I used to love Christmas growing up. The exception was that first Christmas when I was four. I had learned about Santa Claus in school and my immigrant parents bought us a little plastic Christmas tree, but didn’t realize that they were supposed to buy presents and put them under the tree before Christmas morning. I was left disappointed, accusing Santa Claus of hating Hindus. Other than that, things went fine and Christmas was a time filled with family, food and holiday television specials and films. (My favorite holiday film being Christmas Story. I like the scene where Ralphie beats the shit out of that bully Scut Farcus. My brother and I would watch that scene and laugh. Oh, how cathartic that scene was.)
I think I started to sour on Christmas in recent years as Bill O’Reilly and other right-wingers started to claim the existence of a “War on Christmas” (and on Christianity, in general). Whenever a Christmas tree or nativity scene is removed from a public place, the conservatives go nuts...like the way reasonable people go nuts about the War...you know, the actual War...in Iraq...that is happening presently...IN REALITY.
Christmas was a lot more fun before all this religion got mixed into it. (Notice Hindu statue next to Christmas tree in image above)
Specifically regarding nativity scenes, I find it ridiculous that people are surprised when they are taken down in courthouses and other public institutions. That is a clear violation of the separation of church and state. At least with Christmas trees and images of Santa Claus, you can claim they are secular symbols of Christmas time that have no direct connection to the Christian faith and the contents of the Bible. It’s hard to make the same claim with a scene depicting the birth of Christ.
I suppose the only way you could justify displaying a nativity scene at a publicly funded institution is if you say it is part of an exhibit entitled: Murder Victims and Their Families During Happier Times.
You could then show John Lennon getting his first guitar or perhaps JFK fishing with his father in
(I tried making this joke at a few gigs recently in NYC. Mixed results. More dirty looks than I expected.)
Here’s another compromise, you can show your nativity scenes…but they have to be accurate.
Everyone, including Jesus, must have BROWN skin….as they would have in reality since this supposedly happened in the
This is a nation that is struggling to decide whether we can have a brown-skinned president. A brown-skinned messiah? The threat of such a thing should keep church and state apart for at least a little while.