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The War On Christmas: Right-Wingers, The Red Pope, and Jesus

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The War On Christmas: Right-Wingers, The Red Pope, and Jesus

War on Christmas, Pope Francis, Right-Wing

Aah, ’tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols — and all-out, no-mercy, blow-’em-all-to-hell war.

Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no — this is the far right’s God-awful “War on Christmas.” In this season of Peace on Earth, a delusional faction of rightists has cooked up a hokey “cultural crisis” to rally their own followers by fomenting hatred of … well, of whom? “Blasphemous-liberal-Democrat-atheist-humanists,” they shout!

The infidels are not accused of lobbing actual bombs in this “war,” but Words of Mass Destruction. Specifically, wail the purists, unholy left-wingers go around saying “happy holidays,” rather than “merry Christmas,” as Jesus taught us to say. Or was it Constantine the Great in the fourth century who came up with that?

Never mind, the rightists’ point is that diabolical lefties (i.e., Marxists) are out to ban Christmas entirely. Heroic defender of the faith Sarah Palin has even written a thin book about this devious plot, revealing that “happy holidays” is merely “the tip of the spear in a larger battle to … make true religious freedom a thing of America’s past.”

Luckily, note the Merry Christmas crusaders, there are such bright lights as Indiana State Sen. Jim Smith. Smith hopes to join Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in the “Merry Christmas Club” — in pushing state laws to allow Christian icons and ceremonies into our schools. Then there’s U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn from Colorado. He and 35 of his fellow Republican congress critters have proposed a House resolution to protect Christmas. “A creche in every public space,” is their cry, “a cross on every city hall.” To hell with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, etc.: This is war!

Actually, no, this is hokum, flimflammery, hoodoo, camel dung. It’s also insulting that they would attempt to try to generate a major social conflict over the fiction that the phrase “happy holidays” constitutes religious discrimination, whine that they are a repressed minority and equate it with war. First: Jews, Muslims and others don’t get to brand public spaces as their religious property. Second: Nearly three-fourths of Americans are Christian, so drop the put-upon martyr pose. And third: War really is hell, with blood, lifelong trauma and death, so stop pretending you’re in one.

But rationality doesn’t seem to be included in the liturgy of their political church. Indeed, some of its acolytes have added a twist on Christmas that would make Jesus weep. Indeed, they have launched a war against Jesus! How twisted is that? They say no one should mess with the word “Christmas,” yet they’re messing with the guy Christmas is supposed to be about.

OK, technically they’re not going directly at Jesus but rather at a key part of his message and, in particular, a key messenger of Christianity: Pope Francis! They’ve decided that the Pope is a “Marxist,” pointing out that Francis speaks often about “the structural causes of poverty,” the “idolatry of money,” and the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism. Obviously, say the Pontiff’s pious critics, that’s commie talk.

The clincher for them was when Francis wrote an exhortation in which he asked in outrage: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” See, cried the carpers, that’s proof that Francis is the Red Pope!

But wait, that was a very good question he asked, one ripe with the moral wrath that Jesus himself frequently showed toward the callous rich and their “love of money.” In fact, the Pope’s words ring with the deep ethics you find in Jesus’ sermon on the mount and in his admonitions to serve the poor. Was he a commie, too?

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: Pope Francis greets school children upon departure from the Vatican Embassy in Washington on day three of his first visit to the United States September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron   

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 28, 2016

    As you all have noticed over the past year and more, I’ve been drawn towards looking at the crisis that has been spreading a thick veil over America’s landscape through the lens of Religion. I chose to do this because addressing political conflicts using a political schema is like trying to douse a flame with oxygen—it only feeds the fire.
    An appeal to the higher nature of humans, which to a large degree is held captive by the extremist ideas originating from “The Right Wing”, is the best weapon against this new strain of virulence, along with having reasoned conversations with friends, family members, and neighbors who hold diametrically opposing views.
    (The book “Strangers In Their Own Land”, by Arlie Hochschild, shows an interesting approach).

    The disposition towards spreading lies and falsehoods in America dates back to the times of the founding of America, starting with tales of witchcraft and false accusations against those who practiced it; stories of neighbors engaging in Dark Arts in order to seek revenge against the disliked neighbor; and not long thereafter stories about “satanic” cults like Catholics began to spread as new arrivals to America from Ireland appeared; and populations from southern and eastern Europe were targeted for smear campaigns by the nativists who arrived earlier and saw the newcomers as competitors for jobs and a share of the country’s wealth and resources.

    The descendants of this swamp of conspiracists and peddlers of lies are carrying on the tradition of spreading lies with the aid of a technology enabling a rapid world-wide spread. They have created a world-view which expands on the primeval “My Group against Your Group” by including new classes of “Them”, e.g., Arabs, Muslims, dark-skinned people(actually they’ve been in the “Them” category for centuries), “Left Wing”(commonly called “Libtards” and “Progressives”), any and all who talk about inclusiveness rather than nativism and exclusiveness.

    Even anyone who expresses an idea beyond a few snide remarks, who doesn’t grunt when speaking or typing, or anyone who doesn’t have a prosthetic metallic device shaped like a gun surgically attached between the legs is OK to be targeted as the enemy—forgive the crudity of my analogy, but the NRA is a part of this growing disease and deserves a mention.

    The isolationists in America have been awaken from their hiatus in the coffins because they’ve heard the Trump(et) blast from the false angel, Donald J. Trump with a bogus religion and the hymn “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. This is Trump and the GOP’s gift to America—a gift that will keep on decimating, destroying trust, dividing, and despoiling. A gift of decadence and depravity.

    1. Mama Bear December 28, 2016

      as always, well thought and well said. thank, Aaron.

    2. rednekokie December 29, 2016

      Well told, MB — and the false angel Trump could also be regarded as the so-called “anti-Christ” — if only America could see it. Thank you.

  2. Mama Bear December 28, 2016

    Ugh…it is getting so very tiring. All these Christians and not a Christ-like one among them. Their Bible is not our Constitution and we must never let them forget that.

  3. FireBaron December 28, 2016

    Frankly, these modern Christian Warriors remind me very much of the Separatists (i.e. Pilgrims). As a minority of the population of England, they demanded the rest of the country conform to their ways of worshiping Christ, and considered all the rest to be unrepentant sinners bound for the depths of Hell.
    While many of their fellows up in Massachusetts Bay Colony (i.e. the Puritans) returned to England to fight alongside their fellow Parlimentarians in the English Civil War, the folks in Plymouth Colony remained behind believing both sides should just kill each other off.

  4. Thoughtopsy December 28, 2016

    All Holidays Matter. 😀

  5. Sand_Cat December 28, 2016

    Was “Jesus” a commie? You have to ask?

    Anyone with an ounce of compassion or interest in justice is one these days. It seems to be returning as the badge of honor to be borne by the sane and rational. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab7cefa708539ce54badef89a7c88ad006e5d7a87fa08a2eb81ca140e90e1f7a.jpg

    1. The lucky one December 29, 2016

      “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.” – Dom Helder Camara

      But in some places now if you give food to the poor you risk arrest.

      1. Sand_Cat December 29, 2016

        I have a magnet with that quote (can’t remember if it’s from Northern Sun of Cafe Press, but I don’t think it’s still available); I had it in mind while writing the post.

        Best wishes to you and yours!

        1. The lucky one December 29, 2016

          I wish the same for you and your loved ones.

          BTW, in case you need a gift for Trump:

  6. rednekokie December 29, 2016

    Jim Hightower is now, and always has been my hero! My only regret is that we no longer have Molly Ivans along side him to comment on the way things are.

    Happy Holidays — Everyone!!!!

    1. plc97477 December 29, 2016

      I agree 100%. Jim Hightower keeps me sane in an insane world. I too miss Molly.

    2. Sand_Cat December 29, 2016

      I’m another fan of both of them.

      Same to you!

  7. Theodora30 December 29, 2016

    This has to be one of the stupidest controversies and one that could have been easily shut down at the start by the media pointing out that “Happy Holidays” makes sense even among Christians because they celebrate more than one holiday during the season.
    It was a common expression when I was a child living in a town with exactly two Jewish families because it was shorthand for “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”. Many Christians also celebrate December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day as well as January 6, the Epiphany (Feast of the Wise Men) so the phrase “Happy Holidays” is more than appropriate within Christian communities.
    Why the heck wasn’t this pointed out from the start of this ridiculous faux controversy?


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