thoughts in and out of season
But wait! There’s more!Bill Donohue and the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights have announced a boycott of Wal-Mart…
Can Christians and Jews live together?“Give ’em an inch and they take a mile.” When people were forced to belong to the religion of the majority they demanded freedom not to belong. When they got it—when they were given “an inch”—they proceeded to “take a mile,” by demanding never to even hear of the majority religion or its holidays. Little by little, they’re wresting that freedom for themselves too.
A religion is a whole way of life for an individual and for a community, not something they set aside 99.999999999999 percent of the time. The muzzling of the majority’s religion is intolerable. It’s coming from the Jews mainly, lately with help from the Moslems. This sort of thing in reverse wouldn’t be tolerated for one second in Israel or a Moslem country. It shouldn’t be tolerated for one second here.
If the Bill of Rights is the tool they use to suppress Christianity and Christmas it needs to be rewritten. Men wrote it and can rewrite it: it’s not the Bible.
It may not be possible for Jews and Christians to live together after all. The whole attempt along those lines these past couple of hundred years or so may have been a mistake. Jews are miserable when Christmas is celebrated publicly and Christians are miserable when public celebration of it is suppressed. There are additional ways in which Jews and Christians each want things that clash with what the other wants. Often enough, each finds intolerable what the other needs for its happiness. What can the solution be, except that they ought to live in separate countries?
Maybe Christians and Jews should live apart.
Long live free Flanders!
A good question…> If the Bill of Rights is the tool they use to suppress Christianity and Christmas it needs to be rewritten. Men wrote it and can rewrite it: itâ€™s not the Bible.
True, but given that most white Americans’ patriotism revolves mostly around adherence to a political creed – “freedom” – and not around shared race, ethnicity, language, and culture, to say nothing of religion – how can one overturn not only the entrenched laws, but the mindset, as well? There’s the difficulty, far as I can tell…
We must keep speaking our ideas. Changes will come.“how can one overturn not only the entrenched laws, but the mindset, as well?” (—Will S.)
Speaking our ideas plants a seed which will later grow and bear political fruit.
agreed…… that is our best hope.
A great quote from George Orwell’s 1984, here:
We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual….
social conservatismI agree that the GOP’s commitment to social conservatism is fetid at best. But, what if it wasn’t? With the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) in control of national social policy, what can a president or legislature do?
Yes, they can talk, and some do. Obviously, they have anger at and despair over SCOTUS, because its imperial jurisprudence has eliminated or limited the right to self-government. This helps explain the anxiety over and resistance to the Harriet Miers nomination. SCOTUS is everything, if one is interested in re-establishing some form of self-government. Without a retaking of SCOTUS, and its self-removal from the arena of social policy, all the talk and commitment in the world is so much noise.
The alternative is the continued alienation of the American public from the federal Courts, the public’s dissatisfaction with and contempt for the Courts’ usurpation of the policy making function, and the eventual illegitimacy of those courts within the body politic. In their mad pursuit of the liberal project, the courts have inserted themselves into the political maelstrom, all the while pronouncing their “independence” and claiming limply that they are above it all. Having made themselves into political institutions, the Courts will be treated as such by a public and legislatures that know better.
As far as Christmas is concerned, my local newspaper The Sarasota Herald Tribune (a New York Times newspaper) takes every Christmas season as the opening of hunting season on Christianity, which it views, consistent with its liberal orthodoxy, as a world-view competitor. We are treated to editorials, features, and letters to the editor chronicling the horrors of public Christmas celebrations and observances. It is all utterly predictable; it is so canned I could write their stories for them (as well as the letters to the editor, which merely mirror the views of the newspaper).
Their fundamental complaint isn’t with Christmas, or its celebration or observance, but with the very existence of Christianity itself and the fact that some people actually take it seriously (and some people, horror of horrors, take it more seriously than Liberalism). Christmas and the First Amendment are merely hooks to unload on a world-view competitor as a threat to our common political order, the terms of which are defined by Liberals. Christmas, and its public observance, therefore becomes a threat to public order itself, a threat to our common understanding as a republic, and a cancer on our political arrangements. It is not only an enemy, but an enemy aimed at the heart of our very self-definition as a stable democracy of free people. Christmas (and Christians) is not “welcoming;” it undermines “diversity;” It “oppresses” non-Christians (or, as Liberals so quaintly put it, members of other “faith communities); it undermines the “ideals” of the First Amendment; it “excludes” Jews and other non-participants; it threatens the secular order, the only order that can preserve “freedom,” the highest ideal.
Thus sayeth the Liberals.
Your Sarasota paper…… sounds a lot like Time or Newsweek; each Christmas season, Time or Newsweek, or both, come out with cover stories along the lines of “New Evidence Shows Christianity Is Bunk”, more or less… I now try to think to myself, when I see the War on Christmas, “Ah; it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”
Here’s an old piece of satire, from six years back, but even more relevant now than it already was then:
Christmas Rebels Mar Holiday Shopping Season
Time and NewsweekI believe last year Newsweek ran a cover article claiming that the Christmas stories of the gospels were all made up. You’re completely right, it’s a holiday staple.
To call the stories “made up” is to start by denying ChristmasThe Oxen
by Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
In case my posting “The Oxen” has people puzzled …My point in posting that short poem by Thomas Hardy was the same as his in writing it: anything can be denied, and what makes us believe—the only thing that makes us believe—is, in one way or another, faith. It’s not the scientific method that makes us believe. Belief in “truth that is proven through the scientific method, not resting on faith,” is still belief through faith: faith that the scientific method is valid; that the criteria of validity themselves are valid; faith that the word “valid” means anything; and so on, in lengthy regression stopping with faith. That was Hardy’s point in writing that poem( * ) and my point in posting it in reply to outfits like Newsweek who imagine they’re so clever and modern in questioning the truth and meaning of Christmas the way they do. Yes, belief in Christmas rests ultimately on faith—exactly as does every other belief, including the belief in science and the scientific method. These people have nothing to teach me. I used to spout exactly the same stuff—exactly the same stuff, word-for-word and if memory serves I was actually better at it than they—until somewhere in my late twenties, because I was raised that way from the time I was taken out of Catholicism as a child and told there was no such thing as God. I could actually teach the Newsweek guys how to do it!
( * Hardy’s theme in that poem was twofold: we believe ultimately through faith, and—where he says “hoping it might be so,” at the end—faith is always at least to some degree an act of will. Those are the points he was making in that little poem and are why I posted it.)
thanks, Fred.I was indeed puzzled, and am glad you explained that in depth. I agree with Hardy and your main point, though, not to spark a R.C./Prot. debate, but as a Calvinist, I obviously will differ on the other point about faith being partly self-willed, but never mind…
FaithWow, your post could be a topic or two in itself.
As for faith, I’ll adopt Paul Tillich’s distinction and say faith is not a belief or an opinion but a state of being. One either has it or one doesn’t, and an act of will can’t change it (or an investigation into or analysis of “evidence”). This explains the gratitude, and sense of “miracle,” following a conversion experience.
As for popular Liberal publications, they routinely make absurd ontological claims for “science,” which no scientist or philosopher of science would support. Don’t confuse this with Liberal support for science; Liberals can just as easily turn against science at the drop of a hat, if science develops a theory or finding that contradicts liberal dogma.
> Liberals can just as easily turn against science> Liberals can just as easily turn against science at the drop of a hat, if science develops a theory or finding that contradicts liberal dogma.
Exactly, MD; I’ve noticed that, whereas liberals will laugh at and poo-poo Christians who hold creationist views, that they treat with respect, minorities who have similar non-evolution, creationist views, e.g. aboriginals, with their creation myths (North America is a giant turtle, and thus we Canadians, Americans, Mexicans and Central Americans live on “Turtle Island”, etc.). So liberals will let their commitment to “a scientific worldview” (i.e. materialism) be trumped by multiculturalist ideological considerations. The only way you’ll ever see “Intelligent Design” end up taught in public classrooms, is if a Muslim or perhaps an Orthodox Jew, brings forth a lawsuit against evolution. But that’s not likely, as religious and ethnic minorities know which way their bread is buttered…
BTW, on the matter of faith, I’m not particularly familiar with Tillich, but I am in agreement with his assessment of our inability to alter our faith via an act of will. Scripture of course calls Christ “the author and finisher of our faith“, and Paul begins most of his letters with the assertion that he was called by God, that his faith was from God, and not of himself or any other… (And in a couple of letters, specifies that his audience are also “called out” ones like himself…)
TillichTillich was a German protestant theologian. Born and educated in Germany, he came to the US and taught at Union Theological Seminary and the U. of Chicago. His method was existential, and his worldview was pessimistic (as one might expect of a German of Hitler’s generation). He published a “Systematic Theology” in 3 volumes (which you can probably find at your local Barnes & Noble), and a well-known book, “The Courage To Be,” which is essentially about the phenomenon of faith (and its relation to the anxiety of modernity).
Among protestant theologians, he would rank among the top 5 of the 20th century, together with Barth, Niebuhr, Bultmann, and Bonhoeffer.
There’s a good website on Tillich, which I consult from time to time for Tillich’s lectures on the history of Christianity. http://www.theology.ie/theologians/tillich.htm
Tillich is CluelessIt is admitted that Tillich was existential. What a moron, but I do not disresprect his intellect. Of course the Holy Father believes in right or wrong, unlick Tillich. Protestants, as well as Catholics, seem attracted to heresy. We just need to get together for once and all. Catherine was a mistake. How wonderful it would be to be part of a Union of Britian and America, not that the British share our deire.
Leftist ‘Science’I’m glad MD touched on this. I don’t want to fly off too far from the matter at hand, but it frustrates me to no end how leftists have laid claim to the mantle of ‘science,’ a word they often use (in classic bumper-sticker style) as a means of stifling the exchange of ideas that somehow deviate from their own predilections.
I was reading how, in Stalinist days, the “Great Father” himself was the arbiter of scientific theory, striking down this or that study according to whether or not it fit into Marxist orthodoxy (which isn’t terribly scientific itself).
They do the same today, telling us how cow poop is destroying the atmosphere, how children in the womb don’t feel a thing when being killed, how the Bohr-Heisenberg model of quantum mechanics ‘proves’ cause and effect aren’t ‘real,’ on and on.
“leftist” scienceI’ve observed a couple of things as to the leftist use (or misuse) of science.
First, science will be used and invoked selectively and misleadingly to support a liberal dogma (as you note about abortion).
Second, science will be ignored, or actively condemned, if it conflicts with liberal dogma, as in the Larry Summers case at Harvard. All science that establishes gender differences is essentially ignored or deemed illegitimate.
Of course, however you categorize postmodernists (and most are leftists), postmodernism rejects science in toto as just another “metanarrative” constructed for the purposes of oppression and control.
Good points, both MD and DeguIt may have seemed, at the turn of the twentieth century, that we were entering the era of “rationalism”, wherein “science”, as materialists conceived it, would “sweep away” religion, and “usher in a new era of enlightenment”, blah blah blah. Come to find out, they were only interested in sweeping away Christianity, and are quite happy to ditch rationalism in favour of post-modernist “truth is relative” sentiment, now that they’ve succeeded in removing Christianity from being Western Civilization’s ethos…
A Simple Aphorism Yep. Too much rationalism leads to irrationalism. Or, rationalism is irrational.
Too much rationalism leads“Too much rationalism leads to irrationalism. Or, rationalism is irrational.” (—Degu)
Good point. That’s because rationalism depends on irrationalism, as the rational part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, depends on the irrational sub-cortical gray-matter structures and archaic structures of the limbic system and so on for its functioning and as the source of what it views as meaning and emotion, things it can’t supply but must get elsewhere. The cortex thinks a lot of things originate with it which don’t, but come from “non-rational” places deeper down and more ancient.
right on, Fred & Degu…how they manage to avoid facing this paradox is a mystery, but this must be another of their “unprincipled exceptions“…
reasonDavid Hume was the first modern philosopher to bring human reason into question, by the use of human reason; Hume even asserted that reason shows that cause and effect are suppositions and cannot be verified. I could do a little research on this, but there have been many discussions of the use of reason to undermine reason. Popper struggled with this at length (one reason he distrusted all scientific theories), as did the ancient Greeks.
Liberals believe in the sufficiency of human resources, primarily autonomous reason, to fulfill history and ourselves; hence, their frequent descent into Scientism. However, the limits of science and/or nature don’t limit Liberals; if science should find a limit inherent in nature that contradicts Liberal dogma, Liberals will ignore, deny, or ostracize the finding. This selective hostility towards science reveals that Liberalism is not based on reason, but rather is a secular faith system.
Bill of RightsHopefully, in for a change is the mindset we know is there. If Judge Alito is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, we shall have great hope for change. People are much like lemmings; our social imperative is hard wired. If Judge Alito follows the lead of Judge Scalia, who is the dominant intellect on the Court, abortion rights and actual individual rights (insert here the Bill of Rights, which are explicitly stated in any Almanac) will be re-recognized. Abortion rights have been twisted into a right to murder for convenience instead of giving a conscientious mother (and secondarily, a father) the right to save her own life should her conscience so dictate.
I donâ€™t know, Paulâ€¦ II don’t know, Paul… I don’t trust the GOP on social issues any more; they’ve had ample opportunity, from Newt Gingrich’s election and since, to demonstrate real, not merely lip-service, commitment to social conservatism, and have failed consistently, far as I can see… The GOP always have to placate the pro-choice, Arlen Specter / Kay Bailey Hutchison / Christine Todd Whitman / Rudy Giuliani / Arnold Schwarzenegger types in their midst, and end up watering down their social conservatism into non-existence, for all practical intents and purposes. Whereas the liberal-dominated Democrats can sell out with impunity, the so-con Roman Catholic Hispanics or black evangelicals who vote for them (Baptists, Methodists, etc.), simply because race trumps faith and morals, for racial minorities (esp. blacks and Hispanics), when it comes to considerations of perceived political self-interest…
GOP Social IssuesDear Will and Mr. Kalb:
I don’t trust the GOP either. The GOP though is not the third branch, the Judiciary. The GOP without any doubt whatsoever will vote to confirm Judge Alito AND will end the filibuster rule if the usual Republican and Democratic creeps act as usual. (A fun Las Vegas bet: Arlen Specter will or wiil not vote for Alito.) So fear not, I pray to Mother Mary.
Let it Be. Was this a tribute to the Virgin Mary, our Mother? McCartney is in print (not that it is reliable) saying one of his last Beatle songs was based on a dream he had about his mother Mary. So why did John Lennon throw a hissy fit about such a mundane figure?
The Jewsâ€œItâ€™s coming from the Jews mainlyâ€ is an English expression that could use discussion. The expression is a small part of a much larger composition and should not be taken out of context. The writer is offering a perception in support of his hypothetical, which isâ€”Jewish and Christian people must govern themselves separately or forever fight one another. â€œItâ€ is the suppression of a general, public recognition and celebration of Christmas by a country comprising around 90% Christians.
Because we live in a republic and Jewish people comprise only about 3%-5% of the republic, nothing, in general, can be coming mainly from the Jewish people. For example, maybe Jewish people bake more bagels than Christians, but I think not. Jewish people might hold a slim majority in some of the arts, but politically, a Jewish person has only as much power as the Christian people give him or her. It seems, therefore, Christians are mainly responsible for suppressing a general, public recognition and celebration of Christmas in the USA.
Please do not take offense at the formality of the above argument. The formality is just practicing and not snideness. So letâ€™s end on a fun note.
Itâ€™s coming from the AP mainlyâ€”the stupid propensity of the dominant sports media (who went to PAC-10 or Big 10 conference colleges) to underrate teams from the SEC such as LSU. The PAC-10 (USC) does not even have a playoff. The Big 10 supposedly had one-maybe two teams for Texas to play; but as it turns out, the so-called players are big nothings. They did not play Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, and Alabama and will face Georgia in a playoff. Bottom line—USC and Texas will not have to play LSU or another SEC team. Good night. Hmm, maybe UCLA will wake up and realize it is a decent team.
I’d love an alternative but I don’t know what one would be.That the assault on public celebration/manifestation of Christmas is coming mainly from Jews I have no doubt. (For the record, I’m Catholic.)
Lots of Jews who themselves may or may not like Christmas aren’t in sympathy with this assault—it’s coming from a subset of them who harbor one degree or another of hostility toward Christianity (in the case of some, pretty intense hostility), that causes them to react to pubic manifestations of Christianity, such as Christmas (especially Christmas, since it is so big, important, deep, and hard or impossible to just ignore), the way they’d react to an affront, or worse (I’ve seen some say things like Christmas is evil and to celebrate it one must be insane).
The majority of Jews don’t consider public manifestations of Christmas and the traditional public trappings of Christmastide an affront but do consider it an annoyance they and their children must adjust to in a number of ways, the whole thing amounting to more or less of a nuisance for them.
It’s true (as Paul Henri alludes to), it’s hard to understand how a tiny fraction of the population which is Jewish could exert its will in getting Christmas partly driven from the public square. It’s done through a combination of left-wing Christians agreeing to go along with them (who I don’t think would’ve thought it up themselves), non-left-wing Christians trying to bend over backwards to be nice and not to offend, and the tremendous leveraging power afforded to determined individuals and small groups by the particular characteristics of the U.S. courts and legal system (leveraging power through law-suits and so on). The leveraging power afforded to small, weak parties by our legal system is one reason left-wing legal scholars like Prof. Dershowitz and others always oppose even the most minimal common-sense tort reforms—such reforms might take away some of the leveraging power against the majority which is put to such creative use by the minority interests left-wingers sympathize with.
If the phenomenon of public Christmas is a strong “negative” for Jews and its suppression a strong “negative” for Christians—i.e., if the one leaves Jews unhappy and the other Christians unhappy—and if there are other issues where the two clash, including ones many in each group feel extremely strongly about (such as the apparent Jewish preference for a racially-diverse immigration policy, viewed as “good for the Jews” as one Jewish leader said, as opposed to the tendency among Euro Christians to question such an immigration policy—with plenty of exceptions on both sides, of course)—if the things that make Jews happy and Euro Christians happy conflict, sometimes in very important, even non-negotiable ways in the view of many, would the two groups be happier living apart?
After giving the Christmas issue a good deal of thought I’ve come to the view that suppression of public celebration of Christmas for a Christian United States is unacceptable. Many Jews feel the opposite way, that public celebration of Christmas for the United States is unacceptable. Since no one wants to make anyone unhappy maybe we should physically separate … no? Is there an alternative? I’d love one.
No one wants to force his religion on anyone but the minority has to understand that the majority has the right to publicly celebrate its religion, the forbidding whereof is intolerable and tyrannical. Minorityhood may not be ideal; may be a difficult way to live. No one denies that. Maybe that was part of the impetus for the creation of the state of Israel by those pioneers who dreamt it then did it. If there’s any way, short of suppressing what are important sources of the majority’s happiness and equilibrium, to help the Jewish minority have an easier time living as a minority—which can’t be easy for them—I’m all for it.
(I’ll say something else: Abe Foxman should be replaced. Jews and Christians can either try to get along or not. He’s more conducive to the latter than the former.)
Did you know…… that, apparently, when Pieter Stuyvesant was the Dutch governor of New York (back when NY was still a Dutch colony), he originally had banned Jews from settlement in his colony? So I’ve read, anyway, though I haven’t confirmed this; the account I read went on to say that economic and political pressure forced him to change this policy.
Whether this is true or apocryphal, given how different Christians a few centuries back were on questions of ethnic nationalism and the place of religion in society, it certainly seems plausible, and if so, it occurs to me that Stuyvesant’s original policy was as sensible as Australia’s “White Australia” policy, which, it too, abandoned… Such policies aren’t “bigoted” or “hateful”; they simply recognize difference, and affirm that recognition and support for those differences, AND THEIR CONTINUED SEPARATE EXISTENCES, is a social good, one to be encouraged – if people truly believed in “diversity”, they wouldn’t have a problem with the idea of mono-ethnic, mono-racial, mono-cultural, and mono-religious societies – nothing could be more diverse than having a multiplicity of such – and good fences make good neighbours, as they say… Of course, the “diversity”-mongers of our day don’t believe in true diversity any more than they truly believe in “tolerance” (they don’t tolerate what they call “intolerance”, do they).
So then: should we try to convince others of this? Or would that be a waste of time, and should we simply try to make the best of what the situation is today? I don’t know, honestly. But we need to start, at least, with a recognition that sometimes the “bigots”, so called, are right, and if we had followed them in the first place, we wouldn’t have had the social problems of group interactions within heterogeneous societies that we do today… “Hindsight is 20/20”, as they say; yes, true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from hindsight, to avoid the same mistakes in the present and/or future. We should be bold, and not merely ask, for example, whether slavery was/is, in all circumstances, a completely bad thing or not (which is an excellent question itself), but should ask, esp. as regards race relations in America, whether white Americans wouldn’t have been better off in the first place if they hadn’t have imported black slaves to work Southern plantations…
Hereâ€™s a piece onHere’s a piece on Stuyvesant and what he tried to do.
Mainly is NonsenseJewish people cannot mainly do anything in Christian dominated society without plenty of Christian help. Nothing above has called this proposition into question.
The power of a “subset” of Jews is an insufficient reason to believe Jewish people are leading the anti-Christmas effort. Jewish people are not superhuman or magical beings capable of imposing their will on hapless peoples of Christian heritage. Have Jewish people not suffered innumerable tribulations helped by non-Jews? If not, we need to forget the Pharaohs, the Romans, the Spanish, and the Nazis.
An op-ed exchange between David Klinghoffer and Abe Foxman“Iâ€™ll say something else: Abe Foxman should be replaced.” (—my comment, 11/13, 1:36pm)
In partial explanation of Abe Foxman’s seeming “less-than-full stock of wisdom” I’ll call it, David Klinghoffer (who is Jewish) offers (excerpt just below) the former’s perpetual need to fund-raise. For any group, of course, fundraising may and often does entail attempting to whip up the emotions and fears of potential contributors.
“For the needlessly heightened state of Jewish concern about evangelicals, we canâ€™t blame the ADL entirely. Yet the group has done much to exacerbate Jewish worries. What drives the ADL to stoke our fears? Letâ€™s be realistic. Naturally, a crusading non-profit organization needs a bad guy to give a sense of urgency to its fund-raising campaigns. The ADL has more than $52 million in yearly expenses, including Foxmanâ€™s $412,000 in salary and other compensation (according to publicly available 2003 tax information). […] The anti-defamation professionals of the Jewish community are no dummies. Nor, I believe, are they paranoid. Or cynical. True, if these well-meaning folks are directing so much attention to the wildly exaggerated menace of Christian evangelicals, I donâ€™t see an alternative explanation to a financial one. […H]yperventilating about Christians makes Jews open their wallets.”
“[I]tâ€™s sad that Klinghoffer has to resort to the charge that my speech was all about raising money. Disagree with me, make your arguments â€” but donâ€™t resort to inappropriate accusations.”
He goes on:
“We also said all along […] we would not abandon our principles of keeping America the kind of society in which there is tolerance and in which Jews donâ€™t feel excluded in any way. […] What my speech did deal with, and what I believe is a new development in American life, is a desire by some groups to coerce Americans to subscribe to a narrow religious perspective that will result in exclusion, both practically and psychologically, for Jews, other religious minorities, non-believers and even many Christians. […W]hen the U.S. Air Force Academy â€” a federally funded institution â€” is a place where Jews and other non-evangelicals feel religious coercion, then something is amiss.”
His repeated points about the importance of Jews’ not “feeling excluded” or “feeling religious coercion” (I strongly doubt the Air Force Academy subjects Jews to “religious coercion”—here Foxman is certainly talking once again about feelings of exclusion) are the sort of thing I was referring to in my comment where I said even though minorityhood may be hard and involve feelings of exclusion at certain times of year, that still wasn’t a reason to forbid the majority to publicly just be itself. The only way to ensure Jews never feel excluded is to impose restrictions on the majority that are unjust and tyrannical. If the majority can’t unselfconsciously and publicly be itself, something which, yes, does entail public recognition and celebration of Christmas in my view, it, the majority will be unhappy.
Must one or the other, then, be unhappy, either Jews or Christians?
Well, look at it this way: being of the Jewish religion won’t make a person feel excluded in Israel. Does that tell us something? Maybe it tells us minorities have to put up with the drawbacks of minorityhood in places where they occupy that niche and don’t in places where they don’t occupy it. Has Mr. Foxman ever thought of it in those terms?
Jewish People and ChristmasI am sorry I did not acknowledge the fear of oppression of Christians. It is a wholly justfiable fear in America. Perhaps it would be helpful to realize there are many Christian converts of Jewish heritage (e.g., St. Paul). So we really cannot blame Jewish people but anti-Christians.
Some Jewish people don’t want to hear or see anything about Christmas. Some Jewish people ignore it as we do May Day. Some Jewish people celebrate it, as a close friend of mine does.
When I first learned Jewish people, in general, did not celebrate Christas, I was sad. The bottom line: Jewish people are just like the rest of us.
Boycott ended; Donohue claims victoryHere.
A V-Dare reader suggests aA V-Dare reader suggests a strategy…
Look how they’re forced to spend Christmas in multi-culti Paris“[…T]he loss in the quality of life for average Frenchmen is not shown so much in the daily Car-B-Q stats (down to a mere 215 on Monday) as in the decreasing freedom in activities previously considered normal. […] ‘We wanted to decorate our store with big, gift-wrapped boxes for the Christmas season, but we donâ€™t dare. They might set fire to them,’ said Nathalie Normand, a clerk at an eastern Paris toy store. ‘After 5 or 6 at night, most women wonâ€™t go out on the streets,’ she added. ‘I wonâ€™t drive my car to work now because Iâ€™m afraid theyâ€™ll burn it when I drive home.’ ”
(Gee, thank goodness someone thought multi-culti up! Whatever in the world would we do without it? I don’t think I could survive, I really don’t!)
Should Jews and Christians live together in the same country?Reading articles like this, opening your eyes and looking around you, using ordinary common sense, and putting two and two together, makes you see if you haven’t already that the war on public Christmas—and of course there is a war on public Christmas—is coming mainly from Jews. Since public Christmas is important to Christians and its absence important to Jews, and since there are other issues involving Christians and Jews each wanting what the other finds unacceptable, the next question is should the two groups live in the same country? Maybe it’s time they went their separate ways. If not, why not? Why should they stay together in the same society and make each other miserable in this and other ways?
Why, indeed?I guess they feel entitled to have their cake and eat it, too – to have secularist, pluralist countries in what used to be Christendom in which to feel at home, and to also still have a “motherland” across the ocean, a land all their own (never mind the other inhabitants who’ve been there since the seventh century – not that I myself have any great love for the Muslims there per se, but hey, there are Christians amongst them, and yet we always side against them – curious, eh?).
The only wonder of it all is, why the heck we put up with it. The Michelle Goldbergs and Adam Cohens – and Abraham Foxmans – amongst us certainly won’t look out for any interests other than their own, and neither should we.
Why does one side always win?I think though that it’s a mistake to treat the situation as basically a Christian/Jew thing. There aren’t that many Jews, let alone activist Jews, and they don’t have magical powers. In England they have very few Jews and the same war on Christmas as here.
The basic issue to my mind is not who’s complaining but what complaints get taken seriously, and that depends on understandings of what the world is like and how it ought to be. Madelyn Murray O’Hair didn’t win her case against school prayer because Celtic women with weird names exert secret behind-the-scenes control over everything. She won it because educated, articulate and well-connected men, like Supreme Court justices and the people they respect, had come to agree that religion is at bottom a private fantasy.
The same point applies to feminism, affirmative action, multiculti etc. We don’t have those things because there were suddenly a bunch of disputes between men, white people etc. and others, and for some reason the other side won. We have them because complaints that might have been made at any time suddenly seemed dispositive to the people who decide such things.
Rem tene, verba sequentur.
true enoughI certainly wouldn’t argue that it’s only a Jewish/Christian conflict – Christians’ spiritual enemies consist of all who are not of Christ, incl. baptized-but-unfaithful “Christians” and liberal “Christians” (both being Christians in name only), atheists, agnostics, Muslims, sodomites, etc.
But I’ve tended to notice that people who are, if you will, “ethnically” Christian (i.e. their parents or grandparents may have been, but they aren’t, yet were baptized or Christened, and identify vaguely with the Faith but don’t actually have faith), don’t usually have much of an axe to grind against the Faith; they tend to largely ignore it, except perhaps at this time of the year.
Those who are decidely atheist, or decidedly agnostic, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu, or practising homosexuals, etc. tend to be much more antagonistic towards the Faith than “lapsed” or “non-observant”, supposed Christians. They complain, and their complaints are heard and listened to, because it suits the elites, who are of the same mind, regardless of which flavour of anti-Christianity is theirs – but it does seem that in North America at least, the cause is disproportionately identified with left/liberal, non-religious Jews.
Xmas at the White HouseAs always, W’s in the http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/06/AR2005120601900.html thick of the action
So, itâ€™s okay for theSo, it’s okay for the White House to hold Chanukah parties, but the White House can’t bring itself to say “Merry Christmas” in their greeting cards, anymore…
And yet, most evangelicals, and a goodly number of Roman Catholics, and most of my Reformed brethren, still think Bush is a great “Christian president”…
It makes me wretch.
BTW, did anybody see thisBTW, did anybody see this ceremony? I don’t watch TV (I haven’t for a couple years now), so I missed it, but whether or not it was intentional – for those who saw it, thoughts? – it’s certainly disturbing…
Jackie Mason (former rabbinical student) speaks out on Christmas— “the war on public Christmas […] is coming mainly from Jews.” (—me, 12/7 above)
— “itâ€™s a mistake to treat the situation as basically a Christian/Jew thing. There arenâ€™t that many Jews, let alone activist Jews, and they donâ€™t have magical powers. […] The basic issue […] is not whoâ€™s complaining but what complaints get taken seriously, and that depends on understandings of what the world is like and how it ought to be.” (—Jim Kalb, 12/7)
— “Jewish people cannot mainly do anything in Christian dominated society without plenty of Christian help. […] The power of a ‘subset’ of Jews is an insufficient reason to believe Jewish people are leading the anti-Christmas effort. Jewish people are not superhuman or magical beings capable of imposing their will on hapless peoples of Christian heritage.” (—Paul Henri, 11/16)
The following is comedian Jackie Mason’s take: It’s Christians who are doing it, not the Jewish Community:
This is a partial transcript of ‘The Big Story With John Gibson,’ December 1, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
DAVID ASMAN, GUEST HOST: A newly formed group is battling against the war on Christmas. Its founder and members, they are not gentiles. They are Jews. The group is called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, and they held a press conference Thursday in Washington.
Joining us via phone call is comedian Jackie Mason, who is a member of the group. He joins us now on the phone.
Jackie, what’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing with a group like this?
JACKIE MASON, JEWS AGAINST ANTI-CHRISTIAN DEFAMATION: Well, not only am I a member, I’m a founding father of this organization, because I have never seen anything so offensive to me. I can’t believe this. All my life, I was always worried about Christians persecuting Jews. And who knew that Christians would start persecuting Christians? And who knew it would take the Jews to defend the Christians from each other?
We have only 1.5 percent of America’s population and the Christians have to run to us for help to protect them from other Christians.
ASMAN: Now, there are Jews with the Anti-Defamation League and everything who say there is too much emphasis on Christmas and we should take the word Christ out of Christmas and so forth. What do you tell them?
MASON: First of all, the amount of Jews who are saying this kind of a thing can’t even be found. You would have to hire the CIA to find a Jew who is disturbed or offended by anything representing the word Christmas. Jews are thrilled and delighted to celebrate Christmas because, you know, we don’t see it as a threat. There is no normal Jew in America, I can’t find one, bang on every door of every Jewish house in America: if you find more—if you would find more than six Jews with this complex, that they are disturbed by Christianity or by the word “Merry Christmas.” Jews love the idea of “Merry Christmas” because not only is it celebrating brotherhood and friendship and love and the extension of happiness to everybody in the world â€” how could you be offended by that?
Pornography is allowed in this country because freedom of speech protects it. Rappers are singing songs about killing everybody in the streets, and it’s protected. But if, God forbid, you say “Merry Christmas,” “Ho, ho, ho,” a whole fight breaks out. Love is the only thing that they hate. Hate is protected. Love is obnoxious to them. How nuts could you get? If a store is selling rap music, it’s protected. But if that same store hung up a sign that said “Merry Christmas,” they would be in all kinds of trouble.
ASMAN: Oh, well, wait a minute. We’ve got to interrupt Jackie Mason for President Bush, who is about to do the lighting. He is going to say a few words before he lights up the Christmas tree. Let’s listen to the president, and then we’ll get to Jackie.
And the president and the first lady are now leaving. Jackie Mason, were you able to see? There is the tree. What do you think of it? Are you ready to call it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree?
MASON: I think anybody who sees it and decides you must call it a holiday tree should be put in a sanitarium. Because what are they going to do? Are they going to do this to all the religions now? Are you going to say a Jew is not allowed to say “Happy Passover,” you have to say happy, hello, I can’t remember what I am now? What if it’s Purim and what â€” we have any kind of a holiday? What if you fast on Yom Kippur, should we have to say we’re fasting on a day we don’t know about?
ASMAN: Jackie Mason, we’ve got to leave it there. We thank you very much, Jackie.
Of course there’s something to this: when Boston’s huge traditional municipal Christmas tree arrived from Nova Scotia the other day and began to be set up on city property the anti-“Christmas” stink immediately arose, with demands for it to be called the “Holiday Tree” instead of what it is, Boston’s Christmas tree. (I have no doubt but that the stink came directly or indirectly from Boston’s Jewish Community—whom else would it be coming from?[ * ])
Boston Mayor Menino (whom I’ve always taken for an Italian Catholic, if that has any bearing—I could be wrong) told aides who (mentioning the protests) had asked him what they should call it, “It’ll be the ‘Christmas Tree’ as long as I’m here” and that was that: simple; quiet; exactly those ten words; settled; no fanfare; no agony; no arguments; case closed; no inter-group recriminations; no frustration; no resentment; no bewilderment; no “What in the hell is going on here???”; no sense that the world is going to hell in some extremely bizarre handbasket—it’s to be the “Christmas Tree” as long as Menino’s in charge.
If Christian officials, in other words, could manage a minimum of uprightness, honesty, integrity, and common sense and stop caving in to unreasonable groups who, though they may threaten and bluster, are in the wrong, this anti-Christmas absurdity wouldn’t have arisen. Whom do we blame—the Christian officials who could so easily do what Menino did, or the unreasonable groups pressuring them?
If U.S. Greek pressure groups try to get a certain U.S. Cyprus policy adopted and U.S. Turkish pressure groups the opposite, do we praise/blame the pressure group for the policy finally adopted, or do we praise/blame the government officials who adopt it? The latter, obviously.
When Canadian Prime Minister Martin publicly got on his knees and performed the kowtow before a Sikh altar we didn’t blame the Sikh Community for his absolutely astonishing lack of sense, we blamed him—though the Sikhs were the ones who’d asked him to do it and were doubtless delighted when he agreed.
So in this sense the war against Christmas is the fault of Christians, as Jackie Mason says. He’s right. But not wholly: organizations waging war on Christmas do use coercive legal tactics mainly through the threat of costly law-suits and other means: here again you have that tremendous leveraging power afforded individuals and small groups by the U.S. civil legal system.
( * The dilemma which the trappings of a public Christmastide—the music, the carols, the decorations on private and public property, the TV shows, the office and school parties, the cards, the “Merry Christmas” greeting, the overall spirit of the season—poses for U.S. Jews is understandable, especially where we’re talking about young couples with children whom they’re trying to raise in the Jewish faith. There’s a problem here which everyone can sympathize with. Its solution, however, isn’t and cannot lie in the suppression of Christmas including a public Christmas. I’d love to find an alternative but what would one be, given the stark realities of the minorityhood-majorityhood duality? No one wants to force their religion on anyone or be forbidden to celebrate it. It’s a difficult dilemma.)
I think youâ€™ve nailed it,I think you’ve nailed it, Fred; this wouldn’t happen if Christians would care enough about the matter to prevent it. Most don’t, and so it happens, thanks to a relatively few number of complainants. The vast majority may complain at the pub or coffeeshop, but don’t do anything, nor do most public officials, who are gutless – precisely because there’s no pressure on them not to be… So they go with what’s easiest for them…
But it is clear to me that in Canada and the U.S., at least, most of the complainants come from the usual suspects… I’ve noticed, BTW, that the new Narnia movie is getting some of the same hostility from the same people who hated the Passion; esp. if one reads the New York Times or New Yorker movie reviewers; some people just hate it, and C.S. Lewis, with a passion, and can’t be objective about the movie… (Read the “Mere Comments” blog, or Getreligion.org, or the latest Sobran’s essay, to see who – from their last names, one can tell that it is mostly, as ever, the usual suspects…)
In Sobran’s column Gopnik somehow does not come across as fair“some people just hate [the new Narnia movie] and C.S. Lewis with a passion […] (Read the […] latest Sobranâ€™s essay […].)” (—Will S., 10:37pm)
Following Will’s suggestion I’ve just read Sobran’s essay and although I haven’t seen the Narnia film and don’t know much about C.S. Lewis (along with Malcolm Muggeridge, Albert Schweitzer, Hillaire Belloc, and G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis is on my list of “20th-century Christian writers I need to get to know better”), the following bit caught my attention: it touches on the theme of faith being partly an act of will, something I alluded to briefly elsewhere in this thread (in connection with the Thomas Hardy poem, “The Oxen”):
“[…Adam] Gopnik assures us that ‘believing cut [C.S.] Lewis off from writing well about belief,’ for ‘a belief that needs this much work to believe in isnâ€™t really a belief but a very strong desire to believe.’ At bottom, [Gopnik asserts,] Lewis had a ‘bad conscience’ and an ‘uncertain personal faith.’ The Narnia stories, ‘in many ways,’ are actually ‘anti-Christian’; Lewis didnâ€™t realize this, but Gopnik does. Iâ€™m afraid Gopnik […] has missed Lewisâ€™s point â€” not a very difficult one, really â€” about the virtue of faith. Belief is something you have or donâ€™t have; but faith is an act of will and fortitude, which is why we speak of ‘keeping’ or ‘breaking’ faith. A child may know perfectly well that the water is safe and that anyone can learn to swim, but still allow himself to succumb to fear of the water when he actually gets into it. The problem isnâ€™t the childâ€™s ‘beliefs’ about the water; itâ€™s his irrational panic. In the same way, Lewis explains in Christian Reflections, we may believe intellectually, but allow our moods and passions to weaken our faith when we are tempted. When our faith fails, it isnâ€™t usually because of any rational doubt. Reason isnâ€™t opposed to faith; itâ€™s opposed to the passions (the word is cognate with passive; weâ€™re truly active only when we act rationally). In spite of all the clichÃ©s equating intelligence with doubt, the loss of faith doesnâ€™t occur in the intellect, but in the will.”
(I did see your note last time, Will, about disagreeing with the claim that faith is partly the result of the will, and I respect that view though I feel within myself the “mechanism” Sobran describes.)
A sicko Christmas outrage by Mr. Joel Krupnik of NYCI think this by Taki is entirely fair:
“It was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? Since George Washington’s executive proclamation in 1789 establishing November 26 as the day that we should give thanks to our Lord for all the favors, kind care and protection he had offered our country, and the Long Island supervisor who objected to a local Catholic priest’s religious blessing of a Christmas tree. Jon Kaiman, who is Jewish, made his displeasure known in front of a large crowd which had gathered for the annual lighting of the Manhasset township Christmas tree. Kaiman is the town’s supervisor and after the Rev. Nick Zientarski blessed the tree, he grabbed the microphone from the priest’s hand and hollered, ‘This is nonsense. We’re not doing this again next year. I can’t believe this. I want to make it clear that this is no way a religious ceremony…’
“The priest, for his part, had this to say: ‘I thought about what blessing to give, and it seemed to me that because this was a Christmas tree, it would be OK to use the blessing from my Catholic tradition.’ To be fair, Kaiman later apologized for his harsh and aggressive manner, but the first blow against the blessing of a Christmas tree has been struck by a Jewish supervisor in an upmarket Long Island town. Now let’s reverse matters. And ask ourselves what would happen if a Christian supervisor had grabbed the microphone from a rabbi who was busy blessing the lighting of a Menorah. I’ll tell you. He would be arrested and brought up on hate crime charges quicker than you can say Abe Foxman, that’s what.
“And Kaiman is not alone. […] A millionaire, Joel Krupnik, who owns apartment buildings on the Lower East Side of New York City and in Israel, has decorated his house with a skinny Santa with a bloody head in one hand and a knife in another. He calls it freedom of expression, but again, it is freedom to insult the Christian faith, no ifs or buts about it.”
I would call on Christians in authority not to listen to individuals who try to trash our Christian traditions and cherished way of life. I would call on Jews to stop trying to trash our Christian traditions and cherished way of life. I would call on all reporters and commentators to identify the religion or background ethnicity of individuals who try to trash our Christian traditions and cherished way of life, so that we know who is doing it.
Meanwhile, Jewish comedienneMeanwhile, Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman’s new movie “Jesus Is Magic”, touted by some as “the perfect antidote” to holiday fare at the movies these days, offers up jokes about rape and incest, and has a routine where she sings “Amazing Grace”, but apparently holds a microphone to her private parts, and “accompanies” her singing with noises from her orifices down there…
Now the ADL is going afterNow the ADL is going after sermons they don’t like, accusing a California pastor of anti-Semitism. (Here’s the sermon in question.)
Liberal OutrageWhy aren’t the liberals outraged? After all, to a liberal, Christianity is a preference like any other, and all preferences are entitled to equal expression and practice. So why aren’t liberals outraged that this preference known as Christianity is being trashed publicly?
If these demonstrations had trashed Wicca-ism or Vagina-ism or Transgender-ism, they would be labeled “hate” and denounced as bigotry.
Perhaps Mr. Kalb can comment on this seeming discrepancy.
My view is that Christianity is a serious worldview competitor to liberalism, and so long as it remains so liberalism will not only tolerate viciousness against Christianity, it will encourage and enable it (usually in the name of “free speech,” or “inclusiveness.”)
The most interesting part of this phenomenon are Christians who actively participate in or support it, and trash Christianity and its customs and practices in order to appease and make good with liberals and liberalism.
Not a problem for liberalsTo qualify for protection an expressive action must either
1. Understand itself as an expression of a preference and nothing more (e.g., weird pornography), or
2. Oppose the most powerful system of nonliberal understandings and preferences, so that it subverts the dominance of the latter.
It’s OK to be hateful, bigoted etc. as long as you’re nuking hate and bigotry. The principle of bigotry is the notion that it’s OK for any nonliberal idea to have public effect. On that view Krupnik’s action gives you a net reduction in bigotry by subverting the dominant nonliberal system and therefore reducing its ability to impose its innate bigotry.
Bigots and BigotryI think your formulation is exactly right. But it is chilling to see it in black and white.
Bigotry is the position that a non-liberal idea may have public effect (say, marriage is limited to heterosexual couples). This position is then posited as hate and bigotry. Next, hate and bigotry may be dealt with legitimately by means of hatred and bigotry (“nuked” in your shorthand).
The only remaining question is this: Are there any limits to the means used by liberals to deal with “hate” and “bigotry,” as liberals define those terms?
Liberals never see themselves as bound to play by the rules“The only remaining question is this: Are there any limits to the means used by liberals to deal with ‘hate’ and ‘bigotry,’ as liberals define those terms?” (—MD, 12/20, 4:13pm)
Liberals are a pretty rough bunch when it comes to dealing with those they view as enemies (think David Koresh and the Branch Davidians; think Elian Gonzalez and his uncle Lazaro denied due process by a midnight assault by armed government goons; think PeeCee speech suppression all over the liberal West right now with its fines, its jail, its outlawing of legitimate political parties, and its personal ruin and destruction of individuals involved wherever possible). Are there any limits? I don’t think there are many: liberals don’t like playing by rules and will circumvent them or just ignore them and forge ahead then deny they’ve done any such thing. Liberals most definitely do not understand the expression “fair play,” haven’t a clue as to what it means. In general, liberals will ruthlessly try to do whatever they think they can get away with, counting on their allies in the media and academia later to “paper over” whatever travesties of justice they’ve committed in furtherance of their goals and in pursuit of their enemies. Liberalism is intrinsically totalitarian though it constantly pays lip service to democracy and fairness. The fairest groups on the planet are not liberals, needless to say, but trad conservatives or their equivalent counterparts in other cultures around the world (where those counterparts exist, that is—they don’t always).
Look what they’ve done to the Constitution. They’ve killed it.I mean, look what liberals have done to the United States Constitution: gutted it, killed it. As Joe Sobran has pointed out many times, the Constitution is dead. The ones who’ve killed it in both letter and spirit are the liberals, by simply refusing to accept there are rules they’re supposed to play by even if they don’t like them. Starting with FDR’s administration and his famous “packing of the Supreme Court with liberals” they’ve made it into a “living document” to get around the fact that the men who wrote it intended certain things and not other things, not the ones liberals badly want. The Ninth Amendment, for example? Liberals never heard of it—never heard of it in their lives. First Amendment? They take one part of it, the “establishment clause,” distort if out of all proportion till it’s unrecognizable, clearly not what the Framers meant, then totally ignore the part about government not infringing “the free exercise thereof.” Look at their gross mininterpretation of the XIVth Amendment, the one whose right and reasonable interpretation would’ve spared us the “Anchor Baby” phenomenon. Or, how about their pulling “emanations” and “penumbras” out of a hat to give us Roe v. Wade? One could go on and on with just their trashing of the Constitution, let alone the other ways in which they just ignore what they don’t fancy and plow ahead with their marxism-lite programs for everybody. They do not accept the fact there are rules and people in government, people in power, must play by them. Liberals tend very much to hold that the ends—in their case, building what they imagine to be utopia on earth—justify the means.
I meant both the Ninth and Tenth AmendmentsWhere I wrote “Ninth Amendment” above, I meant the Ninth and Tenth Amendments—liberals never heard of either of them and don’t want to hear of either of them, don’t want to know about them, would rather just go on ignoring them. These are people who do not understand the notion of playing by the rules. That’s one of the reasons they can be so ruthless when they get power into their hands.
Is Archbishop Rowan Williams showing some backbone finally?From an entry up tonight at Majority Rights:
“I am somewhat bemused to find three men in cassocks stepping into the ring to take on the ‘silly bureaucrats’ and the ‘minority in leadership who want to privatise religion.’ But thatâ€™s what has happened today. First off, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams put his name to a piece in The Mail On Sunday, saying:
” ‘What makes some people suspicious of Christmas these days is that itâ€™s too religious. This year there seem to have been even more stories about the banning of Christian images and words by silly bureaucrats.’
“Right on cue the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, weighed in during GMTVâ€™s Sunday Programme with:
” ‘We must avoid the kind of political correctness that is creeping in and undermining the public expression of the Christian faith.’
“He said he was concerned about ‘a worrying hostility towards Christianity and all religions by a minority of people in leadership today who want to privatise religion, push it to the boundaries, not allow a voice in the public arena.’
“Meanwhile the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, declared his diocese to be fighting back against the politically correct approach to Christmas with a new poster campaign:
” ‘There have been reports from all over the country about local authorities, businesses, retail centres and even central government trying to take the Christ out of Christmas, claiming Christmas is offensive. They seem to want to make Christmas history – the Diocese of Lichfield wants to make Christmas His story’
“Ordinarily, we would say these churchmen are part of the liberal problem and preside over an emotionally feminised version of Christianity. However, even they have limits. They have, it seems, noticed that the silly bureaucrats and the mysterious minority in leadership have none, and will go on chipping away at every surviving outcrop of Western culture until nothing remains. The ‘hands-off’ declarations of today reveal a fault-line between religious liberals and committed egalitarian activists. In essence, the former are drawing a line in the snow. They are refusing to let their faith be marxised out of existence – which is a point I have made many, many times in respect of Western Man in general. When all roads lead to extinction, resistance will be the only recourse.”
The word “Winterval” in the title of the Majority Rights log entry refers to the name chosen as a replacement for “Christmas” by a number of town councils in England. “Christmas” has been replaced in those towns because apparently lots of complaints have been lodged by individuals and groups to the effect that the name “Christmas” and also the Christmas holiday and celebrations themselves are “offensive.”
To me it’s clear these complaints can only be coming, in their majority, from Jewish and Moslem individuals and groups and from Christian male and female homosexual groups.
In Australia, as part of this sort of attack by a Moslem group and by the head of a Jewish organization on the name and celebration of Christmas a call has been made to change Christmas’s name in that country to “Winterval,” as has been done by these English town councils under pressure of complaints. I agree completely with the Australian church group that described (in the article linked at “attack,” above) such Moslem and Jewish demands as “absurd” and with the Australian who called these sorts of demands “intolerant and impertinent.” That’s exactly what they are: intolerant, impertinent, and absurd. They’re also unacceptable, and the rude individuals and groups making them should be told off in the plainest language. Notice by the way how the leader of the Jewish group makes the charge that Christmas has become a secular shopping holiday, which is an ironic charge for a Jewish leader to make, given that for decades Jewish leaders and groups have been in the forefront of the drive to make Christmas into nothing but exactly that, a secular shopping holiday. Now when it’s become perhaps too much that, these same people use that to condemn it? So, when is Christmas OK with them—when it’s religious? when it’s secular? Or never? I think I can be forgiven for strongly suspecting the latter. If they’d let it alone in the first place maybe it would be more like what it was supposed to be. With them you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, and the reason is they’re anti-Christian bigots who don’t want Christmas to be religious, don’t want it to be secular, and don’t want it to exist, period.
Notice in the Australian article it says,
“But the Islamic-relations forum director, Kuranda Seyit, told The Sunday Mail it was time for Australia to fall in line with places such as the U.K., where councils have renamed Christmas ‘Winterval’ and replaced references to Christmas on signage with the words ‘Festive’ and ‘Winter.’ ‘Australia is now so diverse and there are so many cultures and festivities, we need to acknowledge the need to be inclusive of our identity.’ [Mr. Seyit] expected his plan would insult some people, but urged a ‘step-by-step’ approach.”
Look at that last comment, about how the other side plans “a step-by-step approach” to finally doing away with Christmas. Now look at the Majority Rights log entry, where it says,
“[The bureaucrats, etc.] will go on chipping away at every surviving outcrop of Western culture until nothing remains.”
And that’s exactly what they’ll do, too, if we lie down and let them. If we stand up, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.
WintervalThe use of the term, “Winterval,” reminds me of the French revolutionaries’ introduction of a new calendar, including earthy names for the months, “Thermidor,” “Germinal,” “Frimaire,” etc.
MD on TargetMD is right on target if those words were associated with the Terror.
CalendarsAccording to Norman Davies’ history of Europe, in 1793 the installation of the “Revolutionary Government” occurred in June, and in July the Committee of Public Safety was established, the Terror began under Robespierre’s direction, the Jacobin Constitution of Year I was inaugurated (which included the new calendar with its catchy terminology).
So yes, the new terminology began contemporaneously with the Terror.
“Stop apologising for being Christian.” — Simon Heffer(Hat tip to Guessedworker over at MajorityRights.com 🙂
“One or two of us took a deep breath at this, for it was a rare instance in our lifetimes of the Church of England actually standing up for something, and actually being right. It was also shocking, however, that in a country with an established Christian church, and whose Muslim population (for example) is only around three per cent, such an exhortation should be felt necessary.
“… It is bewildering, therefore, that there should apparently be people here who take such offence at Christmas, and against whom a brace of archbishops feel the need to take up their croziers. I suspect they are very few in number and exert an influence far in excess of their real strength. Like all extremists and bullies, they deserve no tolerance at all.
“They might merit some of our pity: if they shut themselves off from the Christian culture, whether from the beauty of the liturgy, the serenity of church music, or from admiring the reticulated tracery of an east window, then their lives can only be deeply impoverished. They must also conduct a pretence that some of our most fundamental institutions are expressly Christian: notably our monarchy, and the Established Church of which our monarch is Supreme Governor. Parliament still begins each dayâ€™s deliberations with prayers.
“Our oldest schools and universities have intrinsic links with the Anglican Church. Our very system of justice is implicitly Christian. Our history is Christian since the dawn of the seventh century. More to the point, it is by the will of the majority, in our democracy, that all this remains so.
“Those who dislike this have, of course, every right to militate against it. They have, however, no right to impose their minority view on anyone else.â€
To a liberal, and to manyTo a liberal, and to many liberal Christians, Christianity requires that Christians refrain from any display, assertion, or expression of Christianity; to their minds, Christians must be invisible. To do otherwise is inherently offensive, in that it would assert a claim to a universal truth, or access to an objective good, or a particularized understanding of reality, all of which “discriminate” and are “intolerant” of others.
Since Christians cannot be “discriminatory” or “intolerant,” a Christian must therefore never be a Christian. This is the self-cancelling magic act of liberal Christianity, enforced by standard liberal dogma.
History and TraditionI can understand the emphasis upon history, tradition, and/or culture in defense of Christianity, and its public expression. When a culture defends itself against attack, it’s legitimate to make these kinds of cultural arguments.
But to say an individual is impoverished because they are deprived of intellectual or social participation in the heritage of Christianity rather misses the point. Yes, an individual is deprived of this richness and depth, and the reality of his or her history. But, rather more importantly, the individual is deprived of the truth, not only an objective, cultural truth but a subjective truth about his or her own personal existence. This is the great personal deprivation.
Christianity certainly has fulfilled many functions in the history of English culture and tradition. But appealing to those functions is to miss the point. Christianity is not valuable because it is or has been functional; it’s valuable because it’s true.
The “Christianity is important because it is or has been functional” is the sociological argument, and it is inherently liberal (Voltaire, among many others, made this argument).
The liberal argument is the “Uncle in the attic” position. “Yes, Uncle Joe has played an important part in family history, and he got us through some rough times, and we remember him from time to time, and we feed him 3 squares a day to keep him going, but after all he is crazy now and out of touch and behind the times, so let’s get on with things on our own terms and in reference to our own needs, and please don’t bother us with what Uncle Joe thinks or used to think because his thinking just isn’t functional anymore in our modern, up-to-date world, OK?”
Agreed, but Heffer indicates he’s an atheist in the piece“But to say an individual is impoverished because they are deprived of intellectual or social participation in the heritage of Christianity rather misses the point. Yes, an individual is deprived of this richness and depth, and the reality of his or her history. But, rather more importantly, the individual is deprived of the truth, not only an objective, cultural truth but a subjective truth about his or her own personal existence. This is the great personal deprivation.” (—MD, 11;36am)
This is of course exactly right, but to be fair to the author don’t we need to acknowledge that he says in the piece he’s a non-believer and therefore appreciates Christianity for what it has wrought in molding the society and culture around him, not for what religious truths it claims to offer? He writes,
“[…]I saw as a child that, having tried as hard as I could, I could not believe in God. I greatly regret this, but, despite extensive reflection, I can see no reason after all these years to revise my view. […] However, […] I rejoice wholeheartedly as an atheist that I live in a Christian culture, and I know that, in that undeniably hypocritical act, I am not alone.”
Though he’s a non-believer in Christianity his piece is for the most part right and has great value as social commentary for today, I feel.
Mea culpaI regret to say that I didn’t follow your link back to the original article; I only read your excerpt.
Heffer adopts the Voltaire position, and for much the same reason—it’s so much more pleasant to live in a Christian civilization than in, say, an Ottoman or a Bantu civilization.
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