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The War on Christmas Spirit

7:28 AM EST on December 8, 2010

Isn't there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?!?

For far too many followers of Christ, being a "Christian" is a status rather than a way of life.  To them, their religion is an entitlement to preferential treatment in just about every facet of American life.  Whether it is having their God praised before a basketball game, scriptures from their religious doctrine plastered on public buildings, or even voting to specifically deny rival religions equal protection these Christians use their savior as a hammer.

During the Christmas season, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, that entitled feeling actually manifests into an even darker place.  Instead of spreading "peace on Earth and good will toward men" they instead choose to extend surliness.

Case in point:  I cannot count the number of times I have heard people (often in my own church) brag about being good soliders in this contrived "War on Christmas."  Upon being greeted with a friendly "Happy Holidays" from a--for instance--Target employee, they pointedly replied "Merry Christmas."  The words are seasonally appropriate, but the emphasis behind is anything but that.  It comes across much like when I have to berate the ClarkPupp for failing to return a greeting. 

"What do you say?" 

"(exasperated sigh) Hiiii." 

In the end no one is satisfied.  My son is ticked off for being rebuked and the person who extended the initial greeting feels bad for getting the little boy in trouble.  We are replacing "tidings of joy" with school marmish lessons on how to properly address people who may or may not actually celebrate Christmas.  This is how the Christmas season is playing out for so many people now.

Some day, God willing, Christians will be able to enjoy the holiday season.  Until Jim Inhofe disappears from public life, though, that probably won't happen in Oklahoma.  Instead enjoying Christmas Senator Inhofe is instead behaving as if he celebrates Festivus.  He is airing grievances.

In response to a parade in Tulsa changing its name to incorporate all people--regardless of their religious affiliation--last year, Inhofe has publicly boycotted the event.  As someone who has always related more to Ebeneezer Scrooge, I understand the appeal in Inhofe's tack.  All those decorations are too far over the top, traffic sucks more than any other time of the year, the Christmas carols on repeat drive me crazy, and all those lights make me feel epileptic.  Bah, humbug, right?  The last thing I want to do is go to a parade.

The difference between me and Oklahoma's senior senator, though, is that I don't encourage everyone else to take my bad attitude and spread it around.

As The Daily Show explains better than I could ever hope, this attitude that using the word "Holiday" in place of "Christmas" ruins the season only hurts those who need the spirit most.  People like Inhofe encourage his fellow militant Christians to take an opportunity for people of all faiths to celebrate together, and instead use it to drive a wedge further between followers of Christ and everyone else.

Making this decision even harder to understand is that the origin of Christmas has nothing to do with the actual birth of Jesus.  Early Christians created the holiday so that their flock would not feel left out when Pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice.  Now, oozing irony, those who take up arms over the "Christmas season" being usurped are those attempting to leave out the non-believers.  Really, all it accomplishes is making all Christians easy to portray as hateful.

Of course, Jim Inhofe is not a smart man.  He built an igloo during the worst snow storm DC has seen in decades and said it proved that climate change was a myth (because apocalyptic snow storms occur all the time).  He has claimed Barack Obama is a practicing muslim at Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce meetings.  Recently, he announced his opposition to his own party's crusade to end earmarks by blaming liberals for smearing the good name of the practice.  So, it is probably not a stretch to think he probably believes that Jesus has a birth certificate proving he was born on December 25th.

Or it could be that Inhofe is trying to give those attending the Tulsa Holiday Parade the best gift he can give.  His absence.

Happy holidays, everybody.

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