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Friday, December 16, 2005
Cross-ing the line
And that's probably the worst pun anyone's thought up regarding this bit of local controversal that was nipped in the bud yesterday.
Oh, poo. I was looking forward to spending part of Monday downtown watching the debate come to a head in Pioneer Courthouse Square. In one corner, Lars Larson, his Christmas cross and ten tons of smugness. In the other, dozens of frothing
mad IndyMedia-ers and a "Holiday tree." The "War on Christmas" could have become just that if Lars Larson's bosses hadn't a intervened.
I'm a non-practicing Methodist so I'm divided on the subject. I can understand why some communities dub their public displays "holiday trees" and why stores like WalMart now supposedly now greet customers with "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas." On the other hand, as Phil Stanford points out in his column today regarding the tree in Pioneer Square:
"The way I see it, if it looks like a Christmas tree, lights up like a Christmas tree and the local business associations use it to encourage people to come downtown and shop like crazy for Christmas presents — well, it probably is a Christmas tree."
Still, I wonder if Larson (who doen't seem to realize that a cross is more indicative of Easter than Christmas), Bill O'Reily all those "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" advocates have Christmas trees in their houses or deck their halls with Santa Claus decorations. Their argument is as contradictory and muddled as the holiday itself. The traditions they're defending have little to do with their religion. As everybody knows, over the centuries the true meaning of the holiday has become so incredibly muddled with Christian, Druid, Germanic and who knows what other European traditions that no one even remembers how to properly celebrate the birth of Christ. Can Christmas even be considered a religious holiday at this point (with the exception of tykes that believe in Santa)?
So I present a simple solution that might put an end to the hostilities: if you're seriously upset that the clerks at Eddie Bauer no longer say "Merry Christmas" when you buy a pair of overpriced wool socks, you have to stick by your actual beliefs. No tree in your house, no lights hanging in the bushes, no stockings, no eggnog, no K-103 or Carpenter CDs, no Peacock Lane, no monorail rides at Meier and Frank, no Santa cookies and, no, you don't get to watch "Scrooged" on TNT. 99% of all Christmas traditions have their roots in anything but Jesus' birthday. You folks can celebrate with a wooden manger and gifts (of gold and spices, nothing else and certainly not done up in Peanuts wrapping paper).
If you truly want to celebrate an untarnished Christian holiday this is the route to take. Meanwhile, myself and all the other heathens will be getting drunk in front of our Christmas trees, regardless of what a few beuracrats want to call the one sitting downtown. As for the nervous "holiday" greeters at Walmart and other stores, consider the fact that they don't say jack squat on Rosh Hashanah or Ramadan.