Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Civil War!

Civil War - noun:
a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

I know it's just semantics but isn't this the state of Iraq? I know he doesn't read but how long will it take before Bush and Fox News admits that Iraq is in a state of civil war?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Christians Who Stole Christmas Redux

This is mostly a repost from last year:

With the Jew who stole Christmas controversy heavy on the minds of the weary travelers at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and the Democrats taking control of the House and the Senate there is likely to be a renewed fear that the Liberals want kill the baby Jesus and destroy Christmas. Because killing a holiday on which the economy is dependent and getting this holiday off our work calendar is at the top of the list of every card carrying member of the ACLU. Christians, as it turns out, have typically been their own worst enemies when it comes to destroying religious holidays. They turned All Holy Eve into Halloween and Candlemas into Groundhogs Day. The point is Christmas, and most of its traditions, were never really Christian to begin with.

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 Playstation 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. Other "religious" holidays destroyed not by liberals and Barbara Boxer but by Protestants include: All Holy Eve (Oct 31st), Candlemas (Feb 2nd), Michaelmas (Sept. 29th) and Childermas (Dec 28th).
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 and or pagan. 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, Renewamerica

Monday, December 11, 2006

Homosexuality is a Sin...If you are an Orthodox Jew

This will be the second chain letter I am posting on my site. This one is right along the lines with what I have always argued when it comes to people picking and choosing which part of the Bible they are going to take literally and which parts they are going to ignore. The people who beat queers and speak out against gay marriage say that they are against it only because of God. They say, since it's addressed in the Bible, it's God's law. The first problem with that is obviously we don't live in the United States of God nor do we live in the United States of Jesus so their laws really don't apply to a secular nation with its own form of government and laws. We do not live in a fascist religious state such as Iran or Saudi Arabia. Anyway, the only parts of the Bible which refers to homosexuality are in the Old Testament (Including the affair between David and Jonathan). Christians do not go to Church on Saturdays and they don't follow many other old laws that were addressed in the Old Testament; they are Christians and follow the teachings of Christ who brought the new laws and taught Christianity in the texts of the New Testament. The New Testament is the book which Christianity is founded upon.

Anyway, although I have made many of these points in the past it's nice to see that I am not the only person in this country who has actually read the Bible and can think for myself. If you are a Christian and think you are doing God's work when attacking homosexuality, you need to read this letter. So, here is the chain letter as I received it:

Dr. Laura and Leviticus

Laura Schlesinger is a US radio personality, who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. She recently said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination, according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura which was posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.

Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,
Homer Simpson-Caldwell