Saturday, December 20, 2008

The War on Christmas or the war on acceptance

Bill O'Reilly and the other "Culture Warriors" want an excuse to hate Secular Progressives - they have coined the movement "the War on Christmas" - O'Reilly: "War" on Christmas part of "secular progressive agenda" that includes "legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage" Really, Bill? You get all of that out of people being accepting of cultures and religions other than Christianity?

When I wish someone a "Happy Holiday" it is because I do not assume their faith or beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. It is not in my power - or any one else's to force my beliefs on anyone else. For me, the phrase "Merry Christmas" makes me think of the commercialism that has hijacked the holiday - visions of the Santa Claus lie we teach our children, Black Friday horror stories, and the blatant greed of our society.

There are many other cultures coexisitng together in today's society. You can not assume anybody's beliefs or Faith - Remember "assume" makes and ass out of you and me. Check out this list of other winter holidays and festivals across other cultures:

A winter festival was the most popular festival of the year in many cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached.


  • Bodhi Day: December 8 - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).





  • Modranect: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
  • Yule: the Germanic winter solstice festival


  • Navratri:Nine-day celebration worshipping female divinity, in October or November. Culminates in Dussehra.
  • Diwali:Known as the Festival of Lights, this Hindu holiday celebrates the victory of good over evil. The five-day festival is marked by ceremonies, fireworks and sweets. Women dress up and decorate their hands with henna tattoos for the melas, or fairs. Many different myths are associated with Diwali, one of which celebrates the return of Lord Rama after a 14-year exile and his defeat of the demon Ravana.
  • Bhaubeej


  • Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his defeat in 165 BCE.
  • Tu Bishvat: New Year of the Trees occurring on the 15th of Shevat, January or February.
  • Purim: Occurring on 14th or 15th day of Adar, late February to March, commemorating the miraculous deliverance and victory of the Jews of the Persian Empire in the events recorded in the Book of Esther


  • Eid ul-Adha: Starting on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a four day holiday commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.
NOTE: The Islamic calendar is based on the moon and this festival moves with respect to the solar year. It is, however, falling in the winter in the first decade of the present [21st] Century of the common era.

Pagan and Neo-Pagan


  • Sadeh: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to "defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold". Sadé or Sada (Persian: سده) Jashn-e Sada/Sadé (in Persian: جشن سده), also transliterated as Sadeh, is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before nowrouz. Sadeh in Persian means "hundred" and refers to one hundred days and nights left to the beginning of the new year celebrated at the first day of spring on March 21st each year. Sadeh is a mid winter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Iran. It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.
  • Yalda: The turning point, Winter Solstice (December 21). End of the longest night of the year (Darkness), and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil. Shabe Yaldā (Persian: یلدا) or Shabe Chelle (Persian: شب چله) is an Iranian festival originally celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice.
  • Chahar Shanbeh Suri: Festival of Fire, Last Wednesday of the Iranian Calendar year. It marks the importance of the light over the darkness, and arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahārshanbe-Sūri (Persian: چهارشنبه‌سوری), pronounced Chārshanbe-Sūri (Persian: چارشنبه‌سوری) is the ancient Iranian festival dating at least back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival of fire is a prelude to the ancient Norouz festival, which marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahrshanbeh Soori, is celebrated the last Tuesday night of the year.





  • Karachun - the ancient Slavs polytheistic winter solstice festival

Just for fun, these are the fictional winter holidays:

  • Festivus: December 23 - quirky holiday invented on the television show Seinfeld
  • Festival of the Bells: Midwinter celebration in Fraggle Rock, also mentioned in A Muppet Family Christmas.
  • Decemberween: December 25 - A holiday in the Homestar RunnerHalloween. universe, occurring 55 days after
  • Hogswatchnight: December 32 - New Year's Eve/Christmas in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels (plays on Hogmanay, Watch Night, and "hogwash")
  • Winterfair: from the Vorkosigan Saga of Lois McMaster Bujold; a Barrayarran cultural holiday
  • Chrismukkah: the modern-day merging of the holidays of Christianity's Christmas and Judaism's Hanukkah.
  • Chrismahanukwanzakah: the modern-day merging of the holidays of Christianity's Christmas, Judaism's Hanukkah, and the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa.
  • Hedgehog Day: February 2 - supposed archaic European version of Groundhog Day, dating back to Roman times.
  • Wintersday: The annual winter holiday in the MMORPG Guild Wars. This holiday is based on Christmas and Yule and one can get neat hats.
  • Starlight Celebration: The annual winter holiday based on Christmas/Yule/winter solstice in the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI (aka FFXI). Players can collect various holiday equipment, Mog house furnishings, fireworks, and food.
  • Shoe Giving: - quirky holiday famously invented on the show Hyperdrive (TV series)
  • Freezingman: - January 11- A Burning Man inspired event held in Colorado as a Winter Arts and Music Festival
  • Couch Burning: June 21 (Southern hemisphere Winter Solstice) - A couch is burnt on a bonfire on the 21st of June, inspired by the Burning Man festival and conducted by CouchSurfers.
  • Noob Day: December 26 - The day following Christmas when all the people who received online games as gifts go online for the first time and are killed off or mocked by veterans.
  • Feast of Winter Veil: December 15 to January 2 - holiday in the MMORPG World of Warcraft. This holiday is based on Christmas. Cities are decorated with christmas lights and a tree with presents. Also special quests, items and snowballs are available. It features 'Greatfather Winter' which is modeled after [Santa Claus].
So, does that mean wish a "Merry Christmas" to someone who is of Jewish faith mean you are instituting a "War on Hanukkah"? No, it means you assumed that the person was of the same Faith as you. Bad business decision. Wishing a "Happy Holiday", doesn't assume anything and still conveys your wish of merriment to the person you are greeting. Bill, pull your head out of your rear end long enough to realize your views are not the only ones out there.

Persecution begins with hate. Hate generally is bred from fear, fear generally comes from the unknown (failing to educate yourself), or an insecurity in your own self or beliefs that you are trying to overcompensate for. Or in extreme cases, possibly narcissism.
It is imperative for the free people of the world to defend the freedom of conscience, including freedom of religion, Faith, and other core beliefs irrespective of one's own personal belief. If this hate is left to fester and grow, we end up persecuting large groups of people based solely upon unfounded hate (remember the Jewish Holocaust?)

Back to the "War on Culture" - the Self-Righteous hiding behind the teachings of the Bible and breeding Hate amongst the members of society, remember: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7

If you would like to read more on the history of Xmas and it's origins, please, read below. And, it is not Secular to call it Xmas -
the term originated from the use of the Greek letter chi, Χ, as an abbreviation of Christ (Χριστός). So, Bill, go ahead and put that fact under your Christmas tree (which historically is an adaptation of pagan tree worship and what does the following bible scripture refer to: Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen....For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not.".)

Happy Holidays to everyone I wish you all peace and happiness during this season, no matter how you celebrate!

In recent decades, during the annual approach to December 25, it is widely alleged that public, corporate, and government mention of the term "Christmas" is avoided and replaced with a generic term—usually "holiday" or "winter"—and that popular non-religious aspects of Christmas, such as secular Christmas carols and decorated trees are still prominently showcased and recognized, but are vaguely associated with non-specified "holidays", rather than with Christmas.

In the past, Christmas-related controversy was mainly restricted to concerns of a public focus on secular Christmas themes such as Santa Claus and gift giving rather than what is sometimes expressed by Christians as the "reason for the season"—the birth of Jesus. The term "Xmas", the subject of controversy during the mid-to-late 20th century, originated from the use of the Greek letter chi, Χ, as an abbreviation of Christ (Χριστός).

December 25 is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth, and the date may have been chosen to correspond with either a Roman festival, or with the winter solstice. As a way for the Cristian faith to covert the non-Christians by allowing them to continue their winter celebrations.

For many centuries, Christian writers accepted that Christmas was the actual date on which Jesus was born. However, in the early eighteenth century, some scholars began proposing alternative explanations. Isaac Newton argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the winter solstice, which in ancient times was marked on December 25. In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church. In 1889, Louis Duchesne suggested that the date of Christmas was calculated as nine months after the Annunciation on March 25, the traditional date of the conception of Jesus.

The New Testament does not give a date for the birth of Jesus.Clement of Alexandria wrote that a group in Egypt celebrated the nativity on Pachon 25. This corresponds to May 20. Tertullian (d. 220) does not mention Christmas as a major feast day in the Church of Roman Africa. In Chronographai, a reference work published in 221, Sextus Julius Africanus suggested that Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox. The equinox was March 25 on the Roman calendar, so this implied a birth in December. De Pascha Computus, a calendar of feasts produced in 243, gives March 28 as the date of the nativity. In 245, the theologian Origen of Alexandria stated that, "only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod)" celebrated their birthdays. In 303, Christian writer Arnobius ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthdays of gods, which suggests that Christmas was not yet a feast at this time.

As was the case with other Christian holidays, Christmas borrowed elements from Pagan peoples, including yule logs, decorations such as candles, holly, and mistletoe. Christmas trees were sometimes seen as Pagan in origin. Cited as proof is Jeremiah, 10:3-4, which states, "For the customs of the peoples are false: a tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan. People deck it with silver and gold they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move." The Advent period (originally a fasting period meant to point to the Second coming of Christ), and gift giving (invented by Martin Luther to counter St. Nicholas Day, 6th of December) were also often seen as Pagan in origin.

Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporating ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord.

In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in the west focused on the visit of the magi. But the Medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the "forty days of St. Martin" (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent. Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days. In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the
By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling "Misrule" — drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling — was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day, and there was special Christmas ale. also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form.

The first documented Christmas controversy was Christian-led, and began during the English Interregnum (Reformation), when England was ruled by a Puritan Parliament. Puritans (including those who fled to America) sought to remove the remaining Pagan elements of Christmas . During this period, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas entirely, considering it a popish festival with no biblical justification, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.

During the various Protestant reformations, these (real or supposed) paganizing elements were a source of controversy. Some sects, such as the Puritans, rejected Christmas as an entirely Pagan holiday. Others rejected certain aspects of Christmas as paganizing, but wanted to retain the "essence" of the holiday as a celebration of the Christ's birth. This tension put in motion an ongoing debate about the proper observance of Christmas.

Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom.

Prior to the Victorian era, Christmas in the United States was primarily a religious holiday observed by Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans.

By the 1820s British writers, including William Winstanly began to worry that Christmas was dying out. These writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration, and efforts were made to revive the holiday. Charles Dickens's book A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, played a major role in reinventing Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion as opposed to communal celebration and hedonistic excess.

In America, interest in Christmas was revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon and "Old Christmas", and by Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas). Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted holiday traditions he claimed to have observed in England. Although some argue that Irving invented the traditions he describes, they were widely imitated by his American readers. The poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas popularized the tradition of exchanging gifts and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance. In her 1850 book "The First Christmas in New England", Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas was lost in a shopping spree. Christmas was declared a United States Federal holiday in 1870, signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant.

Historian Stephen Nissenbaum contends that the modern celebration in the United States was developed in New York State from defunct and imagined Dutch and English traditions in order to re-focus the holiday from one where groups of young men went from house to house demanding alcohol and food into one that was focused on the happiness of children. He notes that there was deliberate effort to prevent the children from becoming greedy in response.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is celebrated around the world. Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.

Certain Christian religions, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and some fundamentalist churches, continue to reject the holiday as well, citing its Pagan and/or Roman Catholic origins.

Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.

Originating from Western culture, where the holiday is characterized by the exchange of gifts among friends and family members, some of the gifts are attributed to a character called Santa Claus . The popular image of Santa Claus was created by the German-AmericanThomas Nast (1840–1902), who drew a new image annually, beginning in 1863. By the 1880s, Nast's Santa had evolved into the form we now recognize. The image was standardized by advertisers in the 1920s.

Father Christmas, who predates the Santa Claus character, was first recorded in the 15th century, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa. The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.

The Christmas tree is often explained as a Christianization of paganevergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship. The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 German language. The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century. From Germany the custom was introduced to England, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria. Around the same time, German immigrants introduced the custom into the United States. Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments.

Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates. In Europe, when the practice of setting up evergreen trees originated in pagan times, the practice was associated with the Winter Solstice, around December 21. Tree decoration was later adopted into Christian practice after the Church set December 25 as the birth of Christ, thereby supplanting the pagan celebration of the solstice.

Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December), and then removed the day after twelfth night (6 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck. Modern commercialisation of Christmas has resulted in trees being put up much earlier; in shops often as early as late October. Some households in the U.S. do not put up the tree until the second week of December, and leave it up until the 6th of January (Epiphany).

Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus. Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage.

In Australia, North and South America, and to a lesser extent Europe, it is traditional to decorate the outside of houses with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures. Municipalities often sponsor decorations as well. Christmas banners may be hung from street lights and Christmas trees placed in the town square.

In the Western world, rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels.

Christmas is typically the largest annual economic stimulus for many nations. Sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas and shops introduce new products as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies. In the U.S., the "Christmas shopping season" generally begins on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, though many American stores begin selling Christmas items as early as October. In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween (October 31), and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on November 11.

An economists analysis calculates that Christmas is a deadweight lossmicroeconomic theory, due to the surge in gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. It is estimated that in 2001 Christmas resulted in a $4 billion deadweight loss in the U.S. alone. Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current microeconomic theory. Other deadweight losses include the effects of Christmas on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants, imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter.

The concept of a modern-day "war on Christmas" only became widely discussed in the United States and Canada during the early-to-mid 2000s decade, credited particularly to an exposure of the issue by AmericanBill O'Reilly. commentator

The claim among Brimelow, O'Reilly, and later a variety of prominent media figures and others was that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers, retailers, government (prominently schools), and other public and secular organizations.

So, Is the true meaning of Christmas now as clear as mud?

1 comment:

  1. We are all responsible for our own happiness. If calibrating a holiday makes you happy then it makes sense to do it. If you are doing it out of obligation, and really don’t derive happiness from it, then do something else.

    I have found Christmas to be overwhelming. I now have it simplified to were I actually enjoy it, but it took a long time, and a lot of telling people no. I prefer to give to those who really need, and get nothing in return. On Dec 25th I like to clean my house. Instead of ending up depressed with a bunch of stuff I don’t know what to do with, I end up feeling happy about living in a cleaner more organized house.

    Holidays are particularly important to people in control. It encourages the mass mindless behavior so crucial in control and oppression. You see it comercially as well as in family expectations.

    Happy holidays