Switters’ Blog

The War To End All Wars

Posted by switters on December 16, 2006

Religious persecution is nothing new.
The enslavement of the Jews in ancient Egypt; the Crusades; the Spanish Inquisition; the jailing of Puritan ministers that prompted nearly their entire community to leave their homeland and venture across the Atlantic; the holocaust; and the daily misery inflicted on those practicing “Western” faiths in middle eastern theocracies.

But all of that compares to the unspeakable horrors occurring in contemporary America: Today, Christians must endure the agony of seeing plastic replicas of Mary and Jesus cast out of town squares. They must suffer as their ears are assaulted with those blistering, harsh, and cruel words: “seasons greetings.” They must somehow try to stay connected to their faith when they are only reminded of Christmas 39 times a day versus the nearly infinite number some require. And most dreadful of all, they must endure the terror of listening to their schoolkids butchering Jingle Bells rather than mauling Silent Night. How can a merciful god permit such atrocities?

I jest of course, but it’s hard to say if the hullabaloo over the so called war on Christmas is comedy or tragedy.

Around 20 years ago, Christian groups, horrified by corporate usurping of the holiday, intensified the push to “keep Christ in Christmas.” The goal was to remind Christians of what Christmas is really about: not shopping and sales, not lights and ornaments, not gifts and parties, not stress and pressure but a celebration of the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus. Perhaps the notion started to gain too much traction for the likes of our corporate masters or maybe the purest messages are just destined to be outflanked by commercial interests, but it seems the marketers and merchandisers have had the last word.

You rarely hear “keep Christ in Christmas,” and when you do, it’s presented in the context of the “War on Christmas” – focusing not on the true meaning of the holiday but on the use of its most superficial and meaningless symbols. Manufactured wars are always a great method for inciting and manipulating the populace, and this has been one of the most successful ever. Because now, rather than working to preserve the spirit and meaning of the holiday, the blind faithful have been tricked into arguing vehemently in favor of the increased commercialization of Christmas. Please, they say, don’t speak generically about the “holiday season” and thus include everyone. No, we WANT YOU to take one of the most sacred days on our calendar and use it sell more useless junk, to promote mindless consumerism, to warp and twist the meaning of this holiday.

Is there really a soul in this country so naive as to believe that the sign in your local retail giant saying “Merry Christmas” contains one iota more religiosity than the one that reads “mega-bargain blowout”? Is there really anyone so gullible as to think that Bill O’Reilly is motivated by Christian duty rather than ratings?

Wal-Mart is once again giving its employees the green light to say “merry Christmas,” and this is supposed to be a victory. Well it is a victory, but not for the church. It is a victory for market research and focus groups; for P.R. firms and ad campaigns; for consumerism and greed.  Wal-Mart’s decisions are based solely on what will increase it’s bottom line, not what will increase the amount of divinity and piety on Earth.

Devout Christians who don’t want to be hypocrites should not criticize retailers for eschewing the word Christmas in favor of more generic terms. They should thank these marketers for not corrupting that which should be holy and for exemplifying the spirit of the holiday which is to be inclusive and loving.

I don’t wish you all a Merry Christmas, because that would be inane. I wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a Merry one, those who celebrate Chanukkah a  happy one, those who celebrate Kwanza (I’m sure there’s at least one or two people who do) a happy one of those, and finally, for those who don’t practice any religion, I wish you a joyful and festive season.


5 Responses to “The War To End All Wars”

  1. dakeeper said

    Lol- never mind all that crap- what about my damn thread being hijacked???

    I love Christmas- the whole package- the Nativity, the Santa dream, the carols, the shit people bake to bring to your house, the liquor, the presents, the Rankin Bass shows, the cards, the decorations and lights, all that stuff.

    I’ll even be working and I still look forward to xmas eve and xmas day. It’s a happy holiday- why do some people get all gassed up over it?

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m gonna have a good one…..

  2. Ahh, Rankin Bass shows. Don’t even get me started about how VCRs and DVDs ruin it for our kids – I remember the anticipation of waiting for the night that Rudolph was going to be on – it was almost as big as the freakin’ holiday itself. (and let’s not forget A Charlie Brown Christmas). Now they can just pop the damn DVD in any ol’ time they want – that is if they’re not too busy blowing away mutant elves in “North Pole Armageddon” for X-Box.

  3. dakeeper said

    First of all, I am a gamer- I’ve been so for a long time. I love my games. Call it a hobby. I do those heavy pc games with dudes all over the country.

    Anyway, my problem with these xmas shows is they put them on way too late- and then they butcher them with commercials. It’s much more convenient to put a dvd or vhs on where they can just watch it without all the damn commercials.

    I mean, who wants kids to stay up til 2100 to watch tv?

  4. I’m right there with you about the commercials – the more I advertising I see the less I want to buy. But back when I was young (make that when WE were young, Mr. 41/M/South Sayville), the shows were on at 8 and there were fewer minutes of commerical time.

  5. dakeeper said

    lol- did you like that a/s/l reply? I thought that was kinda funny…..

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