Seems up here in the dark, rainy Pacific Northwest, we had a little stink on our hands that’s made national news, especially among those phony “War On Christmas” types who can never keep their facts, or religions, straight.
You see, over at Sea-Tac International Hyphenated Airport, they put up the usual, you know, Christmas trees. And some rabbi threatened to sue if they didn’t also put up a display of a Menorah to commemorate Hanukkah. Just like they put up at the City of Seattle and any number of other government-owned properties in the region. So what did the Hyphenated Airport brain trust do? Against the pleadings of the rabbi and his lawyer, the airport took the trees down instead.
And then, if you’ll pardon the Satanic reference, all Hell broke loose. That includes Bill O’Reilly, pronged tail and all.
The upshot now is that the airport has redecked its halls with trees, the rabbi says the whole thing has been blown way out of proportion (and he won’t sue), and some panel will meet — after the holidays, naturally –- to discussion among themselves how to be more inclusive.
And the Hell of it is (there’s that word again), the Christmas tree is not a Christian symbol. It predates the birth of Christ by a couple thousand years. As does the yule log, mistletoe, gift giving, the works. That whole just-after-the-longest-night rebirth of life thing. I’m even betting the fat guy with the reindeer and sleigh didn’t come from old Judea, either.
Most of what we know as Christmas, in other words, originated with the pagans (and, in some cases, the Romans), and was appropriated by Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ at the one time of year He couldn’t possibly have been born. The Bible is imprecise on this point, but we do know the shepherds were out tending their flocks — which doesn’t happen in the dead of winter. Desert winter nights are cc-c-o-l-d.
So, speaking on behalf of all Neo-Pagan and Wiccan types out there, perhaps I should threaten to sue Sea-Tac to include our religion, too –- but that’s no good, because they’re already using our symbol! Christians attacked us! (And isn’t that the way of the world?) More precisely, Christians attacked Christmas. But they were just the first of a long list.
Yeah, Christians have attacked Christmas. So have capitalist greed, insane consumerism, and the seeming lack of familiarity of many Christians with the basic tenets of their namesake, aka The Prince of Peace. Don’t believe me? Try combining, with a straight face, Bill O’Reilly’s name with any of the following phrases: Forgiveness. Turning the Other Cheek. The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. Go ahead. I double-dare you. Lose and you have to watch his show, and vice versa: if you have to watch his show, you lose.
Or, as Gandhi said, “The only people in the world who don’t know Christ was a pacifist are Christians.”
(I should add that some of my best friends are Christians, and the ones I know that do try to follow their faith are wonderful, inspiring people. And, in my experience, a minority.)
And so we get tempests in treepots like this year’s airport fiasco. The reports are already swirling wildly that the rabbi demanded the trees be removed (he didn’t), that the Jews and the godless secularists at the ACLU are in cahoots (we should be so lucky), and that the liberals in Hollywood, hearing the word “war,” are scouting for a movie treatment (probably true). This preposterous nonsense is sort of like the run-up to the Iraq War, and, oddly enough, is being propagated by many of the same people. It’s fiction, based sorta loosely on what might once have been a fact, being harnessed in the service of a preordained and flatly ridiculous conclusion.
It’s a bunch of rich white guys, the folks screwing 90% of America, trying to create a fake controversy so they can stand with (as opposed to on) the little folks. What war on a holiday? By whom? How can the 80 percent of this country that calls itself Christian be under serious attack, let alone the threat of annihilation, by anyone, unless it’s some idiot who talks to and hears from God constantly and has his finger on the nuclear button?
Seriously, Christianity under attack by Jews, the ACLU, secular humanists and godless atheists? That’s like saying Burkina Faso is about to wipe out every member of the U.N. Security Council.
And, granted, such an attack would be the religious equivalent of Gallipoli. Where do I sign up? I want my trees back. While you’re at it, stop using the maypole, too. Go make your own springtime life-is-never-ending holiday. Call it “Easter.”