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Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 Days before Christmas, an introduction: On why the U.S. loves war

Many friends of mine would say that the U.S. is a bully that loves to intervene in others’ businesses, creating havoc for its own gain. Not me. I always saw the U.S. as a great country that, even though it has some defects, has done a lot for the world. But on the later years, I have to admit that war has been a huge, not just great, part of the “American culture”: The War in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the war on terror, the culture war, the war on drugs…

And now, many “Americans”, especially those who love to brag about being “American” with their flag jackets, bumper stickers, buttons and “I’m proud of being an American” attitude, come out with another war: The War on Christmas.

According to the opponents of this so-called war (usually the conservative media and religious right), the war on Christmas are the actions taken by the non-religious to put aside Christmas from its place in the American culture. Some of these actions are the use of “happy holidays” greeting instead of “merry Christmas”, the banning of Christian displays in public property during December, the avoidance of the word “Christmas” by some stores, etc.

How is it that making the holiday season more inclusive to all of those who do not celebrate Christmas (not just non-believers) is a “war against Christmas”? Isn’t the United States proud of receiving people from all around the world an being able to assimilate them like no other country in the world? Yet the message that we get from those who complain about this “war” is “welcome, but you better behave like us, believe what we believe and forget about whatever you were before”. This sounds more like some third-world ultra-nationalistic banana republic that fears anything that comes from outside. On the other hand, that sounds pretty much like the mentality of the conservative media and the religious right.

Actually, if we get technical and check up the history of the celebration, we will find out that Christmas has its roots on a pagan holiday, and certainly not in anyone's birthday, or at least not only Jesus'. But that is too politically incorrect and would have these nutjobs crying discrimination and more war against Christmas. So, let's wait some more years.

I do not mind saying “Merry Christmas”. It comes naturally for me. I have to think before saying “Happy holidays”, or the atheist favorite “Happy Winter Solstice”. “Merry Christmas” comes naturally”. But I’ll do the effort and say “Happy Holidays”, just to remind others that Christmas is not the only holiday being celebrated, and that not everyone celebrates anything at all. I don’t mind setting up a tree and decorating it, I don’t mind eating turkey, I don’t mind listening to Christmas carols (as long as it’s not the whole day). I might mind having to set up a nativity scene, but as long as it’s done by others, that’s ok.

By the way, more about the beginning of the “War on Christmas” can be read on the Huffington Post.

With this thought in mind, I open the “12 days before Christmas”. For the next 12 days there will be a daily entry about the “wonderful” things that Jesus’ followers give us. Bigotry, discrimination, hatred, nonsense, pseudo-science and hypocrisy are expected. Enjoy them.

Oh, and to get you in the mood for this season, I present you with a video of how tolerant is a mother when her son comes out as an atheist:

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Blasfema libremente

"Que esté permitido a cada uno pensar como quiera; pero que nunca le esté permitido perjudicar por su manera de pensar" Barón D'Holbach
"Let everyone be permitted to think as he pleases; but never let him be permitted to injure others for their manner of thinking" Barón D'Holbach