Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Onward Christian Soldiers

In my continuing story on the non-attack on Christmas that has conservative Christians in an uproar, the latest soldier in the imaginary war against Christmas is none other than... George W. Bush! That's right friends, that ACLU-lover long known for his liberal beliefs and sectarian anti-religiosity George Bush has joined the anti-Christmas non-frenzy, or so the critics claim.

Apparently, as he does every year, the president send out his yearly Christmas cards. Only one problem: the cards commit the same atrocity that retail stores are being slammed for, and that is wishing people a happy holiday (rather than a Merry Christmas). If this all seems ridiculous to you, than it means you risk being an intelligent human being.

From the Washington Post:

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."

Religious conservatives are miffed because they have been pressuring stores to advertise Christmas sales rather than "holiday specials" and urging schools to let students out for Christmas vacation rather than for "winter break." They celebrated when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) insisted that the sparkling spectacle on the Capitol lawn should be called the Capitol Christmas Tree, not a holiday spruce."

The so-called war on Christmas is big news these days, particularly for Fox News. According to Media Matters, From November 28 to December 2, Fox News carried 58 segments about the so-called "war" on Christmas, more than four times as many as appeared on CNN or MSNBC.

Speaking of Fox News, before the reactionary paranoia sunk its teeth into its own president, it should be noted that Fox news own on line store sold a wide variety of... (wait for it)... HOLIDAY decorations! That's right, the same station calling for the burning of witches over how one wishes someone else well this season was committing the same "sin."

Despite Bill O'Reilly's specific criticism of those who use the term "holiday tree" instead of "Christmas tree," an O'Reilly Factor ornament for sale at the Fox News store features this tagline: "Put your holiday tree in 'The No Spin Zone' with this silver glass 'O'Reilly Factor' ornament." HA!

FUN CHRISTMAS FACTOID: Many of the most beloved Christmas songs sung during the holiday's were not written by Christians at all, but Jews. The classic, and some consider, number one song of the seasons is “White Christmas,” one of thousands of songs Irving Berlin wrote in his career. Remember the original animated movie, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with the great line, “He’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch”? Contrary to what some might think, the grinch was not Jewish — but the songwriter, Albert Hague, was, as so was Jerry Herman, who wrote "We Need a Little Christmas." Those of you who have never heard of the Jewish composer Johnny Marks are probably familiar with his songs "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (first recorded by Bing Crosby), "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas." Other Christmas songs written by Jews include "Let it Snow" (although co-composer Jule Styne was Christian), "Silver Bells" (Ray Evans wrote the lyrics while partner Jay Livingston wrote the music), and many more! Jewish authort Chris Van Allsburg wrote the Caldecott-winning children's Christmas book, "The Polar Express," and it was the Jewish composer, Adolphe Charles Adam that wrote the music to "Cantique de Noël" around 1847, often known by its English title "O Holy Night."

As actor and commentator Ben Stein recently wrote, "I have always felt that no one loved Christmas like the Jews." Think about that the next time someone complains about the lack of Christian themes during Christmas.

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