Thursday, December 22, 2005

The War on Christmas

Ann Althouse:

...yesterday, when some shopkeepers said "Happy Holidays" to me and I said "Merry Christmas," I had the disgusting feeling that we had just engaged in a political argument!

That's how I feel about it, too. Unfair suppression of Christian expression does happen in our country, but this "War on Christmas" is beginning to take on a very Jesse Jackson poor-oppressed-me identity politics feel.

Ann also links to a very angry, bitter column by Christopher Hitchens, which includes this interesting note: was exactly this paganism and corruption that led Oliver Cromwell—my own favorite Protestant fundamentalist—to ban the celebration of Christmas altogether.

I believe he's referring to the materialism of the modern Christmas season, and the use of pseudo-pagan symbols like trees. I have no idea if that's historically true. Steve? Tee Bee? Al?


Steve said...

I'd never heard of this about Cromwell before. I looked up several sources, The Cromwell Society, Britannia, BBC, and Fordham U., and none made any reference to such an action. I suspect Hitchens is just being Hitchens, although he may be rejoicing in the fact that Cromwell was dug up from his grave, hanged, drawn, and quartered.

jamal said...

I’m not surprised the “Happy Holiday” greeting is on the increase. Some say it’s secularist, others say it’s discriminating, whereas I consider it to be a suitable alternative.

tee bee said...

I think you're referring to the ban in Ireland, which would have accompanied the swath of dead bodies cut by Cromwell's men when they "subdued" the natives in the second half of 1649.

Great guy, and I've never bothered to question the Christmas story, but then, I'm Irish, and I've seen the remains of the ruins he left.

Call it a hunch, but I don't suspect Cromwell, who also overthrew the English monarchy, was merely making a statement about materialism or pagan symbols.