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The ‘War on Christmas’ reaches New Braunfels, Texas

NOW that the End of the World is done and dusted (till the next apocalyptic panic strikes) we can get on with more important things, such as pointing and laughing at those fools who want us all to believe that “bah-humbug” atheists are intensifying their “The War of Christmas”.

Latest among these are the Knights of Columbus, who are outraged that a utility company in New Braunfels, Texas removed two giant ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ banners that had been fixed to the company’s fence by the Catholic organisation a few weeks back,

Banner

But New Braunfels Utilities then had second thoughts. A spokesperson for the company said it was a “mistake” and the signs have since been removed.

Said Gretchen Reuwer, the utility’s communications manager:

Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the message, NBU is a municipal utility and cannot lawfully display a religious message.

She said their policy does not allow any signs or banners promoting a specific religious message.

While one message may be strong supported by many in the community, the next message may prove to be just as strongly offensive.

Reuwer told Fox News they do allow non-profit groups to hang banners – but it’s only for fundraising events and to promote religion.

We made an error in accepting the banner. It was a simple human error – and to compound it – it was also a banner with a message that was specifically religious.war-on-christmas

Joe Hernandez, of the Knights of Columbus, was outraged:

The bottom line is Christ is the reason for the Christmas season. He’s the reason for the special holiday – his birthday.

Hernandez, and other members of the Knights of Columbus, said they want to know who complained – and why they took issue with the banner.

All we were doing was voicing our opinion – that Christ should be kept in Christmas.

Hernandez added that  it’s not surprising that the war on Christmas has come to their Texas town.

It’s not a war on Christmas. I think it’s a war on Christ – period.

Earlier this month, the New York Times pointed out that the War on Christmas is an American tradition that stretches back further than most people imagine – and it was started by “Puritans who considered the destruction of Christmas necessary to the construction of their godly society” and not, as many on the religious right insist, by atheist grinches.

It said:

In the early 17th century in England, the Christmas season was not so different from what it is today: churches and other buildings were decorated with holly and ivy, gifts were exchanged and charity was distributed among the poor.

Also much as it is today, it was a period of carousing and merriment. The weeks around Christmas were celebrated with feasting, drinking, singing and games. Mummers would blacken their faces and dress up in costumes, often in the clothes of the opposite sex, to perform plays in the streets or in homes. Carolers, too, would sing door to door as well as in the home. Wealthy lords threw open their manors, inviting local peasants and villagers inside to gorge on food and drink. Groups of young men called wassailers would march in and demand to be feasted or given gifts of money in exchange for their good wishes and songs.

Puritans detested these sorts of activities, grumbling that Christmas was observed with more revelry than piety. Worse, they contended that there was no Scriptural warrant for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Puritans argued (not incorrectly) that Christmas represented nothing more than a thin Christian veneer slapped on a pagan celebration. Believing in the holiday was superstitious at best, heretical at worst.

It added:

When the Puritans rebelled against King Charles I, inciting the English Revolution, the popular celebration of Christmas was on their hit list. Victorious against the king, in 1647, the Puritan government actually canceled Christmas. Not only were traditional expressions of merriment strictly forbidden, but shops were also ordered to stay open, churches were shut down and ministers arrested for preaching on Christmas Day.

The Puritans who came to America naturally shared these sentiments. As the Massachusetts minister Increase Mather explained in 1687, Christmas was observed on Decemebr 25 not because ‘Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian’ ones. So naturally, official suppression of Christmas was foundational to the godly colonies in New England.

And it concluded:

So the next time someone maintains that they are defending traditional American values by denouncing the War on Christmas, remind them of our 17th-century Puritan forefathers who refused to condone any celebration or even observance of the holiday. In America, our oldest Christmas tradition is, in fact, the War on Christmas.

There was also an entertaining “War on Christmas” piece in the Guardian earlier this month.

Hat Tip: BarrieJohn (Guardian piece)

 

18 Responses to “The ‘War on Christmas’ reaches New Braunfels, Texas”

  1. The Woggler says:

    I could barely get into work this morning with the streets being full of dead Christians who had literally had the Christmas ripped out of them.

  2. Ivan says:

    Meanwhile, here in Blighty, retailers have been righteously accused of “airbrushing” Christianity out of Christmas after god-bothering market researchers found just over one per cent of cards feature the birth of the ickle baby Jesus:

    http://goo.gl/KAzBF

    Damn those robins and snowmen.

  3. The Woggler says:

    Reminds me of this quote from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as delivered by Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham.

    “That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.”

  4. Matt Westwood says:

    “Joe Hernandez, of the Knights of Columbus, was outraged ….”

    So hang your stupid banner on your own bloody fence, shitwit …

  5. Stonyground says:

    @Ivan
    I followed your link and was amazed at the utter stupidity of the various Christian vested interests. They wibble on about Christianity and Baby Jesus being so important to everyone, but to the vast majority, it simply isn’t the case. Isn’t it totally obvious that retailers don’t stock many nativity based cards because not many people want to buy them? Everywhere that I looked, where cards are being sold, there are a small number of religious cards available, so they can buy them if they wish.

    Why can’t Christians celebrate Christmas in their own way, and leave everyone else alone to celebrate Yule, the Solstice or a secular Christmas?

  6. JamesB says:

    A suitable compromise would be to replace the banner with the words of Jeremiah 10:2-4

    Merry whatever to all freethinkers.

    ps: Anyone want to buy 8,000 tins of spaghetti?

  7. JohnMWhite says:

    Municipal Utility: “Sorry, we can’t hang this up because we’re a municipal utility, it would be against the law.”
    KoC: “Christ is the reason for Christmas!”
    Municipal Utility: “Um, yes, probably, but it’s still against the law for us to display this.”
    KoC: “It’s Jesus’ birthday!”
    Municipal Utility: “Technically no, but regardless we cannot put religious messages on our property.”
    KoC: “You hate Jesus! This means war!”

    That is essentially the conversation that appears to have happened. A good number of Christians are absolutely infantile. It’s pathetic. They have got to learn that a community means more than letting Christians do and say everything they want in any space ever.

  8. Matt Westwood says:

    “Anyone want to buy 8,000 tins of spaghetti?”

    Love to, one at a time, perhaps one every few days … have you been touched by His Noodly Appendage too? Ramen!

  9. Stonyground says:

    To save everyone the trouble of looking it up:

    Thus says the Lord:
    “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are false. A tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. Men deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move…”

    Jeremiah Ch. 10 Vs. 2-4

    Surely tinned spaghetti must be heretical in some way? As someone who has his own, highly regarded Bolognese recipe, and hence the authority vested in me by the FSM himself, I hereby excommunicate the tinned spaghetti worshippers.

  10. Matt Westwood says:

    @Stonyground: Bah. You fundamentalists. Rings to you. Alphabetti off.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    “All we were doing was voicing our opinion – that Christ should be kept in Christmas.”
    Erm… no you weren’t. You were using company property as free advertising space to promote your incredibly stupid ideology and to try and intimidate your local community into toeing the religiot line.

    “It’s not a war on Christmas. I think it’s a war on Christ – period.”
    Spot on! We’re coming for you. The days of your idiotic religion are numbered. Howl all you want, we are going to make your iron-age mysticism utterly redundant.

    Ooops, nearly forgot. Happy winter solstice.

  12. Robster says:

    Perhaps it’s a war on nonsense. The godbots love selling the baby jesus story and all the attached dogmatic nonsense and that’s the problem. It’s all so silly and irrelevent.

  13. barriejohn says:

    A few years old now, but sad and funny at the same time:

    http://youtu.be/cXDX966pnRU

  14. Sabbag says:

    The problem is, if Christians actually sat down and thought this through instead of just gobbing off, they would realise that Christ has very little to do with Christmas….the date, the concept of a redeeming birth, the feasting, exchange of gifts, use of evergreens for decoration…. All come from alternative traditions. Early Christians didn’t even celebrate Christmas. If anything, there should be a campaign from disgruntled pagans for the restoration of their Saturnalia / winter solstice festival so blatantly hijacked.

  15. Matt Westwood says:

    “If anything, there should be a campaign from disgruntled pagans for the restoration of their Saturnalia / winter solstice festival so blatantly hijacked.”

    Most of us celebrated a cool yule yesterday on the Solstice. But we’ll go along with the traditional thing with the inlaws, they do prepare a lovely turkey. Oh, and we’ll do it again next weekend too because as my wife rejoices in being part Scots we’ll make a big song and dance over New Year.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Sabbag: For centuries, Easter was the main Christian festival, for obvious reasons. It was only when the “ungodly” saw that there was a quick buck to be made that Christmas suddenly achieved such prominence!

  17. barriejohn says:

    There’s loads here:

    http://www.ccg.org/english/s/p235.html

  18. Matt Westwood says:

    @barriejohn: aren’t they all so joyless and serious? I get down on my knees every day and thank the Lord our God that I’m an atheist. Okay, I’m a pagan atheist, but I’m still an atheist, yeah?