Monday, December 12, 2005

December 10, 2005

For Dummies

Are you beginning to get the picture? Are you starting to understand better just why 15th century Europeans chased fundamentalist Christians off their continent centuries ago? Because they can they are never satisfied, never know when enough is enough, because it's NEVER enough. They have taken the art of being annoying to levels that make it impossible to just ignore them. They simply will NOT practice their faith quietly. They will NOT be ignored. Instead they keep getting up everyone else's nose until everyone else says, "enough!" Leave. Just leave!

Yeah, I know, that's not how today's Christians tell the story. They say they had to flee to the New World because they were being "oppressed." They always say that when people refuse to buy into what ever nonsense they happen to be peddling at the time. I'm sure 16th century Europeans had plenty of more interesting and profitable things to do back then than waste their time harassing a few thousand nut-fringe Christians.

Whether fundamentalist ("Puritan") Christians were indeed oppressed or tossed out of Europe for cause, I suspect they brought it upon themselves. And, the minute they landed in the New World, they've been working overtime to wear their welcome out here as well. h

(Moments in History: Did you know that the Puritans actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas for the first quarter century they spent in the New World? Yep. People started having too much fun, enjoying food, drink and engaging in general merriment. They put a stop to it. Meanwhile, back in Europe folks were finally amble to enjoy Christmas without having a people with big hats and small minds grousing about it.)

I only mention this because of the flap our modern Puritan-numbskull-nags are making over the word "Christmas" this year. They are not satisfied that we now have include their pretend friend, Jesus Christ, shoved down kid's brains in public schools, and his stony image planted in front of public buildings, but now they insist we put his name on all things Holiday Season.

I have nothing against Christmas, not the day or the word. The word is everywhere. "Christmas Sale!" and "Christmas present," and "Christmas Eve." I even like Christmas carols – at least until I burn out on them -- which is usually around noon Christmas day.

But fundamentalist Christians believe this season – all of it -- is the exclusive property of Christians – even though that belief is demonstrably untrue.

The last time I checked the IRS taxes Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, other non-Christians and atheists all at the same rate. That means all those non-Christians pay a portion of the First Family's overhead too. But the fundamentalists are now ragging on the Bush's for doing the right thing, using the generic, "Happy Holidays," on cards sent out to thousands of Americans, only some of whom are Christian.

"Outrageous!" they scream. Christmas begins with "Christ" and now the White House has banished Christ! They insist the White House use "Merry Christmas" in their annual cards. Makes one wonder though how Rev. Jerry Faldwell would react if his White House card next year was inscribed, "Happy Hanukkah!" George & Laura Bush." I don't think we have to wonder long.

Bush “claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn’t act like one,” said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site “I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it.” (Full Story)

You see fundamentalist Christians believe they own this holiday, and not just some of it, but all of it. Never mind that Hanukkah is also celebrated at this time by Jews, or that New Years is included as part of the "holiday season." Fundamentalist Christians insist Christ holds the exclusive copyright on the whole thing and, therefore, all of it – the sales, the tress and the cards – be Christly branded.

Let me stop here and say not all Christians are either obnoxious or uncaring. Millions are more than happy to share the season with other faiths and secularists. But fundamentalist Christians want it all. Puritans always do. They argue that this holiday is all Christian because it celebrates the birth of their savior. (How about Merry Birthday?" Just a thought.)

As a person who long ago ceased believing in fables, I don't buy the virgin birth business to begin with. The whole Christmas fable is suspect. I do believe Jesus was real and born roughly around what we now call the First Century AD. And that his mother was Mary. But that's where the facts stop and the fancy begins. From there I have to extrapolate. Mary must have gotten pregnant by someone other than husband Joe. What makes me suspect this? Because she concocted the most unbelievable "how I got pregnant" tale since the "I must have sat on a dirty toilet seat," excuse, that's why.

Okay, that was bit harsh. We must remember that poor young Mary lived in a culture where women had no rights whatsoever. And women caught (or even suspected) of doing anything remotely normal, were likely to get stoned to death. Who knows how Mary got pregnant. Local girls were routinely raped by occupying Roman soldiers, and rape was treated the same as adultery in those days. (And it remains that way to this day in large parts of the Middle East, India and Pakistan, which is why rape, while prevalent, is rarely reported.)

So Mary had a problem – a life and death problem. Since apparitions couldn't be tortured into spilling the beans, an amorous apparition was Mary's best chance of avoiding becoming the former Mrs. Joseph. So, she went for it, and the rest is history. I don't blame Mary. How was she to know her fib would get so out hand?

(Which is likely why Mary continues haunting pieces of toast and freeway underpasses. The poor girl is trying to apologize. Imagine her chagrin when the only people who show up are fundamentalist zombies. Poor thing.)

I hear it every time I write a rant like this: "Pizzo, leave the Christians alone." To which I reply -- happy too... just as soon as they just leave me, and non-Christians like me, alone.

They say, "If you don't believe in Jesus, you can go to hell," and continue insisting we all agree to things that affirm their beliefs, no matter how nonsensical those beliefs might be. Fundamentalist Christians say they just want to "return religion to the public square." Fine. Bring it on. But the public square isn't a lecture hall, it's a debating society. Back at ya. You say it's so, I say it ain't so. (And vocal disagreement isn't "oppression." no matter how many times you say it is.)

Until then the more annoying they get the more I will go out of my way to annoy them. Which is why I let loose on them today. Because once again they are, in our faces, this time about the word "Christmas." If you don't wish everyone a Merry Christmas on your Holiday cards you're a heathen, secular un-American who is "oppressing" Christians again.

To which I reply, bite me!

I'm used to having fundamentalist Christians rag on me, but I bet this is a whole new experience for George and Laura. Hopefully an instructive one too. Because there an important there. a lesson those Puritans of old learned too late. They pushed one time too many and the next thing the knew they were shivering around campfires in the American wilderness.

Unfortunately we are plum out of New World's where we can send our pack of annoying, demanding fundamentlaist dimwits. But hope may be just over the horizon. I read this morning that Virgin Air CEO, Richard Branson, will begin providing space flights for civilians in 2008 from a base in New Mexico. I immediately had a vision of a spaceship filled with born-again Christians singing, "Nearer my Lord to thee," as it blasted off on journey to their new planet.

Now, that would be a Merry Christmas.

Hypocrites for Christ
Many of the most annoying cells of born-again Christians belong to those new "mega churches," run by Elmer Gantry-like slicksters. These organizations have always struck me as being more businesses than churches – wholesale fleecing operations with their own 1-800 numbers where operators await 24/7 and accept all credit cards.

These mega-churches insist they are churches, and the IRS pretends to believe them. But, more and more, they look like and act like just any other business:

When Christmas Falls on Sunday, Megachurches Take the Day Off

Some of the nation's most prominent megachurches have decided not to hold worship services on the Sunday that coincides with Christmas Day, a move that is generating controversy among evangelical Christians at a time when many conservative groups are battling to "put the Christ back in Christmas." (Full Story)

See. Real Christian churches treat Christmas as the holiest day of the year. Mega churches treat it as a holiday, just like most other businesses. (Except of course for their 1-800 numbers. Christmas day or not, operators are waiting by phones to fleece their flock. It is, after all, the season for giving, and what business wants to miss profit center like that!)

Oh, almost forgot...

Happy Holidays