Thursday, December 11, 2008

War On Christmas Fox News, O'Reilly , Bill Donohue

Anyway its that time of year when the Religious Right and their media schills get all worked about what they refer to as the ".War On Christmas " And every year it is difficult to figure out what they are talking about. At the moment in my neighborhood most of the houses are lit up with christmas lights and decorations. When you go to the malls there are Christmas decorations everywhere. Meanwhile Christmas music is being pumped out nonstop. On the television there is a steady stream of stories about Christmas especially on the entertainment news hour in my region which preceeds the real news. The announcers talk about giving to charities and food banks etc. They talk about what is acceptable and unacceptable they do consumer info. on toys and electronics and video games and books etc. And every night til new Years there are Christmas specials on from short animated features to full length movies with Christmas themes. Some fairly secular; others more religious as it were. But is the Grinch secular or religious? Most towns and cities have an official Christmas tree and other decorations . And most have some form of Christmas parade . And there are the Santa Clauses working for the Salvation Army outside the stores.

So where is this place where these upset Christians live where no one is permitted to celebrate Christmas ? It is odd though how angry these Christians are who appear on television decrying how they are not allowed to celebrate Christmas as if the government had passed a decree outlawing any mention of Chistmas . Is someone preventing them from decorating their homes or going to Christmas parties. Are they being threatened with jail if they dare buy Christmas gifts or sing carols in their homes or in their churches. Are they not allowed to tell their young children that some of the gifts under the tree are from Santa Clause .

Does it ruin their Christmas when a Minorah is displayed or their children in school are taught about Hannuka or other celebrations observed by people of different faiths or religions. Is it really such a big deal that some retail stores have their employees say Happy Hollidays instead of Merry Christmas. And why do some Christians go a little over the edge when some historian points out that some of these Christmas traditions were borrowed from pre- Christian cultures such as the Christmas tree or mistletoe or Yule Tide logs or Holly or fruit-cake even .

If they want to talk about the commercialization of Christmas and that it has in some ways moved away from the spiritual message of Christmas as a Christian observance of the birth of their savior then this would be understandable from a Christian point of view. But I am not a Christian so as they say I may be missing the importance or significance of what they are arguing about.

The suspicion is that it is much ado about nothing that it is a " Faux War ".Or is it that these conservative Christians want the Christmas season to be celebrated without any positive or neutral statements being made in reference to any other faith besides Christianity. It may also be that they want Christmas to be observed in a more dignified and puritanical manner. So no more office parties where large amounts of food and alcohol are to be had and people do naughty things. Should everyone be obliged to attend Christmas services in their local church. Should those of other faiths such as Jews and Muslims keep off the streets at Christmas which at one time was the rule of thumb if not the law in certain countries in Europe. How far back would these conservatives like to go . For instance the Santa Clause story has nothing really to do with the Pure Christian tradition and of course nor does Rudoplh or Frosty the Snowman or The Grinch. Should they be merely frowned upon or banned outright.

Should Good Christians refuse to read or allow their children to watch Christmas stories written by non-Christians or by Christians such as Oscar Wilde ( who was Gay )of who's life style one may not approve such as his wonderful story " The Selfish Giant" ? Is even Scrooge to be taken away since he appears to travel through time and see the spirits of the dead basically ghosts. Are Ghosts part of the Christmas tradition ? Should good Christians only sing explicitly religious Christmas songs ? Should good Christians not be permitted to sing secular styled Christmas songs or Christmas songs written by non-Christians who only wrote them to make money. Are we to question an over-emphasis on the three wisemen who were probably astrologers and alchemist or seers who may have come from Persia ( Iran ) . These three wisemen was for some reason one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story.

These conservative Christians claim they just want store clerks to be allowed to say " Merry Christmas " and that the Town Hall have a Christmas Tree and a Nativity Scene display . But then they insists school children should be allowed to sing Christmas carols in school during the regular school day plus have Christmas concerts in the school plus Christmas trees and gift giving and a Santa Clause. One of the compromises many have made is that these activities take place outside of regular school hours and /or that they take place in a church or community hall.

But is this really their concern or is it as those who believe in the Seperation of Church and State that the Conservative Christians have a much bigger agenda which they wish to impose on the Public Schools and the Public Square. Is this really just a matter of the thin edge of the wedge in that they want to find ways to bring religion back into the Public Schools and the Public Square - from Christmas concerts to daily prayer and singing Christian Hymns and Bible readings & teaching Intelligent Design or Creation Science . Next thing you know anything which isn't considered to be Bible based is thrown out of the classroom or is trashed.

Myself I have little problem with people saying Merry Christmas or schools having Christmas concerts for children in grade school or having a Christmas tree and having Santa show up to give out gifts as long as schools and teachers and parents are sensitive to the needs of those children who are not Christians or who belong to a Christian sect which celebrates Christmas differently.

As I have said I am not a Christian but -If I were a Christian I could understand the concern over the commercialization of Christmas by which it is just a way for corporations to make a lot of money and sell us and our children things we don't necessarily need. To far too many people Christmas is judged by how much mony they spend. The more you spend ; the more extravacant the gifts you give the better. It is just another way to make those who have little to feel worse abiout themselves and their situation . This is especially true as we enter meaner and harder financial times. There are those who have been used to spending like crazy on Christmas who may have to rethink their priorities.But agin the media will talk about how to save money during Christmas on one program and the next talk about the expensive gifts given and received by the the Rich and Famous. The message is clear we are to give the most expensive gifts that we possibly can.

Christmas is supposed to be about spreading the message of the Nazarene known as Jesus or at least part of his message about peace, love , brotherhood and sisterhood and treated each other as you would have them treat you. This last part is basic to a number of religions .

But this message is difficult to square with the beliefs of conservative Christians or conservative Evangelicals who seem to preach the destruction of all other religions and the destruction of Homosexuals and Lesbians and of Blasphemers and adulterers and misbehaving children and on and on. As they say Jesus said " I bring not Peace but a Sword " and then goes on how he will bring strife to families as children will disoby their parents to follow his word etc. And then the Conservative Bible Thumping True Believer who adheres to a literal innerrant interpretation of the Bible will tell you that they are praying for the End-Times and the destruction of all Humankind except for the Elect who are the Chosen of God. Its like they prayed for the creation of Israel so that the time would come when God would destroy all the Jews except for those who fall into line and take Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Makes you wonder doesn't it.

Bill O Reilly War On Christmas

In the next Item several Christians put up a sign saying " Merry Christmas" well what's the complaint. Did the US military or Blackwater show up and rip it down or blow it up ? No.

The War On Christmas
FOX NEWS Billboard saying Merry Christmas
Dec. 10, 2008

Why would someone be pissed off and hate Rudolph. In one sense Rudolph is part of a modern bit of myth-making . Rudolph is an expansion of the mid 19th century story/poem " Twas The Night Before Christmas" which had little if any explicit refernce to Jesus or the Messiah.It appears to be taken from some Pagan myths.

FOX NEWS story about Rudolph the red Nosed Reindeer
Dec. 9, 2008

In the next video Fox News brings in their unbiased expert on Christian traditions and theology. But Bill Donohue is actually is not a moderate Christain or mainstream but is a spokesperson for the Religious Right who does a lot of interview for Fox News & the rest of the Far right Media. He was very upset over thae artwork " The Chocolate Jesus".
Bill (William) Donohue is President of the Religious Right organization Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights more about which can be found at People For the American Way : Right Wing Watch

Atheists War on Christmas-FOX NEWS
Bill Donohue Jesse Galef on the issue of atheists and their continual denigration of Christmas.
Dec. 4, 2008

Again in the next video the Christian expert is once again Bill Donohue of The Catholic League
Note; the Christian sentiment of the individual who posted this video on YOUTUBE. He wants the atheist who is appearing in the video beheaded in the name of Jesus a wonderful Christian sentiment ?

FOX NEWS Hyping the Faux War on Christmas

Atheist Hate Speech - Jesus was a Dictator?
Dec. 4, 2008

Too bad this Nazi does not have the guts to call Muhammad a dictator, because we all would have a good hearty laugh when the Muslims beheaded him. It would be no loss for humanity at all anyway.

Papa Bear vs. Atheism

Note Fox News does not bother to inform its viewers that Tony Perkins is a Far Right Evangelical who heads the Family Research Council
For more see: People For The American Way:Right Wing Watch
Dobbs and Perkins Attack the ACLU-Dec. 3, 2008
Lou Dobbs does his best job of channeling Bill O'Reilly in this interview with Tony Perkins.

A video Fox News producers should watch-
CBS on the other hand in this interview identifies Tony Perkins as a conservative evangelical
This piece is more of an example of fair and balanced reporting.
Also note Tony Perkins snide remark about those who claim to be in the middle are akin to roadkill. As Slim Pickens might say ' What in the wide world of Sports is that supposed to mean'.

Sept. 21, 2006
CBS News with Katie Couric pits Jim Wallis (Sojourners) vs. Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), explaining that not all Evangelical Christians are right-leaning Republicans.

Perkins emphasizes two issues: Abortion and Gay Marriage; Wallis points to a wider moral agenda: one that includes abortion but also adds global poverty, HIV/AIDS, Darfur, global warming.

Jim Wallis v Tony Perkins on CBS

On Hannity of Fox News see Glenn Greenwald Wednesday Oct. 8, 2008 "Sean Hannity, Robert Gibbs and anti-Semitism: How to go on Fox News"
& see New York Times Obama’s Personal Ties Are Subject of Program on Fox News Channel By Jim RutenbergPublished: October 6, 2008

And also see:

Keith Olbermann On Bill O'Humbug's "War On Christmas"
The "Countdown" host rips apart Bill O'Reilly's "talking points memo" on the "War on Christmas", and takes him to task on flip-flopping on his own crusade.

Keith even takes the time to light the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!

Faking a "war on Christmas"Saturday, December 10 2005
Edited by: Michael Hess

Commentary: The War on Christmas that Wasn't
BBSNews 2005-12-10 -- There is no war on Christmas. Let's state that right up front. There has been some hype by some people who claim there is an agenda afoot to do away with Christmas, hence the "war" theme, but we should all consider the sources for this completely manufactured controversy.

One of the top sources for the fake war on Christmas is a bombastic showhorse named Bill O'Reilly for FOX News who does a great job at running a right-wing attack agenda front for the network, and at the same time bringing in the crowd of folks who love to have something to hate.

Since the right-wing is hard pressed for any good news to talk about, and talking about the bad news would ruthlessly undermine the morale of the endless war supporting faithful, what better than to create a problem where none exists and then ascribe it to those one loves to hate?

and so it goes,

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