December 22, 2004

christmas anti-cheer

recently, while watching television, i overheard the most retarded quotation of the modern era. i blogged it here, and mason of provo pulse kindly quoted me on his blog.

the reaction on this blog centered on whether jesus could really be said to be the "reason" for christmas celebrations, because of the pagan origins of ancient december 25th celebrations.

the discussion on provo pulse, on the other hand, focused on my sloppy journalism, my failure to capitalize the name of diety, and my "abrupt" use of epithets. [link] i have added my response in the comments on that site, and below:

first catch up on the discussion here: http://provopulse.com/home/?q=node/view/571#comment
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i am the author of the piece in question, and i think i should say something in my own defense. i watched the entire exchange on hannity and colmes the other night, and the discussion centered on the issue of whether or not public buildings (especially schools) should allow the singing of christmas carols, the use of the phrase "merry christmas", and the mention of jesus to be sanctioned within their walls.

i posted my thoughts at all-encompassingly before the transcript became available, and when i did get access to the transcript, i read it and put it online immediately. i saw what everyone else here saw--the guest qualified his statements in such a way so that they didn't sound quite as retarded as i claim. but i maintain that his argument is wholly moronic. the fact that his comment is consistent with an utterly absurd argument may trick the likes of the provo princess and laurence burton into accepting it as reasonable [but what would i know: "he didn't capitalize the savior's name or duly acknowledge his official priesthood office (gasp)! he is, therefore, discredited and we must shun him in favor of those who properly punctuate their arguments!"]

GORSKY: What I'm saying is, if you have government-funded events, and they're turned into religious events to promote the idea that Jesus is the reason for the season, that that is wrong.

first of all, how often do government-funded events turn into religious revivals? the final sentence of my post is in response to this claim by gorsky. i never left my elementary school auditorium after singing in the christmas concert feeling "saved" or converted. neither can i envision an instance in which such an event morphs into a religious service. his main point is without merit.

secondly, when timothy gorsky goes on to say, "for (any non-christian religious group), jesus is not the reason for the season" he implies that these groups celebrate christmas alongside christians, but just leave the messy 'christ' part out of their observances. this is pretty ridiculous. jews, hindus, muslims, and buddhists generally do not celebrate christmas. for example, check out this website [http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=8895], where there is discussion about whether american muslims should celebrate christmas. ironically, the one reason given to celebrate it is that muslims DO believe that jesus was a prophet. whoops! looks like christ could be "the reason for the season" for one muslim out there. but the response from someone else is that, though christmas has become a national holiday, it is still a christian holiday. strike two! and whether or not people of other religious groups see christ as the center of the festivities participated in, with religious connotations, by 80-90% of americans is completely irrelevant. he is.

kc ushijima (who is neither royalty or a good researcher, both of which he claims: "i scoured the transcript--which i found camouflaged in a text link at the bottom of his entry--and located key discrepancies!"), writes:

I'm not a scholar on the Jewish Religion, but to my knowledge, Chanukkah is not about the birth (or even death) of Jesus.

nope. but like the crucifixion, it is meant to counteract his influence. let me quote from judaism 101:

Most American Jews feel a sort of ambivalence about Chanukkah. On the one hand, most of them know that Chanukkah is not a big deal, and they don't want to make a big deal about it. On the other hand, Christmas is everywhere, unavoidable and overwhelming, and Jews want something of their own to counterbalance it. This is the primary motivation behind elaborate Chanukkah decorations and enormous Chanukkah menorahs in public areas: Chanukkah is not very important, but asserting our Jewish identity and distinctiveness and existence in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform to a non-Jewish norm is important. [source]

looks like christmas is the reason for the season--even for jews! and if jesus is the reason for christmas, well...just put together this simple hypothetical syllogism: if jesus then christmas, if christmas then chanukka. therefore if jesus then chanukka. in addition to this perfectly logical argument, chanukka celebrates something to do with the temple, which (LDS know) had EVERYTHING to do with the messiah.

but going back to your statements...

I think that Jewish people may still celebrate Chanukah around the "holiday" season, even if it weren't for the Christian celebration (and market commercialization) of Jesus' birth.

if either yom kippur or rosh hashana (the two biggest jewish holidays) fell on december 25, your argument might be somewhat convincing. too bad they don't. as jewfaq.org admits, chanukka is hyped because of christmas, and christmas is because of jesus.

and i'm still searching online chat rooms for the huge (but SECRET!) hindu holiday that falls in december and that is the cause for so much december revelry among members of that religious sect.

getting back to the real question: what kind of learning have we engendered in our public schools? isn't it odd that our schools (purpose: to educate america's youth) are being asked to disguise or ignore the real story of christmas in the name of the oft-misapplied 'separation of church and state'? it's insane, if you ask me. and i still argue that gorsky's words were retarded--no matter how consistent they have been shown to be with his ludicrous position.

Posted by travis at December 22, 2004 02:23 AM | TrackBack
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