Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are You Christian Enough for Christmas?

Thank God Matthew Yglesias reads Ross Douthat so I don't have to. Douthat whines that those that celebrate Xmas without being sufficiently religious are ruining it for the real Christians. He laments that real Christians have to share Christams Eve pews with those once-a-year Xmas bandwagon Christians. Wow. I know that Yglesias rarely does outright mockery, but I at least expected a condescending pseudo-intellectual smack down. Instead, Yglesias sympathizes with Douthat to the extent that he even suggests that the ideal solution would be a separate, secular holiday preceding Xmas. Jesus Christ.

Remember that study from a couple months back that showed that atheists in America know more about Christianity than professed Christians? Case in point. Here's a little history. Long before God spewed his immaculate ejaculate, people were celebrating the winter solstice in mid-late December. In an attempt to steal the stage, and maybe convert some heathens, Christians decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. That's right, they decided his birth date. There is no evidence, not even in the all-mighty Bible, that Jesus was born on December 25th. If either of my readers can prove otherwise, please share. I'm looking for real proof, like a birth certificate. A legitimate birth certificate, not one issued by some shady shire of Bethlehem, but by a loyal red American state, perhaps Texas. Otherwise, how do we know who Jesus really is? How can we accept him as The One?

Seriously, Christians complaining that secular Xmas celebrations are distracting from the true meaning of Xmas is like the host of a Super Bowl party complaining that the football game is distracting from the true party. If Douthat and his family want to spend Xmas day bleeding over their homemade nativity scene while wearing their biannual crown of thorns, it won't distract me one bit from my customary celebration of slamming eggnog while watching the Lions lose to the Cowboys. What's the problem here?

The fact that real Christians are distracted by the celebrations of the sunny-day Christians suggests to me that perhaps their faith isn't so real afterall. Given how God likes to work in mysterious ways and such, maybe these distractions are an intentional test of their true faith. If so, they're failing miserably.

If the real Christians can muster this much outrage about their religion being hijacked by nonbelievers as an excuse to get together and exchange gifts, could they get just a little bit upset about their religion being hijacked as a marketing tool for launching wars and implementing policies that reward the rich at the expense of the poor? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Oh well. Merry Christmas to all my readers regardless of your score on Douthat's Christometer. I wish you both health and happiness in the new year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Laugh, and the world laughs at Kentucky

I first heard about Kentucky's proposed Noah's Ark theme park on the radio in New Zealand. Of course, it's typical for Americans to make fun of Kentucky. Hell, I do it myself. However, I was surprised to hear people on the other side of the world making fun of Kentucky. Fortunately for me, I have a Kentucky contact that sent me the full scoop.

Go ahead and click the link. There is nothing I can write that will be nearly as entertaining. Seriously, you'd think the article was from The Onion. I don't know what's funnier--the alleged 10,000-page market research paper with a 200-page executive summary, which neither the Kentucky government or the media is allowed to see, or this quote from the researcher:

"You have to realize the Ark cuts across almost all faiths, whether you're Christian or Jewish"

Wow, that's quite the religious spectrum--all the way from Christianity to Judaism! I wonder if he's including Mormons?

Monday, December 20, 2010

This is winning?

I was thrilled that the Senate was finally able to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. At last, a long overdue victory for liberals. At least, that was my first impression. My second impression is that it's pretty sad that this is what counts as a liberal victory these days. After all, despite Democratic control of The White House and both Chambers of Congress, and the facts that the repeal was supported by 70%+ of Americans, the Republican Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it still took two years and overcoming multiple filibusters to get it repealed. That does not bode well for gay marriage. I thought for sure that I'd see gay marriage legalized in America during my lifetime. Now, I'm not so sure. I think I'm going to be very old.

I support Wikileaks

And so should the New York Times. And so should all the other for-profit newspapers that are benefiting from the work of this non-profit organization. Since our government has intimidated Paypal, Mastercard, and Visa into shutting down their avenues of donating to Wikileaks, the only way to donate is to wire money to Wikileaks' Icelandic bank account. Not convenient or cheap.

Neither Wikileaks or it's founder, Julian Assange, have been charged with, let alone convicted of, violating any laws. But, given our government's demonization of both, it's not surprising that people would be afraid to donate. Therefore, the New York Times should step up and create a fund to enable anonymous donations. Since they don't seem interested in doing any real journalism on their own, it really is the least they could do.

Update 12/24/2010:
Just days after I posted this, The New York times broke a story on American plans to begin military operations in Pakistan. I'm always happy to admit when I'm wrong, and I'm especially happy to be wrong here. Maybe Wikileaks is reminding the old media how journalism is done. More please.