Wintry Mix

photo of holiday versus christmas pictures
As I may have mentioned, I can be a bit less than fuzzy during the holiday season for a few reasons. A friend of mine was, I kid you not, referred to as a terrorist the other day at work because she told someone “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

A terrorist.

Anyway, though I lived in the mountains for five years (not like Katniss Everdeen or actual terrorist Eric Rudolph, but it was the same mountains) and delighted in the weather (it is not often that I feel that it is cold enough for me to need to wear long pants outdoors, but there, I could feel cold even when thoroughly bundled up. A bit of a pain at times, but wonderful, and highly preferable to being too warm. You can always bundle up more—even if you are alone or in the right company, you don’t get any less dressed than naked, and being naked and still being too warm is the worst. And where I live now, well, even a light dusting of snow would be a pleasant surprise. It has been in the 70s for a total of like a week this December, and, as I write this, we are only two weeks into the month. Blurg.

Right, so. This time of year, I do have some music that I enjoy listening to. It is not really the traditional music* for this time of year (i.e. Christmas carols—I don’t really hear Spin The Dreidel in grocery stores too often), but it is my playlist, and I enjoy it. So here it is! Because . . . feminism.

Ahem. Here is my playlist. I call it “Wintery Mix,” because forecasters say that and because I am easily amused.

1) Christmas Tree, by Lady Gaga (featuring Space Cowboy)

This one is pretty obvious. I love this song. I love the sound of this song. I love the lyrics to this song. I love the attitude. If you are, for some reason, unfamiliar, the line: “Ho, ho, ho, under the mistletoe” should provide you with a clue. I love slutty music. Also, I assume that by “Christmas tree,” she means her lady-parts, but I have not the faintest idea how she’s seeing it as a tree. But whatever.

2) Cool, by Gwen Stefani

This one is, um, really just because of the song title? I know, it’s abhorrently simple. But …

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Happy Holidays: Christmas Cheer And Bitter Divides

photo of christmas pictures
There is not a War On Christmas.

If there were, I would know. I would be at all of the strategy sessions.

Growing up, I was not bothered by all of the classroom festivities that accompanied the holiday season. I mean, what kindergarten student does not enjoy a break from classroom tedium to clumsily assemble gingerbread houses or to make tacky felt ornaments? I mean, my family set up a tree and lights and had presents—basically Christmas. More accurately described as Santamas, perhaps.

What I did not enjoy, particularly in elementary school (where it was extra abundant), was the default assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas. And feeling left out when other people knew songs that were not taught in music class but that classes were occasionally expected to sing towards the end of December. It was not a feeling of jealousy that, for other students, celebrating Christmas involved more than it did in my household. It was a resentment that I was excluded. That events were planned and that, even as an eight-year-old, I was very aware that the presence of myself and other students at my school who did not actually celebrate Christmas was mostly an afterthought. There was a token Hannukah song for any students who might be Jewish, and that was about it for non-Christians.

As an adult, I have no real desire to ruin anyone’s Christmas. What I want is for, in public spaces, as much inclusion as possible. While one could argue—and I would even agree—that having a decorated evergreen tree has almost become a secular symbol at this point (and, at any rate, at least decorating evergreen trees is not exclusively a Christian practice this time of year), a Nativity display on public property certainly is not. It is an exclusively Christian, religious display and it is not appropriate to display that on public land—certainly not on its own. I …

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Persecution Complex

photo of christianity pictures
Your religious liberties are not in any danger from the government.

Ahem. I should clarify: If you live in the United States, your religious liberties are not in any danger from the federal* government.

I am not going to list other countries in which individual religious liberties are oppressed on a daily basis. If religious freedom in the US were “under attack,” as some keep insisting, then the fact that Iranian Christians cannot meet in churches or the fact that China sometimes uses tanks against unwanted religious groups would not lessen any such “attacks” within the US.

What a number of the groups who are claiming that the US government (or President Obama) is oppressing their rights are really saying is that President Obama is giving slightly less special treatment to Judeo-Christian beliefs than usual. That is not oppression. That’s acknowledging, from time to time, that there are millions of adherents of religions other than Christianity—other than any Abrahamic tradition—in the United States and all around the world.

I believe that it was The Daily Show that said: “Christians: a long-oppressed majority.” Because a persecution complex has been a part of Christianity’s modern political outlook for about a century, when increased global travel and trade brought Christian Europe and Christian North America into contact with Eastern religious traditions.

I am a very devout Pagan, but I have no desire to oppress Christianity. Even if I did, I would have no idea how to do so. If I were US President, I wouldn’t know how to. It would be difficult to even begin oppressing an overwhelming majority that is also a majority in both major political parties.

There is an even better quote from The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee that I think really embodies the unthreatened dominance of Christianity in American society:

Christmas: It’s the only religious holiday that’s also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of Separation of Church and State.

To use a trite expression, Samantha Bee really hits the nail on the head. I was not raised in a religious household, and while I enjoyed receiving presents for secular Christmas (which I call “Santamas”), I was resentful in elementary school that Christmas was such a big deal. I was resentful that there were classmates who could all break out into “Silent Night” and other religious songs that I had never heard. I was not upset that I had not been raised in a Christian household—I was upset that it mattered that I had not been raised in a Christian household.

If the US government were forcing women to take birth-control pills against their religious convictions, that would be oppression of beliefs. Forcing employers to cover all necessary health costs is not oppression. The government forcing someone to marry someone else is oppression. Treating two citizens who love each other but happen to be of the same sex with the same rights and dignity is not oppression. The government banning any mention or celebration of one of your religious holidays would certainly be a violation of your religious liberties and rights to free speech. Someone at the check-out wishing you an inclusive “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” is not only not an attack on your beliefs, but is refreshing for those of us who are more than a little weary of people assuming that we celebrate Christmas.

Also, here is a tongue-in-cheek “quiz” on the Huffington Post about whether or not your religious liberties are being oppressed.

*I have heard of cases in which certain religious minorities are obstructed when trying to obtain registered certification to be a minister and officiate weddings in states that require registration for these things. These are, I believe, local and isolated incidents, likely born of ignorance or bigotry, rather than signs of a massive conspiracy to undermine adherents of all faiths.



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Offensive Gifts for Little Girls This Holiday Season

According to Hasbro’s Rose Petal Kitchen commercial, a little girl’s dreams will come true by doing laundry, baking cupcakes, tending to her baby, and decorating her home.  Clearly all little girls aspire to be housewives.

Bratz sexy school girl doll – because all six year old girls should have their very …

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