A Very Merry War on Christmas

What a typical Jewish man born 2000 years ago looked like.
What a typical Jewish man born 2000 years ago looked like.

"Jesus was a white man."

Before Megyn Kelly said that Santa Claus and Jesus were both white on Fox News, I had already been pondering the Christmas season and the so-called war on Christmas. Telling someone “Happy Holidays” is not a way to destroy Christmas, it is a way to include those who celebrate other holidays at this time of year. The term Happy Holidays is really just a good marketing strategy. If Macy’s wishes customers “Happy Holidays,” is that really offensive to a Christian? Macy’s, and other retailers, are just trying not to exclude any possible shoppers by wishing Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other customer who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, a “Merry Christmas.” The less people they exclude the more possible customers they include. Do Christians really want their non-Christian neighbors to be excluded or forced to accept Christmas?

Something that is just as ridiculous as Christians getting bent out of shape about Happy Holidays is non-Christians being offended by Christmas. As an atheist Christmas isn’t even mildly offensive. The idea that it is Jesus’ birthday is just as amusing to me as the belief that reindeer can fly. Anyone who is a student of history or even social studies should know that December 25th was a pagan holiday that the Catholic Church adopted as the birthday of Jesus.

The Catholic Church decided that incorporating the festivals of the cultures they encountered as they spread Christianity throughout the world was the best way to help the new converts accept Christianity. They did the same thing with Easter and Halloween. If you assume Jesus was crucified in the spring at the age of 33 ½ years old, then what time of year was he born? I’ll let you do the math.

To me, celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas is just another silly tradition. I view it no differently than the legend of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is not offensive to me, so why should Jesus be offensive? I do not believe that either of them are real, currently existing beings, and I am not so insecure as to be offended by people believing that either one of them are real, currently existing people.

As to the whole war on Christmas, I think that the people who are currently yelling “War on Christmas” are insecure and petty. Is it really a war on a once pagan holiday to have to include other cultures? Some Christians were outraged when the State of Florida was forced to uphold the constitution and allow an atheist to put up a Festivus pole next to the nativity scene at the Florida Capitol building. Why is it offensive to Christians that a non-Christian symbol is placed next to their Christian symbol? Is it offensive to see a symbol of something they do not agree with? What about all the Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists who have to look at a symbol of the Christian faith? Are they angry about having to put up with such an incredibly popular, Christian claimed, holiday for hundreds of years? I don’t see crowds of people protesting the celebration of Christmas. Maybe it is simply that the so-called Christian holiday has never been challenged until recent years, and some Christians are just resistant to sharing December with other people who don’t share their beliefs?

The fact is that, according the constitution, it is unlawful for the government to endorse any religion. Putting up a nativity scene on government owned land (public property) is definitely an endorsement unless other religious or non-religious symbols are allowed as well. The government has to remain impartial to all religions by law, so either they allow anything to be displayed or they allow nothing to be displayed. Which is better? Is including everyone really that horrible?

I do not believe that these very loud Christians who are crying about a fictional war on Christmas represent all of Christianity. I have many Christian friends who know that it isn’t a war on Christmas it is a fight for equality for everyone. I know many Christians who are completely unintimidated by retailers wishing their customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” I know plenty of Christians who know how biblically inaccurate a nativity scene with the three wise men is. It is a real shame that these very reasonable Christians don’t have a louder voice. Instead we hear the shouts of “War on Christmas” and “Jesus was white.”

Jesus was white? How insecure do you have to be to believe that a Jewish man born two thousand years ago had to be white? The man who is the basis for Santa Claus was not exactly white either. The legend of Santa Claus is based on a 4th century Greek man known as Nikolaos of Myra. Greek people are not exactly white, but like Jewish people are swarthy people.

It seems to me that these far right Christians are willing to accept all kinds of ridiculous inaccuracies as long as nothing changes and no one challenges their world view. They are willing to celebrate the birth of Jesus in December even though that is biblically inaccurate. They insist on having the three wise men in the nativity scene even though that is biblically inaccurate. Now they are insisting that Jesus was white even though Jews born two thousand years ago were very dark skinned? I really hope that the viewers of Fox News do not buy all of this. Don’t get defensive about a holiday that is not really a Christian holiday, and stop acting like you are being persecuted when other groups ask to be treated equally. Christmas is solidly cemented in western culture; no one is going to be able to make it go away by wishing everyone “Happy Holidays.” Acting like Christians are being persecuted when someone wants to show a secular symbol next to a religious symbol is petty, and it is damaging their credibility. Now everyone go out there and have a Merry Christmas or whatever other holiday you want to celebrate.

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