Monday, December 24, 2012

An irony of unimaginable proportions


On the conservative Liberty Counsel radio show Faith and Freedom, hosts Mat Staver and Matt Barber discuss the fact that an elementary school in Jackson County, Fla., removed a nativity scene while allowing Santa Clause and Frosty the Snowman to remain. “What an irony at this time of year, where Jesus gets put in the closet, and in California, where we’re litigating out there, where they’re wanting to make homosexuality the preferred method or topic of counseling discussions, but anything contrary to that would be banned,” said Staver.

“This is just an irony of unimaginable proportions,” he went on. “When we say there’s a war on Christmas and somebody says ‘oh,’ mockingly, ‘oh there’s no war on Christmas,’ this is a war on Christmas. This is discrimination, it is viewpoint-based discrimination.”

(Via Raw Story)
Houses of Parliament, London, February 2009. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe.
If homosexuality is the method of the counseling discussion then it's not the topic, and if it's the topic then it's not the method, because anything contrary to that is banned, but you don't have to have counseling discussions at all, honestly, and most of us don't. At worst you can just have counseling. Let the record show that.

As to whether it's a war or not, that's a matter of perspective, isn't it? But to my way of thinking, there's something awfully violent about the concept of a war and it doesn't represent the way I feel, which doesn't even have anything directly to do with Christians and Christmasites; it's more about our own traditions and families, and preserving them the way they've always been.

I've been around Christians all my life, eaten and drunk with them, forged deep friendships. Hell, I've spent unforgettable nights with Christian girls—that was back in the seventies, of course, when the boundaries were a little looser than they are now. When women are Christian, it doesn't feel quite as unnatural, somehow; if I were a woman I might well be a Christian myself, because there really is something attractive about that church-lady combination of sweetness and competence. Sexy, even, as she wrestles you into position in the telephone tree or car pool.

With the men, there are the old stereotypes: the furtive, rabbity look, the damp hands and reedy voices, the inexplicable interest in organ music. But it was never more than a caricature. Indeed, nowadays they all seem to be gym bunnies, with arms like duct pipe! Star athletes, too, and fighter pilots, and politicians, giving it up for Jesus after making a 70-yard touchdown run or passing a bill to cut off somebody's food stamps. A little intimidating, to tell the truth.

We're a Frostine family, essentially. I mean like anybody else, we enjoy all the different aspects of the Yuletide, all the way through the Long Advent from Hallows to Isaac Newton's birthday on December 25th; and my mom's a grammarian by profession, so we have a special veneration for Santa Clause (we recognize her as a female in spite of her long white beard, and at Yule we do a wassail procession, chanting the Sanctae Clausulae from house to house). But it's the Snowman that gives the real, deep rhythm to our lives, in the recurring form of his annual sacrifice, from rolling up to melting down, so that his love can explode from the fields in the form of asparagus, and radishes, and lettuce and so forth, all the way until the Frost kisses the season's last pumpkin to sleep.

That's what Brother Martin always said, when he came around for a cup of wassail on Newton's Eve with real-snow Jack wax (what some call maple taffy) and doughnuts for us kids. If there'd been a good snowfall, as there always seemed to be at Yule when I was a kid, we would have rolled a fresh Frosty, and he used a Sharpie to dot its button eyes, bringing the Snowman to life, and he and my parents sat around drinking for a while and telling winter stories, and we'd stay up so late that we never remembered when he left or how we ended up in our pajamas, in bed, the next morning.

Bringing Baby Jesus into it—in his little corncrib, as if he were being fed to the cows—seems so incommensurate with the emotional tone of the whole thing. Happy barn-birth and merry massacre! It ought to be no wonder why we prefer him in the closet. Call it viewpoint-based discrimination if you will, but have a little compassion for a tradition in danger.
Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival, Harbin, China, January 2011. Photo by Sheng Li/Reuters.

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