Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Phony War on Xmas

It just won't go away, will it? I'm referring, of course, to that hoary old conspiracy theory about the so-called 'War on Christmas' trotted out every December. This year there's been a worrying development, namely that the God Squad have decided to get involved and are clearly trying to use this nonsense as some kind of anti-secularist rallying call. I had the misfortune, last night, to listen to part of a 'debate' on Radio Five Live which was so unbalanced (one secularist and a whole lynch mob of ignorant bigots) it was probably in breach of the BBC's charter. Once again, all the old, completely unsubstantiated, stories about local authorities 'banning' Christmas and replacing it with 'Winterval', 'Winterfest', 'Luminos', etc, on grounds of 'political correctness' were trotted out as 'proof' of an anti-Christmas conspiracy by someone (presumably wicked secularists, although, when pressed, none of the bigots could actual name any individual or body which was actually decreeing that Christmas couldn't be celebrated) .

Undeterred by his inability to produce any evidence to back up his demented rantings, the chief bigot, some pillock representing those Sons of Fun the Methodists, then proceeded to go off on a tirade about the 'true meaning' of Christmas as a Christian festival. Apparently it is this aspect which frightens us non-religious types and makes us insecure, jealous, or something. Anyway, he basically called upon all the pro-Christmas types, all religions, to strike back at the evil unbelievers who are trying to undermine Christmas. In other words, he and his ilk see this phony 'War on Christmas' as an opportunity to try and recruit for their increasingly unpopular religions. Not surprisingly, the lone secularist, who had nothing against Christmas, was shouted down and abused as he tried to point out that none of the 'political correctness' claims had any foundation in fact. The lowest point came when some, clearly demented, caller to the programme demanded to know whether said secularist was going to be behind his desk on Christmas Day as he clearly hated the festival. "Oh no, you want the benefits, when they suit you, don't you?" ranted the old git, who sounded like the sort who thinks that it is 'political correctness gone mad' that he isn't allowed to call black people 'darkies' any more. Sadly, the secularist didn't counter by asking whether this dick head was a trade unionist, and if not, was he going to work as normal on May Day?

Before going any further, let's just get some things straight. No council in Britain has ever banned Christmas, or re-branded it. The infamous 'Winterval' was simply a marketing exercise used in the West Midlands to try and make Birmingham seem more attractive during the bleak Winter months. They still had Christmas, along with all of its lights, trees, carol concerts, etc. 'Luminos' was something similar in another local authority. One of the more ludicrous claims made to try and 'prove' that Christmas is being secularised is the supposedly increased use of the term 'Season's Greetings' in Christmas cards. Now, as long as I can remember, this phrase has been used - and rightly so. The festive season (another allegedly secular term) encompasses not just Christmas itself, but also New Year, which, to the best of my knowledge, is not, and has never been, a Christian religious festival. Most interestingly, the Methodist idiot on the radio was forced to admit that the Christians had actually co-opted a pagan festival (he claimed it was Roman, but it goes back much further than that), to create what they call Christmas, and that there is no proof that Jesus was born in December. Now, as they were the ones who originally 're-branded' someone else's festival, I really don't see where the God Squad get off in complaining about other people supposedly doing the same thing.

The truth is that what we call 'Christmas' is simply a set of traditions, some Christian, but mostly pagan (Father Christmas, far from being St Nicholas, is an ancient pagan figure. Christmas trees, mistletoe, even Christmas lights - to ward off the dark of midwinter - are of similar origin), and people tend to pick and choose which ones to observe. The sad fact for the God Squad is that as their religions seem increasingly irrelevant to people today, so that part of the celebration is pushed further into the background. Tough titty, boys. What really gets my goat about this whole business, is the way that the religious freaks try to make the secularists out to be some kind of anti-Christmas Taliban, issuing decrees to people prescribing how they should celebrate Christmas. The reality is that it is the God Squad who are the fundamentalists, busily demanding that we only celebrate this stolen festival according to their rules. The fact is that, contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually anti-Christmas as such. I just get pissed off with the excesses it involves and the way it gets shoved in my face every year. However, after hearing that 'debate' last night, I'm going to declare war on Christmas myself! I'm going out now to burn down a few Christmas trees, wreck the lights in my town centre and piss on the nativity scene in my local church. Oh, and I'll probably beat up a few vicars - but then I often do that anyway. Bastards!

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