Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Christians hog-tied? You decide

Posted by metaphorical on 24 December 2007

“I know this is probably a very controversial thing, but may I say to you, ‘Merry Christmas!’”

That’s Mike Huckabee, playing the Persecuted Christian card.

It’s hard to imagine a more heavily celebrated holiday anywhere on earth than Christmas in America, and it’s hard to imagine a less controversial thing to say than “Merry Christmas.” You don’t hear “Have a good Yom Kipper” from people who don’t knowing if you’re Jewish. You don’t tell someone to have a good Ramadan without first asking if they celebrate it. But every store clerk and fellow elevator passenger can tell you to have a merry Christmas without giving it a second thought. And it is, after all, the only full-on religious day that’s a U.S. national holiday.

And yet, the right-wing fundamentalist Christians sure feel persecuted. And it sure serves some politicians’ political ends to ensure that they do.

And so we have Huckabee saying, “What’s wrong with our country, what is wrong with our culture, is that you can’t say the name Jesus Christ without people going completely berserk.”

And so we have him declaring that “Merry Christmas” is a controversial thing to say.

Robert Parry had a good rant about this two years ago. He reprises it and adds the Huckabee angle over on Consortiumnews.com.

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/122107a.html

By the way, if, like me, you were one of the half-dozen or so people who hasn’t actually seen the bookcase-in-the-shape-of-a-cross tv ad, and doesn’t really get how blatant and offensively pandering it is, take a gander:

bookcase_cross.jpg

(And if you want to see the crazy people deny the imagery, check out the National Ledger, which calls it “a ‘white’ bookshelf, nicely lit, with Christmas ornaments in a corner of one cubby that is visually impossible to change in shape.”)

In the words of Huckabee himself, in the ad: “At this time of year, sometimes it’s nice to pull aside from all of that and remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and that I win the Iowa caucuses.”

Okay. Maybe he didn’t say that last part. But it’s what really matters, isn’t it Mike?

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5 Responses to “Christians hog-tied? You decide”

  1. digglahhh said

    I go back and forth on this.

    For most people, Christmas isn’t a particularly religious holiday in terms how the celebration is practiced. At the very least is certainly has an identity beyond its meaning in a religious sense. So, I don’t really get bent out of shape about people who wish others “Merry Christmas,” as opposed to “Happy Holidays,” or whatever. The spirit of that wish is usually secular.

    It’s kind of like when somebody cuts their finger, and then asks, “Does anybody have a Band-aid?” Umm, excuse me, but I work for a competing brand of adhesive bandages. Christmas, in the true uber-capitalist spirit that it panders to, in practice, is simply a brand name that achieved such strength that it becomes conflated with the product itself.

    Now, if you want to talk about how a country that prides itself on its self-professed acceptance and heterogeneity of cultures gets to a point where one specific brand of solstice celebration holds a market share that would make Bill Gates (I guess pre-Apple resurgence) envious…

    “Merry Christmas” just seems like something people say without giving much though to it, so in that respect I don’t really single it out as such.

  2. I think you’re just making my point for me. The greater Christmas’s mindshare is, the more ridiculous Christians look claiming to be oppressed.

  3. digglahhh said

    Yeah, but what that’s not really the point I’m making about Christmas being so universally accepted.

    Since the Christianity element of Christmas is far from what defines the holiday, (in terms of popular perception, media portrayal, etc.), I don’t know if the popularity of Christmas is a great example of how pervasive Christianity is. My point is mainly that Christmas isn’t an explicitly religious holiday, as celebrated by the general population, and certainly not so in comparison to the “holy days” of other religion religions.

    I could see crafting an argument using a “deeper” analysis that would pose that the fact that the religious aspect being stripped of the holiday, and it becoming such a universal symbol of the season is even stronger evidence of the pervasiveness of Christianity. You know, like it’s only a “Christian holiday” to a heterogeneous population. To such a Christian nation, it’s just a holiday, like “Italian food” in Italy is just food…

    Regardless, Christians certainly have no legitimate basis on which to claim oppression. The U.S. is one of the most (or maybe most) religiously homogeneous nations in the developed world. The profundity of such is multiplied as we profess the virtues of tolerance and diversity louder than any other. It’s one thing not to be terribly diverse, it’s another to talk so much shit about how you are, and condemn those that are not, when the facts don’t match the story.

  4. ClaireDePlume said

    In a perversely Hall Mawkish way, would it be “okay” then to say, “Oy Vey, it’s Christmas”?

  5. bom said

    Star Wars

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