Roy Edroso has his annual round-up of wingnuts pretending Christmas is under assault up at the Village Voice, and it's a doozy this year. What's fascinating is that they're always wrong. It's always bullshit. A creche is moved from public to private property, and the assessment is this "ruins" Christmas, presumably for the 1-2 people in the world whose entire Christmas experience is about staring at a creche that is on public property. (It loses all its magic if it's not a state endorsement of religion.) Then you have wingnuts pretending that a museum exhibit at the Smithsonian that is running October 30-February 13th was somehow done because of Christmas, as a direct assault on it. Now, I realize that Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year, but in what part of the country is it still Christmas up until Valentine's Day? If you're going to be paranoid that an exhibit that features gay artists is some kind of assault on your traditional values blah-di-da, at least get creative about it. The exhibit runs over Halloween (what Dan Savage calls Heteroween) and near Valentine's Day (where the most irritating portrayals of heterosexuality imaginable blanket the airwaves)---you could at least come up with a more interesting, paranoid attack than pretending that gay people don't have Christmas trees. Or in the case of Pat Buchanan, pretend that people with genitals don't have Christmas.
But my favorite has to be annual feigned outrage that Planned Parenthood sells gift certificates, so you can give someone a check-up for Christmas. Not the most exciting gift, but don't worry, wingnuts think it's totally sexxxxxxy, by claiming that the gift certificates are actually for abortion. I'm trying to imagine how they think an abortion gift certificate presentation would go. Here's my guess:
VIRGINAL INGENUE (OPENING ENVELOPE): Oh wow, an abortion! Thanks, older friend from the Feminist Recruitment Conspiracy.
FEMINIST SLUT MACHINE: I know you're not sexually active, but....
VIRGIN (WHO LOOKS LIKE SARAH PALIN MIXED WITH TAYLOR SWIFT, BUT WITH EYES THAT TAKE UP MOST OF HER HEAD): Well, I had no interest in sex before, and didn't even really know what it was, but I'm going to go out and ride like 15 cocks tonight, all because now I can an abortion! I can't wait.
FEMINIST: There's nothing like your first abortion. Getting your uterus scraped out is always a pleasure beyond compare, but your first time is special.
VIRGIN: Hey, look, I can spend this gift certificate on condoms, so I don't even get pregnant in the first place. That's strange.
FEMINIST: Eh, that's just there to keep the government money coming in. No one actually uses birth control. Why would you, when you have the chance to have someone put a tube in your cervix, drain your uterus, and give you a giant pad to sit on for the next week or so while you bleed out your ladyflower?
Yeah, that's how we live. Sure.
Anyway, with all these imaginary assaults on people's right to enjoy Christmas, I thought you all would enjoy a fun counterpoint---an actual attempt to censor atheists who are reaching out to each other during this holiday season. (Via.) Atheists are buying ad space that is available to everyone, believers and non-believers alike, and putting up what I would consider exceedingly boring messages about how you're not alone if you don't believe in any gods. In Ft. Worth, there are four ads on the side of buses, and some ministers tried to strong arm the city into refusing the ads by arranging a bus boycott, which failed. The justification for this attempt at censorship was awesome:
“It’s a season to share good will toward all men,” Mr. Tatum said. “To have this at this time come out with a blatant disrespect of our faith, we think is unconscionable.”
It's the season to have good will towards men, so the proper behavior is to tell some of those men that they have no right to express their opinions or seek community. Strange definition of "good will".
That said, I don't necessarily agree with atheists who think bland messages---in this case, that it's okay not to believe in god---can't be taken as an attack on religion. I mean, they're not in the most formal sense, but the mere existence of atheists is upsetting. That other people gave in to their doubts means that the doubts that nibble at the you the believer's brain might be true. The biggest obstacle for many people in admitting that religion is pretty stupid-sounding is the fear that they'll be all alone and rejected. Being exposed to other atheists and seeing that they're just fine is what often tips people over. So yes, just existing and being out about your atheism is bad for the churches and their ability to retain members.