Pharyngula

These religious conservatives are certifiably nuts.

Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina and 74 Republican co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives actually wants Congress to pass a resolution condemning people for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

Seriously? Yeah, seriously. Brown thinks we’re “diminishing the value of Christmas” by not making it mandatory for everyone to praise it. What next? Shall we declare every Christmas season (beginning the day after Halloween, of course) a required event, with all citizens lining up at the local mall every day to stand in ranks, raise their hands in salute to Santa Claus and WalMart, and chant “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas”?

I think I’ll work on diminishing the word’s value by being an out-and-proud atheist who cheerfully (and somewhat ironically) says “Merry Christmas” any time I feel like it. Even if it is over now for another year.

Comments

  1. #1 JimL
    December 29, 2009

    Merry Christmas!

  2. #2 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    Having everyone spend themselves into debt at the holidays is part of the true creed of our great nation. You just can’t get that kind of suicidal spending orgy without the guilt and disappointment that come with Xmas!

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    December 29, 2009

    Merry holidays.

    Well, anyway, Brown’s hardly coming close to making it mandatory to say “merry Christmas,” resolutions condemning or praising an action being particularly meaningless and without power.

    I’m not especially keen on “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” but clearly it would make sense in a number of cases, like when you’re covering both Christmas and New Years, or, certainly, if you’re talking to a mixed group of, say, Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

    Stupid resolution, but too toothless (and obviously pandering) to matter.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  4. #4 raven
    December 29, 2009

    Another example of fundie death cultists trying to jam their defective religion down our throats.

    I always buy Happy Holidays cards instead of Xmas cards these days. In times past, I didn’t even know they existed and didn’t care.

    These kooks are creating more anti-xians and atheists by the hour. Polls show the majority of the US population, mostly other xians are sick and tired of the wingnuts.

  5. #5 amphiox
    December 29, 2009

    A resolution praising “merry christmas” would be silly, but understandable.

    But a resolution condemning an alternative like “happy holidays” is more than silly. It is disturbingly malign.

    Par for the course for these guys, of course.

  6. #6 RamblinDude
    December 29, 2009

    Not me. I?m sick of this shit. I’m now a militant evangelist for ?Happy Holidays.? I?ve never really used the phrase before, but I will now. Fuck ?em.

  7. #7 Zeno
    December 29, 2009

    Until recently, my parents never allowed bumperstickers to deface their car. We didn’t even have one during the Kennedy vs. Nixon campaign of 1960, back when the family was Democratic and everyone was praying for the election of the first Catholic president. But last year, a sticker bloomed on the back of Dad’s car. It proclaimed:

    We say “Merry Christmas”!

    How nice. An in-your-face Xmas. So very Christian.

  8. #8 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 29, 2009

    Oh yay. My representative.

  9. #9 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    I think congress should pass a resolution condemning congressional resolutions. They are absolutely fucking meaningless.

  10. #10 Caine
    December 29, 2009

    Idiocy abounds. I’ve wished people a “Merry Giftmas!” for years. It generally gets a smile and a laugh out of people.

  11. #11 cafewitteveen
    December 29, 2009

    Because nothing says “conservative” like taking the time, spending the funds, and wasting precious work hours like frivolous legislation.

  12. #12 Capital Dan
    December 29, 2009

    What is it with South Carolina this year? They’ve been a national embarrassment.

  13. #13 Kome
    December 29, 2009

    Because nothing says you’re totally secure in your religious beliefs than trying to shove them down other people’s throats…

  14. #14 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    The idea of a Christmas Stasi being in force to make sure we use the correct terms just fills me with holiday cheer.

  15. #15 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    Brown thinks we’re “diminishing the value of Christmas” by not making it mandatory for everyone to praise it.

    Well, if you add “religious” in front of “value” in the sentence, then he’s right… I am doing that.

    And frankly, that’s exactly what he means… he’s not interested in whether or not we’re diminishing the “value” of christmas… he’s interested in whether or not we’re diminishing the religious value of christmas. And frankly, as far as government recognition and observation of the holiday is concerned, as a government official, he’d better damn well be doing just that (diminishing its religious value), since as far as the government should be concerned, the observation of christmas must not be specifically and singularly tied to any specific religious event.

    Luckily, the US courts have already determined that “the establishment of Christmas Day as a legal public holiday does not violate the Establishment Clause because it has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular, and it does not impermissibly cause excessive entanglement between church and state.”

    So, according the the US government, christmas has no specific religious value. Now, if this goober wants to try and change that legally, well wonderful! Then we can go to the Supreme Court and have the observation of christmas declared unconstitutional.

    Now THAT’S a war on christmas!

    Oh, those darned unintended consequences… they’ll get you every time.

  16. #16 Alverant
    December 29, 2009

    Did they forget that other cults have holy days this time of year or did they remember that fact and want to keep their cult up front with special consideration?

  17. #17 Abdul Alhazred
    December 29, 2009

    “Merry Christmas” is made into a loyalty test administered by pinheads.

    It’s not a Real ChristianTM Christmas unless it’s a knife to the heart of every unbeliever.

  18. #18 tdcourtney
    December 29, 2009

    ?The Holiday has become too commercial. I?m concerned that in 20 years people won?t know why they?re giving gifts on the 25th of December.?

    I’m amused that Brown doesn’t know why he gives gifts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

    It was a pagan holiday Brown, hijacked by Christians, then punished for heresy, then hijacked again, and now it’s been hijacked by capitalism.

    My thoughts on the war on christmas are such: what kind of asshole fights a war just to destroy? Why destroy when we can conquer? Wish everyone a merry christmas until its a secular holiday.

  19. #19 Insightful Ape
    December 29, 2009

    I demand a condemnation for everyone who fails to say “happy Yule Tide”.

  20. #20 Newfie
    December 29, 2009

    Joyful Saturnalia.

    Seems that you can tell which groups are paying any particular politician in the US by what comes out of their mouths.
    Until the US actually brings in campaign finance reform, politicians will keep lining up to be bought, and represent the interests of their corporate backers. Their constituents are an afterthought at best. Joe Lieberman is a fine example.
    But keep on doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.

  21. #21 386sx ¾
    December 29, 2009

    Merry Christmas, but now I feel stupid for saying it. Good job fundies. Now people have to feel like an idiot for saying Merry Christmas. Well done, fundies!!

  22. #22 Zeno
    December 29, 2009

    Capital Dan: What is it with South Carolina this year? They’ve been a national embarrassment.

    I blame Lincoln for not letting them secede.

  23. #23 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 29, 2009

    Hell, I’ve already taken this to the next level. I never respond to a sneeze with the standard “God bless you”. Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!”.

  24. #24 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    I hope that if this ever makes it to the floor, that someone asks him outright why he hates Jews and wants to condemn their holidays.

  25. #25 Kathy Orlinsky
    December 29, 2009

    I had just about gotten around to not being bothered by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to people. Now I’m back to resenting it. I wonder how many people will now refuse to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in South Carolina?

  26. #26 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    I think I’ll work on diminishing the word’s value by being an out-and-proud atheist who cheerfully (and somewhat ironically) says “Merry Christmas” any time I feel like it. Even if it is over now for another year.

    I like that strategy. I said it a few times this Squidmas while purchasing crap, and every time I said it I said it with no mention of religion or Baby Jebus. “Christmas” (with a silent “t”) is the word for a holiday, not a religious event. What the fanatical Christians should really start doing is calling it “Jesus Christmas” (with a sound like “heist”). That would get their point across much better and make them look like the fools they are because nobody would know what the hell they are talking about.

  27. #27 MikeyM
    December 29, 2009

    “Merry Christmas” is made into a loyalty test administered by pinheads.

    Thanks, Mad Arab. I am going to steal this bon mot and use it extensively.

  28. #28 AJ Milne
    December 29, 2009

    I feel strongly we should put forward a motion that condemns anyone, who, when they say ‘Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina’ fail to say it properly

    (/Where ‘saying it properly’ shall be understood to be saying ‘Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina, asshat’.)

  29. #29 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    I never respond to a sneeze with the standard “God bless you”. Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!”.

    Yeah… the Seinfeld idea… “You’re sooooo good looking”… never really caught on…

    I’ve been saying a quick “Gesundheit” or shorter “Gesund” for years…

  30. #30 TimKO,,.,,
    December 29, 2009

    People tend to get their panties in a bundle when they don’t understand the difference between a House Resolution and a bill.

    In this case it’s a re-election tool for his constituents. Granted, a wasteful, pandering tool that only works on the self-righteously ignorant.

    The rest of the House just roll their eyes and move on to business – they’re use to these meaningless, procedural Resolutions (look through any from the past). It’s sort of like taking turns.

  31. #31 Christopher
    December 29, 2009

    Don’t forget that Brown, in 2008, sent out “Happy Holidays” cards from his office. As did Bush from the White House. So this is simply BS posturing and a waste of time.

  32. #32 Peter G.
    December 29, 2009

    Not only is intelligence not a requirement for election to political office, history shows that it is a serious impediment.

  33. #33 Akira MacKenzie
    December 29, 2009

    Did they forget that other cults have holy days this time of year or did they remember that fact and want to keep their cult up front with special consideration?

    I brought up a similar point to my oh-so-very Republican/Catholic father a couple of years ago when this War on Christmas bullshit was first being declared. His calm and measured response: “WHY!?! FOR THE THREE OR FOUR KIKES AND NIGGERS WHO CELEBRATE HANUKA AND KWANZAA?!?!”

    The “War on Christmas” isn’t a being waged to defend Christian traditions. It’s being waged to attack anything that ISN’T Christian… or, in my father’s case, anything that isn’t Caucasian-American it seems.

  34. #34 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Mister Brown, he went to town
    To pass some laws for Jesus.
    He doesn’t care if what he does
    Is likely not to please us.

    He doesn’t care if what he does
    Might not stand up in court;
    You tell him “Happy Holidays!”
    “It’s Christmas!” he’ll retort.

    Mister Brown will use his faith,
    He gladly will explain.
    Of course, we could have guessed as much:
    He doesn’t use his brain.

  35. #35 TimKO,,.,,
    December 29, 2009

    [should say recognition resolution, above]

    I’m reminded of
    HR 593 (recognizing that the President is American)
    HR 635 (recognizing the existence of Islam)
    HR 33 (recognizing Freemasons)

    There’s one recognizing Hannukah as well.

    etc.

  36. #36 Akira MacKenzie
    December 29, 2009

    Even though this resolution has no legal authority and exists merely as grandstanding for Brown’s fellow Christian knuckle-draggers in Red State America, it is revealing to their overall expectations and aspirations.

    Can you imagine what Brown and his ilk would do if it were not for our constitutional safeguards?

  37. #37 JHS
    December 29, 2009

    Without even getting into the fact that the various traditions of end-of-the-year and mid-winter celebrations can be traced back to pagan and earlier cultures…do all the Christianists who get so worked up about this realize that there are OTHER religious and non-religious holidays around this time of year? That Jesus is not, in fact, the only possible reason for the season? Should those who celebrate Hannukah, Eid, the solstice, or simply the coming of the new year be forced to utter Christian slogans?

    There’s a church down the road that has had the following snarky message up on their sign for weeks now: “WE Say Merry Christmas.” Whenever I drive by, my first thought is, well fucking good for you. That’s your right. My second thought: fuck you and your intellectual imperialism. I think all forms of theism are complete rot, but in this country people have the right to believe that they want, something these foaming-at-the-mouth merry-christmasers are refuting when they want to insinuate their religion into the lives of everyone.

  38. #38 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    Because nothing says “conservative” like taking the time, spending the funds, and wasting precious work hours like frivolous legislation.

    Your government is wasting its resources on this? I would demand my tax dollars back.

    Also this is a religious agenda being pushed through government. This representative should be punished for this level of stupidity. I certainly see no need for his job if this is his current work.

  39. #39 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    December 29, 2009

    This is ridiculous (but not suprising).
    “Season’s Greetings” (and variants) have been used for donkey’s years to combine felicitations for Xmas and New Year. How is that any different from saying “Happy Holidays” (except that, to my ears anyway, Season’s Greetings” sounds better)? Will it also be illegal to send one card covering both now?

  40. #40 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    Capital Dan asks “What is it with South Carolina this year? They’ve been a national embarrassment.”

    Ever hear of Ft. Sumter? Just sayin’.

  41. #41 tylerdurden1200
    December 29, 2009

    Because, you know, saying anything other than “Merry Christmas” is a slippery slope that leads to people marrying their dogs and whatnot.

    Reasons greetings to all this follyday…

  42. #42 Ben in Texas
    December 29, 2009

    For sneezes, I read some time back that some tribe somewhere says the equivalent of “Get back in, spirit,” because the myth is that part of your spirit escapes with the sneeze. So I enjoy saying that. No crazier than “God bless you.”

  43. #43 red-edison
    December 29, 2009

    Xmas isn’t over – doesn’t it last for twelve days (like the pagan Yule/Jul that it mimics)?

  44. #44 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    So, how’s about we start emphasizing the MASS in Christmas. Think that might stick in the craw of those xtian evangelicals?

  45. #45 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    Xmas isn’t over

    Xmas hasn’t even started yet for some.

  46. #46 tricktingle
    December 29, 2009

    I’m living in Rep. Brown’s district and I can tell you he is a complete embarassment. He’s an old, decrepit corrupt individual that exemplifies the population in which he represents. Our district stretches from the NC border on the coast down to Charleston, which is a good 200+ miles.

    I voted against his crusty behind in the 2008 election and he almost lost to an “out” lesbian. That tells you the divide here in SC. You’ve got an ignorant plus aging population that is railing against the 21st century versus a progressive population (some of them transplants like myself).

    He has had zero “real” accomplishments and has been lock-step with the Republicans in Congress since Clinton was in office. Christmas seems to be a cause he focuses on. Just got to congress.gov and put in zip code 29577 to pull up his page and have a good laugh.

    In a state with Demint and Joe Wilson, he fits right in.

  47. #47 https://me.yahoo.com/a/CCjbceA8lNMDJw.MoZm1Z6LTu5BjgbR4ucvHFhM-#211b9
    December 29, 2009

    In our Catholic nation the Philippines, here’s a twist. Airport officials were not allowed to greet incoming travelers a Merry Christmas.

    Merry Christmas has become synonymous with officials asking for bribes. You just have to hear it in action.

    https://me.yahoo.com/a/CCjbceA8lNMDJw.MoZm1Z6LTu5BjgbR4ucvHFhM-

  48. #48 https://me.yahoo.com/a/CCjbceA8lNMDJw.MoZm1Z6LTu5BjgbR4ucvHFhM-#211b9
    December 29, 2009
  49. #49 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    How do I delete/edit a post?

    You cannot do so, as much as many of us want to have that option.

  50. #50 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    For sneezes, I read some time back that some tribe somewhere says the equivalent of “Get back in, spirit,” because the myth is that part of your spirit escapes with the sneeze. So I enjoy saying that. No crazier than “God bless you.”

    I heard the “god bless you” was so that demons didn’t get in or something. So yes, it is as crazy.

  51. #51 CJO
    December 29, 2009

    Murray Krizmax? Haven’t seen him in years! How’s that old bastard doing anyway?

  52. #52 Lynna, OM
    December 29, 2009

    I’ve switched all my holiday greeting materials to “Heathen’s Greetings!” This seems to be okay even for fundie or mormon friends. They can cheerfully bemoan my admitted heathenism, and I can cheerfully goad them. Fellow heathens are just grateful for any crack in the Merry Christmas Stasi Enforcement Campaign. (Stasi reference cheerfully stolen from Janine.)

    Ex-mormons say “Merry Smithmas”.

    Harold be His name.

  53. #53 lordshipmayhem
    December 29, 2009

    “Merry Christmas” was last week. This week, it’s Happy New Year.

    And the reason for the season: the fact that the Earth’s axis is tilted from perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic by 23.45 degrees. Happy Winter Solstice.

    If you want to go around wishing everyone and their brother “Merry Christmas”, that’s your business – I use that phrase, “Happy Holidays” seeming to be a trifle generic for my taste. If you want to say, “Happy Winter Solstice Day”, I’m OK with that too.

  54. #54 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 29, 2009

    Rep. Brown will be pleased to know that I have no intention of wishing him a merry Christmas or a happy holiday.

  55. #55 Screechy_Monkey
    December 29, 2009

    Here is Rep. Brown’s contact information, in case anyone would like to send him Happy Holidays cards:

    http://brown.house.gov/Contact/index.html

  56. #56 Thorne
    December 29, 2009

    @ Kathy Orlinsk (#25):

    I had just about gotten around to not being bothered by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to people. Now I’m back to resenting it. I wonder how many people will now refuse to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in South Carolina?

    Here’s one South Carolinian who doesn’t say it at all. Haven’t for years. I ignore those who say it to me, and when necessary say, “Have a nice day.” They don’t like it? The hell with ‘em!

    @ Capital Dan (#12)

    What is it with South Carolina this year? They’ve been a national embarrassment.

    Hell, we’ve got to be first in SOMETHING! And we sure as hell aren’t going to make it in average intelligence.

  57. #57 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlLc8Gfo6oZ8uAX3dYeOBxChVtMasvnHck
    December 29, 2009

    Is Henry Brown up for re-election in 2010?

    BTW, I just finished “The Appeal” by John Grisham and…

    …you guys should be ashamed with your political processes.

  58. #58 Antiochus Epimanes
    December 29, 2009

    Not nuts, just evil ? as others here have pointed out, Brown’s just wasting time and money on pandering to fanatics. He knows it’s not going to pass, but next election season he can point proudly to his resolution and say, “See, I tried to stand up for Jayzus, but them evil liberal God-haters blocked me! Re-elect me and send more Republiclones to Congress, and we’ll establish the Divine Reich of which all True Christians [TM] dream!”

    By the way, Antiochus Epiphanes: When we were discussing our respective monikers the other day, I’m embarrassed to admit, I conflated Antiochus IV with Herodotus’ account of Cambyses; that was my Apis-slaughtering ref. I realized after the fact that I can’t keep my temple-desecrators straight. I apologize, but then, what do you expect from a madman?

  59. #59 Sastra
    December 29, 2009

    aratina cage #26 wrote:

    What the fanatical Christians should really start doing is calling it “Jesus Christmas” (with a sound like “heist”). That would get their point across much better and make them look like the fools they are because nobody would know what the hell they are talking about.

    Heh; you’re starting to get to the same idea I just mentioned over on Brayton’s blog: let’s get these folks up in arms not just over words, but over pronunciation.

    Perhaps we humanists who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday should start “explaining” that it’s just fine to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, simply because it’s pronounced “kriss-muss,” and not “CHRIST – mAss.” As you point out, “‘Christmas’ (with a silent “t”) is the word for a holiday, not a religious event.” It’s perfectly possible to completely miss any religious connection, just from hearing the word itself. So, it’s a subversive form of secularization. There’s no Jesus birthday here.

    Let’s all pretend this really matters, and is a huge deal to us secularists. “Kriss-muss” — the holiday for everyone!” It’s all in how you say it. “Take the Christ out of Kriss-muss.” And so forth.

    Hey; if this atheist-friendly approach is mentioned and promoted in enough forums, it might eventually percolate down to the Defenders of the Holy Day for Jesus network of idiots. They, of course (being completely tone deaf to satire), will promptly start frothing at the mouth, on cue, and counter that NO — it ought to be pronounced CHRIST-mAss! And they’ll start to do this in public, an in-your-face-with-Jesus escalation in the War on Christmas. Merry CHRIST-mass. Or “Merry Jesus Christmas.” Or, perhaps, Merry ChristLordJesus Say-a-Mass. Oh, they’ll really skewer those of us who have mussed with Christ-mass! Bad enough we ruined “holy day” by turning it into the religious-ly neutral “holiday.”

    Then they will introduce a resolution condemning sloppy pronunciation; it denies our country’s religious heritage. When they do — point and laugh.

    And go around saying things like “Gee, I hadn’t realized there was a connection. Jesus? The Bible? Really?”

  60. #60 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Sastra,

    I think it’s already been done.

    A few times.

    Needs more exposure! I like the idea.

  61. #61 kausik.datta
    December 29, 2009

    Antiochus @23:

    Hell, I’ve already taken this to the next level. I never respond to a sneeze with the standard “God bless you”. Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!”.

    In my lab, my labmates and I have reached a consensus to say, loudly, “Chuck Norris!” whenever anyone sneezes. After all, we sneeze only because Chuck Norris allows us to…

    [Runs away]

    [Peeks back in to congratulate Antiochus on his/her excellent and proper usage of the period sign, in context, outside the quote marks]

    [Runs away with double speed, like Beep-Beep the Roadrunner...]

  62. #62 blf
    December 29, 2009

    So, how’s about we start emphasizing the MASS in Christmas.

    Well, I for one have spelled it Christmass (and tend to say Chris-MASS) for a long time now. Not so much to get up anyone’s nose (yuck! albeit I suppose that’s better place to stick one’s head than the arse?), albeit it has sometimes done that, but due to a slightly eccentric grasp of English (despite being a native speaker).

  63. #63 Rincewind'smuse
    December 29, 2009

    I don’t care about the form of greeting at this time of year if the sentiment is true;but to be told what is acceptable, regardless of personal belief would piss me right the fuck off, as would disapproving clucking for leaving Christ out of it. Are they really so ignorant as to believe the season starts and ends with their delusions? If these idiots don’t get their panties unbunched, Kriss-muss it is,then.

  64. #64 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 29, 2009

    @A. Epimanes #58…s’alright. I missed the error. I don’t actually know anything about history. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

    @kausik.datta #61…
    1. You could always say “Bruce Lee”.
    2. If I used the correct punctuation, it was quite by accident. I don’t actually know anything about proper punctuation. But…

  65. #65 MikeyM
    December 29, 2009

    I say, “Enjoy your holidays.” It gives the illusion of inclusiveness, while satisfying my deep-seated desire to tell people what to do.

  66. #66 Crewvy
    December 29, 2009

    BEHEAD all those who are disrespectful to Xmas,Easter and Santa , especially Santa ,cos` I been a very gooooood boy , I have`nt touched a little boy in ages .

    Cheers der Pope

  67. #67 Sastra
    December 29, 2009

    Carlie #60:

    Hey, thanks for the links. I especially like the one to Dale’s blog.

    So, I celebrate Krismas — I just spell it wrong. Or, rather, I spell it just fine, because there’s no “wrong way” to celebrate Christmas.

    That last phrase is how I counter those snippy little “Keep the Christ in Christmas” signs. I once had a friend who had that sign in front of her house; she tried to tell me that the intent of the sign was to open Christmas up to everyone. From what I could tell, her reasoning was that “Christ” wasn’t necessarily a real person, but a code word for love and universal harmony: all paths are valid. Liberal Christian nonsense on a stick.

    I told her that this was like putting a sign on your lawn saying “America — Love it or Leave It” and trying to claim that it means that every country is equally great, so go where you want. If your lawn sign needs a Burma-Shave series of explanations as follow-up so people get your idiosyncratic point, better not put it up in the first place.

  68. #68 CJO
    December 29, 2009

    It’s perfectly possible to completely miss any religious connection, just from hearing the word itself.

    It’s so obscured in the culture at large that it’s actually hard to explain to a 7-year-old who’s been raised without religious instruction of any sort. My son asked the other day, a few days before Christmas, “so why’s it called ‘Christmas’ anyway?”

    “Well, see, in the Christian calendar, it’s the feast day for celebrating the birth of Jesus, who’s also called Christ. Christ-mass.”

    “Why ‘Christ’? Why ‘mass’?”

    “Well, it’s a Greek translation of a Hebrew title, ‘messiah’ that means, basically, ‘annointed with oil,’ meaning ‘God’s chosen.’ And ‘mas’ from ‘mass’ means sacramental meal, or, basically, ‘feast, celebration, holiday’. There are other ‘mases’ on the Christian calendar like Michaelmas, but we don’t celebrate those.”

    *Looks slightly confused* “Why not? (thinking, are there presents on those days too?) Anyway, wasn’t that a long time ago? How do we know it was his birthday?”

    “We don’t. We don’t know when he was born, or if he ever existed at all. Anyway, according to the stories, it couldn’t have been December anyway…”

    *long discussion ensues of the contradictory gospels (with readings), the solstice, religious syncretism, and the Roman church’s amalgamation of pagan festivals*

    The upshot of it was, we agreed that Santa is the real reason for the season, and that Christians are some very confused people.

  69. #69 reyfox
    December 29, 2009

    “Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!”.”

    My favorite is “Quit sneezing.” But I also pull out “Gesundheit”, because I’m at least 1/8 German.

    “Kriss-muss” — the holiday for everyone!”

    I like Kurisumasu, the Japanese celebration of conspicuous consumption. (hat-tip to Marjanovic)

  70. #70 CurlersRock
    December 29, 2009

    wrt PZ’s last paragraph (how does one insert text one needs to refer to?)

    I reached the same conclusion. The more non-christians use “Merry Christmas” the less religious meaning it will have. I would think Christians would *not* want us to use the phrase.

    In fact, in years to come we may see a different resolution, punishing any non-xians that say “Merry Christmas”

  71. #71 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    Sastra, I had a good laugh at

    And go around saying things like “Gee, I hadn’t realized there was a connection. Jesus? The Bible? Really?”

    because that was similar to my real response IIRC when I first learned that the “Christ” part of “Christmas” was for “Jesus”. I think if someone had asked me about it before it was explained to me, I would have thought that the “kris” could not be teased apart from the “muss” or if pressed that the “kris” sound was for Kris Kringle (another way of saying Santa Claus). And after learning about how the “Christ” part of “Christmas” meant Jesus, I sat perplexed wondering what the “mas” part meant (it’s not even a word).

    Merry Christie Muss! (for all you skiers)

  72. #72 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    I like the “Krissmuss” spelling, although it would make the heads of the nutty christians asplode!

    Isn’t that how it happened with “Wednesday” and “Thursday”? The spellings evolved to capture the common phonetics of the word, instead of maintaining the spelling based on pure etymology.

    I see no reason we can’t allow, even push for the same thing with Krissmuss… see, I’m doing it already!

  73. #73 flyonthewall
    December 29, 2009

    What happened to Happy Monkey?

    I want a house resolution acknowledging atheists and their right to wish everyone a Happy Monkey.

  74. #74 blf
    December 29, 2009

    how does one insert text one needs to refer to?

    <blockquote>how does one insert text one needs to refer to?</blockquote>

    (If you use Firefox, you may want to look into the Text Formatting Toolbar add-on, which makes it relatively easy to generate the correct HTML magic.)

  75. #75 Flea
    December 29, 2009

    Merry Fucking Christmas to everybody!

  76. #76 flyonthewall
    December 29, 2009

    Diminishing the value of Xmas you say?

    I think that ship sailed just shortly after the Council of Nicea don’t ya think?

    Anyway, everyone knows the true meaning of Xmas is to buy things we neither need nor can afford and anyone who doesn’t do so is a godless communist.

  77. #77 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 29, 2009
  78. #78 kausik.datta
    December 29, 2009

    Antiochus@64:

    1. You could always say “Bruce Lee”.

    Oh [shock][horror] but I can’t take Bruce Lee’s name in vain!!

  79. #79 KOPD42
    December 29, 2009

    Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!

    An ex-friend of mine would get annoyed at people saying “bless you” when he sneezed. Instead I’d say “damn you!” He’d say “thanks.”

  80. #80 Jud
    December 29, 2009

    I believe we all ought to wish Rep. Brown a Merry Christmas in the same holiday spirit as that well-loved sportsman, Larry Bird. From Bill Simmons’ “The Book of Basketball:”

    Bird told Indiana’s Chuck Person before a game that he had a Christmas present for him. During the game, he hit a 3 from in front of the Pacers’ bench, turned to Person and said, “Merry f***ing Christmas.”

  81. #81 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    CJO #68, exactly.

  82. #82 CJO
    December 29, 2009

    I would have thought that the “kris” could not be teased apart from the “muss” or if pressed that the “kris” sound was for Kris Kringle (another way of saying Santa Claus).

    Interestingly (and I just learned this), “Kris Kringle” is a corruption of the German Kristkindl, or “Christ child”, who fulfills the duties of Santa Claus for little Austrian boys and girls. It’s a function of the Protestant disdain for the veneration of saints, “Santa Claus” being a name from St. Nicholas, or Bishop Nikolaos of Myra (270-346 CE), a real historical figure, and, of course, a Catholic saint. Luther himself was instrumental in promoting Kristkindl.

  83. #83 mmelliott01
    December 29, 2009

    blf@74: Big thanks for the tip about the Firefox Text Formatting Toolbar! It works like a charm!

  84. #84 Owlmirror
    December 29, 2009

    Perhaps we humanists who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday should start “explaining” that it’s just fine to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, simply because it’s pronounced “kriss-muss,” and not “CHRIST – mAss.”

    Just to confuse the issue more regarding pronunciation — the word “Christmas” actually preserves the short “i” sound in the original Greek pronunciation of “Christos/???????”.

    “Pronunciation with long -i- is result of Ir. missionary work in England, 7c.-8c.”, says the Online Etymological Dictionary.

  85. #85 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    RBDC #77…

    Heh… totally underrated 80′s movie. Still stop to watch anytime I see it pop up on the channel guide.

    “I’ve been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.”

  86. #86 Capital Dan
    December 29, 2009

    I’d like to pass along my thanks as well, blf. This rocks!

  87. #87 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Damn it, Rev. That’s one of my favorite movies, and I didn’t even think to link to that first? I am such a loser.

  88. #88 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    Damn it, Rev. That’s one of my favorite movies, and I didn’t even think to link to that first? I am such a loser.

    The first of two great movies from director “Savage” Steve Holland… the other of course being the following year’s “One Crazy Summer” (not as good as “Better off Dead”, in my opinion, but still a classic). Holland then went way south… mainly done Nick Kids shows like “Zoey 101″ and “Ned’s Declassified…”.

    Weird career…

  89. #89 David Marjanovi?
    December 29, 2009

    Mister Brown, he went to town
    To pass some laws for Jesus.

    This alone, already, is pure genius.

  90. #90 CTC
    December 29, 2009

    Captain Dan: “This year”? South Carolina’s an embarrassment every year.

  91. #91 SteveM
    December 29, 2009

    Look, read the resolution; it does not forbid anyone from saying “Happy Holidays”. It simply prevents anyone from being forbidden from saying “Merry Christmas”. It is still completely delusional to think that that is a big (or even existing) problem.

  92. #92 Cheryl
    December 29, 2009

    This part bothers me.

    Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment of the Constitution, in prohibiting the establishment of religion, would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog:

    This almost seems they are seeking approval of inflicting the god on government by saying no prohibition on reference by the Framers.

    (2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas;

    This not only could include saying Merry Christmas, but also any attempt to ban a nativity display as it references their interpretation of the holiday.

    From now on it’s Happy Saturnalia or nothing. Or maybe Merry Horusmas. Or any of the many other mythic deities said to be born on December 25th.

  93. #93 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Merry Fucking Christmas to everybody!

    Bah humbug!

  94. #94 F
    December 29, 2009

    That is seriously fucked-up right there.

    Asshats. Fuckwits.

    Were I still an xian, I would still say “happy holidays”, because it covers them all.

    Exclusionary shitheads. Don’t understand their own fucking holiday at all.

  95. #95 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 29, 2009

    Captain Dan: “This year”? South Carolina’s an embarrassment every year.

    yawn

  96. #96 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    It simply prevents anyone from being forbidden from saying “Merry Christmas”.

    Because that’s a really big problem, people being forbidden to say Merry Christmas. Anyone care to come up with even one single concrete example of that ever having happened?

  97. #97 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    I just say happy rama-hana-kwanzmus.

  98. #98 mike29485
    December 29, 2009

    Henry Brown’s campaign signs all proclaim him “the Republican Workhorse” – many of us who are supposedly represented by him think of him as something a bit less flattering! What an embarrassment!

  99. #99 Everyday Atheist
    December 29, 2009

    Maybe we can help them with the wording of the resolution:

    “WHEREAS, the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the Universe really gets his feelings hurt if you don’t recognize his birthday in the manner prescribed by one Bronze Age sect; and

    WHEREAS, learning history is hard work and doesn’t make us feel as good as declaring that this country was founded on Christian principles; and

    WHEREAS, the separation of church and state is a myth, unless the church is Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu … well, anything but Protestant Christian. Then, no mixture of religion and state, you betcha;

    THEREFORE, be it resolved that we think not saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is really, really mean and makes you a poopy head. ‘Happy Holidays’ is for commie pinko atheist fundamentalists who hate the Dear Lord Baby Jesus. And America.”

    Does that about sum it up?

  100. #100 drksky
    December 29, 2009

    I think Mr. Garrison says it best.

  101. #101 KOPD42
    December 29, 2009

    The other day I was at the store and struck up a conversation with a stranger next to me in line. At the end of the conversation she said to me “have a happy holiday.” It only sunk in after I walked away, but I wish I had taken the time to thank her for wording it that way. That was considerate in a way that most Kansans are not.

  102. #102 Joffan
    December 29, 2009

    This is what comes of believing his own propaganda.

  103. #103 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    My sister-in-law is a Believer. A creationist, a “charismatic” Southern Baptist, a Take It Seriously-ist. I went to the Christmas service at her church with her to be all nice and tolerant, and actually wasn’t bored; it takes a lot of concentration to keep from retching.

    Anyway, the preacher, or whatever the fool gamboling and singing at the front of the auditorium was, came up to me and shook my hand and welcomed me to “our reminder of what it’s all about.” I wished him Happy Solstice. He laughed. My sister-in-law got That Look and rushed me outside, where I Got In Trouble. She hissed, “Why did you DO that?!” I asked her, “What did you expect me to say? I don’t” She said, “Well, why did you even bother coming?” I said, “You invited me.” Then my brother made us stop.

    I don’t care really. I will wish a Christian Merry Christmas, a Jew Happy Hanukkah, a Pagan Happy Solstice, etc. But I haven’t the stamina to sit through an hour of lyrics with fractured carols, a jazz version of O Holy Night, and a hall full of wretched grovelers writhing in ecstasy that their Lord was born in order to do nothing but die, dammit.

  104. #104 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    “…an hour of carols with fractured lyrics,” rather…

    I want an edit button for Christmas.

  105. #105 raven
    December 29, 2009

    It’s nice and all that we are all getting started on the War on The War on Xmas for 2010. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the one for 2009 is over with.

    Pretty disappointing all things considered. This happens every year. I get all excited about the Xmas Wars and very little happens.

    Oh well, next up is the War on Easter and the War on The War on Easter. Followed of course by the War on Halloween, also a disappointment this year.

  106. #106 Strangest brew
    December 29, 2009

    Do folks vote for retarded old reactionary farts knowingly?

    If so methinks you only have yourselves to blame when the retard starts, well being retarded on your arse!

    If no, which seems the most likely reason, then there is always another election around the corner and one can only hope these idiots do not cause damage beyond being repairable in the meantime!

    Of course that is a hope based more on wishful thinking then actuality!

    Politicians are not harmless tykes they can and do cause grief, it is what they do, but never for themselves strange enough!

  107. #107 Sean McCorkle
    December 29, 2009

    @ 18

    Right on!

    I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to get a bumper sticker that says “Put the Solstice back into Xmas” and he suggested “Put the SATURN back into Saturnalia!”

  108. #108 wanderinweeta
    December 29, 2009

    That does it! I used to say, “Merry Christmas!” with no specifically religious intention; more or less meaning “this whole season of winter festivities”. This year, I had to measure my words. “Should I, or shouldn’t I? Will they be offended? Do I care?”

    No more. Next year, it’s “Happy Monkey!” Let them make of that what they will.

  109. #109 kantalope
    December 29, 2009

    Every time I see the “We say Merry Christmas” signs I have this uncontrollable desire to add with a marker: “so if you ain’t Christian you can just fuck the hell off.” Just in case someone doesn’t understand what the war for Christmas is really about.

    Seasons Greetings and a Happy Monkey year.

  110. #110 Capital Dan
    December 29, 2009

    Where are we in the War on the TRUE meaning of New Year’s Eve?

  111. #111 Annie
    December 29, 2009

    I say “Merry Christmas” between Festivus and New Year’s Day.

    Seriously, I don’t understand what’s so difficult about acknowledging that there are OTHER FUCKING HOLIDAYS in December and January besides xmas.

    What I really love is when they insist on putting their baby jesus into public displays along with Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus. Nothing says “fictional character” like the context.

  112. #112 reyfox
    December 29, 2009

    “Every time I see the “We say Merry Christmas” signs I have this uncontrollable desire to add with a marker: “so if you ain’t Christian you can just fuck the hell off.””

    I’d like to add a sign that says “Good for you. Have a cookie.”

  113. #113 cmflyer
    December 29, 2009

    I put Merry Chrismahannaqwanzadonivus on my weekly schedule in the front of my classroom. My students actually tried to read something (it)…

  114. #114 Sioux Laris
    December 29, 2009

    I say “Merry Christmas” to people, but Xians (fortunately I live in a non-Chritian nation, so I only occasionally meet such when visiting during the Yule) get – after they sic Jebus on me w/o reason in their greeting – “And a merry X-mas to you.”
    Given the bronze age software they use for thinking, this reply tends to stupify them long enough for me to move on to greet people I may actually want to talk to.

  115. #115 Michelle R
    December 29, 2009

    Happy Santa Day, psychos.

  116. #116 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Did they forget that other cults have holy days this time of year or did they remember that fact and want to keep their cult up front with special consideration?

    I don’t think there was ever a doubt. They are not only not hiding the fact that it’s the latter, but think it’s an admirable undertaking worthy of only the highest praise.

  117. #117 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    “Put the Solstice back into Xmas” and he suggested “Put the SATURN back into Saturnalia!”

    let’s see…where is that post…ah!
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/12/the_huge_evergrowing_pulsating.php#comment-2163715

  118. #118 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Next year I’m going to have to put a “Keep Thor In Thursday” sign on my lawn. Not that they’ll understand it, but it will make me feel better.

  119. #119 rerdavies
    December 29, 2009

    I prefer Happy Solstice. Sure, it’s off by a few days; but it’s suitably secular, I think, and captures the true spirit of the season.

  120. #120 Epikt
    December 29, 2009

    JHS:

    There’s a church down the road that has had the following snarky message up on their sign for weeks now: “WE Say Merry Christmas.” Whenever I drive by, my first thought is, well fucking good for you. That’s your right. My second thought: fuck you and your intellectual imperialism.

    If the sign is typical church fare–movable white letters stuck on black cloth–you might be able to bring mirth and joy to their holiday season by supplying anagrams for “merry christmas.” “Smarmy christer” suggests itself…

  121. #121 Joffan
    December 29, 2009

    The text of the resolution:

    Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas.
    Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and
    Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment of the Constitution, in prohibiting the establishment of religion, would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
    (1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
    (2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
    (3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.

  122. #122 Joffan
    December 29, 2009

    I meant to add some commentary there…

    This is resolution is not only stupid, it is atrociously written. First it acknowledges that Christmas is the name of a national holiday (correct!); then God gets thrown in there in a bit of constitutional-founder necro-mind-reading; then something undefined is magically recognized (“symbols and traditions of Christmas” will mean different things to different people); some imaginary attempt to ban Christmas references is conjured; then the stuff we didn’t define is allowed for the use of a group that isn’t really defined either.

    Not only a waste of their time but really a waste of everyone else’s too.

  123. #123 Aquaria
    December 30, 2009

    Instead, I either say “Splash you”, or “Ewwwww! Germies!

    Down here in South Texas, we say “salud,” shortened from “a tu salud” (“to your health”). Maybe it got shortened because saying “a tu” sounds like the sneeze commented on! LOL

    We also use “salud” in place of “cheers!” when making toasts.

  124. #124 J Dubb
    December 30, 2009

    I celebrate Toyotathon. I dislike it when people wish me a Happy Honda Days.

  125. #125 chakolate
    December 30, 2009

    I think all atheists should say ‘Merry Christmas’ all year round. We should say it instead of ‘hello’.

    How long would it take for the Christian whiners to object to us using it *too much*?

  126. #126 Andreas Johansson
    December 30, 2009

    Just to confuse the issue more regarding pronunciation — the word “Christmas” actually preserves the short “i” sound in the original Greek pronunciation of “Christos/???????”.

    That seems unlikely – long “i” is regularly shortened before three consonants in Old English, so “Christmas” has more probably restored the Greek length.

  127. #127 pixelfish
    December 30, 2009

    Drove to the Washington coast this weekend, and passed two signs that said “Jesus: The Reason for the Season,” and “Putting the Christ back in Christmas.” Fine. Whatevs.

    But the rest of us do not have to play along with your religious bingo.

    I say Happy Holidays because it treats everyone (just about) equally and it doesn’t offend my personal beliefs. Saying Merry Christmas (except on Christmas itself, when you know, it’s the actual day*) during the holiday season gives me the same feeling when people ask me to pray for a loved one or say “You’re in my prayers.” The general message is supposed to be a positive one, but the assumption that I conform to their beliefs throws me.

    *Still, most people I knew didn’t run around saying Happy Hannukah during the week of Hannukah.

  128. WOuldn’t it be nice if you could do a postal mail bombing and send all 74 of these idiots a “Happy Rational Holidays” card. So they each received thousands of them? To inundate their mail service with so many their staffers wold complain? I’d cooperate.

  129. #129 bkdgds
    December 31, 2009

    I’m pretty sure, by Godwin’s law, you lost this argument.

  130. #130 Tom Sees A Coup
    December 31, 2009

    I would support such a resolution. Christmas should only be a christian holiday. no more commercialism. no more inclusive sentiment. Christian and only Christian should be Christmas.

    Then as required by our constitution, there should be a enforced separation of Christmas from all government, including schools. No longer should we get the day off, the weeks off, etc. No more should we have a Christmas tree at the white house, etc. etc.

    So, the irony here is that if they were to actually pass and enforce this resolution, then by the Constitution, they would be resolving to do away with Christmas except in the homes and churches of Christians. In effect, trumping their own intentions.

    Of course, this isn’t what they want to do. They are trying to force Christmas upon the non-christian as well. In which case, they are anti-constitutional, and as far as the law and myself are concerned, traitorous and an act of terror or at least an illicit coup attempt of our government.

    At the very minimum, intelligent people in this country should have these congress people impeached as representatives for violating their oath to uphold the Constitution. They should be fined and fired.

    It should be reinforced over and over again, no matter how many ways and how many times it is tried to do otherwise, the Supreme Law of the Land, the United States Constitution draws a clear and distinct line between religion and government. All religion and all government.

    The Supreme Court has over and over and over kept this line visible and clear. And I believe any attempt at blurring the lines is an attempt at blurring tne Constitution, which is a traitorous act.

    You can’t be good religious leaders and good congressman. It is akin to insider trader risks. It is dangerous. and congressman should know better and have taken an oath to behave a certain way that should preclude such resolutions.

    Where is the Constitutional Ethics Committee?

  131. #131 Dr. Foxdove
    December 31, 2009

    As my hero E. Scrooge would say; “It’s all Humbug!”

    The same gods that caged the primates, caged themselves. Ergo they worship themselves in a regio-Mobius Strip. The gods are now lower than the primates; because primates don’t kill primates.
    We are now entering the second decade of the 21st Century, and people still kill people in the name of their gods. I have little patience for such nonsense. N. Ireland vs England or Palestine vs Israel, muslim vs jew, xian vs all others; as muslim vs all others…….IT’S ALL HUMBUG!
    Can anyone spell control???

    Festivus for the rest of us!

  132. #132 Charles
    January 1, 2010

    I find all this angst regarding the saying of merry christmas rather amusing. Who really cares what is said except for some anal retentive fuckwitts, and more to the point, what difference does it make?
    Laws like these are just a feeble attempt to be noticed. They will never get passed.
    I dislike the phrase “Happy Holiday” for no real reason other than it does not sound quite right to my ears.
    I use “merry christmas” for no other reason than its that time of year. I don’t care that for some its a religious holiday, for me its a holiday.
    This year myself and six friends dressed as santa’s elves, plastered our bicycles in coloured lights and rode up and down our promenade wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” We didn’t care what religion they were.
    All bar one miserable soul thoroughly enjoyed it, clapping, cheering and saying it back. Little children loved it.
    Many Hindus asked for photos with us, all in all it was excellent fun.
    If some one sneezes close by me I often say “Bless you, not that that means anything as I am not religious in any way shape of form”
    They can take it or leave it.
    I say use what ever phrase you want to whom ever you want. Don’t worry about what others will think, that’s their problem.
    Have an awesome new year and be true to your selves. That’s the most important part.

  133. #133 TL Winslow
    January 1, 2010

    As 2010 bgns, tk sm tm t rvst 2009 fr wth th Hstryscpr’s Rckn’ 2009 Hstryscp. Clck th rl t bgn.

  134. #134 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    TL Winslow, why should I waste my bandwith?

    Care to give me a good reason.

  135. #135 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 1, 2010

    We are now entering the second decade of the 21st Century

    That’ll happen next year.

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