Christianity’s Real Enemies

Yesterday an eighth-grade boy in Paramus, New Jersey, came to school dressed as Jesus, and was sent home. Yesterday was Halloween, notice. Today the wingnuts are in full battle cry that the Paramus, New Jersey school system hates Christianity. One wingnut:

Assault on Christianity not just About Christmas, NJ Boy Sent Home Dressed in Halloween Jesus Christ Costume

Halloween is a Christian holiday now? I realize Catholics try to pretend it is with All Saint’s Day. But the truth is that it’s an old pre-Christian Celtic holiday, and the other truth is that we still celebrate it as such. There’s nothing Christian about it.

Having been raised Christian, I’d like to think I still understand Christianity. And I think a Christian argument could be made that dressing as Jesus for Halloween is blasphemy. I believe if some kid had worn a Jesus costume in my old Bible Belt no-teaching-of-Darwin-allowed school system in the Ozarks, he’d not only have been sent home but his entire family would have had to face the wrath of the born-again community.

Paramus, New Jersey is not exactly the Bible Belt, but it’s conservative enough to have blue laws. The malls are closed on Sunday, and what stores are open have stuff roped off that you cannot buy. As I remember it, toys are OK, but you can’t buy nails or paint, for example. It’s annoying. Every now and then the blue laws get put up for a vote, and Christian ministers rally and get them re-approved.

Anyway, I wonder sometimes if the “war on Christianity” people are Christians themselves, or if they just get off on being outraged. Don’t answer that; I already know.

12 thoughts on “Christianity’s Real Enemies

  1. I know for myself, when I was younger and not so bright I was in the Church of Christ (uber-fundies to be sure) this would’ve been regarded as blasphemy to dress up like Jesus! What parent in their right mind would let their kid dress up as God incarnate?

    But what’s more shocking to me is: New Jersey still has Blue Laws?!?!?!?!?!

  2. The ‘real’ Christians these days don’t practice Halloween. In Evangelical circles it has been identified with its Celtic tradition and alleged current Satanist practices. I take the little critters around to get free candy, it was fun when I was a kid, but not many in my local congregation do that.

  3. With the view that many neo-conservatives have regarding religion, you could easily make the argument that the costume was indeed of a frightening fictional character, and therefore entirely appropriate for Halloween. If Palin can have witch doctors at their Christian church, then it all sort of fits, albeit in a terrifying way.

  4. This particular child is the product of a home who has one parent who is Jewish and one who is Catholic. See, right there – Catholic…. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that as a Catholic I’m not ‘christian.’ Yeah, just like with Christmas, “the church” had to find a way to dupe all those pagans long ago.

  5. “”It was offensive to some students,” Woinski said, when asked what school officials told him the reason for being sent home was.”

    It doesn’t say in the article who those students were, but it’s quite possible that they were Christians, meaning that Christians were offended that the boy came to school dressed as Jesus and other Christians were offended he was send home from school for dressing as Jesus. There’s no evidence whatsoever (from that article at least) that political correctness was involved.

  6. From your description of the Paramus blue laws, maha, it sounds to me more like The Evangelical War on Everybody Else.

  7. I lived in Bergen County NJ, home of Paramus (an Indian word meaning “Where the White Devil Will Build Many Shopping Malls”) and the blue laws for about ten years, and the blue laws were a pain in the ass. It meant everybody did all of the shopping errands on Saturday. On Sunday you could buy food and toys and that was about it. There are a lot of observant Jews in Bergen County who have to keep their businesses closed all weekends, and it always surprised me they didn’t complain more, since the laws clearly were unfair to them. But maybe they decided it was futile.

  8. I’m agog b/c the xians around here regard Halloween as basically a satanic ritual to be stamped out if at all possible…

    Go figure.

  9. I must be missing something…
    Why is the devil okay for a costume, but not Jesus?
    What about angels?
    Seems to me if they were going to allow costumes,
    they had pretty much said dress however you want.
    I feel bad for that kid. He will probably never have another Halloween that he doesn’t think about being singled out and ostracized.

  10. Like others, I’m shocked to hear that Paramus locals are considering Halloween a Christian holiday. About ten years ago, I was more shocked when I first heard that the fundamentalist view was that Halloween was “pagan” and therefore evil. (“We go to a Harvest Festival because Halloween is pagan,” the woman told me.) Apparently, the deep connection between All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day got lost somewhere along the line, even though they weren’t originally related.

    I’m also stunned to hear that Paramus, and Bergen County as a whole, still has blue laws. I thought Ocean City was the last holdout, but they haven’t had blue laws for 20 years now. And they were at least founded as a religious town. (I was raised Methodist and am always fascinated at the conservative-liberal spectrum within the denomination, especially since I was not raised in one of the more conservative churches. A lot of Methodists are not fundamentalist at all, and regard them rather dubiously, but there are a fair number who could, at the very least, be confused with the fundies.)

  11. It’s funny, Maha, this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m not even Christian but occasionally you come out things that make me want to come to their defense. Hallowe’en was originally the eve of All Saints’ Day. If you are a Catholic, it still is. If it’s “really” a pagan holiday, then Catholicism is “really” a pagan religion — a position taken by a type of radical Protestant no doubt familiar to you from your childhood, but rather odd for a Buddhist, IMHO. Catholic Encyclopedia:

    “All Saints, a feast of the highest rank, celebrated on the first of November, having a vigil and an octave, and giving place to no other feast. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year. In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr’s death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all.”

    Venerates all the saints of the church.

    But o course I’m being naive. It was SUPERIMPOSED over a pagan holiday. Quite possibly, but then so was everything else, which kind of renders the point moot, I would think.

    I don’t claim to know why the kid got in trouble for dressing like Jesus, but obviously Halloween as most people know it is not remotely a Christian holiday. Christian or pagan, it is not celebrated by me or my family in any way, shape or form, but if the kids come to the door, we give ’em something.

  12. Golly gee! Here I was thinking that Hallowe’en was SATANIC! (Bwa Ha Ha!) I suppose that’s anti-christian, but really… My older son, living in central VA, found that Hallowe’en is frowned upon by many, but at least my 15-month-old grand daughter (dressed as a little bear) and 35-year-old caveman dad were not stoned (at least till they got back and started hitting the candy bars they managed to cadge,)

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