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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2005 4:16 PM. The previous post in this blog was Another PDC deal craters. The next post in this blog is Oh, to be a fly on the wall. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy holidays, Lars!

I can't believe how the tighty righties are attacking anyone who would have the nerve to wish them happy holidays instead of a merry Christmas. Especially the umbrage they're taking about the tree being called a holiday tree. The tree belongs to Christmas, they're insisting. If you call it a holiday tree, you're violating my First Amendment rights as a Christian, and blah blah blah.

Really? Do you think baby Jesus was born under a canopy of Doug firs? Wrong, my friends. He was born in the desert, and he probably looked a lot more like Osama bin Laden than like Lars Larson. I'm looking in my New Testament for references to the tree -- hmmm, can't seem to find them at the moment...

So now the nattering nabobs of the right are going to spend the next four weeks using the word "Christmas" as a weapon. Let's spend the season brooding about our political differences. What a pitiful group.

Comments (60)

Lars is erecting a giant cross in Pioneer Courthouse Square next week. Some of his more devoted listeners called in today to ask what time the burning is supposed to start.

8c)

i love telling my fellow pagans "Merry Christmas". Boy it just pisses them the f*ck off, and i get a good chortle out of it.

Lars, i guess, should get the next size bigger underwear.

It is Christmas.. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If a Jew wishes to say have a good passover, so what? I could care less. i am not going to lead my life worried about offending some thin skinned minority or guilt ridden white guy. People from Mexico are Mexicans; folks from Sweden are Swedish...There is nothing bad about calling black folks, black folks. A white boer who moves to America is an African-American. A black fellow who moves here from Canada is not an African-American, he is a Canadian-American. In truth, this hyphenated craze is whacko. People who are born here and people who come to this country permanently are Americans. And December 25th is Christmas...and Trees decorated to celebrate Xmas are Xmas trees not winter holiday trees. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Any excuse to act pious, uptight, and self-righteous. Maybe itís time for my Christmas joke: Youíve got to hand it to Santa. How many guys can tell their wives, ďIím going out all night and Iím not coming home till I empty my sackĒ?

I must have missed it. Exactly whose panties are in a wad? Let me put the situation in easy-to-understand terms:

I'm an atheist. What this means is that I don't know whether or not a god exists, and I don't much care. So on the one hand, you won't find me piloting a plane into a tall building while shouting hail Allah or whatever it is that they shout.

On the other hand, you wouldn't find me piloting a plane anyway, because I have no idea how all that stuff works.

On yet another hand (moving into Buddah or something now, I guess), I don't see why it seems to be politically correct to celebrate every religion EXCEPT Christianity in the good ol' USA these days.

Our First Amendment specifically forbids government establishing a religion, yet also enjoins the government from interfering with religion. It seems to have been selectively applied.

I just think that's wrong.

The tree is a pagan symbol. It's just another cooptation of pagan symbolism into the fold of "christianity". Just like all those eggs and bunnies on Easter...what the hell is _that_ all about?

And Jack? Careful about that "reading the New Testament" stuff...it can get you in trouble. There is a reason that the Roman Catholic church discouraged lay people from reading the Bible for so many centuries, y'know. You should refer it to your parish priest.

Oh... and here's wishing you and yours a warm and well-lit winter solstice (10:35 a.m., Wednesday, December 21).

p.s. - The tree is a fire hazard to you and your family. Do without.

Their First Amendment rights as Christians? Who do I file a complaint with that Lars is using too much of my share of the oxygen to generate all of his hot air?

i love it. great post Jack.

and merry christmas. happy hanakkah too

On Long Island we had our Christmas trees, and my Jewish friends had Hannukah bushes. In elementary school chorus we sang about Santa, the Little Drummer Boy, AND playing with the dredel.

I'm on a City of Portland Holiday party committee, and the point isn't to deny any religion, or religious tradition, it's to recognize them all. One can have ex-Catholic, agnostic leanings --I have-- and still be moved by midnight mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was awesome.

I wonder what Lars would think of my childhood best friend Michael Singer calling HIS tree a Hannukah Bush?

The amazing thing to me is the idea that the first amendment's religious protections ensure that the government must not say or do anything offensive to one's religion. (Or in some cases even allow citizens to engage in offensive actions.) Lars is just extending this argument from "defense of marriage" to the names we apply to winter festival ornaments. It's completely loony no matter what it's applied to, of course. But it looks to me like this is just an extension of an exsisting (and fairly successful) strategy of the so-called christian right.

you folks should listen more carefully.

it's not a holiday tree...because there is only one of the december holidays that is identified with a tree...and it's not kwanza or ramadan

second...the government is forbidden to discriminate against someone's religious beliefs...and to deliberately identify a Christmas tree as a "holiday tree" is like calling a menorah an "oil lamp"...

third....we're putting up the cross so that people will remember that the purpose of Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ...who died on the cross for the sins of all of us...just a reminder...that's all...as the ACLU (and apparently a lot of bojack's friends) try to strip every mention of Christianity from any public place

Merry Christmas...and remember Jesus is the reason for the season

"we're putting up the cross so that people will remember that the purpose of Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ"

well shit Lars, no one would have known that w/o all your help.

ps: target has "fake" christmas trees 20% off already. baby jesus weeps.

"[...] the government is forbidden to discriminate against someone's religious beliefs [...]"

Somebody better tell the department of defense to stop serving beef (to avoid discrimination against hindus) and pork (to avoid discrimination against jews and muslims) to the troops. For that matter, they'd better stop fighting on the sabbath.

Yo... Frank. My wife hailed from Roslyn on Long Island. I guess you never got a copy of Susan Sussman's _There's No Such Thing As A Chanuka Bush, Sandy Goldstein_, eh?

Fake is fine. A plantable with a prospective home is even better. But butchering a tree for baby Jesus never made much sense to me. If you like the smell, then fer cryin' out loud, get yourself a wreath. You don't have to kill a tree for that, y'know.

8^D}

Jay, your comment couldn't have said it better and is an example to all the minority groups everywhere on how to be open-minded and to refrain from fighting discrimination with discrimination.

I wish I could take the higher road, as Jay has done, but I feel that it just won't make sense to some unless it is in their own reasoning. So to all of you who want to rename Christmas and its symbols, why don't we also have to change Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to something more politically correct like "Diversity Day" or something that relates to the population as a whole, not a nationally recognized holiday whose name is forced on all the other people who are not black?

I say that only to shed light on what I think Jay meant by "selectively applied" and why we should do away with the "Scrooge Movement." If you don't like the name Christmas, start your own holiday or make New Years Eve your focus. Let's leave these names as they are because they represent the tradition of our country. Do not remove or white-wash these symbols and words(despite their initial references), but seek only to add to the culture of America.

If Jesus came down to Pioneer Courthouse Square today, Lars, you'd probably hold a gun to his head and demand to see his green card.

Stop using Christmas as a weapon.

It seems silly that there are so many comments about this relatively trivial issue and sillier that I am going to add mine.

Hey, Lars, why are you putting up a cross to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Isn't the crucifiction and resurrection supposed to be marked at Easter time?

Of course, not only does the tree originate in pagan holidays that predated Christianity, but so does the date. December 25 is the first day after the winter solistice that one can tell without instruments that the days are getting longer. For all we know, Jesus was born in July.

Gift giving is actually a celebration of the Magi--the three kings. I like the way the 12 days of Christmas are extended forward into January in places like Spain, and capped with a big parade. On the other hand, the Czechs have a weird ritual on Dec. 12 that is part Christmas and part Halloween.

Since it's pagan, I say it's a holiday tree and I greet people with "Have a Silly Solstice,"--a line from those divine broads of yore, the Fallen Angel Choir. But I can't say that Merry Christmas is offensive. Call it whatever you want, just like PGE Park to me will forever be Civic Stadium

second...the government is forbidden to discriminate against someone's religious beliefs...

Oy. If you want to start down the First Amendment road, Lars, then you should be demanding that the City take down the tree altogether because it promote one religion over another -- THAT's what the government is forbidden to do. But that's precisely what you want the government to do, the very thing they're forbidden to do.

Please, Lars. I really do need at least SOME of my share of the oxygen. It can't ALL go to fuel your BS.

Saw Lars in a news soundbite today on TV...touting that he's going to "rent space" in Pioneer Square for his cross. Argh! Wouldn't the cross be a bit more appropriate for Easter?

I can't help but recall the comment of a friend who loved to quip:
"Roses are red,
violets are bluish.
Christmas is cheaper
when you are Jewish!"

...ora et labora!

About that, let me say this.

And yes, yes, yes, Jack, the power perverts like Liars would weaponize Xmas.

What any of them holidays is, by the way, is the winter solstice. No matter what language you speak, no matter the color of your dreams, no matter what century you're in, if you are north of the equator late Deember is your nadir. Even a child gets it.

This solstice I celebrate my first anniversary of cancelling NY Times 'subscription.' One year Sulzberger-free.

The retail razz-ma-tazz of it all -- the Santa Claus figurine, later adjusted, and the giftwrap presents-from-the-department-store bogosity -- was mainly invented about 1885 by John Wanamaker, a name you likely recognize, Jack Jerseysider, FYIG. (For Your Interesting Googling)

On the Jesus of it all, in my New Testament there's the manger birth scene, the 12-year-old whizkid scene in the temple, and the 30-year-old riding a Democratic donkey into Nazereth scene -- where had J.C. been for 18 years? In Nepal is a 2500-year-old monastery with J.C.'s signature in the guestbook, when he signed in as an acolyte, (so say those who went there and report it. FYIG). And then, if you read both books, what the teacher's text in the Nepal charter school says is the same things Jesus is quoted saying. For example, Buddhists use parables for teaching, (koans), Hebrews didn't. How'd J.C. learn?

My favorite part is three Arab-Hindi royals, rather educated about celestial phenomena, sitting around the palace stargazing, get up one day and ride camels a thousand miles of desert west to Bethlehem, and get into town and say 'we were looking at the stars in the sky and figured from that there should be a baby around here someplace.' Good grief, who believes the arrangements of the planets shows anything intelligible?

Christmas for me is the Arabic gifts of mathematics, celestial study of time, and medicine, to humankind. Liars didn't get any.

Ugh.

Who needs to listen (or read) more carefully? "Discriminate" is not used in the First Amendment. Quick review:

1) It restricts establishment.
2) It doesn't prohibit practice.

(But I'm sure Frank Luntz probably is pushing the discrimination angle. Do all those conservative talk show clones get some kind of weekly memo from him?)

It is true that the tree was originally a pagan symbol, however, I see no problem in calling it a christmas tree. That's how they've traditionally been known in our society. Calling it a holiday tree seems silly. (This from a non-christian who does not celebrate christmas or have a tree... but really likes the smell of those little rosemary ones.)

I do have to wonder about the folks who get so bent out of shape about the christmas vs. holiday semantics. So do you think getting pissed off at someone who wishes you "happy holidays" is the best way to convey your joy in the season of Jesus' birth?

It's funny how these conservative rages come in waves. I guess we're taking a break from gay marriage. How very in the spirit of christmas to take a break from hating! Yea! Now it's time to boycott the "happy holidays" retailers. (I must confess what giddy glee this would bring me if the lunatic right actually started boycotting their very own Wal-Mart, contributor extraordinaire to the Republican party. Just thinking about it gives me the warm fuzzies.)

BTW I must say that I, too, am confused by the use of the cross around christmastime. Wouldn't a big ol' star (a la the three kings) be more appropriate? This being the season of joy and all, the cross is a bit of a downer, eh.

I think to truly honor the holiday's rightwing rage, we should go rent a space in the Square to erect a giant anger-inflamed Lars head.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas have always existed side by side and thats the way it should be. Leave a good thing alone. Don't misinterpret that to mean that "Holidays" should be removed because we are defending the American culture that includes Christmas. Which brings me to my next point: As for "using Christmas as a weapon," typical left-wing craftiness to start a fight and then back down while pointing fingers.

As for "using Christmas as a weapon," typical left-wing craftiness to start a fight and then back down while pointing fingers.

Now there's what I'm talking about -- the spirit of Christmas.

Thanks for helping me prove my point. I should have known there is a double standard on this site: attacks on the right during December, ok; attacks on the left during December, how dare you ruin the Christmas spirit.

I think our troops in Iraq should have a moment of silence this season, to honor the brave work Lars is doing defending the Christmas tree.

I should have known there is a double standard on this site

Unlike on Lars's show? Bwahahahah!

I thought Marriage was used as a weapon.

You know, mission position versus non-mission position (as per gender orientation neutral Bowers stuff). If private bedroom stuff is private (as per Lawrence) is it as private as perhaps one's belief as to the existence or non-existence of god?

I have said that M36 was absolutely irrelevant as it did not prevent the complete and total elimination of the word Marriage from the entire set of Oregon Revised Statutes.

The Christmas tree versus Holiday tree debate is really the same as the Marriage versus Civil Union debate, and we know how the Catholic leadership came down on that issue.

I see gay-"Marriage" advocates in the same light as religious banter about the naming of the Christmas tree.

Sorry ellie. I don't hate. I would be happy to strike the Marriage statutes, to the extent of state action in distributing public cash.

"I should have known there is a double standard on this site"

"Unlike on Lars's show? Bwahahahah!"

********************************************

Like a couple of Fridays ago on the "First Amendment Friday" version of Lars' show, when I heard Lars cut off a caller for engaging in a topic different than he presented to the screener?

One strange interpretation of the First Amendment...

I think I may have just set a personal record. Because of Jack's very first comment, I manage to chuckle through all the rest, without stopping.

Oh, and Jay, if you don't know if God exists, you're agnostic, not an atheist. You'd be an atheist if you said there is no God.

Happy Festivus, for the rest of us!

Hey, Lars...

Axial tilt is the reason for the season.

because there is only one of the december holidays that is identified with a tree...and it's not kwanza or ramadan

I hate to trot out my cultural awareness like a treehugging lefty pinko liberal here, but Ramadan doesn't necessarily happen in December every year (same with Chanukah).

Stick with what you know, Lars. When you go off the talking points things gets painfully obvious.

Silly me...I thought Lars was putting the cross in the square so he could climb up there and be a living symbol of how persecuted and marginalized the adherents of our country's majority religion are (to hear them tell it, at least).

Some celebrate religion, some the solstice, some the season of giving, some don't celebrate, some just like the pretty lights and merry cheer that goes around this time of year.

How about we all just try to be a little nicer to each other? Novel idea, I know...

WOW

Touchy, touchy, touchy

Amazing how you all let Lars jerk your chains.

The nastiness, defensiveness and near-hysterical tones of your posts betray some conflicted folks out there.

I'm lovin' it!

Feliz Navidad

An actual comment from Lars... so much ignorance so little time! Let's examine.

QUOTE "it's not a holiday tree...because there is only one of the december holidays that is identified with a tree...and it's not kwanza or ramadan"

Patently false... you've got at least Yule and Christmas... with the tree being the Christian appropriation of the pagan... can there be any doubt that contemporary pagans (most Portlanders?) are celebrating something closer to Yule than the to the birth of God?

QUOTE: "second...the government is forbidden to discriminate against someone's religious beliefs...and to deliberately identify a Christmas tree as a "holiday tree" is like calling a menorah an "oil lamp"..."

How is a generic description of a religious icon discriminatory? "Nine candle oil lamp" is a fine description of a Menorah... which incidentally is a much more explicitly Jewish symbol than a tree is a Christian symbol.... since only the Jewish religion uses it, while winter trees are shared by Christians and some nonChristians.

QUOTE: "third....we're putting up the cross so that people will remember that the purpose of Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ..."

Don't know what cross he's referring to, but if he had historical awareness he would know that Christian antipathy toward Christmas is old and deep in America and elsewhere, and the historical story of Christmas involves efforts by Christians to reject its celebration, as well as efforts to incorporate it. I can't find a first rate historical analysis, but a random google search for "christmas yule" gives you a sense of the issue.

In northern colonial America the Yule season was very much frowned upon as an unChristian or antiChristian time of debauchery.

Like most bad things in America it was the American South that gave us Christmas as a positive approved Christian celebration.

In the north it was long considered entirely unChristian and inappropriate for Christians.

"In Colonial America there were no Christmas celebrations. As recently as 100 years or so ago, such observances were declared illegal in many parts of the United States, including most of New England, being defined as pagan and a reproach to the Lord."

In other words the seroius Christians vigorously opposed Christmas.

"In Puritan Massachusetts, anyone caught observing the holiday was obliged to pay a fine. Connecticut also enacted a law forbidding the celebration of Christmas...and the baking of mincemeat pies. A few of the earliest settlers, however, did celebrate Christmas, but it was far from a common holiday during the Colonial era.

Prior to the American Civil War, the North and South were divided on the issue of Christmas as much as they were on the question of slavery. Many Northerners considered it sinful to celebrate Christmas since Thanksgiving was a much more appropriate holiday. In the South, however, Christmas played an important role in the social season. Perhaps not surprisingly, the first three American States to declare Christmas a legal holiday were located in the South: Alabama in 1836; and Louisiana and Arkansas, both in 1838."

Random quote from http://www.novareinna.com/festive/xmas.html which is consistent with what I've read elsewhere.

To say that Christmas is about Jesus is to express a particular religious perspective on winter celebrations that is just a continuation of a long standing struggle between different sides of the yule season, including the Christian effort to reject it, and the Christian effort to incorporate it.

Quote: "...who died on the cross for the sins of all of us...just a reminder...that's all...as the ACLU (and apparently a lot of bojack's friends) try to strip every mention of Christianity from any public place."

Again, the pilgrims would have seen a Yule tree for the antiChristian symbol that it was. How Lars and friends can reject the wisdom of those most Christian and religious of early Americans is a mystery to us all. He prefers to side with the colonial Christian Americans who favored Christmas over the ones who opposed it, but it doesn't hurt to remember that those were the very same Christians who saw no contradiction between their Christianity and holding other human beings as slaves. Well, you pick your historical roots, and it tells us something about you!

Quote: "Merry Christmas...and remember Jesus is the reason for the season"

Again, only one side in a multifaceted set of meanings, a perspective that reflects Southern American ideas as opposed to early Northern American ideas and is profoundly unnuanced and ignorant.

Now also the Pilgrims who rejected Christmas were no friend of religious liberty for others... I'm not citing them as exemplars. I'm just pointing out the arbitrariness of the claim that yule celebrations or Christmas are necesarily consistent with "Christianity".

You could use the historical approach to argue that Christmas IS OK for the public square... because it is pagan (and thus "generic"... or you could use that fact to argue that Christmas IS NOT OK ... because we don't want to promote "paganism" (which might be held to be a set of "religious" practices.)

What you can't logically do and what we (at least the Lars' of the world) do ANYWAY as a society is use the nonChristian nature of a tree to justify putting it in the public square, and then claim that the tradition of Christmas trees means that public endorsement of Christianity is OK because what Christmas means is basically "Christian."

The reason it can be there is because it is not Christian... if it is Christian it would have to be removed. The manuever of using the pagan as the camels nose under the tent for sectarian Christianity is what Lars and others are engaged in...

As a Jew, it's all just an anthropological curiousity to me! This is a time of the year for observing the society around me going mad from a distance. Enjoy your rituals.

Posted by ratso4747 "December 25th is Christmas"

Well, this year December 25th is also the beginning of Hannaukha! Let's call it a Hannaukah Bush!

"...if you don't know if God exists, you're agnostic, not an atheist." Agnostic literally means to know nothing.

I'll tell yas - there's WAY too much thought over this. I'm in a similar boat as Jay as I am Agnostic (not Atheist). The main difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic is we are skeptical about the existence of God but do not profess true atheism.

Ok, enough of the theology lessons, on with the point.

I work in a Government office which prides itself on celebrating diversity Ė it seems to be the latest buzz word. However, we are NOT allowed to put up any Christmas decorations, show a display of red or green (blue and silver is ok, go figure) or even play Christmas music in our cubes.

Remember the buzz word? Just how is anything diverse if weíre all forced to perform in a holiday-free zone? No Christmas, no Hanukkah, just Happy Holidays all around. It seems more exclusive than inclusive to me Ė but Iím just funny that way.

I donít get it. I donít get offended when my Jewish neighbor talks about Hanukkah and he does not get offended when I talk about Christmas. I donít get offended when my Spanish-speaking co-worker wishes me a Buenos Dias every morning and she doesnít get upset when I slaughter the Spanish language as I attempt to say it back to her.

I donít get offended when I see African-Americans celebrating Kwanzaa and I have yet had any of them get offended that, although I am white, I choose to talk to them about it.

What am I missing here?

I was always taught the true meaning of Christmas was friendship, love, warmth, and giving. How is that offensive?

Perhaps I am a little old-fashioned, but in my opinion, Christmas has become bastardized in the past twenty years. Itís now about what you can buy and what you can get, a retailerís wet dream (anyone else hear about Wal-Mart GOUGING customers on the upcoming X-box 360 this Holiday Season?).

Maybe I should just wake up and realize, Christmas is dead. Christmas 2.0 is here and itís NOT a Holly-Jolly time of year!

Bah humbug!

Agnostic \Ag*nos"tic\, n. One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism, neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal Deity, a future life, etc. [1913 Webster]

Gnostic comes from the greek ,gnosis, which means to know. Gnostic thinking was an influence on the early Christian church but was eventually treated as heresy. I once referred to myself as an agnostic rather then athiest before I had an understanding of what a Gnostic was. If you take Agnostic as meaning against Gnosticism you could probably include a lot of fundamentalist Christians as Agnostics, but after a little research I've come to learn that the term Agnostic was coined by Thomas Huxley which means to only believe in what can be proven, or to be without faith. I've been reading Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time and I think one actually needs to have a certain amount of faith to accept cosmological physics. Now I don't know what I believe.

b!X: I prefer to think of it as "playing the fence", a kind of spiritualistic neutrality. :p

TOM: I wouldn't say I have no faith... quite the opposite, actually. I have a great amount of faith in that which can be proven to exist in either scientific theory or functionality.

However, I am not anti-religion nor do I denounce the existence of any god.

I just want more tangible proof.

Nobody here ever heard of affirmative action? After generations of Christmas being inflicted and imposed against their will upon the religious minorities, it's time for affirmative action to tip the scales back in the direction of neutrality and give the religious holidays against which invidious discrimination has been practiced a preferential status. So, lay off the presents, everyone! No gifting. And no gifted. Until further notice.

you all have waaaaaay too much time on your wuss-ass PC hands....get over it. This thread is getting pathetically frayed.

Merry Christmas!

VO

Methinks the entire debate is silly.

How about we put up a big yellow warning label on each Christmas display (aka "Warning: Coffee is HOT")

Warning: you have entered a judeo-christian zone. A majority of our citizens celebrate Christmas, a term which may cause the feeble minded to faint or question the danger of moral equivalency. Others celebrate Hannukah, which appears to be a lesser holiday (due to the lack of any Burl Ives cartoons, or Bing Crosby songs. If this is a life or death situation, please kneel and pray. If it looks like you might prosper on your own, tell everybody your Agnostic. If you aren't sure why you are still alive on God's Green Earth, thell them your an Atheist, and hope that you're right. Please don't eat the Candy Canes without unwrapping them.

I believe Hannukah is to Christmans what Scottie Pippen is to Michael Jordan. The only thing they have in common: proximity and grace.

Can we all agree that Salvation Army bell ringers shouldn't smoke on the job? Can't we all just get along.

Seriously ho-ho-ho, all the stuff is funny.

L.L. "So much ignorance, so little time." bwahaha

He takes neo-con talking points, and makes them neo-con mocking points. Stuff a sock in him for New Year's.

Agnostic \Ag*nos"tic\, n. One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism, neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal Deity, a future life, etc. [1913 Webster]

#####

I love the whole idea of a "personal deity." Never thought of it like that before. It's like "personal shaver," or "personal assistant." Or maybe "personal portable stereo unit."

Makes me feel better to think of Lars and his followers as having their own "personal deity," because MAN, they got one helluva cranky God. Keep it to yourself, Lars. It's your PERSONAL deity. And your shaver's under the sink.

I know a lot of people whose "personal deity" is Barbara Streisand. Maybe they could rent out Pi Square during Oscars season and erect a great big, er....nose.

The neighborhood I grew up in Portland had a large number of Jewish families and their children were my playmates. Many of them had Christmas trees and played Santa Claus. I thought Hanukkah was cool... the gift giving went on and on.

Every year during the Christmas Season the History Channel airs an excellent program on the history of Christmas. It explains how the original pagan holiday evolved into its current form. Christmas as it is currently observed is relatively new... about 150 years if I recall. Anyway, it's a great show and if you get a chance to watch it you should.

The "debate" should move away from what to call the piece of timber and instead, focus on government's role vis-a-vis religion. Lars is right. It is a "Christmas Tree". I don't really care much about the pagen background, etc. We are living in the here and now and for as long as any of us can remember, a tall green fir with lights is a Christmas Tree. Period.
There is also no such thing as a Chanukah Bush. Period. Certainly many families adopt their own traditions and do whatever they want to do in regard to the "December Dilema".
I don't think there should be either a tree or a menorah in Pioneer Square. There shouldn't be a Christmas Tree in the state capital either. Government should go about governing. Leave the holidays alone.
That said, if Meier & Frank wants to call their parade "Christ is King Parade", go ahead and let them. If a private company, or even Lars himself wants to pay to put up a Christmas Tree somewhere, go for it. I enjoy when a clerk at a grocery store tells me "Merry Christmas". I do not shoot back at them "I'm Jewish, I don't celebrate Christmas." I just take it as a friendly greeting. If they say "happy holidays" or "seasons greetings", they get the same smile back from me.
I don't understand why Lars blames the "ACLU" if Target tells their employees not to say "Merry Christmas". Go yell at the corporate big wigs in Minneapolis if that makes you angry. There's no government involvement with that type of practice either. If EVERY store in downtown Portland had a huge "Merry Christmas" sign in the window, I would still shop there. Why wouldn't I? But when there is a Christmas Tree in city hall or at the state capital (or at the White House), I think those folks should get back to the business of running the city, state and country (and stop spending our tax dollars and silly decorations).
Don't get me started on hanging Stars of Davids or Menorahs from Christmas trees to be "inclusive".

i'm really sick of other people telling me what i should be offended by. That's the most offensive thing about the whole mess. You don't like people saying "Happy Holidays", then smile and nod and get on with getting the hell out of the line so i can pay for my rum and nog. You don't like the tree in the square, then drop your gold and diamond class ring in the Salvation Army bucket and move the f** along. These battles over words should be fought on the Scrabble Deluxe board.

I'm fine with this, I guess (free speech and all) as long as there is no attribution to either KXL or Lars Larson. If there is, then it's just another piece of crass, obvious advertising.

S'funny, because that would make it the kind of commercialization and exploitation of Christmas that Christians claim causes them so much distress.

Was flipping through the channels yesterday evening and came across Bill O'Reilly passionately defending Christmas (I had to watch, like driving past an accident on the freeway). Transcript via Kevin Drum at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

Rev. Tim Bumgardner, a pastor in Wellington, Florida, is fighting to have a nativity scene included in his town's holiday display:

Rev. Tim Bumgardner: I think they should put a Nativity scene ó be American! Hey, celebrate Christmas ó people spend more money! Jesus makes people want to spend money!

O'Reilly: I agree. I'm with you.

How about a little truth in advertising. Every tree located in a retail business should be decorated with dollar signs, with Pink Floyd's "money" playing in the background.

Capitalism is the "Reason for the Season". Christianity was not founded on mass consumption and "no interest charges 'til 2007" excess.

These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. -G.K. Chesterton

Couldn't be more true today, Jack. And that's what Lars is objecting to...not the innocuous "Happy Holidays" but the wholesale retreat from "Christmas" in the name of political correctness.

Of course, you knew that already. But saying that up front wouldn't have made you look edgy and controversial...just correct.

Merry Christmas, Prof. That Mahalia Jackson album should really put you in the spirit.

And I live in SAINT johns. And I certainly am not a saint. oh well...

We are talking about words here,not any great ideas. you go argue words. I think i will just go have a beer.

Somebody give Lars one. he sounds like he could stand to loosen up.

This hot thread makes me wanna puke! Congratulations Lars! Your cleverness in using religion to boost your ratings is indeed a success, and disgusting as well. What's next? Pleading for a million more listeners by the end of the month or God is gonna swoop down and bring you into the kingdom of heaven? Hey, it worked for Oral Roberts, and just look at all the posts on this thread. But I thought goin to heaven was the reward! And if someone would just tell the terrorists that Allah is runnin out of virgins, Osama would have a difficult time finding people to die for his cause.

Jack's right, if Jesus came down to Pioneer Courthouse Square today, you'd probably hold a gun to his head and demand to see his green card.

But he'd probably come down in the guise of a black gangbanger drivin a new hummer, and end up getting pulled over by the PPD on one of their "profile" stops, and they'd shoot Him cuz they "feared for their lives" when he reached in his pocket for his license!

Please Clarence...give me my life back. I can't take it anymore amongst these fools!

Here is Lars Larsons Cross press release. Quite a plug for his show.

http://www.alliancealert.org/2005/2005120201.pdf

Merry F***ing Christmas. Y'all come back now, ya' here.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Happy holidays, Lars!:

» Lars Larson finally goes batshit crazy from Preemptive Karma
I've had a sneaking suspicion for quite some time that radio host and conservative dingbat Lars Larson was one Crayola short of a full box. Maybe it's an effort to boost his sagging ratings. Maybe his admiration for Fox News freakshow Bill O'Reilly has... [Read More]

» What is so Offensive About The Word Christmas? from Detour
The only thing that irritated me more then spending last Christmas in the hospital was watching the television ads avoid using the word Christmas. Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Joyous Season, Etc. I haven't done any research on the matter, but ... [Read More]

» It's not a Hanukkah tree from Isaac Laquedem
Two posts by Professor Bogdanski and Lars Larson, dealing with the subject of the use or non-use of the word Christmas in Christmas tree, got me thinking on the subject. I found an illuminating history of Christmas trees at The [Read More]

» Just What Sort Of Christian Is Lars Larson Anyway? from FURIOUS nads!
There really is very little to add to the discussion regarding Lars Larson's Christmas Cross that hasn't already been well covered over at Jack... [Read More]


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