Christmas – A Great Time For American Infighting?

What is this weird insecurity that makes Americans fight about Christmas. You hear it regularly, but only in this country, at this time of year: “The Liberals want to ban Christmas”; “Happy Holidays”; “Christmas is being hijacked from the Christians”; “Liberals hate Christmas”.

I made the mistake of reading the “Madisonville Meteor” recently and came across this article by Katharine DeBrecht. Of course, the “Madisonville Meteor” is a Texas journal so I should have known better, but Ms DeBrecht appeared singularly hate-filled against those fellow humans who dared to question her rigid religious beliefs. The name was not familiar until I read that Ms DeBrecht writes children’s books, her first being entitled: “Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!”. She has three children. I’m glad I was never one of them.

Her opening paragraph for the “Meteor” begins:

“I came across a bumper sticker the other day while Christmas shopping that proudly proclaimed “Jesus was a liberal.” Of course, this gave me great pause. If Jesus was a liberal, you might as well forget Joseph. Jesus would have had two mommies……”

Excuse me?

Here we have a “Christian” mindset at work vividly illustrating the mind-numbing effect of ecclesiastical brainwashing. It would be hilarious, but for the fact that this woman writes books for children and somebody is happy to publish them.

Presumably, Ms DeBrecht’s definition of a “liberal” (she consistently uses the small “L”) is anyone not totally imprisoned in the hate-ridden, dogmatic, religious traditions that pass for some strange notion of Christianity (minus the “Christ” part) in this nation.

Coming as I do from a continent that still manages to integrate some aspects of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into its Christian ideals, rather than reverting to the barbarous, tribally-orientated, mess of often mentally-retarded scribblings that passes for sacred Old Testament scripture, interspersed with a smattering of likely drug-induced fantasy from those who wrote years and years after Jesus’s supposed death, and had no personal contact with him whatever, I find the “American” idea of Christianity incredibly disturbing.

She continues with these gems of wisdom:

“God is for life: Liberals are for the culture of death through euthanasia and abortion.

Brainwashed individuals often ignore the most obvious evidence against their indoctrinations, and Ms DeBrecht is no exception. Here, she fails to accept the “Christian” war in Iraq, perpetrated by a born-again “Christian” and supported by vast numbers of “Christians” throughout America, despite the deaths and suffering of twenty thousand Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Compared to those, the “sin” of mercifully releasing a terminally ill patient wishing to expire with dignity, or the surgical removal of a undeveloped foetus before birth, seem somewhat meagre.

“God is for marriage between one man and one woman: Liberals are for same sex marriage.”

It’s a known fact that brainwashing induces confusion, and here Ms DeBrecht has difficulty differentiating between the words “liberal”, and “gay” or “homosexual”. This is common, particularly among those “Christians” addicted to the Christian Broadcasting Network. Hardly surprising when one considers its founder was baptized Marion, and changed his name to Pat (short for Patricia?).

“God is for faith, liberty, and values: Liberals are for government control and handouts.”

Considering the present Republican government is the most controlling in US history, this makes no sense whatever. But then, very little emanating from what passes for Ms DeBrecht’s mind does, so what’s new?

“God wants us to put Him first: Liberals are for putting themselves first.”

The obvious answer to this comment is simply to quote the parable of the Good Samaritan, but as Ms DeBrecht’s religion conveniently excludes any reference by Jesus of Nazareth to loving and caring for those not necessarily of our creed or nationalty, it would only produce a rather bewildered expression from Ms DeBrecht, probably followed by the rather gutteral ejaculation: “This does not compute!”.

But what has all this to do with Christmas? The title of Ms DeBrecht’s article is “Why liberals loathe Christmas”. She does eventually get around to the subject:

“Christmas represents a religion with a moral code. There are no exceptions for the “if it feels good, do it” liberal crowd. Self-absorption and instant gratification have no room when one centers his or her life around God, and not self.”

And then:

“No one committing immoral behavior wants to be reminded that they are doing just that. Instead they seek to belittle the religion that requires a moral code, and elevate their own self-engineered code. How dare anyone define my morality, I define it the way I want to!”

What Ms DeBrecht is rather forcibly saying here is that Christmas is solely the property of Christians, and anyone else had better shut-up about the subject. In fact, Christmas in its original form, has nothing whatever to do with Christianity but was a pagan festival celebrating the God Mithra, who incidentally is reputed to have been born on December 25th, of a virgin, while shepherds and magicians looked on. The date was conveniently hijacked, along with much other stuff, by the early Christian church during the time when it was busy making up all the ‘facts’ about Jesus it didn’t already know – which was most of it.

Certainly, I would agree with Ms DeBrecht that Christianity is a religion with a moral code, along with Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, and all other religions. Where I disagree with Ms DeBrecht is in her definition of that moral code. All religions, including Christianity, contain the same moral code, defined in the Christian tradition as:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and voice, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

The last two words are equally as important as the rest. No-one can define with accuracy who or what is “the Lord thy God”, but we can certainly define ourselves. Loving ourselves, and others as ourself, is the crux of Christianity and all other religions.

Christmas is a celebration of that Love. As such, it is open to all – “our neighbors, as ourself”. Ms Debrecht would limit those who can enjoy Christmas to the members of her exclusive little American club. She bastardizes the Christian religion and defames the name of Jesus by so doing. She, and those who agree with her views, are politicizing Jesus’ message in the name of Christianity.

The parable of the Good Samaritan defines “our neighbor” as being anyone, anywhere in the world and of any, or no, religion. It demands that the door of Christmas be thrown open to everyone, whatever their creed or nationality. It is a celebration of our Love for ourselves; our Love for others, and our Love for our God, in whatever form that “God” takes.

Methinks Ms DeBrecht needs to learn a little about the wonder of expansive Love.

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“I Wanna Go Simply When I Go……..”

Oh, lay me down in Forest Lawns, they understand there
They have a heavenly choir in the military band there,
Just put me in their care, I’ll find my comfort there,
With sixteen planes in a last salute, they’ll drop a cross in a
parachute.
I wanna go simply when I go,
they’ll give me a simple funeral there I know
With a hundred strolling strings and topless dancers with golden wings,
Oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

The Ballad of Forest Lawns, penned by that master of irony Tom Paxton, and made famous by John Denver, is supposed to mimic the absurdity of overly-lavish funerals and exotic final resting places for the fabulously wealthy. If lifelong religious orator and God-businessman, Billy Graham, gets his way, however, his last resting place will make Forest Lawns look like some old patch of scrub way out in the desert.

It could be argued that God hasn’t been kind to Mister Graham. At eighty-eight, he’s nearly blind and suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Hardly a golden handshake from the Divinity Graham has served for so long, though perhaps all that will change when Billy finally makes it “upstairs”.

Mind, if Billy Graham gets his way, he may prefer to spend eternity “downstairs”. Apparently, he’s approved plans for his burial place to be a theme park. Visitors are to enter through a forty foot high glass cross and be met by a mechanical, talking cow.

Sadly, the Graham family is somewhat split over the proposal. Eldest son, Franklyn, heir to the family business ministry, is said to be enthusiastic, no doubt considering it a great money spinner. Graham’s wife, Ruth, wants nothing to do with the idea and insists she’ll be buried elsewhere.

For the Graham’s, it’s looking like it really will be a case of “till death us do part”.

I wanna go simply when I go.
They’ll give me a simple funeral there I know.
I’ll lie beneath the sand with piped-in tapes of Billy Graham,
oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

Rock of ages cleft for me – for a slightly higher fee.
Oh, take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn.

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