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  #51  
Old 12-08-2019, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
It doesn't matter what a town does to try to ban Christmas. The spirit of Christmas will prevail and Santa will deliver presents to all the little children in town, and the frozen hearts of those cruel councilmen will thaw and they will rename the town to Christmasville.
You have just written every holiday movie ever made.

I hope you are getting residuals or serialization compensation.
  #52  
Old 12-09-2019, 02:41 AM
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I envisage a "screaming militant atheist" parody creche scene setup in a public park. There's a (pagan) yule tree in the background laden with little glowing skull lights. Some reptilioid human+inhuman spawn writhes in the cradle. The three kings stand nearby offering their gifts: Santa Claus waves a wasp-waist bottle of Coca-Coca; Frosty the Snowman dangles a bag of carrots; and the Burger King hoists a Double Whopper. Angelic drones circle overhead blasting-down lightning bolts in rhythm with the drummer boy's incessant martial tattoo; giraffes and Hereford cattle sway in time. CO2 fumes rise.

Think that'll survive the ban on Xmas?
The lizard thing is basically another religion, not atheism, and I really don't see how the skulls fit. Leave those out (but still make Baby Jesus something else), and I'd have no problem with this display, showing the uneasy partnership between the sacred and the secular holidays of Christmas.

And I do think that's important here: there's a Christian holiday of Christmas, and then just a secular celebration of winter and presents and good cheer that is also called Christmas. The former I don't think the State should be involved with, but the latter I have no problem with. It is, in fact, a national holiday.

A decorated pine tree with no explicitly Christian decorations isn't really about Christian beliefs, but about celebrating winter. You've got the pine which is evergreen in winter, symbolizing that life continues. You've got the lights and sparkles to chase away the winter melancholy. You've got the peppermints that create a cool sensation, like the cold of winter. You've got the presents to celebrate the idea of giving.

The difficult one is Santa Claus, who is a mixture of a winter spirit and a legend about a Christian saint. Still, he's pretty far removed from anything Christian, with even the "naught vs. nice" thing dying away--when does Santa not give presents to naughty children? And, if that idea is Christian, then what about Elf on a Shelf? Santa's origins have even been completely reimagined to remove the Christian element.

Reindeer also have had their origins reimagined, rather than being connected with St. Nicholas. Frosty is clearly just winter, as are the snowflakes, the other evergreens like holly, the hot drinks, and many of the songs. Jack Frost is winter.

I think that dichotomy of Winter vs. Jesus has to be acknowledged and not treat both as the same thing. Sure, Christians often combine the two holidays, but I argue they still are two different holidays.

Kirk Cameron's movie is not correct, after all.
  #53  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:47 AM
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And I do think that's important here: there's a Christian holiday of Christmas, and then just a secular celebration of winter and presents and good cheer that is also called Christmas. The former I don't think the State should be involved with, but the latter I have no problem with. It is, in fact, a national holiday.
No, it's not. Your "secular Christmas" is a secular Christian cultural holiday. It's not a Jewish or Muslim or atheist secular holiday. Sure, some may celebrate parts of it (a natural result of being a small minority) but it's not a national holiday because it's immersed in Christian culture. As a Jew growing up surrounded by Christian symbols and celebrations I can assure you that it's not part of my experience. You can call it what you want, but a Christmas tree is still a Christmas tree even if you remove the angel and Santa.

Every year someone raises this argument and although I understand it, I strongly disagree with it. To my mind, this argument is mainly put forward by people who are cultural Christian, regardless of whether they are religious. It's rarely put forward by people raised outside of Christian culture.

As to Santa being removed from Christian culture, I just have to shake my head. Sorry, that's not going to fly. (ha!)
  #54  
Old 12-09-2019, 09:11 AM
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No, it's not. Your "secular Christmas" is a secular Christian cultural holiday. It's not a Jewish or Muslim or atheist secular holiday. Sure, some may celebrate parts of it (a natural result of being a small minority) but it's not a national holiday because it's immersed in Christian culture. As a Jew growing up surrounded by Christian symbols and celebrations I can assure you that it's not part of my experience. You can call it what you want, but a Christmas tree is still a Christmas tree even if you remove the angel and Santa.

Every year someone raises this argument and although I understand it, I strongly disagree with it. To my mind, this argument is mainly put forward by people who are cultural Christian, regardless of whether they are religious. It's rarely put forward by people raised outside of Christian culture.

As to Santa being removed from Christian culture, I just have to shake my head. Sorry, that's not going to fly. (ha!)
I was raised in America outside of Christian culture. I was raised as a Hindu and I have been an atheist since childhood. I fiercely oppose government recognition of religion. I prefer that public buildings not display manger scenes. I refuse to take the Pledge of Allegiance.

I celebrate Christmas as a secular/pagan holiday. I send "Seasons Greetings" cards. I put up a tree and lights. I wear a Santa hat. I give gifts. When my nephew and niece were little, I signed them "from Santa." I play and sing holiday songs, avoiding the ones that are overly explicit in religiosity. I wish people "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," choosing by whim.

I live Christmas as a secular holiday, as someone who is just about as non-Christian and non-religious as can be.
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  #55  
Old 12-09-2019, 09:33 AM
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No, it's not. Your "secular Christmas" is a secular Christian cultural holiday. It's not a Jewish or Muslim or atheist secular holiday. Sure, some may celebrate parts of it (a natural result of being a small minority) but it's not a national holiday because it's immersed in Christian culture. As a Jew growing up surrounded by Christian symbols and celebrations I can assure you that it's not part of my experience. You can call it what you want, but a Christmas tree is still a Christmas tree even if you remove the angel and Santa.
I am certainly not going to argue with you about your experience - but I think it may be colored a little by your own religion. I know plenty of non-Christians who celebrate a secular Christmas - and by that, I don't mean Jews and Muslims partnered with Christians. I mean people who are Buddhist or Taoist who are not partnered with Christians. I'm not sure if there is some particular reason why Jews/Muslims don't see a secular Christmas or if it's simply that non-Abrahamic religions are more accepting of celebrations that originated in another religion.
  #56  
Old 12-09-2019, 09:46 AM
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No, it's not. Your "secular Christmas" is a secular Christian cultural holiday. It's not a Jewish or Muslim or atheist secular holiday. Sure, some may celebrate parts of it (a natural result of being a small minority) but it's not a national holiday because it's immersed in Christian culture. As a Jew growing up surrounded by Christian symbols and celebrations I can assure you that it's not part of my experience. You can call it what you want, but a Christmas tree is still a Christmas tree even if you remove the angel and Santa.



Every year someone raises this argument and although I understand it, I strongly disagree with it. To my mind, this argument is mainly put forward by people who are cultural Christian, regardless of whether they are religious. It's rarely put forward by people raised outside of Christian culture.



As to Santa being removed from Christian culture, I just have to shake my head. Sorry, that's not going to fly. (ha!)
This I strongly agree with. The fact that some non-Christians choose to observe the holiday doesn't change things for the rest of us who know it's a Christian holiday dedicated to the birth of Christ. Simply removing the symbol of Christ does not change this.
  #57  
Old 12-09-2019, 10:16 AM
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This I strongly agree with. The fact that some non-Christians choose to observe the holiday doesn't change things for the rest of us who know it's a Christian holiday dedicated to the birth of Christ. Simply removing the symbol of Christ does not change this.
And other people know that your take on what Christmas "really" is does not pertain to them and what they celebrate this time of year.
  #58  
Old 12-09-2019, 11:34 AM
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Much as I wish "winter and good cheer and presents", or "Thursday", would be pretexts for a national holiday, as opposed to some bloody war or revolution, the fact that there are no spontaneous Christmas markets, public decorations, or even a day off work in China, Israel, etc., seems to give the lie to the idea that it isn't totally a Christian holiday, possibly including other solstice-loving elements. Saturnalia and similar also have religious associations.
  #59  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:04 PM
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Much as I wish "winter and good cheer and presents", or "Thursday", would be pretexts for a national holiday, as opposed to some bloody war or revolution, the fact that there are no spontaneous Christmas markets, public decorations, or even a day off work in China, Israel, etc., seems to give the lie to the idea that it isn't totally a Christian holiday, possibly including other solstice-loving elements.
It is totally a Christian holiday, but some elements are religiously Christian while others are culturally Christian.

Some people are "culturally Christian" without believing or practicing the Christian religion; and the USA is arguably a culturally Christian nation, or at least has been for much of its history (while China and Israel certainly are not).

It's not entirely clear, at least to me, how issues of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, etc. apply to culture.
  #60  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:07 PM
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And other people know that your take on what Christmas "really" is does not pertain to them and what they celebrate this time of year.
That's true as long as it goes both ways. This part of the (annual) discussion was started in the post where BigT claimed that there's a secular Chistmas national holiday. My claim is that as long as there is a significant percentage of people who don't agree that any Christmas celebration is secular makes that claim false. I can't speak for others but I don't want to stop you from having a completely secular Christmas celebration. Just to recognize that others in the community won't see it that way.
  #61  
Old 12-09-2019, 04:21 PM
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Nativity scene outside Claremont church portrays Holy Family separated at the border
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CLAREMONT, Calif. - A photo of a display taken outside Claremont United Methodist Church which shows the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph separated at the border is going viral.

The display shows each Holy Family member confined inside chain-link fencing with razor wire on top.
This college town was long dominated by Quakers. I joined the city council's weekly public peace vigils when VietNam was hot. The local seminary gained fame by assigning students to rewrite Genesis from the serpent's POV. I can't see them banning Xmas.
  #62  
Old 12-09-2019, 06:32 PM
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@kanicbird -- are you equivocating "nobody chooses to celebrate Christmas as they aren't Christian" with a "ban on Christmas"? Because that's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
Well either that or more accurately I am equivocating theoretical situation of a local law that can not stand if challenged beyond the local level but may stand for quote some time to a theoretical lawful ban that would be upheld and express the difference in the US. I just chose to use a local issue in NY to help explain it.

Last edited by kanicbird; 12-09-2019 at 06:34 PM.
  #63  
Old 12-09-2019, 07:05 PM
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Well either that or more accurately I am equivocating a unwritten ban on Christmas to a theoretical lawful ban and express the difference in the US. I just choose a town that is made up of orthodox Jewish people as a example.
But the point is that if no one in town chooses to celebrate Christmas so no celebration happens, that is NOT an "unwritten ban on Christmas". At all.
  #64  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:12 PM
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Comes now the part that boggles the mind, as I remember it: The court agreed with Diehard militant atheists. So private Christian citizen hilltop owner was not permitted to put up his Christian display on his own hilltop.
Which is exactly the outcome that they should have come to (although of course the later-posted article shows that virtually every word of this was wrong, anyway). The Constitution doesn't say "the government isn't allowed to endorse religion, but it's OK if they use some thinly veiled technicalities to accomplish the same result." Since they presumedly wouldn't have sold this space (and didn't, actually) except to achieve this result, it's still an endorsement of religion.

This is easy, folks:

- The government is not allowed to interfere with the citizens practice of religion. So towns can't ban private religious practices (with a few exceptions).

- However, they themselves are not supposed to choose/endorse/enforce one religion over another.

The second point can be achieved two ways:
1) Remove all religious references and do things like "Holiday" parties, etc.
2) Be inclusive and include elements of all religions

The fact that the screaming militant Christians lose their s--t over both options is the real problem here.
  #65  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:54 PM
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Warning- Minor Witnessing


I'm certainly not a militant atheist. I believe in the G-d of Abraham. I feel His presence in my daily life. I wear the mark of His covenant on my flesh. In short, I am a Jew.

I object strongly and loudly to anybody who will listen about overtly Christian displays on government property or paid for by the government. Here in Philly, this time of year the city puts up what they claim are snowflakes on streetlamps. These 'snowflakes' have eight arms rather than six. Further, they are obviously radiant crosses. It pisses me off to no end. The airport puts up snowflakes on lamp posts. These have six equidistant arms of equal length and are obviously snowflakes. This pleases me.
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  #66  
Old 12-09-2019, 10:05 PM
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Christmas has been banned in America—in colonial times, by the Puritans.

https://www.history.com/news/when-ma...nned-christmas
https://www.theatlantic.com/national...istmas/355705/
I mean, right? I feel like there was a Muppets special that taught me about this dark chapter in New England history.
  #67  
Old 12-09-2019, 10:59 PM
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This is easy, folks:

- The government is not allowed to interfere with the citizens practice of religion.
Unless their sacraments include certain drugs, animal sacrifices, sexual activities, etc. or their practices lead to zoning, accommodation, or safety issues. My sacred right to punish heretics and crucify Santa Clauses will likely be infringed.

I figured if any US town had banned mainstream religious stuff activities, it would have been Rajneeshpuram, but I don't see that they got around to that in the brief period of incorporation. I do see that some Chinese cities have banned Xmas. Not shopping season, I guess.
  #68  
Old 12-10-2019, 01:37 PM
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And I do think that's important here: there's a Christian holiday of Christmas, and then just a secular celebration of winter and presents and good cheer that is also called Christmas. The former I don't think the State should be involved with, but the latter I have no problem with. It is, in fact, a national holiday.

A decorated pine tree with no explicitly Christian decorations isn't really about Christian beliefs, but about celebrating winter.
Try calling that tree a Winter Solstice tree and wishing everyone you meet a Merry Solstice.

I'm sure there's a few places in the country doing the first; and I occasionally do the second. But I think you'll find out very fast that you'd be expressing very much a minority opinion; and that there are a whole lot of people in the USA who will throw a fit.

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I was raised in America outside of Christian culture. I was raised as a Hindu and I have been an atheist since childhood. I fiercely oppose government recognition of religion. I prefer that public buildings not display manger scenes. I refuse to take the Pledge of Allegiance.

I celebrate Christmas as a secular/pagan holiday. I send "Seasons Greetings" cards. I put up a tree and lights. I wear a Santa hat. I give gifts. When my nephew and niece were little, I signed them "from Santa." I play and sing holiday songs, avoiding the ones that are overly explicit in religiosity. I wish people "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," choosing by whim.

I live Christmas as a secular holiday, as someone who is just about as non-Christian and non-religious as can be.
Sure, there are a number of individual people who do that.

My own family throws a thoroughly mixed-up mishmosh of a celebration (which I cheerfully join in on) that includes a Christmas tree in a house occupied by people who are fairly active members of a synagogue.

But that doesn't make Christmas a secular thing; any more than the fact that there are probably some people attending Baptist churches who are actually atheists makes the service not religious.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:49 PM
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Sure, there are a number of individual people who do that.

My own family throws a thoroughly mixed-up mishmosh of a celebration (which I cheerfully join in on) that includes a Christmas tree in a house occupied by people who are fairly active members of a synagogue.
and this:

Quote:
But that doesn't make Christmas a secular thing
Seems self-contradictory to me. If there are people celebrating Christmas in a secular manner, then BigT is right: there is a secular Christmas.


Quote:
any more than the fact that there are probably some people attending Baptist churches who are actually atheists makes the service not religious.
The Baptist service is still religious in word and deed. My celebration of Christmas has zero religious elements.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:59 PM
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My celebration of Christmas has zero religious elements.
Well, except for the name.
  #71  
Old 12-10-2019, 02:28 PM
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Well, except for the name.
Krismas, named after Kriss Kringle.
  #72  
Old 12-10-2019, 03:50 PM
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This:

and this:

Seems self-contradictory to me. If there are people celebrating Christmas in a secular manner, then BigT is right: there is a secular Christmas..
An individual person or family may be having a secular celebration. The place of the celebration of Christmas in USA society as a whole is not secular.

The fact that there were female doctors in the USA in the 1950's doesn't mean that the perception of the society at that time wasn't that doctors were male; or that that perception had no impact on women, including on those who went to medical school anyway. Does that example help?
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:41 PM
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My workplaces’ have always had holiday parties and decorations. But I have never worked in a company that was owned by a Christian and I’ve never worked anywhere where the majority of the employees were Christians. Still, I’ve never known anyone to get offended by “Merry Christmas”. And we usually referred to the time off as the holidays. But one year my Israeli boss and his family celebrated Christmas, it was a “gift”to a Christian woman that had married into the family. He was puzzled by the “socks on the fireplace thing”

Corporate Christmas cards have, in New York at least, always been relentless secular. Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Peace on Earth. In the old days, before the internet, my boss used to send me out to buy a couple of boxes of holiday greeting cards. And all the non-Merry Christmas cards were in a special section labeled “Suitable for Business” and ......surprise, surprise ... they cost four times as much as the Merry Christmas cards. Only in New York.

I wish I could find the images of some old corporate Christmas cards from the Trump Organization. Because, if they exist ( most major companies that size send them, but I can see the Trump Organization being too cheap to do so) I bet they say Happy Holidays or Peace and Joy or something else that’s NOT Merry Christmas.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 12-10-2019 at 06:44 PM.
  #74  
Old 12-10-2019, 07:01 PM
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Corporate Christmas cards have, in New York at least, always been relentless secular. Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Peace on Earth. In the old days, before the internet, my boss used to send me out to buy a couple of boxes of holiday greeting cards. And all the non-Merry Christmas cards were in a special section labeled “Suitable for Business” and ......surprise, surprise ... they cost four times as much as the Merry Christmas cards. Only in New York.
I assume that he must have been sending you to Staples or some other office supply store - because I typically buy the Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings type cards and have never noticed a price difference in Target/CVS etc.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:55 PM
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Seems self-contradictory to me. If there are people celebrating Christmas in a secular manner, then BigT is right: there is a secular Christmas.
If someone incorporated a cross into their secular Christmas celebration would you think that the cross was now a secular symbol? I accept and embrace that many people celebrate this time of year without religious connotations, and they may be using symbols in a non-religious manner. But that doesn't remove the religious origins of those symbols, at least for some people who experienced separation from the mainstream culture under the banner of those symbols.

Over time, they may eventually lose that connection, but I would argue that we haven't reached that point yet. I don't think we'll get there in my lifetime.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:13 PM
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If someone incorporated a cross into their secular Christmas celebration would you think that the cross was now a secular symbol? I accept and embrace that many people celebrate this time of year without religious connotations, and they may be using symbols in a non-religious manner. But that doesn't remove the religious origins of those symbols, at least for some people who experienced separation from the mainstream culture under the banner of those symbols.

Over time, they may eventually lose that connection, but I would argue that we haven't reached that point yet. I don't think we'll get there in my lifetime.
Saying that some subset of people doesn’t consider Christmas celebration to be secular is not the same thing as saying that there is no secular Christmas. So long as someone is celebrating a secular Christmas means that secular Christmas exists.
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:12 PM
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I assume that he must have been sending you to Staples or some other office supply store - because I typically buy the Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings type cards and have never noticed a price difference in Target/CVS etc.
I’ll clarify that this happened in 1984 or so, and the retail options were a little different in general. There WAS no such thing as Staples or Office Max, this predates the concept. And chain drugstores had not transitioned into the kind of general store that they are today. It was either at Woolworths or an independently owned stationery store, I don’t really remember. But I do remember the “Suitable for. Business” sign and the considerably higher prices.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 12-12-2019 at 01:14 PM.
  #78  
Old 12-13-2019, 11:50 PM
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Senegoid's anecdote regarding the cross real estate mess (post #5) has been discussed already -- and I'm surprised the Mount Soledad issue was finally (?) settled only six years ago. I thought the battle was done in the late 1990s. But that was not a ban on Christmas, that was a push-back against Christian icons dominating the landscape -- regardless of the time of the year.



In post #6 Senegoid also mentioned the issue of nativity scenes (which are specifically about Christmas) on public property.



Are/were you in San Diego, Senegoid? Both incidents have happened there, though it's certainly not a small town. Obviously, similar legal battles have taken place all over the country so San Diego isn't all that special in that regard, but I thought it interesting that we both remember those local news issues.



A situation similar to the one in post #6 occurred in the 1980's* in San Diego and involved nativity scenes around the Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park -- which is definitely maintained by public funds (tax-payer dollars) and nativity scenes definitely don't represent a diversity of faiths. Since there has been a tremendous diversity of faiths in San Diego for a long long time, authorities and officials couldn't reasonably argue in the 1980's that the display was okay because "we're all Christian so nobody is being excluded."



The issues at that time were about more than the electric bill; there were questions of why the creches were bought, stored, maintained, and assembled for display using taxpayer funds when organizations that wished to celebrate Diwali, O-Bon, Tanabata, Yule, Chinese New Year, Shavuot, Ramadan, Jashan of Dadvah, or other significant dates or periods at Balboa Park were required to pay for permits and space rentals plus supply their own labor and decorations. That was seen as a favoritism by a governmental agency; violation of part of the first ammendment of the United States Constitution.#



It seems to me the War On Christmas has largely been a fabrication of the Christian Right and was bantered about quite loudly by the Tea Party when it was competing against the Republicans for citizens' hearts and minds (and money and votes). It just seems to me like the equivalent of a guy in a sleeveless white T-shirt explaining to a cop, "I had to hit her. She said 'No' to me."



--G!

*The weird thing is that, a week before the objections and debates started, I took a girl-whose-heart-I-failed-to-win to that display on the premise of teaching her night photography techniques. She was Jewish but we both thought they were worthy subjects for the lessons. She did, however, point to a couple poorly-constructed versions and joked, "Those are horrible. There oughta be a law against those!"



#I remember stumbling across an editorial in a Catholic newspaper around that time. It was several paragraphs explaining "There's a Reason the First Commandment is the First." and I remember thinking Yeah, and that's precisely why the First Ammendment is the First as well!
  #79  
Old 12-14-2019, 02:50 PM
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I imagine there would be three different variations of this.

1. The "easiest", simply prevent all public buildings (such as libraries) and streets from even acknowledging Christmas and not allowing any decorations put up at all.

2. Banning private businesses open to the public from celebrating Christmas

3. Banning all open displays of Christmas over the entire town
The first one is entirely plausible. It's a positive act of the municipal govt to put up holiday displays, be they specifically for Christmas, also for other holidays which fall at a similar time of year,('Happy Hannukah' sign outside our City Hall for example) or explicitly non-religious like 'Happy Holidays'. Of the passive act of not putting up anything. It's not 'preventing'.

The other two options are 'preventing' private acts. I could see this flying in court only under the finding that Christmas had become so separated from its religious roots that the ban wasn't anything to do with suppressing religious expression. Which is not really a plausible argument for banning private Christmas display since anti-Christmas is generally based on the idea that the religious aspects of the holiday represent unfair and obsolete Christian hegemonism in a diverse society. It is about religion IOW, even though everyone realizes Christmas also has a secular side which is arguably bigger than the religious side. The religious side, nativity scenes etc, is what upsets some people, but because the government is sponsoring it.

Which is why I don't recall hearing anyone propose govt saying private companies or individuals can't put up Christmas displays (putting social media pressure on companies not to, that's a lot more likely, but not the same thing as govt doing it). I think just about everyone realizes that wouldn't be constitutional in the US.

Although, the concept of 'public accommodation' wrt to businesses has allowed govt to ban private companies doing various things where a simple 'it's their property they can do what they like there' view would say otherwise. So No 2 is more like just politically very unlikely. No 3 would the pretty unquestionably unconstitutional option.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-14-2019 at 02:55 PM.
  #80  
Old 12-14-2019, 04:40 PM
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A town near us tried to do something similar a few years ago.

Halloween was going to be on a Sunday (Heavens to Betsy. Where's my smelling salts?) So they decreed that trick-or-treating was going to be on Saturday.

We did it on Halloween per tradition. Some people gave us grief about it, but:

A. A town council is not in charge of setting dates for these sort of holidays. They also cannot change the date of Easter, St. Swithins Day, Chinese New Year, etc.

B. The town is near us. We do not live in that town. Their laws have no effect on us. Even if we did live in that town, see A.

C. If you have a problem with Halloween, just ignore it.

D. What about Seventh Day Adventists who would have a problem with it being on Saturday?

Last edited by ftg; 12-14-2019 at 04:41 PM.
  #81  
Old 12-14-2019, 06:15 PM
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A town near us tried to do something similar a few years ago.

Halloween was going to be on a Sunday (Heavens to Betsy. Where's my smelling salts?) So they decreed that trick-or-treating was going to be on Saturday.
But I don't think that's similar actually. In our city there was a controversy about the St Patrick's Day parade. The city moved it to a weekday from the tradition of weekend near actual St P's day to undercut the relatively newer tradition of bar crawling (and lots of public disturbance complaints) associated with the parade. The private parade organization protested this change to weekday and just stopped having the parade altogether. The bar crawl event lived on, though seems to be gradually petering out.

Anyway both these cases are categorically different IMO than Christmas related ones because though Halloween and St Patrick's Day also have Christian origins the modern celebrations are pretty much 100% detached from those origins. With Christmas the really controversial part is the remaining Christian aspect: people who see traditional public sponsored celebration of that holiday as 'Christianity being shoved down our throats', v those who see it as their valued tradition under attack.

Both Christians and non/post/anti-Christians might agree in objecting to the consumerist/materialist aspect of Christmas the secular holiday. What they are at odds over is Christmas the religious holiday and how that relates to govt, or perhaps by extension to private companies which provide 'public accommodation'*. Religion is not a real factor in debates about public aspect of Halloween or St Paddy's.

*on further thought, OP's option 2, people wanting govt to prohibit private companies' creation of 'a hostile environment for non-Christians' via religiously oriented Christmas displays in privately owned places of public accommodation like stores, restaurants, hotels etc. is not that far fetched. The 'Overton window' might not have opened that far yet, but it moves pretty fast now.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-14-2019 at 06:19 PM.
  #82  
Old 12-14-2019, 06:37 PM
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But I don't think that's similar actually. In our city there was a controversy about the St Patrick's Day parade. The city moved it to a weekday from the tradition of weekend near actual St P's day to undercut the relatively newer tradition of bar crawling (and lots of public disturbance complaints) associated with the parade. The private parade organization protested this change to weekday and just stopped having the parade altogether. The bar crawl event lived on, though seems to be gradually petering out.

Anyway both these cases are categorically different IMO than Christmas related ones because though Halloween and St Patrick's Day also have Christian origins the modern celebrations are pretty much 100% detached from those origins. With Christmas the really controversial part is the remaining Christian aspect: people who see traditional public sponsored celebration of that holiday as 'Christianity being shoved down our throats', v those who see it as their valued tradition under attack.
It's different in some ways, and similar in others. Yes, the way Christmas is celebrated has more of a religious association than Halloween or St Patrick's day celebrations, but there are limitations to what a city can do with Halloween/St Patrick's day celebrations - they can change the date of the parade , but that doesn't necessarily mean that anything will change regarding bar crawls or trick-or-treating or anything else that requires no government involvement and those same limitations apply to Christmas. The government can remove Christmas from the list of legal holidays , require its employees to work on Christmas, open public schools on Christmas - but realistically, even in that world, the government is not going to prohibit private businesses from decorating or even giving their employees time off for Christmas, much less prohibit homeowners from decorating their homes any more than they will legally prohibit trick or treating on Thursday October 31st.
  #83  
Old 12-14-2019, 11:14 PM
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A town near us tried to do something similar a few years ago.

Halloween was going to be on a Sunday (Heavens to Betsy. Where's my smelling salts?) So they decreed that trick-or-treating was going to be on Saturday.
How is promoting a Halloween-themed activity analogous to banning anything?

Isn't the alternative not setting a date at all and having it be a jumble of people deciding on different dates? Every community in my area always sets a date, because otherwise, it would end up being several nights long. (It has to be the 31st, that's tradition. No no, the 30th, that's the real tradition. But it can't be on a school night, the kids will come in hopped up on sugar! But it has to be on a school night so kids are off the streets early. And back when daylight savings ended in October, that was a long debate too.)

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-14-2019 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:37 PM
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Can an American town ban Christmas?


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How is promoting a Halloween-themed activity analogous to banning anything?
it’s the changing from Sunday to Saturday that is analogous.



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Isn't the alternative not setting a date at all and having it be a jumble of people deciding on different dates? Every community in my area always sets a date, because otherwise, it would end up being several nights long.
Maybe where you live - but I’m sure there are plenty of places where the local government does not set a date for trick-or-treating and it just happens on October 31. I’m kind of wondering how it can become “several nights long”- after all, just because a group of parents chooses to trick or treat the Sat before (or after) Halloween doesn’t mean I’m obligated to answer my door and give out candy on that day.




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Last edited by doreen; 12-14-2019 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:56 PM
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Anyway both these cases are categorically different IMO than Christmas related ones because though Halloween and St Patrick's Day also have Christian origins the modern celebrations are pretty much 100% detached from those origins. .
Since when does Halloween have Christian origins? Last I checked, it was originally celebrated by druids. All Saints Day was created by the Catholic Church in response.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:04 AM
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it’s the changing from Sunday to Saturday that is analogous.
I don't really see how. There are plenty of Christmas season activities for a whole month before Christmas, so how is having a Halloween season activity a day before Halloween equivalent to banning Halloween? (Halloween's season is obviously shorter than the Christmas season, but the 30th is still part of it, I think.)

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I’m kind of wondering how it can become “several nights long”- after all, just because a group of parents chooses to trick or treat the Sat before (or after) Halloween doesn’t mean I’m obligated to answer my door and give out candy on that day.
I'm sure it would settle into a single custom eventually, but which one? You might set out to give out candy on the 31st, but what if all of your neighbors had arrived at doing it on the 30th?

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-15-2019 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:16 AM
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Hm, so that whole October 30th thing is a more bizarrely local issue than I had realized, and it's all because of a party that hasn't been held since 1954. People are weird.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 12-15-2019 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:11 AM
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I don't really see how. There are plenty of Christmas season activities for a whole month before Christmas, so how is having a Halloween season activity a day before Halloween equivalent to banning Halloween? (Halloween's season is obviously shorter than the Christmas season, but the 30th is still part of it, I think.)
There's nothing wrong with having a Halloween activity a day before -parties and parades and such are often the weekend before - but that's not nearly the same as the government decreeing which day a non- organized event should occur. It would be like the government deciding that Valentine's day will be celebrated on the nearest weekend.

Quote:
I'm sure it would settle into a single custom eventually, but which one? You might set out to give out candy on the 31st, but what if all of your neighbors had arrived at doing it on the 30th?
That wouldn't be the government (or any organization) changing the date of Halloween , or decreeing that trick or treating will be on the 30th.

Last edited by doreen; 12-15-2019 at 08:12 AM.
  #89  
Old 12-15-2019, 11:59 AM
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Both Christians and non/post/anti-Christians might agree in objecting to the consumerist/materialist aspect of Christmas the secular holiday.
Some Christians do object to that. But some of the 'there's a war on Christmas!!1111!!!11' people are objecting to 'happy holidays' instead of 'merry Christmas' as a greeting specifically in stores during the season; and/or to displays of items for sale and advertisement for such not, in their opinion, concentrating enough on specifically Christian imagery. In other words, they're insisting that the consumerist/materialistic aspect should be explicitly religious; which strikes me as exactly the opposite of objecting to the commercialization of the holiday.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:38 PM
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I grew up in southwest/west-central Ohio and I’m used to the idea of local governments setting what we called “Beggar’s Night” as opposed to Halloween. It just makes sense to me to have that done.

In this case I don’t see this as an external authority telling the common people what to do. It’s the case of the people using the Democrat system to make a rational decision together.
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  #91  
Old 12-16-2019, 10:21 AM
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Since when does Halloween have Christian origins? Last I checked, it was originally celebrated by druids. All Saints Day was created by the Catholic Church in response.
You could make the same point about Christmas, claiming it's really just a pagan solstice festival co-opted by Christianity, and it would be equally pedantic.

For practical purposes for centuries, the entire West celebrated All Saints and Christmas as Christian religious holidays with no knowledge on the part of 99%+ of individuals that either was anything other than a Christian religious holiday, whether or not either was 'really' a pagan holiday co-opted by 'the Catholic Church'*.

Then much more recently, last no more than century or so, Halloween became virtually 100% secular. Christmas isn't nearly 100% secular, though has a big secular component. How do we know Christmas is nowhere near 100% secular? Because of all the cultural-political brawls about public sponsorship of the *religious* celebration of Christmas (nativity scenes, Christmas carols with explicitly religious lyrics in school concerts, etc, etc). That's what people fight about, that's the only plausible origin of a 'ban' on Christmas from 1) publicly sponsored celebration or 2) less likely right now but not so far fetched eventually: telling stores, restaurants etc they can't 'insult' and 'create a hostile environment' for anti-Christians with religious displays or 3) telling private individuals they can't put up religious Christmas displays, the last of those being the one clearly unconstitutional in the US, but not every poster is from the US.

*it's historical opinion that All Saints was aimed at replacing the pagan Festival of the Dead not a clear fact. It also may have existed for centuries before it was made official in the 9th century. In any case it's irrelevant to the point here either way.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-16-2019 at 10:24 AM.
  #92  
Old 12-16-2019, 11:02 AM
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Some Christians do object to that. But some of the 'there's a war on Christmas!!1111!!!11' people are objecting to 'happy holidays' instead of 'merry Christmas' as a greeting specifically in stores during the season; and/or to displays of items for sale and advertisement for such not, in their opinion, concentrating enough on specifically Christian imagery. In other words, they're insisting that the consumerist/materialistic aspect should be explicitly religious; which strikes me as exactly the opposite of objecting to the commercialization of the holiday.
I find that claiming 'they' are 'hypocrites' in the Culture Wars has such an inherent glass house/stones problem that I try to stay away from it.

Yeah lots of people are inconsistent on all sides of all kinds of issues, or at least they can somewhat plausibly painted that way by people on the other side of the issue, to an audience of like minded people on the underlying issue...

I still think my simple point is obvious. Christian and non/post/anti-Christians might agree about consumerist/materialist extremes of secular Christmas celebration. That's not what they are fighting about. They are fighting about religious symbols in govt and 'public accommodation' private spaces.

As far as 'Happy Holidays' which is only one corner of that debate (again stuff like nativity scenes, protests about religious carol lyrics in school concerts, there are many aspects to it), somebody has been pressing over recent decades for that greeting to replace 'Merry Christmas'. The signs and cards aren't changing themselves, there is some human-driven reason. And the reason is, I believe fairly obviously, a belief by some that specific mention of Christmas is exclusionary and prejudicial because of the *religious* implication. If the holiday had no religious content ('it's really an old pagan solstice festival last I checked!' if that were in any way actually relevant ) nobody would care.

Back to 'hypocrites', I'm not sure that it's 'inconsistent' to object to Happy Holidays replacing Merry Christmas unless you first put on a hair shirt and give up all consumerism/materialism including giving to others. I think you can have various opinions about HH* and degrees of materialism/consumerism without any given combination being automatically 'inconsistent' to any greater degree than every day 'inconsistency' of virtually everybody, at least in some other people's opinion.

I'm from NY where Jewish people's objections to MC spawned HH decades ago; HH v MC in the broad US nowadays is mainly post/anti-Christians of Christian heritage v practicing or at least cultural non-practicing Christians so a bit different argument. IME US Muslims, Hindu's, Buddhists etc overwhelmingly don't give a shit, even if their feelings are often invoked by post/anti-Christian people of European Christian heritage. Anyway as a NY'er I grew up with HH. I find it insipid, would feel idiotic saying it and I never do. I say Happy Hanukkah to people I know are Jewish, MC to known Christians, nothing to people known to be of other religions because they don't have a major holiday that time of year, nothing to people I don't know, 'you too' etc. to people who say HH first. It's obnoxious IMO to answer HH with a passive-aggressive toned MC. But again HH/MC is a small part of the quite non-imaginary cultural struggle over Christmas.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-16-2019 at 11:06 AM.
  #93  
Old 12-18-2019, 08:37 PM
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Hm, so that whole October 30th thing is a more bizarrely local issue than I had realized, and it's all because of a party that hasn't been held since 1954. People are weird.
What I'm finding even worse is the recent trend (at least locally, in Eastern Ventura County) in trying to comingle Halloween celebrations and decorations with Dia Del Muerte decorations and practices. I don't understand how that Mexican tradition observed near the solstice got rescheduled to a month after the equinox and I tend to suspect (with irritation) either unbridled capitalists being culturally insensitive yet trying to cash in on the similarity of icons or pushy Christians ignorantly trying to move the pagan practice farther away from the date of their coopted Christian celebration.

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Old 12-18-2019, 09:07 PM
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What I'm finding even worse is the recent trend (at least locally, in Eastern Ventura County) in trying to comingle Halloween celebrations and decorations with Dia Del Muerte decorations and practices. I don't understand how that Mexican tradition observed near the solstice got rescheduled to a month after the equinox and I tend to suspect (with irritation) either unbridled capitalists being culturally insensitive yet trying to cash in on the similarity of icons or pushy Christians ignorantly trying to move the pagan practice farther away from the date of their coopted Christian celebration.
How do you calculate that it was observed near the solstice? This page lists the Great Feast of the Dead (preceded by the Little Feast of the Dead) on August 12-August 31st (Wikipedia has it Aug 1-Aug. 20). Is anybody claiming that one has anything to do with Halloween (or Christianity)?

Last edited by DPRK; 12-18-2019 at 09:08 PM.
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