One last bit of Christmas bile

The Pharyngula blog had a note today that mentioned a post-Christmas article by an angry Christian on another blog entitled The Next Person Who Says Happy Holidays Shall Be Punched In The Throat. I would like to comment on a few things said in the latter post as they are good examples of someone using an arguments that he would not permit his opponents to use.

Excerpts from the Punched In The Throat blog post are followed by my comments.

Anything which could offend anyone (minus Christians, of course) is shunned as intolerant. No Christmas trees, manger scenes, wise men, Jesus, or anything of the sort.

I’d like to start out by asking where this person lives and whether he went outside during the month of December. If he was just talking about religious scenes (mangers/wise men/Jesus), he might have a point that many people think they should not be on public property or in businesses that are not promoting a particular religion. But Christmas trees and “anything of the sort”? There were plenty of trees and similar decorations around in public place, at least where I live (in very liberal California).

The author later refers to these things as “Christian symbols” with no hint of irony, even though the tree and many associated decorations were appropriated by Christians from pagan traditions.

I am not demanding that everyone place manger scenes in their front yards and go to Christmas Eve service at a local church. I am not demanding everyone worship God or Jesus. Do whatever you wish during this time of year. What I am saying is December 25th is called CHRISTmas. It is when Christians celebrate the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ. If you do not believe in this than simply don’t celebrate the holiday, but don’t attempt to create other distractions and fictional celebrations to overshadow and minimize CHRISTmas.

So, despite protests to the contrary, the author is saying that you can do whatever you wish during this time of year, so long as it’s not related to the secular celebration of Christmas, or to stories and traditions about Christmas that don’t relate to Jesus (in a previous paragraph he spoke of his hatred of Frosty the Snowman, etc.) That’s a pretty odd definition of “whatever you wish”.

And again, the demand that “fictional celebrations” not be allowed to overshadow the traditional holiday fall may amaze those who remember that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 — Christians just chose that date in a (successful) attempt to take over pagan celebrations that already took place on or around that date. Christmas in December is itself a fictional celebration.

If you want to be an atheist go right ahead, though I’ve not known many that aren’t angry and unhappy 80% of the time, but it is certainly your right.

He obviously doesn’t know many atheists. Give me a break.

Live your life as an atheist however you want to, but don’t attempt to tell me how to live mine because I believe in something … and don’t give me that load of Bull about being offended by manger scenes and all that garbage.

So if we don’t tell him how to live his life, he won’t tell us how to live our lives? For example, he won’t tell us not to enjoy Santa Claus, gift exchanges, and songs about red-nosed reindeer? I think he’s already broken his part of this bargain.

I also can’t recall an incident of an atheist claiming offense at a manger scene. Atheists might be offended that a manger scene is being paid for with public property, or be unhappy that their place of work is asking them to put up a religious symbol, but that isn’t anger at a scene, it’s anger at an inappropriate mixing of religious and secular.


Earlier in this rant, didn’t he give the impression that he was offended by Santa Claus?

But more to the point, the author’s right that atheists aren’t offended by God and Jesus. If we’re offended at all it’s by government funds being used to support religious beliefs and by the assumption that everyone in America is Christian.

It would be more believable for a satanist to say they are offended by the manger scenes, as I could see how the birth of Jesus would offend them, but you can’t be offended by something you don’t believe in. Guess what??? I don’t believe that vampires exist, but I don’t get all bent out of shape on Halloween, or when the new Twilight movie gets released.

If the writer doesn’t believe Islam is correct, then I assume that he wouldn’t be offended by a government-sponsored Ramadan display in front of his local courthouse.

As for Halloween, it sounds like he’d also be okay with wiccan, pagan, cultish, or Satanic rituals in public spaces on Halloween, and that he wouldn’t be offended if accoutrements for such practices were prominently for sale at local businesses. I also assume that he thinks Christians who do get all “bent out of shape” about Halloween are foolish.

Christmas is celebrated on December 25th of each year. It is called CHRISTmas for a reason.

And Thursday is Thunor’s day for a reason, and Easter was named for the goddess Eostre for a reason, and anyone named Johnson is said to be John’s son for a reason. These things change over time, and it’s not unusual for religious celebrations to become secularized as the years pass (e.g., Halloween, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day).

Merry Christmas to all who believe in the virgin birth!!! To all those who don’t … Merry Christmas as well. To all those who claim to be offended by someone saying “Merry Christmas” to them …. lighten up!!

And, I assume, Merry Christmas to all those who threaten violence when they hear “Happy holidays”. You know — just to be on the safe side.

Posted on December 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Essay

One Response

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  1. Written by Ashley
    on May 26, 2011 at 11:16 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    I find it interesting that he never mentions Hanukkah. Not once. “Angry atheists” are not the people that need their feelings protected by a vague statement like “happy holidays”. It’s called being considerate of other religions (and non-religions of course) during a time where everyone is trying to celebrate, be merry, and generally have a good time.

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