December 23, 2006

Christmas Ruined By Christians

Just when I get a little holiday optimism, something comes along to shatter it. No, it wasn't getting merry Christmased by my doctor yesterday. It wasn't the minor annoyance of everything closing down this time of year. It wasn't even the increasingly over-the-top decorations in my neighborhood. Instead, it was two news items I'll share with you in this post.

First, I ran across this story about elementary school children writing letters to Santa. Sounds pretty innocent until you read it and hear about the Christian mother who decided to raise a stink after being told that it was not appropriate for her to change the assignment and have her daughter write a letter to Jesus instead. How dare this school attempt to keep Jee-zuhs out of the classroom! How dare they prevent a parent from modifying work assigned by a teacher!

Here is what the mother said in her interview with the Times Record News:
You'd rather have them write a letter to someone who is not real rather than let my daughter write a letter to someone who's real? Even if you don't believe in Jesus, you can at least admit that he was a real person who existed.
Isn't this great? She thinks that Jesus is somehow more real than Santa Claus! I suppose she must be unaware of the many unanswered questions about whether the Jesus described in the Christian bible ever lived (see here). The part of the story even more depressing than this mother's ignorance is that the school caved. "We honor all parents' requests," said the principal. I guess this includes those made by delusional parents. How sad.

Next up, we have a story that may hit some of you closer to home. Why? Because this one involves an interesting twist on the war on Christmas. According to this story, the war on Christmas is generating vast sums of money for the Christian extremist groups which promote it this year. For example, the American Family Association has earned $550,000 from sales of items branded with "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saving." Not surprisingly, these groups plan to concoct a war on Easter this year too.
Scouts for the American Family Association, which is based in Tupelo, Miss., will keep a keen eye out for stores that promote "spring baskets" or "spring bonnets" instead of celebrating Christ's resurrection. The group already has laid in a stash of Easter buttons, featuring three gold crosses and the words "He Lives." They'll go on sale just after New Year's.
The depressing part is not that these groups are profiting from the war they created. The depressing part is that people are actually buying this crap. They truly believe that their precious holiday is under attack by the forces of evil (i.e., atheists). So now we have to contend with a bunch of angry Christians, provoked by an imagined threat.
A Zogby International poll conducted last month found that 46 percent of Americans are offended when a store clerk greets them with "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." More than a third of the 12,800 adults surveyed said they have walked out of a store or resolved to avoid it in the future because the clerks didn't show enough Christmas spirit.
What? Forty-six percent are offended by hearing "happy holidays?" Offended? Are you kidding me? When did being respectful of persons with different beliefs become offensive?

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