Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Prove You're Not Muslim, Jewish, or Liberal Day!

And the war rages on...not the war in Iraq, not the War on Terror, but the War on Christmas. This week, here in Roanoke, we were treated to Bill O'Reilly staging another insurgent attack on those who would occupy his holiday.

"The far left has become completely unhinged over losing the Christmas controversy. And the most hysterical item we've come across comes from the Roanoke Virginia Times. Editorial page editor Dan Radmacher, a far left ideologue, whining, saying fewer people are saying 'Happy Holidays'. Dan doesn't like that and then levels personal attacks against me and others for believing it is wrong to prevent people - to prevent people - from saying 'Merry Christmas'. Radmacher's column was disgraceful, and upon researching this loon, we found he uses personal attacks all the time. So we called his publisher, Wendy Zomparelli, but she's hiding under her desk."

Here's the thing. One of the most effective tools employed by the Nazi party in the years during which it rose to and maintained its power, was the "Hitler Greeting." If I walked up to you and greeted you with "Heil, Hitler!" and you replied with, "Hello, good morning" I knew immediately that we were ideological opposites, because in my world view as a Nazi party member, anyone who was not also a party member would be an ideological opposite.

We're not at the point yet where conservatives greet each other with "Freedom!" or some other slogan which sets them apart from the dangerous others they are seeking to rid themselves of, but if you consider the flag lapel pin a replacement for the armband and the W sticker on Republican rear windows a replacement for the swastika...along with the feeling that as a liberal you are not entitled to fly the flag or even consider yourself a get a little feeling for life in the Weimar Republic.

In fact, as I've said for years now, the rhetoric of the conservative pundits and the Nazi propaganda machine are frighteningly similar. Try this experiment. Spend one day listening to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Michael Reagan, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly. Then take any speech from a Nazi party official or read Mein Kampf but do the following:

  • Replace "JEW" with "Muslim"
  • Replace "COMMUNIST" with "Liberal"
  • Replace "FATHERLAND" with "Homeland"
  • Replace "GERMANY" with "America"

If you do, I'm sure you'll be astonished by how familiar it all sounds. Seriously. Try it. I beg you.

Christmas, however, presents a unique opportunity for these Radical Neo-Cons to test something very like that "Hitler Greeting". All of conservative radio at this time of year is aflame with encouragement to proudly proclaim your Christianity by greeting everyone--regardless of their own faith or persuasion-- with Merry Christmas in order to antagonize all those out to prevent Christians from celebrating their holiest holiday. They also call upon the "faithful" to boycott shops that don't say "Merry Christmas" on their signs and avoid shops where you are greeted with "Happy Holidays" instead of an overt proclamation of Christian faith.

It isn't technically the same as saying don't patronize the shops of liberals, Jews or Muslims but a difference that makes no difference is no difference. It isn't about defending Christmas, it is about making life difficult for everyone who isn't exactly like you. Is that a message Jesus would want to be associated with?

I am, in fact, a Christian, and I believe that the spirit of the holiday encourages me to spread love and unity, and to respond with kindness and love of all men, as per the final commandment Jesus gave his followers before his exectution. I don't believe that I am called to identify and persecute those who are not of the same faith or political persuasion. I don't want my expression of Christmas wishes for a happy holiday season, of goodwill, and desire for peace to be a means of division, seperation, and hurtfulness. I don't think Jesus would either.

I know that Jesus said not to think he came to bring peace on Earth but to bring a sword. But he also said by our fruit shall we be known, and he knows if you are using His name to spread hate or to spread love. He knows if you seek his grace to allow you to forgive or if you are abusing his grace to justify angry retribution. And as a Christian I deeply resent the efforts of our President to use the season of giving to justify calling on Americans to do more shopping. Today in his press conference he stood there in the guise of a Christian and called upon the nation not to love one another or do more giving, but to do more shopping. I resent that the season of giving has become the season of last minute economic recovery.

What I wish for Christmas is that Christians will live as Jesus lived, that they will turn the other cheek, forgive, and prove their faith by demonstration in works. And that in so doing, that their eyes will be opened to the hypocrisy of those with political power who build their kingdoms on earth by misleading the hearts of men. But most of all, I wish and pray that the War On Christmas is not a successful war against all that is not Radical Fundamentalist Christian Ideology.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some day we might exchange memories. I suppose I mean by that I would unload mine on you. In particular the one where I refused for two or two and half years to stand and pledge allegiance at high school. I remain convinced now that the Christian Socialists who invented and spread the damn thing under the guise of Americanism (they wanted to homogenize the people even as they wanted each to kowtow to the State) did know what they were doing. Whatever the problems I encountered then would be as nothing now. I think generation by generation the tolerance in this country for divergence does not decrease but instead shifts, rapidly as social changes go, from one area of life to another: one generation tolerates all religions, the next none, for example. I thinik that when a vast majority of people believe a Mormon cannot be elected president, the intolerance is self evident. But what, you say, how can I say a generation tolerates none? Easily: they rigidify the forms of a religion into a whited selpchure of dead thought meaninglessly presented, and then demand that all bow to that one monument. Just examine closely the intolerance of most, if not all, "christians" to those who would slightly change what most receive as immutable dogma And what, of course, could immutable dogma be, but a silent avowal that God had better not have anything to do with our times?

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

You are right, there are great paralels to what America has become today, and what Germany was back in the day. And it is really sad. I cannot believe he said all of that though. What a pompous ass.

Rock on Archie!

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not my poster, but my sentiments!
Probably found on Dailykos or AmericaBlog.

Wishing you and yours a very happy holidays! Ha!


3:13 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Another thing that drives me batty about this "War On Christmas" that is entirely ginned up by people like Jerry Falwell and Bill O'Reilly, is that if the fundmentalists had their way, as they did under Cromwell in the 1600's, THEY would make celebrating Christmas illegal.

In 1645 they actually passed a law in parliament which actually forbid the celebration of Christmas. They called it idolatry, the period of abomination, the work of the devil. And anybody caught celebrating would be fined or in some cases put in jail. These became even stricter, a few years later, when parliament passed an even stricter law in some cases requiring imprisonment for up to 6 months if you celebrated Christmas.

The ban on celebrating Christmas in England was lifted only a few years after it was imposed, but Christmas as we know it today wasn't celebrated in America until the 1800's.

This is the kind of crap you get when people try to turn religion into politics, and because religion demands absolutes where democratic politics demands debate and compromise, you always end with choosing one or the other.

At the end of the day, we should force these all or nothing radical Christian extremists to admit they don't want to defend America, they want to replace America with a theocracy. At least Tim LaHaye does admit as much, but how many people with a flag on their lapel know that?

10:09 AM  

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