I’m not a very religious man, but as a blogger there are times when stories seem to fall from the sky like manna from heaven, threatening to shake my lack of faith to its very foundation. For example, here I was mired in the post-election doldrums when suddenly, as if by Divine intervention, the Seattle Port Commission inexplicably throws itself into the FOX-manufactured “War on Christmas“, providing my readers a welcome diversion from an oppressively informative string of posts on education, transportation and other boring, policy-wonk stuff like that.
Not only did Christmastreegate generate fodder for both my blog and my radio show, it also earned me a spot on KING-5 TV’s Up Front With Robert Mak. I was without power when the show aired Sunday, so I only just got a chance to view it streaming online, and I thought my performance was steady if unremarkable. But the most entertaining part of the show was by far the interview with Pastor Joe Fuiten, who basically proved by example all my insinuations of anti-semitism.
When asked if the Christian faith is under attack, Fuiten said yes. When asked who is responsible for the War on Christmas, Fuiten implied that Rabbi Bogomilsky deserved the “universal condemnation” he was getting. The Christmas tree is not a religious symbol, the pastor insisted, but when asked how removing a supposedly secular object could possibly be considered an attack on Christianity he argued that this dispute was part of a “pattern” — a fifty-plus-year effort (ie, conspiracy) to “eradicate” Christian activity and symbols from public life. Fuiten accepted that this is a “very diverse country” and praised American Protestantism for being so “accommodating to minorities,” but when asked if he would object to having a menorah displayed at the airport, he refused to embrace multiculturalism.
Apparently, Fuiten believes that only Christmas should be recognized in our public places because this is a “Christian nation” that celebrates Christmas “big time:”
“The reason the airports are packed is because of Christmas — they’re not traveling for Hannukah for sure. […] Even Jewish merchants ought’a be gathered around their cash registers singing ‘what a friend we have in Jesus.'”
Uh-huh. Not only does he diminish American Jewry while perpetuating anti-semitic stereotypes, he does so entirely unaware that anybody might take offense. Yeah… nobody travels for Hannukah, and besides, all us Jews should just shut our yaps and count our money. This is exactly what I mean when I say that “War on Christmas” rhetoric can’t help but spur anti-semitic sentiment… especially when the pastor of the region’s largest and most politically influential mega-church is so clearly and cluelessly anti-semitic. But of course, what do you expect from a man who responded to my posts on the Cedar Springs Bible Camp by attacking the residents for conspiring with “Christian-hating Jews and homosexuals.”
All Rabbi Bogomilsky asked for was single menorah, a symbolic recognition that our nation is home to more than one faith, and celebrates more than one holiday this time of year. And for this, Uncle Tomsteins like right-wing toady, Rabbi Daniel Lapin have the gall to demand that Rabbi Bogomilsky publicly apologize. But what happens when Lapin’s buddy Fuiten overtly insults in the Jewish people? I intend to find out.
If the blogosphere has a God, then surely Pastor Joe is one of the Creator’s minor miracles. It would be a sin for me to let this story go.