War on Christmas?
By Raymond Freeman 12/12/2013
Every year, conservatives assure us that The World Will End because there’s a War on Christmas. Facts are trotted out as proof. They’re hilarious.
Horror of horrors: Last year parents complained about students leaving school to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Rightly so: Children go to school to be educated, not entertained. Panic time: A publicly-funded high school couldn’t have a “Christmas concert.” Rightly so: Neither could it have had a “Moses concert” (Jewish) or a “Mohammed concert” (Muslim). And there was a flap about a Christmas tree in an apartment building being banned. The property management company confirmed the story was entirely false and the newspaper ran a correction.
But why are trees to be called “holiday trees?” German immigrants brought the custom here. They called them “Christmas trees.” What’s wrong with that, exactly? The sending of cards originated in Britain with penny postage stamps. The Post Office called them “Christmas cards.” What’s wrong with that, exactly? Conservatives have a point about the political correctness surrounding Christmas, and certainly its commercialization. If people have a reasonable point, agree with them.
Mind you, this doesn’t apply to conservatives. They’re always right. These self-appointed guardians of our values can’t stop their hypocrisy from showing. This greater point is getting drowned out by the Right Wing noise machine.
If you read the Bible, you’ll find that the human weakness most despised by Christ was hypocrisy. He detested the Pharisees (“serpents,” “whited sepulchers”). So why don’t our pious conservative heroes start a War on Hypocrisy? It’s obvious. They’re the biggest hypocrites going. Charles Dickens was revolted by the hypocrisy in Victorian England and wrote A Christmas Carol in just a few days. That hypocrisy is still with us.
For years we’ve been hearing from the Right that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” and how we should let “Christian values” guide our policies. Yet when the head of the largest Christian church, going right back to Christ, says that our economic system should be based on Christ’s teachings, and that we should help the poor, conservatives scream bloody murder (though Sarah Palin later apologized).
Pope Francis wrote in a formal communication of doctrine to the entire Roman Catholic Church: “We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.” He pointed out that “the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially,” increasing “the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.”
And he particularly condemned right-wing “trickle-down theories” and “ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace.” This is absolutely scathing. The new pope has started a long-overdue War on Greed. He’s condemning the selfish values cherished by conservatives, such as:
• paying workers starvation wages so they need welfare to survive,
• not giving exhausted workers overtime pay,
• making them work “off the clock” for free,
• ruthlessly firing them if they complain about wage theft,
• stopping them forming unions to get decent wages and conditions,
• obstructing affordable health care for their families,
• ruthlessly cutting their children’s school funding,
• making sure that hugely profitable corporations pay miniscule taxes,
• dreaming up new corporate tax loopholes in the “idolatry of money,”
• making sure the super-rich pay super-low taxes,
• paying super-rich pastors to live in multiple mansions and fly in private jets.
Christ reached out to the poor and preached the Parable of the Good Samaritan. By their actions, which speak more loudly than their piety, conservatives make a mockery of Christ.
Poverty-stricken women are special targets. Conservatives delight in making their lives more difficult. That’s why the Red states try to pass laws stating that life begins at conception, thus outlawing contraception. But this bigotry was too much even for the people of Mississippi. They voted the measure down by a convincing majority.
This bigotry costs big money. The Guttmacher Institute (guttmacher.org/pubs/public-costs-of-UP.pdf) found that unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers $12.5 billion in 2008. And this bigotry has reached the Supreme Court. It will soon rule on the right of a corporation to assert its very own freedom of religion as to women’s health insurance, denying them contraception. This is Hobby Lobby, which imports most of its merchandise, made by viciously exploited workers in China. China has the most restrictive family planning policy on the planet. Greed? Hypocrisy? Nah, couldn’t be.
The War on Christmas is to distract you from the real issue. Hell will freeze before our fine conservatives stop their War on Christianity and start a War on Greed and a War on Hypocrisy.