Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Ruin Christmas

By Alan Caruba

Christmas has become an ideological battleground over the past decade or so, maybe longer. In the school where I graduated into the real world in 1955, we all happily sang Christmas carols together, Jew and Gentile alike, but that has long since been forbidden.

Christmas is being deliberately ruined by a handful of morons in the name of diversity or even tolerance, but who’s being intolerant when all manner of celebrations no longer can be enjoyed for fear of “offending” Muslims? I saw a report about one gentleman who for years dressed up as Santa and brought candies to a children’s center. Thanks to a single complaint by a Somali couple, he was told to stay home this year.

Of the Arabs in America, fully two thirds are Christians. The Muslim population is even smaller than the Jewish population and today’s Jews are so assimilated that most celebrate a non-religious Christmas along with the rest of the population. Some even have a “Chanuka bush” and you don’t hear them complaining about Christmas.

Meanwhile, in cities around the world, in nations that are predominantly Buddhist or some other faith, you will find Christmas decorations happily hung to join in the fun that began with a decision of the early Christian church to identify December 25th as the birthday of Jesus in order to more effectively compete with the birthday of Mithras, a widely regarded pagan god whose birth was celebrated on that date.

“Mithraism radiated from India where there is evidence of its practice from 1400 B.C. Mitra was part of the Hindu pantheon and Mithra was, perhaps, a minor Zoroastrian deity, the god of the airy light between heaven and earth. He was also said to have been a military general in Chinese mythology.”

For the same reason the early church tried to deflect the Roman Empire from harming its followers, many of whom paid with their lives. The New Testament blames the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus even while making it perfectly clear it was the Romans under Pontius Pilot who rendered the verdict, nor does it fudge the fact that Jesus was Jewish.

Crucifixion was a common Roman punishment. Fortunately for Christianity, Constantine converted to the faith in 312 A.D., assuring its survival as the dominant faith of his widespread Mediterranean empire.

The award for having the least understanding of Christmas must go this year to the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. It erected a 43-foot tall, faux fir Christmas tree in its atrium and adorned it with $11 million worth of 131 “ornaments” that included gold, diamond and sapphire jewelry. Granted that the hotel has many infidels as guests, but this ostentatious display of wealth has nothing to do with the Christmas spirit.

Christmas is also a time when various special interest groups try to co-opt the holiday, often egregiously distorting it such as the National Wildlife Federation’s “Santa Goes Green.” This appalling piece of nonsense asks if Rudolph’s nose requires “some outside source of energy” and compares him to a hybrid car! Others stand ready to harangue you to recycle while People for an Ethical Treatment of Animals wants you to become a vegan! These groups are shameless.

I am all for gift-giving, but Christmas has become a massive marketing and advertising campaign in which the “reason for the season” is generally lost amidst the bargain sales and discounts. The same applies to those people who compete to put a million Christmas lights on their homes to demonstrate, I suppose, that they can.

Because I am an old curmudgeon I am thoroughly tired of the same handful of Christmas movies that the various television channels run over and over again each year. Granted that the older ones from the 1940s are charming and many of a more recent vintage are too vile to be seen by children. It’s probably best to stick with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I will have to content myself with memories of the excitement I recall as a child, rushing down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what gifts Santa left. That was fun! The best memories I have are of the Christmas breads and cakes my Mother would bake as gifts for the neighbors on the tiny street we shared. It was my job to bring them around and I fondly recall those people, all long gone, who welcomed me into their homes.

These days I pray that Christians gathered in their churches in the Middle East and elsewhere will not be subjected to terrorist attacks for being Christians. I worry that Al Qaeda is planning another Christmas attack on a commercial jet filled with travelers hoping to get home in time to celebrate with their families.

The jihadists really know how to ruin Christmas for everyone.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Rich Hill said...

Really? It's Muslims with all the lawsuits to remove Nativity scenes? Come on, now.

Alan Caruba said...

@Rich: If you actually read my commentary, you will find no mention of Muslims requesting the removal of nativity scenes...just one reference to a Santa that was not permitted to cheer up some kids.

It is usually some atheist group, the ACLU, etc, trying to ruin any display.

However, if you checked the news this morning (Tuesday), the US Attorney General is warning of attacks by Muslims during the holiday season. You can pretend they are not doing this, but that does not alter the reality.

Rich Hill said...

I'm never one to minimize the dangers of the presence of Islam and the West and the presence of Christians in the Muslim world.

Carolyn said...

Hi Mr. Caruba- I'm sorry, but I have to ask Rich, when he says hes "never one to minimize the dangers of the presence of Islam and the West and the presence of Christians in the Muslim world". How are Christians in Muslim countries a danger? I don't recall hordes of Christians burning, pillaging and beheading those who convert to other religions or who denegrate Christ.
Many Muslim countries, while perhaps make an attempt at showing the "holiday" spirit by allowing Christmas symbols, are many of the same countries where there are few Christian communities which feel safe and at peace. You won't find any synagogues in any Muslim Country either.

Albert Giesbrecht said...

Actually Muslims respect Jesus, as he is one of the prophets in the Koran.

Alan Caruba said...

@Albert. Muslims have a funny way of respecting Jesus.

Read the denigrates the story of also advises against taking Christians or Jews as friends.

Wake up and smell the coffee!

Rich Hill said...

Carolyn, perhaps I wasn't clear. I was referring to the slaughter of Christians in Iraq recently. I maintain that The West and Islam are incompatible and should remain separate.

I will stop being cryptic. I don't understand how pointing out the animosity of Islam toward Christianity is "courageous" and anti-PC but pointing out that the vast majority of anti-Christmas animosity comes from people who happen to be Jewish is "anti-semitic" and evil.

Alan Caruba said...

Your claim that "the vast majority of anti-Christmas animosity comes from people who happen to be Jewish is "anti-semitic" and evil" is so blatantly wrong that you are no longer welcome here at Warning Signs. DO NOT submit further comments.

LarryOldtimer said...

Retail sales stores and manufacturing companies get about 80% of their profits during and due to the Christmas season. Here in Phoenix last year there was almost no secular Christmas season, and stores and manufacturers had high negative profits.

There is some Christmas decorating this Christmas here, but not much.

Apparently, MBAs don't know how to make profits.

With a lack of a secular Christmas celebration last year, I predicted huge losses, and I was entirely right. Having what used to be after Christmas sales (to rid stores of unsold seasonal merchandise) well before Christmas, I once again predict economical disaster. Sales may be up, but profits will be greatly down.

Put it this way . . . You have an Aunt Sadie you don't much like, but she is family. The Christmas tradition demands that she get a gift. Not an expensive one, but something you know she would like (low price, high markup).

With no secular Christmas celebration and tradition, why would you buy her anything this time of year? Same with other relatives, close friends or fellow office workers and the like.

Not having a secular Christmas celebration is a recipe for economic disaster.

I am not a "believer" in any religion, but I loved the secular Christmas celebrations we used to have, and there was a lot of seasonal employment. It was downright FUN.

Forget the religious wars. A secular Christmas celebration is vital to our economy. Have your religious infighting some other time of year.

Albert Giesbrecht said...

I don't know about Phoenix, but in Vancouver, we have two radio stations playing nothing but "Christmas Music" and people light up their houses, and we have a German Christmas market downtown, so we are doing our part for promoting a secular Christmas.