just going to sit around and let the grinches go unchallenged this year. The shrill rhetoric against 'Jesusland' has been hitting record pitch and if it slides into the holiday season with more idiocy along the lines of schools banning instrumental Christmas music, banning Christmas trees in all public places including firestations, or the numbnuts like the guy I saw on O'Reilly who deemed the greeting "Merry Christmas" an insult and offensive -- I swear I'm going to start hitting these people up along side the head with a fruitcake. Damn it, I'd find out where they live and pirate their cable feed so they only get a continuous loop of A Christmas Story, Holiday Inn, The Bishops Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, Its a Wonderful Life, et al; grafitti their home with Merry Christmas and other insulting exclusive Christian greetings.....

rrrrrrrrrrrr

This post is amazingly refreshing.

My opinion is that rabid secularism has all the earmarks of a religion itself. Same with rabid atheism. I would think the Establishment Clause applies to them, too.

Live and let live.

I so loved this post, could I borrow and modify it just a bit. I would love to send it to my local paper.

Thanks
Sir Knight

That looks like a blog I need to start reading!

There's a court case in one of the citys near me that's been going on for a YEAR about a holiday display in front of city hall. It had everything. Nativity, menorah, frosty, santa, flamingo's w/Santa hats, anything a citizen wanted to include that was holiday related, was. Of course the ACLE flipped out over it. Darleen, I think I need some of your fruitcake over here!

Great post, and that's coming from a non-Christmas-celebrating Christian (yeah... weird, I know--long story).

I work at a financial institution. Despite not celebrating Christmas myself, it drives me crazy that PCism even has my coworkers nervous about handing Santa stickers to kids. I suppose it comes from that amendment to the Constitution that declares the right to not be offended... er... wait, I'm sure it's in there...

I'm an agnostic, and towns providing space for a nativity scene has never bothered me. I mean, regardless of what one thinks about the literal truth of the story, it is wherefrom the holiday arose. As Michele points out, nobody is really harmed by these displays. People who spend all their time protesting them are wasting energy and resources that could be put to far better use fighting far more important battles.

Some malls in Britain have banned Santa because not everyone believes.

They going to make the stores stop decorating, too?

Bill Murray in Scrooged said it best

"It's Christmas Eve. It's-it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be."

Speaking as one of those evil Evangelicals that stole the election for Bush, I have to say that your piece is pretty much dead on.

Obviously, for me Christmas is second only to Easter in importance to me Faith wise. However, it doesn't put a bug up my butt when I see Minorahs or the various decorations attributed to Kwanza. It DOES piss me off when I see the idiots you talk about ranting and raving about it though.

CS Lewis wrote a great book called The Screwtape Letters. The book is a collection of letters from a demon called Screwtape to his subordinate demon called Wormwood. Wormwood is assigned a human to corrupt and Screwtape guides Wormwood through the process of pushing his human further and further away from God. (wait...I ain't gonna start preachin or anything) I know the book is simply a story with some illusions for the Christian folk reading it but I think, from the Christian Paradigm, Lewis creates an interesting world where people are controlled by the little whispers, nudges, and other events placed in their lives by the Enemy. Those who would push any semblance of Christianity out of public life are certainly controlled by something other than their own intellect. They never seem to get upset about other religion's symbols...just Christian symbols.

I also find it ironic that Michele, an Atheist, expresses more of a Christian Faith than my brothers and sisters in Christ who scream about the commerci@lism of the season to the point of getting in people's faces.

There are a couple things I want to leave folks with.

1) Don't judge Christianity by it's followers.

2) Christians will be the death of Christianity....not the ACLU or the Michael Moore led Army pouring over the Jesusland borders.

Michelle, your anti-spam measures are great but... ;)

I had to replace the "a" in Commercial-ism with @ because your filters found the brand name for a certain male "action" drug between the "r" and "s".

Geesh...this note was more difficult than it shoulda been!

crap...between the "r" and the "m"...

that's it...I'm done...I promise...no really....

Best line in the whole piece, IMHO:

"It's a great time of year, which you would find out if you stopped being so pissed off at everyone"

True that.

although I will say there are already some on U.S. soil who are doing the "Canada thing" where they run down how expensive Christmas is, and how much energy is wasted by having lights up, and how much waste is generated by wrapping packages, and how fat, pampered Americans don't really "deserve" presents. I know becaue there was an editorial on this in my campus paper when I was in grad school (OK, yeah, so it was a University paper, which you could maybe consider to be an outpost of Canadaian style thinking, but still, it saddened me to see that a 20 year old was so bummed out by the holiday season that he could only see the COST and not the BENEFIT of ones internal batteries being recharged by a month of fun and good food and shiny things and presents and snow and the general tendencies of humans to be less selfish and more kind in this one month of the year...)

I really liked Ace's
comments on this. He's right. We seem to be hellbent on option #2. Too bad really.

As a fundamentalist Christian, I would just like to express my deepest, sincerest appreciation to and admiration for the atheists, agnostics and other non-Christians who - unlike the ACLU, Barry Lynn and other hyper-separationists - show that they are voices of true reason and tolerance. You are the ones who should have the loudest voice (and the multi-million dollars legal groups) in this country.

Wayne, I have to disagree with your assertion of "Don't judge Christianity by it's followers." That is non biblical. I bring this up because the Bible study group I am currently in is studying this very topic. The end of II Cor. 2 and the beginning of II Cor. 3 talks about this in part. If there are false teachings and false teachers casting a dark shadow over Christianity, it means that real Christians aren't doing enough to oppose them. Yes, there will always be false teachers and teachings, but we should work to make sure they are the rare exception, not the rule (as I fear they as slowly but surely coming to be).

As others have commented, atheism has gone from being the absence of religion to a religious belief in and of itself. One atheistic writer on Usenet claimed that seeing expressions of religion were like a punch in the gut to him.

Great post! I love Christmas on two levels. I love it on the Catholic level, but I also love it on the "ooh, shiny, pretty things" level. To me, the Christmas season is just objectively beautiful. It makes me sad that people want to take away the beauty and leave December to be just another dreary winter month.

"If you don't want to see Christmas decorations or hear Holiday music, move to Saudi Arabia!"

I was looking over my kids' school calendar tonight and noticed that it has the dates of channakuh and kwanzaa listed, but not Christmas. (I can't tell you which school but I can tell you they're in the Akron, OH public school district, if you'r curious.) Now, I'm all for equality in winter holidays and I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but why two and not the other? Why list any at all? Especially since school is only in session during one of the two above-mentioned holidays. Thank you for writing this. We all need to be a little more tolerant, relax, and enjoy.