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> Excerpts from the November 30, 2016 Right Wing Watch news story by Kyle Mantyla entitled:

Who Is "Naughty" And Who Is "Nice"?
Confusion Runs Rampant In The War On Christmas




For the second year in a row, the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel have released dueling “Naughty" and "Nice” lists designed to, as the Liberty Counsel puts it, "let Religious Right consumers know which stores are censoring Christmas and which are openly celebrating it."



Such efforts are vital, the American Family Association explained, because “there are secular forces in our country that hate Christmas because the word itself is a reminder of Jesus Christ. They want to eradicate anything that reminds Americans of Christianity. That is why it is important to remind governments and companies to keep the word Christmas alive.”

Unfortunately, the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel can’t seem to agree upon which companies are “naughty” and which ones are “nice,” as several stores that are listed in one category by one group are listed in the other by the other group.



For instance, in the graphics below depicting the lists of the American Family Association on the left and the list of the Liberty Counsel on the right, please note that while the Liberty Counsel declares that Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and Staples are all “nice,” the American Family Association declares that those same stores are all “naughty”:





Similarly, while the American Family Association places Dick’s Sporting Goods and TJ Maxx on its “Nice” list, the Liberty Counsel has designated them as “Naughty”:





Hopefully, next year, the American Family Association and the Liberty Counsel can iron out this discrepancy so that conservative Christian consumers can know whether they stores they are patronizing are good, God-fearing businesses or evil misanthropes intent on subjecting Americans to the unimaginable horror of being wished a happy holiday.



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I love the War on Christmas season!

It's so cheery.
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Santa's exercising 2nd Amendment solutions to the War on Christmas.
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Is that Santa or...the Dominionator?

Feliz Navidad, baby.
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geez.. it seems the War on Christmas just starts earlier every year.

*ahem
Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!
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I still haven't put up my War on Christmas decorations. soblue
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rcbevco wrote:
I still haven't put up my War on Christmas decorations. soblue
Brilliant! I'm gonna dig a couple of trenchs in the yard and recreate the Christmas Truce of 1914!
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Designs For Your "War On Christmas" Lawn Decorations Are Found In This Post


cooler king wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
I still haven't put up my War on Christmas decorations. soblue
Brilliant! I'm gonna dig a couple of trenches in the yard and recreate the Christmas Truce of 1914!

But *that's* NOT the War on Christmas.

Instead, you should consider reproducing and enlarging one or more of the following images to use as lawn-decoration placards to set up in your own front yard.

















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Did The Mythical "War On Christmas" Motivate Donald Trump To Run For President? Or Was It Because God Told Melania To Tell Him To Go For It?


Did The Mythical "War On Christmas" Motivate Donald Trump To Run For President?


> Excerpts from the August 26, 2016 MSNBC news story by Steve Benen entitled:

Donald's Son Eric Trump Declares That A Non-Existent "Holiday Tree" Prompted His Father To Run For President


President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters Sasha (second from right) and Malia (left) react as they light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

There’s more than one reason to be concerned about Donald Trump’s Presidential qualifications, but one of the most troubling aspects of his campaign is what he and his team choose to believe (and not believe).

BuzzFeed highlighted an amazing exchange today in which Eric Trump, the Republican candidate’s son and a leading surrogate for the GOP ticket, explained some of the motivations that led his father to run for president.

In an interview with televangelist James Robison, Eric Trump said:

Eric Trump wrote:


He [Donald Trump] opens up the paper each morning and sees our nation’s leaders giving a hundred billion dollars to Iran, or he opens the paper and some new school district has just eliminated the ability for its students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, or some fire department in some town is ordered by the mayor to no longer fly the American flag on the back of a fire truck. Or he sees the tree on the White House lawn has been renamed "Holiday tree" instead of "Christmas tree". I could go on and on for hours. Those are the very things that made my father run [for President], and those are the very things he cares about.


It’s entirely possible Eric Trump genuinely believes everything he said, but unfortunately, reality can get in the way of sincere talking points. For example, there are no school districts in the United States that prevent kids from saying the Pledge of Allegiance. He just made that up.

Similarly, the National Christmas Tree wasn’t renamed. As BuzzFeed’s report explained, there was some weird, right-wing chain email a few years ago that said the word “Christmas” was replaced with “Holiday” in the official name of the tree, but in reality, that never actually happened. Some conservatives made this up, and the Trumps chose to believe it.

In other words, according to Eric Trump, Donald Trump is running for President at least in part because “he cares about” developments that never occurred. I don’t doubt that Eric Trump “could go on and on for hours,” but that’s because complaining about imaginary problems is incredibly easy.

But there’s more to this than just laughing at a silly mistake. The larger issue to keep in mind is that we’ve seen quite a bit of evidence that suggests Team Trump exists in some strange alternate universe.

In Trumpland of Donald's fevered imagination:

Ted Cruz’s father was part of the JFK assassination.

President Obama is a terrorist sympathizer who wasn’t born in the United States.

Hillary Clinton is secretly dealing with unidentified health crises.

Muslim Americans held public celebrations on 9/11 in New Jersey.

The National Enquirer, Breitbart News, and Alex Jones are perfectly credible sources for accurate news.

Donald Trump opposed the war in Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

Vince Foster’s suicide is highly suspicious.

Vaccines are dangerous.

The Christmas tree on the White House lawn has been renamed.


To borrow a phrase, I could go on and on for hours.

There’s arguably no more important skill for a President and his or her team than an ability to absorb an enormous amount of information, and quickly understand what’s important, what can be discarded, and what should be used as the basis for action. Trump and his team have demonstrated, over and over again, that they’re just not good at this.







Or Did Trump Decide To Run For President Because Melania Told Him That God Had Told Her To Tell Him To Go For It?


> Excerpts from the October 27, 2016 Right Wing Watch news story by Brian Tashman entitled:

Dominionism Advocate Lance Wallnau Declares: "Donald Trump Decided To Run For President After God Spoke To Melania"





Today on “The Jim Bakker Show,” Religious Right activist Lance Wallnau described how Donald Trump reached his decision to run for President.

Wallnau hailed Trump as “another Cyrus,” a reference to the Persian king who liberated the Jews from captivity in Babylon, and “a committed man and husband, a dedicated father,” and said he personally asked Trump what motivated him to run:

Lance Wallnau wrote:


He said, “Well, I wanted to be President.” He said, “I really did, but my wife told me I was too brash and too bright, that America wouldn’t put up with me.” He said, “You know what, I listened to her.” And then she was watching the burning down of Baltimore, she was watching the riots on television and she got a word — sometimes God speaks to you and you don’t have to be a Christian for God to talk to you; God spoke to Pilate’s wife and said, “Be careful what you do with this man” — and she said, “Donald, if you run now, you’ll become President.”

And he was eating dinner and he said, “What? Wait a second.” He put the thing on mute. He said, “What did you just say?” She said, “Now.” Because he was debating on signing on for “The Apprentice” for another season. And she said, “If you run now, you will be President.” He said, “Why? What’s changed? You said I’m too brash.” She said, “No, no, no. They’ve changed. America’s changed. They’re ready for you now. They’ll push past the packaging. They’ll get your heart. They’ll hear you.” That was the moment he said to call ["Apprentice" produder]Michael Cohen. He said, “Cancel ‘The Apprentice,’ I’m filing for Presidency.” And he decided to run. It was his wife — his wife that pushed him over the edge.



Bakker, for his part, praised the Trump family’s “fairy-tale-type life” as the screen mistakenly labeled Trump’s Chicago hotel as Trump Tower, and lamented the “nitpicking” about Trump’s life taking place in “church circles.”

After comparing Trump to King Cyrus, Wallnau also compared Trump to Winston Churchill and his struggle to defeat Nazism.


 
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I remember a time, not even a divorce ago, where James seemed strange and ill-fitting. I suspected not that James was the vanguard of a twisting of society that would birth us TrumPOTUS.

All I can say James is, "Go for it".
Your approach matches the times to a "T". You are the man of the hour.
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The Religious Right’s Annual War On The "War On Christmas" Has A New Field Marshal


> Excerpts from the November 17, 2016 Right Wing Watch news story by Peter Montgomery entitled:

The Religious Right’s Annual War On The "War On Christmas" Has A New Field Marshal





One of the Religious Right’s most idiotic yet enduring claims is that the tradition of saying “Happy Holidays” is not respectful and inclusive, but rather a sign of the ongoing “War on Christmas.” The Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel has kicked off its annual Naughty & Nice List, which attacks retailers who “censor Christmas” by not using the word or Christmas-specific imagery often enough in their holiday advertisements and decorations.

This phony war has a new field marshal. Donald Trump, who promised the moon and the Supreme Court to Religious Right leaders during his campaign, has pledged to save Christmas from imagined threats. He promised, “If I become President, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store … You can leave 'Happy Holidays' at the corner.”

Another time, Trump said, “[Remember] the expression ‘Merry Christmas'? You don’t see it anymore. You’re [going to] see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now. I can tell you right now.”



Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann even quoted Trump as saying, “When I was growing up, everyone said, 'Merry Christmas'. Even my Jews would say, 'Merry Christmas'.”




Trump pushed for a boycott of Starbucks because their cups "weren’t genuinely Christmas-y enough", and his son Eric said that his father decided to run for President after he read that the White House replaced the Christmas tree with a “holiday tree,” a tree that does not exist.

Trump’s own companies, however, were part of this purported "War on Christmas".




The New York Daily News wrote:

> Excerpt from the December 24, 2015 New York Daily News news story by Adam Edelman entitled:

Donald Trump’s Own Christmas Cards Uses EXACT "Politically Correct" Greeting Of "Happy Holidays" Language That He's Railed Against On The Campaign Trail



When it comes to the holiday season, Donald Trump has all of his bases covered.

The Christmas card that the 2016 front-runner mailed to supporters this week includes the exact "Politically Correct" language of "Happy Holidays" that he has consistently railed against on the campaign trail.

The bombastic billionaire's garland-tinged card reads, "Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays."

"We are, together, going to make America Great Again!," the card states. "I Love You All, Donald J. Trump."

But the yule message represents a stark contradiction to the position constantly put forth by the outspoken mogul, who has repeatedly blasted the use of "Happy Holidays" as "Political Correctness" in referring to the Christmas holiday.



Of course, it’s not clear how Trump thinks a President could force people and businesses to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.” And it’s even less clear how anyone who purports to be for religious liberty and limited government would think it’s any business of the president’s how people express their good wishes.

But then again, this is the guy who told people on the campaign trail how great things will be when Americans are working together as “one people, under one God, saluting one flag.”


Happy holidays!







Other Suggested Holiday Reading Via Clickable News-Story Links

Disgraced Televangelist Jim Bakker Declares: "If Trump Loses, This Will Be Our Last Christmas"

Singer Pat Boone Declares: "The War On Christmas Is Causing God To Reject America"

Donald Trump Declares: "Christians’ Power Is Being Taken Away In America"

Eric Trump Declares: "Donald Trump Will Save Our Civil Liberties From The War On Christmas"

The 2015 Right Wing Watch "War On Christmas" Gift Guide

The Pilgrims Were Behind The Original "War On Christmas"

Southern Baptist Leader Richard Land Gets Behind The Starbucks "War On Christmas" Outrage

Will Donald Trump Boycott His Own Hotels After His Starbucks "War On Christmas" Rant?

When Donald Trump "Waged War" On Christmas

GOP Congressman-Elect Barry Loudermilk Will Never Surrender In The "War On Christmas"

WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farah Declares: "The War On Christmas Is Just Like Terrorism"

The American Family Association Declares: "Making Fun Of The ‘War On Christmas’ Is Part Of The War On Christmas"

Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Continues Her Crusade Against Seinfeld’s "Festivus"





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Video Dispatches From The Battlefront Of The "War On Christmas" #1


Video Dispatches From The Battlefront Of The "War On Christmas" #1





























 
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yet no mention of the christian war on saturnalia and yule
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Mrs. Betty Bowers' Dispatch from the Front Lines of America's War on Christmas







Dear Soldiers for the Baby Jesus,

Once again, pagan combatants, wielding verbal grenades made of non-specific cheer, are on a militant rampage to retake the Winter Solstice, a holiday invaded and occupied by Christians more than 1,700 years ago.

Friends, we stole December fair and square -- and are going to stay the coarse ones in turning a season devoted to love and joy into an vitriolic turf war all about us!




As America's foremost embedded reporter in the current War on Christmas, I am sending this encrypted message to you from the front lines: Macy's.

The first shopping skirmish of the season occurred when my Personal Shopper spotted secular insurgents maraudering behind the Estee Lauder counter. I personally overheard several of these "Happy Holidays" extremists, uniformed in the Lauder infantry's blue, paramilitary smocks, boldly declare a jihad on the Baby Jesus' birthday. As I feigned interest in an egregiously harloty shade of bright red lipstick, I overheard the make-up militia chant such bellicose, Christmas-hating greetings as "Have a wonderful holiday!" to civilian shoppers. They also brandished IEDs (introductory exfoliating devices) to Christian foundation buyers, Bible-believing bargain hunters simply looking for a Christmas gift that came free with a $35.00 purchase.



Moments later, bell-ringing infantry from the Salvation Army were called in to drown out the battle cries of "Ho! Ho! Ho!" from a sidewalk Santa. This invasion appears to have been based on faulty intelligence as it turns out that the Santa bellowing."Ho! Ho! Ho!" was merely greeting Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as they drunkenly stumbled out of Neiman-Marcus. Before Baptist mercenaries realized this mistake, angry Pentecostal militia had already rounded up striped-stockinged enemy combatants (pint-sized operatives calling themselves "elves"). They were wrestled to the ground just outside of their bunker, a Styrofoam gingerbread house in Bloomingdale's window.

Yes, friends, this year's War on Christmas has been the most angry and dangerous yet. Several shoppers' eyes were taken out as called-up shopoholic reservists from Landover Baptist Church carpet bombed mall parking lots with "Jesus is the Reason for 40% Off Selected Merchandise" Bible tracts.

Bill O'Reilly and I undertook a reconnaissance mission to undercover anti-Christmas propaganda militants. Holiday hostilities began after I resourcefully used a "Noel" candle from Pottery Barn (which Bill mistook for a candy-striped pagan tribute to Jeb Bush's crackwhore daughter) to ignite an appalling "Peace on Earth" banner dangling just outside a notorious secular stronghold called Sephora. As he jumped up and down on the flaming banner, Bill screamed at frightened eye-shadow and fragrance browsers, "Peace on Earth?!? You can take your anti-troops, anti-Christmas, pinko pacifistic agitprop and shove it right up your -- !!!"

Fortunately, a resourceful spritz of "Hillary Duff with Love" Eau de Parfum Spray not only prevented Bill from completing his proctologic entreaty, it also caused so much collateral damage to bystander shoppers that "Hillary Duff with Love" has replaced Polonium-210 as my favorite disabling spray during our current campaign to retake the fur department at Saks for Jesus.




As all of you arm yourselves for CHRISTmas shopping this season, know that your comrade-in-arms, Mrs. Betty Bowers, is with you in the AMEX-accepting trenches. Your Commander-in-Cashmere wishes all of you a joyous Baby Jesus Day and asks you to remain vigilant against secular uprisings, such as shockingly rude cards that wish so-called "nice" things without pandering to your particular brand of faith. And a special word of warning to you lady shoppers out there: Watch out for Pastor's notoriously inaccurate missile-toe!


So Close To Jesus, I Still Haven't Forgiven Him For Stretching Out Last Christmas's Lovely Elie Tahari Paulo Sweater By Allowing The Entire Trinity To Try It On All At Once,

-- Mrs. Betty Bowers




Bonus: Print out your own official Betty Bowers Christmas Gift Tags by downloading this free pdf at: http://www.bettybowers.com/bettygifttags.pdf

Visit her website at: http://www.bettybowers.com/


 
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Bored today or have you been working on this for a while?
 
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single sentences wrote:
yet no mention of the christian war on saturnalia and yule


We fight that one every year for the past few thousand years. The fight was lost, obviously, since Christmas shows up everywhere and Yule is tough to find, but at least we still have bits of rebellion like people thinking the Yule Log is some Christmas thing.

Those Christians had a way better marketing scheme.

In the end, even the concept of a resisting 'war on' idea goes against the basic tenets of those of us who celebrate Yule. True peace on earth is only found by making peace with those you disagree with. The only fuel added to this fire should be another log.
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This thread feels like a cry for help.
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Elfbane wrote:
Bored today or have you been working on this for a while?

The shocking allegation that son Eric Trump made back in August about his father's being inspired to run for President because of a non-existent "Holiday Tree" made this thread a must, because Reality was the first casualty of the so-called "War on Christmas".


 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:


Elfbane wrote:
Bored today or have you been working on this for a while?

The shocking allegation that son Eric Trump made back in August about his father's being inspired to run for President because of a non-existent "Holiday Tree" made this thread a must, because Reality was the first casualty of the so-called "War on Christmas".

Oh I appreciate the thread and the OP, I was just poking a little fun at the six or so subsequent epic posts.
 
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Someone should conduct a "Festivus POLL" with assorted 'FEATS of Faith/Strength' displayed, and whatever else. whistle
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Christianity’s Own War On Christmas

> Excerpts from the November 25, 2016 Raw Story feature story by Valerie Tarico entitled

Christianity’s Own War On Christmas



If it feels like the “War on Christmas” is getting really old, it really is.

More than 10 years have passed since Bill O’Reilly first opened December with a segment called, “Christmas Under Siege” — 10 long years in which his cadences and refrains and echoing chorus have become as familiar to most Americans as Handel’s Messiah. More familiar, in fact.




Not that O’Reilly invented the idea. During the 1920s, Henry Ford’s newspaper published a series of anti-Semitic articles titled, “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.” Among the complaints the anti-Semitic Henry Ford made were:

Henry Ford wrote:


Last Christmas most people had a hard time finding Christmas cards that indicated in any way that Christmas commemorated Someone’s Birth.... People sometimes ask why 3,000,000 Jews can control the affairs of 100,000,000 Americans. In the same way that ten Jewish students can abolish the mention of Christmas and Easter out of schools containing 3,000 Christian pupils.


In 1959, the far-right John Birch Society warned Americans of a plot to replace Christian symbolism with United Nations symbols on Christmas ornaments.

In 1966, the racist Christian minister Gerald L.K. Smith roused Christian outrage by proclaiming that the abbreviation Xmas had been created by “world Jewry” — even though the Greek symbol "X" (Chi) has been used as an abbreviation for Christ by early Christians since ancient times.

Complaints about unsavory outsiders “taking the Christ out of Christmas” or forcing beleaguered believers to say “Happy Holidays!” are transparently privileged and xenophobic. They put Christian persecution complex on stark display. But here is the real irony: For almost 500 years, the folks trying to get rid of Christmas — trying to put distance between Christian worship and mid-Winter Solstice festivities — were Christians themselves.


Early Christians Probably Didn’t Celebrate the Birth of Jesus

Early worship of Jesus focused not on the Nativity story but the crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, the Virgin Birth narrative is now considered a late addition to the Gospels, one that fused ancient Sumerian mythic tropes, Hebrew tropes, and cults of virginity, and the Greco-Roman belief that an extraordinary man must have an extraordinary birth. In the 3rd century A.D., the Church Patriarch Origin wrote a list of Christian holy days that did not include Christmas, suggesting that the holiday hadn’t yet emerged during his time.

What did exist was a wide variety of winter Solstice celebrations associated with pagan religions across the Northern Hemisphere. People whose precarious existence depended on the agricultural cycle celebrated the return of light with song and dance, feasting and festive elements that are a part of our midwinter celebrations to this day: yule logs, mulled wine, decorated trees, gift giving, and more. Long before Christianity existed, Latin peoples celebrated Saturnalia and marked December 25 as the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun.



Sol Invictus


Christianity Absorbs Other Religions

Christianity spread in part by embracing a practice called “Syncretism,” in which local traditions and religions were simply absorbed and grafted onto Christianity and reinterpreted within the Christian tradition. In 606 A.D., Pope Gregory I wrote to Abbot Mellitus in Britain and outlined this approach:

Pope Gregory I wrote:


The temples of the idols among the people should on no account be destroyed. The idols themselves are to be destroyed, but the temples themselves are to be aspersed with holy water, altars set up in them, and relics deposited there. For if these temples are well-built, they must be purified from the worship of demons and dedicated to the service of the true God. In this way, we hope that the people, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may abandon their error and, flocking more readily to their accustomed resorts, may come to know and adore the true God.


Pagan temples became churches, indigenous gods became saints, and pagan festival days got repurposed as Christian holy days. The earliest existing documentation of December 25 as Christmas derives from the fourth century and is tied closely with the merger between Christianity and imperial Rome. Over time, Christmas came to rival Easter in the Catholic tradition, and the cult of Mary as the most perfect of all perfect virgins rose to rival the Trinity.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the strongest and most vociferous backlash against Christmas came from Protestant reformers who rejected all things Roman Catholic (except, ironically, the Bible itself, which they substituted for the very hierarchy that had compiled it.)


Calvin and Followers Reject ThePagan&PapalChristmas Holiday

Protestant Reformer John Calvin saw himself as debriding the Body of Christ, excising layers of rotten flesh so as to revive the wholesome form that God himself had created. Trusting only the sacrosanct Bible and his own righteous conviction as divine authority, he scraped all the way back to the fourth century, discarding indulgences, ritual, iconography, ecclesiastical hierarchy and Catholic holidays as man-made rot.

Calvin laid out a concept that later theologians called the regulative principle of worship, meaning that the only valid forms of worship are those laid out in the Bible. Christmas doesn’t meet this bar. In 1550, under his influence, authorities in Geneva issued an edict banning “all festivals, with the exception of Sundays, which God had ordained.” Not surprisingly, some people were less than thrilled, and even Calvin himself seems to have worried that the edict went too far, too soon. But he never compromised on the principle.


Scottish Presbyterians Follow Suit

As the Reformation spread to the British Isles, the Presbyterian church took up the case against Catholic holidays. Reformer John Knox echoed Calvin’s dour condemnation of holidays, mentioning Christmas by name and calling down punishment on “obstinate maintainers and teachers of such abominations.”

Another Scottish minister, David Calderwood, reiterated Knox’s scathing indictment of Christmas:

David Calderwood wrote:
If it had been the will of God that the several acts of Christ should have been celebrated with several solemnities, the Holy Ghost would have made known to us the day of his nativity, circumcision, presentation in the temple, baptism, transfiguration, and the like.... This opinion of Christ’s nativity on the 25th day of December was bred at Rome.



England Bans Christmas Festivities

In England the increasingly powerful Puritan movement challenged the liturgical calendar of the Anglican Church, again claiming that holidays were anti-biblical, papal, and superstitious. In 1647, the British Parliament outlawed Christmas and other holiday festivals.

The British Parliament wrote:
Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise not withstanding.



America’s Pilgrims Reject Christmas

American children are taught that the Pilgrims traveled from England in the Mayflower seeking religious freedom, but the freedom to celebrate Christmas was apparently outside the range of acceptable practice for the Plymouth Rock colony. In 1621, new arrivals had to be brought into line:

Historical records wrote:
On the day called Christmas Day, the Governor called them out to work as was used. But the most part of this new company excused themselves and said that it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it a matter of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them. But when they came home at noon from their work, they found them in the street at play, openly; some pitching the bar, and some at stool-ball and such like sports. So he went to them and took away their implements and told them that was against his conscience, that they should play and others work. If they made the keeping of it a matter of devotion, let them keep their houses; but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets. Since which time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly.




Two generations later, Puritan leader Increase Mather condemned Christmas again as a pagan tradition:

Increase Mather wrote:


The early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.



Catholics Push Back

Catholics have long resented Protestant allegations that Christmas was, from the beginning, a repurposed pagan solstice festival. To this day some insist that the tradition dates back much farther than the fourth century and even that the December 25th date is based on actual historical knowledge. Contemporary Catholic apologist Marian Horvat makes the laughable claim that we can know from the biblical record the date of the annunciation and therefore the date of Christ’s birth. Horvat concludes with a tour de force of rabbit-hole reasoning:

Marian Horvat wrote:


We can be certain that the first Catholic apologists and Fathers of the Church, who lived very close to the time of the Apostles, were fully aware of the dates associated with the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They had all the calendar sources at hand and they would not allow any untruth to be introduced in the Catholic liturgy. The date of Christ’s birth was transmitted by them as being December 25, a Sunday.



American Protestants Hold the Line



Samuel Miller

For generations, a range of Protestants found claims like these unconvincing. In the mid-19th Century, Princeton Professor of Theology Samuel Miller echoed the persistent Presbyterian position that “the observance of uncommanded holy-days is ever found to interfere with the due sanctification of the Lord’s day. Adding to the appointment of God is superstition.”

In 1871, famed Baptist evangelist Charles H. Spurgeon used his time in the pulpit on December 24 to exhort his flock against observing Christmas:

Charles H. Spurgeon wrote:


We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.


In a sermon titled “Christmas, Easter, Lent, And The Cross (Pagan/Roman Catholic/Antichrist Holy Days [Holidays] In The Church, Family, And Society)” preacher Morton Smith states that the Southern Presbyterian Church resisted adding Christmas and Easter to their official calendar until the 1940s and 1950s. Thanks in large part to Protestant misgivings, Christmas didn’t become an official American holiday until 1870.


Today’s Christian War on Christmas

Today most Christians have forgotten this history, but a conservative remnant still sees the celebration of Christmas as a concession to worldly influences.


G.I. Williamson

Retired Presbyterian minister G.I. Williamson complains that stores are open on Sunday but closed on Christmas. “There is no command to have a special day called Christmas.... If my church history books are correct there was only one day that was celebrated faithfully in the early Church. It was the Lord’s Day. And people used to greet one another by saying “Jesus is risen.”

Freelance fundamentalist Christopher J.E. Johnson of Creation Liberty Evangelism echoes the old complaint that Christmas is fundamentally pagan: “God hates paganism and he hates idols and he hates the concept of false Gods, and that’s what Christmas actually represents.”

Johnson preaches that “one of the big problems in Christianity today is the DENIAL of the pagan origins of their traditions, or in other words, they lie to themselves (and to others) in order to keep from knowing the truth, and thereby preventing themselves from receiving conviction from the Holy Spirit that would force them to give up their fleshly lusts. To understand the abomination of Christmas being brought into the Church of Jesus Christ, we need to understand its origin.”


Beyond The Forced Choice

As a former Evangelical, I, Valerie Tarico, also believe there is value in understanding the ancient origins of the Christmas story and related traditions. I too find some aspects of Christmas abominable, though my reasons are very different. Seen through 21st Century eyes, the Bible’s virgin insemination, like other stories of gods impregnating mortal women, is “more than a little rapey.” Its adulation of virginity harms young women by soiling female sexuality. The obsessive (though conflicting) genealogies that accompany the story convey that a person’s bloodline matters more than his or her character. And the idea of a baby born to be a human sacrifice is about as morally repugnant as any concept humankind has concocted. If Christmas were merely, exclusively Christian, I would find little to recommend it.

Fortunately, for almost 500 years, Christian critics of Christmas have offered an alternative view, one that is rather beautiful, even though they themselves regard it darkly. It is the view that our mid-Winter celebration reflects, more than anything, the Pagan and universal yearning to embrace hope in the dead of winter, our impulse to celebrate with abandon the return of light and the promise that spring — and new life — will come again.

Most certainly that is true of my own favorite Christmas traditions, which draw from a wide range of cultures and — yes — superstitions. Fortunately, we humans are incorrigible scavengers and endlessly innovative, taking whatever bits of culture and tradition we have inherited and weaving them together into a fabric of our own making.

Fundamentalists on all sides may argue that we must either embrace or reject Christian teachings and traditions as a package. For them, bound by the constraints of their worldview, that may be true. Happily, the rest of us are free to glean through the Bible and Christian history — including Christmas lore — discarding what is ugly or useless and claiming whatever is timeless and wise. And come mid-Winter, we are free to assemble whatever rituals and traditions create a sense of wonder and delight and bring us closer to people we love.




Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of "Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light" and "Deas and Other Imaginings", and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org

Tarico's articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel. She has her own website at ValerieTarico.com.


 
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There Is No "War On Christmas" -- Unless You Count The Battle For Christian Supremacy


> Excerpts from the December 4, 2016 NewCivilRightsMovement.com opinion column by Robbie Medwed entitled:

There Is No "War On Christmas" -- Unless You Count The Battle For Christian Supremacy
The Real War Is Against Non-Christians

It’s finally (finally!) December and the terribleness that is 2016 is nearly over — but not quite yet. Across the country, folks are pulling their boxes of Christmas decorations out of the basement or the attic, untangling string lights and swearing to themselves they aren’t going to go overboard on the cookies this year.

Well, most folks are. The rest of us are just sitting here enjoying the twinkling lights and hoping these next few weeks pass pretty quickly.

Christmas isn’t my holiday. I’m very much not a Christian (I’m a decently observant Jew), and aside from a severe jealousy of Christmas lights when I was a kid, I’ve never really been drawn to the holiday. I’ve never really wanted a tree in my house and I’ve never really felt left out. Dec. 25 is just another day for me.

It doesn’t bother me in the slightest — I’m not one of those folks who gets sick of being bombarded by it day in and day out like some of my friends, though I certainly understand their frustrations.

To be honest, I kind of like how everyone seems to get a little bit nicer this time of year, and not all of the music is bad. “All I Want for Christmas is You” is one of the greatest songs of all time, and more than a few Jewish folks are responsible for the older classics (like "White Christmas"). But acknowledging and accepting that I live in a majority Christian society doesn’t mean I define this as the Christmas season, or that I feel like I’m missing something, or that I care in the slightest whether someone says, “Merry Christmas” or not.

That really pisses some folks off, like America’s least favorite formera Illinois Republican Congressman, Joe Walsh, who Tweeted:

Joe Walsh ✔ @WalshFreedom wrote:


To everyone - Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, atheist - to everyone: Merry Christmas.

It's Christmas time.

Merry Christmas.

6:18 PM - 2 Dec 2016

323 323 Retweets
780 780 Likes



For the record, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and other non-Christians don’t typically celebrate Christmas. What makes Joe’s tweet art, though, is what he had said just a few days earlier:

Joe Walsh ✔ @WalshFreedom wrote:


In a free society, you can't be protected from being offended.

If the Left could only accept that, what a cool country this would be again.

3:07 PM - 27 Nov 2016

193 193 Retweets
396 396 Likes



Ironically, Joe’s right. There’s no guaranteed protection from being offended, but wow, he’s really offended! But my personal favorite came just last night:

Joe Walsh ✔ @WalshFreedom wrote:


Take away Christmas at this time of the year and what do you have?

Nothing.

That's cuz it's the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas.

8:48 PM - 3 Dec 2016

177 Retweets
491 Likes



Aside from being factually incorrect, it’s just absurd. If we take away Christmas at this time of year, you know what we have? Another day, just like any other. Dec. 25 would still exist. No catastrophe would take its place and no one would disappear from the Earth because of it.

I suppose I shouldn’t go further without acknowledging the other December holidays, but let’s make something clear:

Hanukkah is NOT the Jewish Christmas. That it falls around the same time as Christmas is a fluke. Hanukkah was established before Christmas was on the scene and it has absolutely nothing to do with peace and love and goodwill toward all. In fact, if anyone tells you that Hanukkah is about peace and love and goodwill, they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. Hanukkah celebrates a bloody insurgency against an oppressive, fascist regime in defense of religious freedom. It’s also incredibly low-ranking in the hierarchy of Jewish holidays.)

Joe Walsh and his friends aren’t fighting a "War on Christmas." They’re fighting for Christian Supremacy. Just like everyone else who publicly decries the lack of enthusiasm about Christmas, Joe Walsh is a Christian Supremacist. Joe Walsh hates real religious freedom. Joe hates that there are other religions and he hates that folks are passionate about beliefs he hasn’t personally approved.

If folks were truly secure in their religious beliefs, then we’d never, ever hear the phrase “War on Christmas.” If they truly cared about observing their holiday the best way they know how, it wouldn’t matter what their neighbors or anyone else did this time of year.

If you happen to see me and wish me "Merry Christmas," more times than not, I’ll just smile politely and say, “You, too.” I’ll do the same exact thing if you wish me, “Happy holidays", "Happy Hanukkah", or any other seasonal greeting, because unlike Joe Walsh, my faith doesn’t depend on the validation of strangers.





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"The War On Christmas" In Political Cartoon Review


"The War On Christmas" In Political Cartoon Review

















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Trump’s America: The Mall Of America Hires First Black Santa and White Folks Lose Their Minds


> Excerpts from the December 4, 2016 Ring of Fire Network news story by Sydney Robinson entitled:

Trump’s America: The Mall Of America Hires First Black Santa and White Folks Lose Their Minds





It appears that the mythical war on Christmas has taken on a new racial spin as the Mall of America faced a sad level of backlash for the hiring of a black man to play the mall’s Santa Claus.

Around this time of year, we can expect a bit of trumped-up outrage about various elements of holiday cheer – most often it’s about a red Starbucks cup or the infamous debate between “Merry Christmas,” and “Happy Holidays.” But now that we live in Trump’s America, what was once mere outrage has turned into dark-hearted prejudice.

The Mall of America hired their new black Santa, Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas, and were set to have the man perform his Santa duties last week.




On Thursday, Jefferson had his first day of a four-day stint at the Mall of America — marking the mall’s first black Santa and providing some Minnesota families with a holiday experience they thought was long overdue. One woman told Jefferson she had been waiting 25 years to see a black Santa. Other families told him they had driven hours just so that their kids could meet him.

“They’re far and few between,” Jefferson, who is in his mid-50s, said of Santas of color. “That’s why I do it.”

But when Jefferson first became “Santa Larry,” it was not only about representing his community. “It was a calling, you know,” Jefferson said. "Once you’re Santa, you’re always Santa."

Late Thursday evening, a reporter called a phone number listed for Jefferson’s event scheduling, expecting a booking agent or an automated recording. “Hello, this is Santa,” the voice on the other end responded, as if it were second nature. After 17 years in the profession, and nearly a lifetime of taking on the role, his deep connection to his red-robed alter-ego is second nature.

Growing up in a family with 11 siblings, Jefferson always loved Christmas, he said. One year, when he was 12, his father’s back was hurting, and he did not feel up to putting the Christmas presents under the tree for the family.

“I need you to be Santa for me,” he told his son. Jefferson gladly stepped up. He waited until his siblings were fast asleep before he quietly opened the door and crept out to the car to carry in the Christmas presents.

When his nephews were sick one year near Christmas, he bought a Santa suit and asked a neighbor to drive him across town to surprise them. And when he joined the Army reserves — for which he served as a captain for 30 years — Jefferson became Santa for the troops.




The news of his Mall of America gig — his highest-profile yet — has made him a bit of a celebrity. He has been featured in local and national news outlets and was invited to speak on the “Steve Harvey Show” on Friday. He would love to set his sights even further — “I want to go to the White House!” he declared.

But not everyone has been so eager to change the traditional image of Santa Claus. As recently as this year, potential employers have told Jefferson that he was not the “particular fit” for them, he said.

“Some companies aren’t ready to hire a black Santa or a Hispanic Santa,” he said. “Minnesota has jumped to the forefront of a lot of states.”

Of course, in many parts of the country, a Santa of color is not as unusual. In Houston, Santa has been seen wearing a zoot suit and dancing to jazz in Mexican American neighborhoods. On Native American reservations, Santa often adds American Indian attire to his red suit, according to an Associated Press report from 2013.

Although he looks like a perfect painting of Santa from a greeting card, nonetheless, Larry Jefferson faced significant backlash from prejudiced folk nationwide who couldn’t stand the idea that black families, too, like to picture their Santa looking just like them.

When the story of Jefferson’s Santa was reported online, the worst of the Internet community rose to the surface, calling the portrayal “racist” and lobbing racial slurs.

Some even called for a boycott of the Mall of America’s Christmas display, proving once more that there is nothing diversity-hating Christians love more than an old-fashioned boycott.

Considering how many times white Americans have whitewashed history to fit their own Anglo-Saxon narrative, it only makes sense that a black Santa might get the chance to shine once in a while.

After all, what would born-in-Middle-East-but-somehow-blue-eyed Jesus think?






> Excerpts from the December 3, 2016 Raw Story news story by Tom Boggioni entitled:

xHaving A Meltdown Over Mall Of America’s Black Santa, Online Racists Are Declaring: "Santa is WHITE. BOYCOTT Mall of America!"



The announcement that Mall of America was welcoming its first black Santa Claus was greeted in many quarters as a good thing but, as might be expected in a country that has become increasingly more comfortable saying any racist thing that comes to mind, many were highly offended.

Three years after Fox’s Megyn Kelly definitively explained to America that both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus were white men, Mall of America dismissed her advice and hired Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas to spend four days at the mall listening to the wish lists of children of all colors.






According to the editorial editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper, comments on black Santa became so offensive in their online forum that the paper shut down their online comments on the article about it.

“Looks like we had to turn comments off on story about Mall of America’s first black Santa. Merry Christmas everyone!” Scott Gillespie wrote.

That didn’t stop people whose world was rocked by a non-white Santa from finding other venues to rage against the Claus, including Twitter and other comment sections.

As has become all too common when conservatives are offended, a boycott has been called for, with Peter Morgan on the message forum of the Minnesota CBS affiliate station, writing, “Stupid. Incredibly stupid. Santa is WHITE. BOYCOTT Mall of America. Maybe they should change their name to MALL of RAGHEAD LAND.”

A sampling below from that forum and Twitter:








___________________________________________________



My own opinion of this matter is best expressed by the lyrics of the Christmas song "Some Children See Him" because ironically enough, its underlying philosophy not only applies to Jesus but also to Santa Claus, too, because both of them exemplify the spirit of giving and self-sacrifice and children have indeed envisioned them both in terms of their own culture and race. (Since Santa Claus is a latter-day reinvention of the real St. Nicholas, we can say that Santa shares St. Nicholas' legacy.) Moreover, mall Santas are merely Santa's helpers.





Some Children See Him

Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night;
Some children see Him lily white
with tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
the Lord of Heaven to Earth come down;
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside;
Some children see Him almond-eyed
with skin of yellow hue.

Some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus' face
like theirs but bright with Heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.

O' lay aside each Earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the Infant King;
'Tis Love that's born tonight!





 
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