Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Christians Who Stole Christmas

There is paranoia abound lately over Christian fears of secular Atheists' destruction of baby Jesus' manger and "his" holiday of Christmas. Most of these people are like Jerry Falwell, scrapping for headlines and searching for further "proof" of the "war against Christ in America". Of course, he is fat and retarded and has no idea what he is talking about since the conservative religious Republicans hold the White House, the House and the Senate, leaving the liberals little power to "destroy Christmas". People such as Falwell and every Christian blogger from Idaho to Georgia think that Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus and, thus, the start of Christianity, which they assume is the religion to which all Americans belong. As always, they are wrong.

Earliest examples of "Christmas" were practiced as long as 4000 years ago by Babylonians as a celebration of a 12 day New Year festival honoring the god Marduk. Also called Sacaea by the Persians, these celebrations involved holiday feasts, giving gifts, and caroling.

The Roman Pagan celebration of Saturnalia started in the middle of December and lasted until January 1st. This was a celebration of the solstice, marking the Sun's return. The exchange of gifts, decoration of homes with greenery, feasts, and the suspension of private and public business marked this celebration. Once Christianity began to spread throughout the Empire, Pagan and Christian societies began to merge and the prosecution of Christians decreased. During the reign of Constantine (a sun worshiper), Pope Julius I moved Christmas from January 6th (Epiphany) to December 25th, which was the Pagan Deus Sol Invictus, or the birthday of the unconquered Sun god. Sun god. Son of God. Not a huge leap of faith for these early Christians assuming the Latin words for "son" and "sun" sound as similar as they do in English--but really, who speaks Latin? This is where Christmas started to take on some of the traditions and meanings that we see today. Still, these events are not the only things that contribute to Christmas as we know it.

Yule or Yuletide was the Pagan winter solstice celebration which in the Julian calendar was December 25th and Gregorian calendar December 21st. The Scandinavians and Germanic tribes of Northern Europe celebrated this as the return of the sun from the long dark winter nights. Trees were decorated with candles, holly decorated doors, a Yule log was burned, and feasts were prepared along with the sacrifice of a pig, which is where we get the traditional Christmas ham. The mistletoe was used in both Norse and Druid celebrations. Obviously, as Christianity spread in this region, Scandinavian seasonal celebrations merged with the Roman's Pagan/Christian winter solstice holiday. It must also be noted that Odin, the primary figure in Norse mythology, had a hat and a big white beard had a flying 8 legged Horse instead of 8 flying reindeer. Odin at one point also had hung from a tree and had a spear wound not unlike the fate of Jesus.

One other reason that Christmas is not a Christian holiday is that Jesus was not born on December 25th, nor is there really any proof that he was born in Bethlehem in a cold manger. Every Biblical scholar knows that if Jesus was born when "shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night." that this would have to have been between the months of March and November as it would have been too cold for the shepherds to have still been there at night in the cold rainy season. Since we know Jesus was born 6 months after John the Baptist and we know he was born in late March or early April, Jesus had to have been born in late September or early October at the latest.

Christmas has really always been a celebration of winter solstice, it’s just that in our calendar it is 4 days off the mark due to the difference in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Just as they did with the once secular pledge of allegiance and our currency, Christians stole Christmas and made it their own, adding the nativity scene and Jesus' birthday. Somehow, secular Americans are the assholes when we merely try to take the pledge, our dollar bill, or Christmas back to its original incarnation.

My Father is an Atheist, my Mom is a Christian who doesn't believe Christmas is Jesus' birthday, and I am Agnostic. We all welcome Christmas as a time for sharing and togetherness, not the birth of baby Jesus in his manger. What does a Christmas tree have to do with the birth of your savior? What does getting your kid the new X-box have to do with Christianity? Nothing. And you know who else thought this way? The Puritans.

That’s right, about the time they started burning witches, Puritans in New England outlawed the Christmas celebration. Christmas, The Mass of Christ, was considered to be a Catholic holiday which had nothing to do with the actual birth or birth day of Christ so they therefore outlawed the Pagan traditions of decorating trees and caroling. Since they believed that the Christmas celebration and the birth of Christ was completely separate, Christmas was outlawed in Boston from 1659-1681 and the Colleges in New England didn't even start observing Christmas until about 1847. Christmas was not declared a federal holiday until 1870.

For these right wing nut jobs to say that December 25th, and all that is associated with that day, is purely Christian, is ludicrous. So when they say that the secular Christ-haters are trying to destroy Christianity when we call it the holidays and not Christmas, tell them that you think it's ironic that someone who thinks that America was founded by Puritans is so intent on going against Puritan beliefs, which were anti-Christmas. You can also tell them that you find it ironic that the same people who are trying to censor the internet, cable TV, song lyrics and art are offended when someone tries to censor their 1st amendment rights.

No one wants to destroy Christmas, you are paranoid. Who doesn't want a couple of days off work every year to hang out with family and friends to eat, drink, be merry and get presents?We just realize that roughly 23% of the US is not Christian; you cannot simply bully minorities because you outnumber them. We realize that all the traditions of Christmas, except going to mass, are secular. We realize that like the Pledge of Allegiance and US currency it has been adopted by Christianity, not the other way around.

So if some Jews in your town don't want The Night Christ was Born playing at the town hall manger, get over it. Go home and play your own Christmas music; you are free to do so. You wouldn't like it if you were forced to fast for Ramadan would you?

Sources:, History Channel, Wikipedia,, World Wide Church of God ( ,, All about Jesus Christ

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How Not to Get Shot by Air Marshals

CNN's Anderson Cooper, is going to run a segment tonight asking, "could the shooting have been avoided?", yes of course it could have; here is how:

How to avoid being shot by an air marshal:

1. Don't run towards a bunch of air marshals holding guns while screaming that you have a bomb in your bag.

2. If you are a vaguely foreign looking guy with an accent and you are arriving to the US from another country, don't run towards a bunch of air marshals holding guns while screaming that you have a bomb in your bag.

3. Don't say anything about a bomb on a plane.

4. When a guy with a gun tells you to drop your bag, drop your bag.

5. If you have already declared that you have a bomb, don't reach into the aforementioned bag after you have been told to drop it by guys who are pointing guns at you.

6. Don't strap the above mentioned bag to your stomach like a suicide bomber would do if you don't really plan on blowing yourself up.

7. If your husband is the kind of nut who gets erratic and violent, don't put him on a plane without his medication.

8. Don't even get on an international flight until you have purchased your above mentioned medication if that will cause you or your husband freak out and talk about blowing up planes.

9. Don't marry a crazy person.

10. Just drive to Orlando.

Being a nut doesn't mean you get a free pass to do any of these things. I would also like to point out that most people who blow themselves up are indeed crazy. So, his wife saying that he is crazy is even more of a reason to shoot him if he says he has a bomb.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Conservative Capitalism = Corporate Communism

Communism n: A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

Corporate Communism n (my definition): A system in which the corporation plans and controls the government and economy and a few, often authoritarian companies hold the power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are consumed by the people.

Not much difference between the two is there?

After pointing out the inequalities, greed and exploitation by major corporations, I am often told that all these fat cat document shredders are our salvation and any attempt by the federal government to tax or regulate these corporations is Communism. And of course we all know that Communism is evil and Capitalism is near divine in its purest form and that the only problem that arises from capitalism is the regulation and control placed on it by the Socialist federal government. The common consensus is that they wouldn’t be committing crimes if the government just make their offenses legal. Ironically, these are usually the same people who want the government to control every aspect of our private lives whether it be who we can marry, what we say, what we watch on TV and whether or not a woman can decide what happens to her own body, but as soon as they try to regulate commerce, business and industry they again say it is Satan's version of Communism. Of course there are exceptions. When ADM, GE or Exxon receives federal subsidies, that is pro-capitalism. But, when individuals are allowed to receive federal subsidies for doing nothing, that is merely Socialism.

But I was thinking about Capitalism, freedom and Communism and how they all relate to each other and what the differences between them are. Communism as we know is against private ownership, and is built around the state owning production and controlling the media. So what is the difference between the state owning production and production owning the state? If we lived in a country where there was no regulation of business and we ended up with one oil company, one retailer, one phone company, one insurance company, one health plan, one gas company, one electric company, one media conglomerate and one auto maker, and those companies were so powerful that they got all of our politicians and leaders elected wouldn't that essentially be Communism, especially, if these companies put their own guys in office?

We all know that, due to mergers and acquisitions, that there are now only 3 major oil companies operating in the United States so they are a virtual monopoly. We also know that our President and most of our Republican leadership is supported by oil money. How is that different from Russia having one oil company that was controlled by the state since our oil companies essentially control the state? Companies such as Wal-Mart are clearly against private ownership and competition and has worked with local governments to displace independent owned businesses that operated on private land in order to set up shop and then had the very tax payers they evicted pay for the destruction of their property to make way for a Wal-Mart. How is Wal-Mart any different from Stalin when he revoked private land ownership from the peasants in Russia, forcing them to work the land they once owned? These people and Wal-Mart alike are both anti-union and anti-private entrepreneur, as is Communism. How is that a free society? How are those people any more free than those peasants Stalin evicted from their own land? How is that not Communism in its purest form, other than the fact that the state is now owned by production instead of the other way around? Do you really think that once all of Wal-Mart's competition has been snubbed out that they are going to keep their prices low?

So, I would like to just point out that pure capitalism and zero regulation of commerce by the government eventually leads to a government controlled by these monopolies leaving the consumer with no choices and no way of protesting with their wallet if one company is allowed to set the price for everything we buy. In other words, only they win. At least Communism in theory was power to the people; in corporate communism the people will have no power and no freedom to choose. After all, if I can't be trusted to decide what I want to listen to on the radio or watch on TV then can we really trust a hospital or insurance company to do what's best for the patient or an oil company to do what is best for the environment.

Maybe I am overreacting, even the early Christians were Communists:

ACTS 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.