Saturday, December 05, 2015

Sustained Seasonal Symbolic Struggles

by Gary Berg-Cross

As we run up to the winer solstice and associated holidays (you know what they are) there is plenty of secular/religious word-swords crossed. It's another season of symbolic struggles over words and associated values.

For example Italian parents are reportedly furious when a school canceled the "Christmas" concert:

".. Italian school principal was forced to resign amid a flurry of controversy after he replaced the annual Christmas concert with a winter recital — a move even the prime minister and the predominantly Catholic country’s non-Christians have condemned.

Marco Parma said he moved Rozzano Garofani Elementary School’s annual concert from December to January and stripped it of its Christian hymns in a bid to make it more inclusive. 

A fifth of the institute’s 1,000 students are not Christian, the Guardian reported." Ok, so Italy is still a religious country.

We all have heard of the Christian evangelist's flameup with Starbucks "holiday cups."  The coffee chain’s seasonal, minimalist red, green and snowflakey white designs get remixed each year, but this year’s tri-color winter, holiday tone  has apparently angered some religious leaders for declaring a so-called “war on Christmas.”  As former Arizona pastor Joshua Feuerstein posted on Facebook post

“Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus,”

Hate goes with war I guess, as do offensive moves. 

 Focus on the Family and the Catholic League have launched a flurry of such verbal offenses. One is a button campaign to the get the meme out that  "It's OK to Wish Me A Merry Christmas."  More offensive is their  "watch lists" identifying "Christmas-unfriendly" retailers.  

There are some counter moves as the Christmas offensive grounds forth. 

Charlene Storey, a New Jersey councilwoman quit,  after her city voted to call the traditional holiday tree a Christmas tree.

Yes, Christianity has won this battle in the war as they changed the name of the town’s tree unveiling ceremony from the previous“Annual Holiday Tree Lighting” (going back to the 1990s) to “Annual Christmas Tree Lighting.”

Storey, who grew up Catholic but now considers herself a “non-believer,” said the four people who voted to change the name are Christians active in their churches. 


“There are also many other philosophies and religions outside of Christianity,   Changing the name … clearly disrespects them all and hijacks the tree lighting for one religion.”

That's the trouble with one true religious views.  It seems a bit intolerant at times, especially when we are supposed to be full of good will and joy for all.

BTW, Tom Flynn of The Trouble with Christmas fame will be speaking at the next WASH MDC meeting at the Wheaton Library)

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Just in time for the holidays.

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