Saturday, December 19, 2009

The War on Christmas...

Once again this year, although to a lesser degree than we have seen in recent years it seems, we have heard right wing Christians decrying the "war on Christmas" and how "they" are trying to take Christ out of Christmas. Makes you wonder who "they" are.

It can't be the big retail chains like Target or Walmart or K-mart. In each of these stores this year I have seen nativity scenes for sale, Christmas cards featuring images of the 3 Wisemen or the baby Jesus. I have also been told to have a "Merry Christmas" by employees at each of these stores. Here in Nashville and the surrounding cities I have visited I have seen city sponsored Christmas decorations, have heard Salvation Army workers ringing their bells, and witnessed just about every other sign of Christmas you could think of. Where is this war on Christmas?

I think if you want to find a war on Christmas you must first look in many of our Churches. You see "The war on Christmas" has been created as a way for Churches to claim they are victims and through this victimization promote their political and fundraising goals, sounds like an attack on Christmas to me.

You see saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is not an attack on Christmas, it is in fact an acknowledgement of the changes our nation has gone through over the past couple of centuries. Changes instituted by our founders who recognized that this was a nation of immigrants and that our greatest strength would come from the influx of new ideas these immigrants would bring with them. Saying "Happy Holidays" just means that you acknowledge that we are not all Christians (many Christians, including all of the early Christians, don't celebrate Christmas anyway) and that we don't all celebrate the birth of Christ, it does however say that we want you to participate in the joy and sharing and caring of this season no matter what you choose to celebrate. "Happy Holidays" is one of the most evangelical statements that can be uttered at this time of year, but all of the "War on Christmas" people who are conducting their own little war against Christmas have turned this phrase into an attack on the beliefs they claim to hold.

If the "War on Christmas" makes you long for the good old days before Christmas was under attack and people didn't try and take Christ out of Christmas by calling it "Xmas" then you are going to have to go back a really long time. Take a look at this Christmas Card from 1910 that uses the term "Xmas" instead of Christmas. Examples of using the word "Xmas" in the English language date back to at least the 1700's and examples using "X" or "Xp" as a representation for Christ go back much, much further. The argument that "Xmas" is a way of taking Christ out of Christmas is simply a false argument, it is a lie, and lying about Christ and Christmas seems to be the best way I can think of to take Christ out of anything.

Let's face it, the biggest attack on Christmas is something the people shouting about this never mention. It is the replacement of Christianity with capitalism in such a way that it isn't obvious it is happening. You want to keep Christ in Christmas? Then stop buying gifts and give of yourself. Give to everyone, especially those you think of as your enemies or as undeserving. And don't give expecting anything in return, and I mean anything, no thank you, no God bless you, nothing, give just to be giving. After all, that's the eexample that Christ set for us all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We suck as a country

America is not the greatest country in the world. America isn't even in the top ten, we used to be, but now we pretty much suck.

Am I saying this as some sort of un-patriotic America hater? No, I am saying this as a real patriot, not someone suffering under the illusion of blind nationalism but someone who can look at our country with both of my eyes wide open and see what we are. We used to have much to be proud of, mainly our people, now I am afraid we don't even have that and without our people to take pride in we don't have much left, and so that's why I am willing to say, without any hesitation, that America sucks.

This is not a partisan or ideological statement. President Obama is a terrible president, plain and simple. I hope he gets a strong challenge in the next Democratic primary so that he has no chance of getting re-elected. Our country can't afford a second Obama term if it is anything like the first one has been so far. I also can't find a single Republican politician who I think deserves the oxygen they are using, so don't think this is about Democrat vs. Republican, both parties are killing our country.

This is also not about some strange populist beliefs that revolve around the falsehoods of the free-market or hypocritical statements about getting government out of our lives. No, the people screaming at the tea bagger protests, the birthers, the brain dead supporters of Sarah Palin are a big part of the problem and I in no way support what they are doing.

This is about greed and laziness. I have only anecdotal evidence to go on, but this has to be the greediest country in the world. We only care about ourselves, and I don't mean ourselves = our country, no ourselves means each of us as individuals. We all want health care reform if it means we, as individuals, can get cheaper, better, health care. But if it means paying even a tiny bit more in taxes, if it means spending 1 more minute waiting to see a doctor (and from everything I have seen it is actually easier to get in to see a doctor in France, England, and Canada than it is here, but you people are willing to believe the baseless claims you hear from the people who are ripping you off for health care now without ever researching them), or God forbid if some of our tax money might mean health care for those gays, or those immigrants, or those poor people, What! I might have to go to the same building for health care as poor people?!?!? Well screw that. The health, no, the lives of children, the elderly, the poor, the middle class, our next door neighbors, none of that matters if it inconveniences us at all. Yes, America sucks.

But it isn't just greed, it is the fact that we aren't the hard working, enterprising people we like to see ourselves as, no we are a bunch of lazy slobs who aren't willing to do anything more than we absolutely have to. Sure, we work hard at work because we have no choice. But will we do anything outside of work to help make our nation better? No, not a chance. In the late 60's/ early 70's people were out in the streets every day working for civil rights, women's rights, fighting to stop an unjust war. Well people we are currently involved in 2 unjust, unpopular wars and where are the huge protests? We have people dying every day in this country from lack of health care and where are the huge crowds marching on Washington (sure, there have been some smaller protests fighting for the insurance companies and organized by the insurance companies, and composed, to a large extent, or insurance company employees, but other than that pretty much nothing. We have massive unemployment and yet our government is giving money to banks and Wall Street firms so they can keep paying out huge bonuses to people who in no way deserve them and yet the most energetic thing we can do is send an angry email or call a talk radio show.

All of you, me included, are why this country sucks, and I think we deserve what we are getting, I think it is funny how many people claim that we live in a Christian nation when an officially atheist nation like Cuba takes care of its people in a way more in line with Christ's teachings.
So what do we do now? Give up? I think the argument can be made that we already have. Can we bring our country back? Greed, laziness, and the corporations that have taken over our government are mighty powerful enemies to fight. Can you start thinking for yourself? Are you willing to put in the work and take the risks needed to make America great again? Are you willing to stop supporting corporations like Wal-Mart that have forced other companies to move their manufacturing overseas by paying .10 more per roll for toilet paper?

I don't think you are, I don't know that I am. I have been to more funerals than I want to this year and now I feel we should be holding one for our nation. I wonder who will do the eulogy?