Christmas Warriors II

I am following up “Target Jesus” and “Christmas Warriors.” I want to respond at length to a commenter on “Target Jesus.”

Miki wrote,

I do feel like ,as a Christian, I’m being shoved into a little box. Where for hundreds of years Christianity was recognized as part of the national identity, now its as if we have become lepers to a small portion of the country so we must be bound, gaged and shoved into a small dark space out of the way. I’m not comfortable with that. I’m not for squashing anyone one elses religious freedoms because I dont want mine curtailed. That is the true problem here. Of course Christians are not quietly going into the closet without a struggle. Why on earth would you think they would?

I appreciate that the writer expressed her (or his) feelings honestly. She is getting into the true motives behind the Christmas wars, and I’d like to go into this a little more deeply.

I do feel like ,as a Christian, I’m being shoved into a little box.

The box you’re in is made up of your own ideas about who you think you are and how you think the world should be. It isn’t real.

Where for hundreds of years Christianity was recognized as part of the national identity,

We haven’t had a “national identity” for “hundreds of years.” In fact, many social historians don’t think we had much of a “national identity” until after the Civil War. I think you are imagining something that didn’t actually exist.

Thomas Jefferson wrote this in his autobiography, regarding the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786):

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

In other words, in 1786, the Virginia legislature chose to keep Christ out of this document so as to respect the rights of the “Mahometan” and “Hindoo.”

It is true that the overwhelming majority of Americans have been Christian, but not being Christian never excluded anyone from being American. There have been Jews in North America for 350 years, for example, and Jews supported independence and fought in the Revolution. There have been Buddhists in America since the 1840s; today Buddhist Americans are getting themselves killed in Iraq.

This country is not the exclusive property of Christians. It never was.

“…now its as if we have become lepers to a small portion of the country so we must be bound, gaged and shoved into a small dark space out of the way.”

This is delusional. Christianity is the dominant religion. The amount of Christian-format television and radio broadcasts continues to grow; if you’ve got cable, you can watch Christianity on TV 24/7. What other religion in this country has television programming carried nationwide on cable?

Can you name a way that Christianity is being repressed, other than attempts by Christians to repress non-Christians? For example, trying to get Christian prayers recited in public school classrooms would be forcing non-Christians to observe Christianity, which many find annoying.

I’m not for squashing anyone one elses religious freedoms because I dont want mine curtailed.

How is your religious freedom being curtailed? How is it that you are prevented from believing and worshipping as you wish? Do you have any concrete examples? I’d really like to know, because I am not seeing anybody get in the way of Christian worship in this country. Well, except for other Christians.

What I am seeing, however, is that Christians are trying to use intimidation and sometimes the authority of government to force everyone else to kowtow to Christianity. News flash: This will not win you popularity contests.

Of course Christians are not quietly going into the closet without a struggle. Why on earth would you think they would?

Why on earth would you assume that I think they would? I am not anti-Christian. I think Christianity is a great religion. I just don’t think it’s the only religion, nor do I think it’s better or worse than other religions, including mine. I have no interest in feeding your victimization fantasy. If you want someone to put down Christianity so that you can indulge in feeling sorry for yourself, please go elsewhere.

I don’t want to end this on a snarky note. A couple of other commenters to the “Target Jesus” post defended the megachurches and felt they were being unfairly dissed. And, indeed, members of the megachurches have a right to observe Christmas any way they like. As I said in the Christmas Warriors post, normally I wouldn’t care whether the megachurches cancelled a Sunday morning service or not. It’s their business. But after all the CRAPOLA about some imaginary “war on Christmas,” the cancelled Sunday services just reeked of hypocrisy.

18 thoughts on “Christmas Warriors II

  1. Christians went to the Lions in Rome fairly meekly and quietly. And actually spurred our faith onto millions who watched because of their piety and devoutness. Standing up and acting like every other secular body, (quietly getting shoved into the closet) makes Christians just that much easier to dismiss. In my mind, the true impact of Christians has been lost greatly as soon as we began playing in politics. Who can take Jerry Falwell seriously as a religious leader. Is he a man of faith? Give me a break. He acts like a politician which then makes it very easy for people to dismiss him. Mother Theresa asked for no one to come and film her and interview her, yet her words ring powerfully and true. A true person of faith.

  2. After so much wasted sophistry, I will now say to your commenter all that could or should have been said to her.

    My neighbor has a bullet with my name on it and it was the Church that told him to put it there.

    Double solid line. That’s it. Story over.

    It is neither necessary, meaningful nor appropriate for you to disclaim anti-Christian bias. I AM anti-Christian, and this is because the Church has committed a crime, and institutions that commit crimes must (as your commenter might agree) be punished. The crime is attempting to seize power by a campaign of incitement to mayhem, vandalism, arson, and murder; and the punishment must be overwhelming and shocking, and must endure for all future time.

  3. As someone who spent years among fundamentalists, I can tell you that they have a great deal of wariness and fear over what they call “the world”. Anyone who is a fundamentalist instantly knows what is meant by “the world”.

    They view themselves as being separate from “the world”. They see the “world” persecuting them, even though they may be numerically dominant in this country. This persecution is a state of mind. All of us, Christian or not, feel a form of this persecution whenever we turn on the television and are assaulted by an invasion of commerce, often in the form of ads directed at our most basest of instincts. It transcends being Christian.

    It’s only been in recent years with the demonization of liberals and secularists in the political space, that this “world” now has a face with which they can hate or despise. This newly aggressive stance against “the world” is all the more encouraged by those with a secular or non-secular agenda to destroy liberalism. It becomes part of the Two Minutes Hate.

    One of liberalism’s great failures is to allow itself to be demonized by this, when in reality it provided the intellectual space and freedom for religions to flourish in the first place.

    What fundies fail to realize is that this “world” is a product of a system called capitalism, which most of these Christians are a part of, oftentimes very enthusiastically.

    In psychological terms, hating “the world” is projection, hating an aspect of themselves that they refuse to own, and then transferring this hate to someone else. It’s also immaturity, not accepting the fact that everyone must somehow live in this world. It’s ignorance, because these Christians refuse to see that the very system they support, capitalism, is what fuels their particular nightmare of persecution by “the world”.

    And this doesn’t even begin to talk about how the flap about Christmas is just a smokescreen, a way to divert attention from the real issues.

  4. There’s a big difference between a mainstream Christian and members of this popular new rapture Cult that loves to make noise about how they are being conspired against. Sure makes ME want to leave them behind. In our house, we intend to celibrate the HOLIDAYS of Christmas and the New Year.Our guests this year include a secular Christian couple and a Jewish family, we will host a Christmas brunch on Christmas morning and exchange gifts.
    My wife likes to put her manger scene on the family room table, if a guest wants to say grace, no one is going to object.If no one says grace, nobody is going to freak out. We will toast the season and the gathering, realizing that after one “hits” 50, each day is precious, and the weeks go by faster now than the days did when I was a kid. I can’t figure out why some people would waste the time and effort on trying to prove they are victims of a conspiracy to stuff them in a box, but then, I never thought that if you close your eyes real tight and hold your palms to the sky special things will happen to you regardless of your actions and deeds.

  5. Jefferson was a mass of contradictions, not the least of which was that a man who refused to free his slave until after his death. As any grad of the University of Virginia can tell you, TJ’s gravestone makes no mention of his being President of the United States, but it does mention he was founder of the University, author of the Declaration of Independence, and the Statute for Religious Freedom. Wahoo Wah.

  6. Glad you mentioned the tv- I was going to comment that lepers don’t have 4 out of 11 stations( in my area ). Who is oppressing them? Who when and where- I never get an answer to that.

  7. Revealed religion(christianity) is a mental illness…Schizophrenia in it’s mildest form and severe psychosis at it’s extreme… the bedrock of Christianty is fear,insecurity and uncertainty.

    Maha pointed out awhile back for her readers the telling words of the apostle Paul…”O,death, where is thy sting?”…A point to ponder,no? Sounds like fear to me.

  8. If the readers did check out the newsforreal site, there is some good commentary on the Puritans, who were the ones seeking religious freedom or just being thrown out of England for being weird. As an American Indian, who grew up with the White Man’s version of history, I heard so many stories of America being based on people seeking religious freedom. When I was older and did some accidental research, I discovered that one of the many things these religious freedom seekers did was enact many laws outlawing the religious practices of American Indians. While I was raised in the Presbyterian church because my Dad had his savage Indian soul saved, I always believed that I had the right to choose my own religion if I decided I didn’t agree with my Dad. Since my Dad voted for Richard Nixon every chance he got, you can guess my Dad and I did not agree on a lot. However, I still have fond memories of those old days in the church. I think the people who are whining about being picked on do not represent God very well. Bill O’Reilly is a fool to rage everyday about secularists and looks more foolish as each day goes on.

    Bottomline, Maha has hit the nail on the head with this commentary. Thanks, Maha.

  9. That box the “christian” is confined to is of her/his own making. Jesus may have died for our sins but he also showed us how to live a christian life. True joy in this thing we call life is in the giving of love to our fellow human beings. If you can’t give love you will never get out of that box.

  10. The post by erinyes @ 7:09 pretty well sums it up for me. I used to believe – fervently. Attended church faithfully. In retrospect it probably started to unravel (mentally for me) when I was 15 years old. I was still in high school when a girl/lady who was 18, just graduated from high school, went to Sunday School with me and was like a big sister, was in a one-car automobile accident on a snowy, icey road going to work. Her neck was broken (this was the 50s) and she died 10 days later.

    Fast forward 50 years to the tsunami last December and Katrina/Rita 3 months ago.

    First off, I can not believe that a loving God would allow any of these events to happen. And I will not believe in a God so cruel as to allow them to happen.

    Bottom line: Falwell, O’Reilly and all others that think they can shove their religion down my throat can take an aerial fornication at a moving pastry.

    And, Thanks! ! Maha. Love your Blog.

  11. But they ain’t “holiday trees”.

  12. I grew up in a fundamentalist family. However, my parents were liberal in politics. They took seriously the Campbellite slogan: “we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the bible is silent.” If you read the bible, there is nothing about abortion. Other then how to appoint a king, there is virtually nothing about the form of government.

    There is a clear obligation to care for your neighbor (which is defined as anyone in need in the parable of the good Samaritan). Who does the Bible advocate leaving without food, shelter or medical care? In Isaiah (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 15:8-9) this quote is relevant: “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

  13. I was planning to raise my son without a religion, but he keeps coming home with ideas of hell, heaven, God, and baby Jesus.
    I keep repeating the things I believe, and the difference between facts and beliefs: there is no hell; what I believe about the possibilities for an afterlife; and that no one knows what God is, or if God or Jesus exist.

    Hopefully my beliefs will sink in, because I can’t stop others from speaking their worldviews.

    Christianity is all-pervasive in this country. There is no escaping its influence.

  14. As the song goes, “heaven’s just a sin away”
    It’s an out of mind experience ( or maybe ,out of body experience?) Who really knows?

  15. No truer word have been spoken/sung:

    Imagine by John Lennon

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today…

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

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