Monday, December 12, 2005

Socks, Rude Religion, and Christmas

Yes, this is nominally a knitting blog, and yes, I have been knitting lately, but most of what I've been knitting is socks -- socks for a friend; socks for my nephews; stockings for reenacting. I'll get around to posting pics eventually. They're fun to knit, just not that exciting as blog subjects.

Rant alert: I am SICK of the bible-thumpers' made-up "War on Christmas". When I was being raised as a good little bible-thumper, we didn't even HAVE a Christmas tree because it was "pagan"; we had a creche (aka Nativity Scene). (Dad eventually broke down on the Christmas tree front when I was a teen and working at the local garden center, and we got to take home the leftover trees for free on Christmas Eve.) We tried to be as noncommercial about Christmas as possible -- our gifts were fairly heavy on clothes and books, and very light on toys, and we were lucky if we got more than a few gifts apiece, as opposed to some of our friends who had drifts and piles of toys under the tree. Yeah, I felt deprived at the time, but money was tight, and in retrospect, it was probably a Good Thing, because we had more of a sense of the true meaning of the holiday and less of a sense of "gimme".

So now James Dobson et al are condemning Target and WalMart for not hyping the holiday ENOUGH? (Or hyping it with the wrong wording, anyway)... That's just wrong. If anything, they ought to be telling their congregations to eschew commercialism and give money to the poor, as Christ commanded. Maybe they need to sing "Good King Wenceslas" a few more times, and really PAY ATTENTION to the words for once. Especially coming after Katrina, and the tsunami last year. Oh, yeah, I forgot, those were God's judgments on sinners, so we don't have to be nice to the victims.

Slactivist has some good links on the subject, including an essay from last year (which is a parody of an editorial written by Charles Krauthammer, not actually written by CK).

Rude Religion:
I went to a christening yesterday at a Catholic church, and was about two minutes away from either a) walking out, or b) telling the priest what he could go do with himself. (My hubby, who is a lapsed Catholic, said he'd have paid to see that, when I told him. How much, I asked? Several hundred dollars, at least, he replied. I said I'd hold him to that, next time.)

The officious (yes, he was officiating, but that's no excuse) prig was offended that the mother was breast-feeding in the sanctuary before the service (so I guess those breast-feeding Madonna statues from the Renaissance ought to be destroyed?), and then started in on the War on Christmas theme (targeting the malls in general, not a particular store). The two toddler girls in attendance decided, mid-sermon, to start running around the sanctuary, so we corralled them into the crying room (which was NOT soundproof -- how dumb is it to have a non-soundproof crying room?); so I didn't have the opportunity to sit through the rest of the sermon shooting the priest daggers.

The two toddlers' mothers, though, were pretty put out that it was a longish sermon, and that the guy went on at length about "being a good witness" in the world (a theme that he seems to have borrowed from Evangelical circles). Long sermons at christenings aren't appropriate; indeed, an older friend to whom I related this story said that sermons at christenings are a new thing, since his son didn't have a sermon at his christening. This falls into the same genre as "Come to Jesus" sermons at weddings, which are inflicted on guests on the theory that one never gets those heathen relatives into church on any other occasions so the preacher ought to make the best of it. I found that to be bad manners (rude to one's guests, and more likely to offend them than convert them) when I was still a Christian; now that I'm an agnostic, I find it doubly so.

Maybe I should've brought Screaming Toddler #1 back into church to give the priest some verbal competition...

Anyway. Maybe I should just stay out of churches from now on. Fist fights might ensue. Or at least yelling matches.

The priest's behavior falls into the same category of Rude Religion as Dobson et al's supposed War on Christmas -- it's religious people of one type wanting to force their particular brand of religion down everyone else's throats, instead of having a civil respect for other people's faith.

Supposing we did have an established (Christian) religion in the U.S. -- whose brand would it be, the Catholics, the Baptists, or the Mormons? I suppose it would depend on the state, but what about the national celebrations? Who gets to decide that? If they would seriously stop and think about the repercussions of this thing, they might not like them.


Blogger snickle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:51 AM  
Blogger snickle said...

Maybe they need to sing "Good King Wenceslas" a few more times, and really PAY ATTENTION to the words for once.

...looked out on his feet and he saw that they were large...

Oh, wait, wrong song.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I didn't know you posted about this and I love your retelling of the event (being mother of one of the toddlers).

I would only add that in typical priestly fashion, this blowhard thought what he had to say was somehow more important than the actual baptism -- technically the saving of a child's soul if you really get down to it.

It's not only discourteous, it's evidence of how self-absorbed he is. We should have just let the toddlers tackle him.

Thank you for the babysitting help!

8:53 AM  

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