THE HOLY BOOK OF UNIVERSAL TRUTHS,
K. U. P.
(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)
For a long time, I didn't think I'd be writing a commentary like this. Christmas was a big deal in my childhood, of course, but not after I grew up. From 1981 to 2006 I belonged to a church that believed in giving equal time to Jewish holidays, so we celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah together for a while. As time went on, however, we got too busy to celebrate Christmas, so it was only Hanukkah after that. For example, we had a party at the pastor's house every year, on the third Sunday of December. First it was a Christmas party, and later it became a Hanukkah party or simply a holiday party. Most recently it was called "Chocolate Sunday," because in 2007 it fell twelve days after Hanukkah, and nine days before Christmas. And if church members wanted to eat out on December 25, they would go to the nearest kosher deli, because that was about the only restaurant in town that kept the same hours as we did! Now my wife and I attend a more mainstream church in another state, but if you come and visit our house in December, you're still not likely to see lights or a Christmas tree up.
I also knew the historical background behind Christmas. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians commanded to observe it, and the Bible doesn't say when Jesus was born. Presumably God didn't want us to make a holiday out of the day, whenever it was. A critical observation of the text suggests that the birthday of Jesus was really in September, but the date was moved to December so it could be celebrated around the same time as the Roman Saturnalia, or the Mithraist birthday of the sun. In fact, we have no record of Christmas being observed by anyone, before Constantine called for it in 336 A.D. In American history there were also times when folks didn't celebrate it much (the Puritans banned it altogether), and contrary to popular belief, I don't think there ever really was a time when Christmas was a purely religious holiday, as opposed to being a commercial one.
Furthermore, I knew that Santa Claus didn't belong to Christmas originally, but was a Johnny-come-lately who first appeared under the name of St. Nicholas in that 1822 poem. He certainly doesn't look much like the Dutch St. Nicholas, or the fourth-century bishop by that name. You may have heard the controversy concerning him, too. Some will say, "Santa Claus is a capitalist agent because he spreads the idea that happiness can come from things." Others will say, "Santa Claus is a communist agent because he dresses in red, looks like Karl Marx, and gives presents that somebody else paid for." Still others will say, "Santa Claus is a false messiah because he doesn't talk about spiritual matters except for who's naughty or nice, has supernatural powers, and the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell Satan."
On top of all that, I didn't mind the diversity as non-Christians celebrated their own holidays in December (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Saturnalia, Divali, etc.), and I enjoyed a quirky website called CthulhuLives.org, which features scary songs based on the stories written by H. P. Lovecraft, with the intention of turning Christmas into another Halloween. And maybe someday I'll repost "Twas the Night Before Chitlasha," a poem about Santa getting turned into a statue when he visits an alien planet. Finally, in the first online community where I participated, I singlehandedly brought back another holiday with pagan origins: Akitu, the ancient Babylonian New Year festival. That's why I have used a Babylonian cresent as my logo when I'm online (). Therefore I'm an unlikely fellow to defend Christmas with Christ in it, even less so to defend the secular version with Santa Claus.
So why am I defending Christmas now? Because this year the combination of political correctness and stupidity that threatens to ruin Christmas is getting to be too much for even bystanders like me. I've said elsewhere that I have a low tolerance for both political correctness and stupidity. Thus, my attitude has gone from "Happy Holidays" to "Screw diversity, celebrate Christmas."
Face it, Christmas is a politically incorrect holiday, and if you try to fix that, it isn't really Christmas anymore, but just a day where people exchange presents around a dead tree and eat candy out of socks. And the birthday of Jesus is just the first reason why it's politically incorrect. By the way, the American Civil Liberties Union has been at war with Christmas since at least 1980, because of the Jesus connection. If I ever put up a Nativity scene outside, I plan to post a billboard over it, about three times as big as the display itself, saying, "I dare the ACLU to take down my display!"
But back to the topic. In the 1990s I heard warnings that after the atheist/agnostic/secular humanist crowd kicked Christ out of Christmas, they would go after Santa. James Finn Garner, the author of "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories," described how politically incorrect Santa was, in "Twas the Night Before Solstice." Quote:
"His clothes were all covered with soot, but of course,
From our wood-fueled alternative energy source.
Through the grime I distinguished the make of his duds--
He was dressed all in fur, fairly dripping with blood.
'We're a cruelty-free house!' I proclaimed with such heat
He was startled and tripped on the logs at his feet.
He stood back up dazed, but with mirth in his eyes.
It was then that I noticed his unhealthy size.
He was almost as wide as when standing erect,
A lover of fatty fried foods, I suspect.
But that wasn't all to make sane persons choke:
In his teeth sat a pipe that was belching out smoke!
I could scarcely believe what invaded our house.
This carcinogenic and overweight louse
Was so red in the face from his energy spent,
I expected a heart attack right there and then.
Behind him he toted a red velvet bag
Full to exploding with sinister swag."
Unquote: To that I will add that Santa exploits reindeer, using a whip to keep them dashing. His gifts are made by illegal aliens, who probably don't belong to any union. He breaks into houses to deliver the presents, drinks your milk and eats your cookies. He only seems to work in December; is he playing golf or driving around with bikers the rest of the year? And why do we hardly ever see or hear from Mrs. Claus?
Well, now it looks like the anti-Santa time has come. You may have heard how in England, department store Santas have been told to lose weight so they’ll be a better role model for the kids (Remember when Santa was fat and the kids were skinny? Not any more!), and that in Australia Santa has to say "Ha ha ha!" instead of "Ho ho ho!" because it might scare kids, and it makes women think of a slang term for prostitutes. One Santa actually got fired for using the "Ho ho ho!" cheer. Another Santa was banned from a Christmas parade in Montgomery County, MD, because an atheist complained to the government about "feeling left out." Here’s a cartoon I saw on Christian-underground.com, showing the politically correct Santa.
The anti-Christmas crowd doesn't stop with Nativity scenes or Santa, either. Candy canes, Christmas carols, and even snowmen have become targets for the easily offended. In 2007 the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts ordered a curfew on what they called holiday lights (I guess they don't know which holiday they're for), because they think the lights contribute to global warming. Elsewhere, to keep from getting banned, Christmas parades become "Parades of Lights," Christmas parties become "holiday parties," and Christmas trees become "holiday trees."
Speaking of Christmas trees, recently I've heard some advertisements for eco-friendly "green" Christmas trees. Anybody know what the point is in making something that is already "green" even greener? It wasn't that long ago when environmentalists were saying that it was better to leave a Christmas tree outside, than to cut it down and bring it indoors. I drive past a couple of tree farms on the way to work, and I can tell you that Christmas trees are a crop; they just happen to take more than a year to grow. If we don't eat Christmas trees or feed them to animals, why does it matter whether they are fertilized with ammonium nitrate or elephant dung?
Finally, have you seen what passes for decorations when Christmas is cleaned up? Mostly fairies, snowflakes and nature scenes; New Age stuff. They're pretty, but they don't inspire you to do anything good, nor does anyone get excited about the season. The same goes for the ambient "solstice music" I occasionally hear on the radio, commemorating the "longest night of the year." And charities like the Salvation Army probably wouldn't do as well in fundraising, if there wasn't a special time when people were in a giving mood.
For the record, 82 percent of Americans call themselves Christian, and a lot of the other 18 percent enjoy Christmas, too. Including non-Christians who are secure in what they believe. Jackie Mason, the Jewish comedian, says he likes Christmas because that's when the Gentiles are on their best behavior. And Dr. Charles Krauthammer wrote in one of his columns that when he worked in a hospital, his idea of a Christmas present was to take the place of another doctor on December 25, and that doctor would return the favor by filling in for him on Yom Kippur. Why are we bending over backwards to avoid offending an unhappy minority? Nobody says you have to observe a holiday you don't like, though I have yet to hear the "Bah Humbug!" group complain about taking December 25 off from work. In the classic stories about characters who were offended by Christmas, it was Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch who had to reform; everybody else didn't accomodate those sourpusses first. If you don't think a minority can tyrannize the majority in a democracy, look what happens to Christians every December!
Theophobia has never remained popular for long. Those countries which experienced communist revolutions followed with campaigns to stamp out all creeds that competed with Marxism, including Christianity, but now most of them are undergoing revivals of that "old-time religion." Likewise, I expect the pendulum to eventually swing back here. It looks like it already has for the merchants, judging from this video that teaches them the true spirit of Christmas, in a way they can understand.
Whenever it returns, I'm looking forward to seeing the pendulum knock some sense into the ACLU, anti-Christian leftists, and theophobes in general.
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