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14. Dec 2005

The war on Christmas


I USA er den yderste højrefløj i skikkelse af Bill O'Reilly og tilsvarende wingnuts gået helt i selvsving over alle de liberale svæklinges antikristne krig mod julen - et djævelsk komplot, som går ud på, at de undergravende elementer, som trækker i trådene i vort samfund, ønsker hinanden "Happy Holidays" i stedet for "Merry Christmas".

Hos Wonkette er man ikke imponeret:
The truth is, anytime someone starts talking to you about how Christians are persecuted in the United States, you are -- right then and right there -- talking to a retard. There's just no other way of saying it. And the War on Christmas is an idea akin to a bullshit sandwich, once you've deleted all the "sandwich-like" characteristics, anyway. The word "holiday" is derived from "holy day", Linus Van Pelt is always going to deliver his reading of Luke on national television year after year, and WASH-FM is going to be playing their drive-time five-song manger birth blocks every December until the Sun finally dies.
Mens Citizen Dane bringer hosstående billede af en god, julehadende undergravende liberal i aktion, forklarer Curt Purcell fra Groovy Age of Horror, at julen historisk set slet ikke var den gode kristne højtid, som de gode amerikanske wingnuts nu mener er "truet":
...it turns out that there really, truly was a "war on Christmas" at one time--waged by the very Puritans that today's American Christians embrace as their spiritual forebears. From Stephen Nissenbaum's excellent Battle for Christmas, an overview at length, to provide some much-needed historical (Nietzsche might even say genealogical) perspective:

In New England, for the first two centuries of white settlement most people did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, the holiday was systematically suppressed by Puritans during the colonial period and largely ignored by their descendants. It was actually illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachussetts between 1659 and 1681 (the fine was five shillings). . . .
. . .
Battle for Christmas Why? What accounts for this strange hostility? The Puritans themselves had a plain reason for what they tried to do, and it happens to be a perfectly good one: There is no biblical or historical reason to place the birth of Jesus on December 25. True, the Gospel of Luke tells the familiar story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth . . . But nowhere in this account is there any indication of the exact date, or even the general season, on which "this day" fell. Puritans were fond of saying that if God had intended for the anniversary of the Nativity to be observed, He would surely have given some indication as to when that anniversary occurred. (They also argued that the weather in Judea during late December was simply too cold for shepherds to be living outdoors with their flocks.)

It was only in the fourth century that the Church officially decided to observe Christmas on December 25. And this date was chosen not for religious reasons but simply because it happened to mark the approximate arrival of the winter solstice, an event that was celebrated long before the advent of Christianity. The Puritans were correct when they pointed out--and they pointed it out often--that Christmas was nothing but a pagan festival covered with a Christian veneer. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston, for example, accurately observed in 1687 that 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]."
. . .
But the Puritans had another reason for suppressing Christmas. The holiday they suppressed was not what we probably mean when we think of a traditional Christmas. As we shall see, it involved behavior that most of us would find offensive and even shocking today--rowdy public displays of excessive eating and drinking, the mockery of established authority, aggressive begging (often involving the threat of doing harm), and even the invasion of wealthy homes.