I hate to even put that in the title, because I hate to help them get more exposure to that term, but I want to be clear on what I am talking about.
The latest spew of garbage from the fundamentalist christians is this “War to put Christ back in Christmas”. The first telling point to me is that they hired a “record number of lawyers” to try and make people not use Holiday Tree and force them to use Christmas Tree. The is a pretty impressive feat for supposedly “Non Profit” organization. I guess they have to find something to spend all the cash they are fleecing from the masses. They can’t save it, that would be making a profit.
Anyway. The point that I really wanted to bring to light is that Christmas isn’t even a Christian holiday. From the Wikipedia article on Christmas:
The origins of Christmas
Historians are unsure exactly when Christians first began celebrating the Nativity of Christ. Some scholars maintain that December 25 was only adopted in the 4th century as a Christian holiday by the Roman Emperor Constantine, to encourage a common religious festival for both Christians and Pagans. The majority opinion is that Constantine did not have such authority. Perusal of historical records indicates that the first mention of such a feast in Constantinople (Constantine’s own city, after all) was not until 379 AD, under Gregory Nazienzen. In Rome, it can only be confirmed to mention in a document from approximately 350 AD, but without any mention of sanction by Emperor Constantine.
Early Christians celebrated more the subsequent Epiphany, when the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi (and this is still a primary time for celebration in Spain). Efforts to assign a date for his birth, though better known from writings from some centuries later, would have been important to all Christians then, no less than now.
The Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, each year beginning on December 17 in a festival called the Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which at that time fell on December 25 (today, following calendar reform, it falls on December 21). During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, exchanged gifts, and temporarily freed their slaves. With the lengthening of daylight, these and other winter festivities continued through January 1, the festival of Kalends, when Romans marked the day of the new moon and the first day of the month and religious year (the secular year began in March).
By the 4th century another factor was also at work. Many Romans also celebrated the solstice on December 25 with festivities in honor of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, the “Invincible Sun God,” or with rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light (see Mithraism). Sol Invictus was a religion to which both Constantine himself before his confession of Christianity, and his predecessor Diocletian, who had rebuilt the Roman Empire, were especially devoted, and to whom the latter had attributed his military successes (though Constantine saw Christ as having delivered him from the former Roman order’s designs: Diocletian at one time had had Constantine living under his eye, against his will, separating him from his father). Constantine is therefore assumed to have found it convenient to find a common major festival for both Sol Invictus and Christianity. There is no actual evidence beyond this chain of assumptions that the holiday was actually instituted by the Emperor. Indeed, all extant evidence indicates that it was generally adopted decades after his death in most parts of the Empire.
So they just took another holiday and migrated it to theirs. So in the end no one really knows if that was when Jesus was born or not.
Another point is that forcing places to call it a Christmas tree is breaking the religous freedom that we are supposed to have in America. One of the fundies on TV actually acknowledged that when he said, “If these people don’t want to call it a Christmas tree then they should just leave the country, because we are Christian nation.” Wow. Way to try and stick to the principles that our country was found on. Of course Christmas is the only Federally mandated religous holiday in our nation, so I guess it is easy to get that kinda feeling.
Don’t we have more important things to be talking about here than if people call it a Holiday tree or a Christmas tree?
Just found this information:
“Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. . . . They are altogether brutish and foolish.” (Jeremiah 10:2-8)
Many other Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan practices, such as the holly wreath, a fertility symbol. Even the date of Christmas, near the winter solstice, is linked to sun worship. Modern Christians have stolen Christmas from the pagans.
So the bible actually says that there shouldn’t be a tree for Christmas. Wow. I wonder how many of the fundamentalists actually know that.