Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ConservaChristmas I

Ross Douthat writes that, "while there isn't a war against Christmas, there is a significant chunk of this country - the most educated chunk, the chunk that runs the high-minded magazines and writes for the big newspapers and makes most of the movies (the sudden interest in the Christian market notwithstanding) and teaches at the major universities and generally controls the commanding heights of the culture - that doesn't much care for Christianity, at least if it's practiced seriously and its basic dogmas are left intact."

Educated, control the print media and movie industry, cluster in universities... even leaving off the "doesn't care much for Christianity" bit, it's quite clear what Douthat is getting at. This fits quite well with an age-old stereotype of a group of people known as... let's just say they can, if stereotypes are to be relied upon fully, get that for you wholesale. It's just too obvious for words.

"This reality is what drives the siege mentality among many Christians, and the popularity of O'Reilly-style conspiracy theorizing - the awareness that our majority-Christian country is saddled, for some reason, with an elite that approaches religious belief with a mix of bemusement, ignorance, and fear."

"[O]ur majority-Christian country." Blech. Yes, the country is majority-Christian, but it's our country, Christian or not. You know the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which Terry Jones, playing a surprisingly politically astute medieval peasant woman, declares, "You don't vote for kings"? Similarly, in America, you don't vote on a state religion. Not similarly, however, while Arthur got to be king, Christianity doesn't get to be anything other than the religion most Americans are, and one of an endless number of religions Americans are free to practice. I like that "for some reason"--it's all just too ridiculous. Why must this country's Christian majority adopt a "siege mentality" if a group of well-educated types who edit magazines and teach at universities (a group which, Douthat kindly admits, does not, in fact, control the government, and which "feels under siege as well"--but that's not the same as having a "siege mentality") would prefer Happy Holidays to Merry Christmas?

What Douthat seems to want is religion-and-culture-by-vote. The majority of the country's Christian? Well, let's scrap that gender studies class at Oberlin, out of respect for our nation's majority. And the menorah next to the Christmas tree in apartment building lobbies and stores all over NYC? Scrap that as well. Thankfully, America is not run this way, and the majority is not owed reverance by magazine editors, bloggers, and so forth.

But that's not the point. The point is that Douthat is writing some classic anti-Semitic slurs and seemingly getting away with it. And justifying any sort of "siege mentality" on the part of an unjustly embittered, anti-intellectual majority is always bad news.

This needed to be said. Now, onto ConservaChristmas II...


Dylan said...

It's always seemed pretty obvious that the anti-Christmas forces are led by asshole atheist Gentiles (I speak for the sugar and spice brigade). But maybe that's just because you tricksy Jews have been hiding your guiding hand!

Anonymous said...

It comes as no surprise that the bogus "war on Christmas" has become hot during the reign of our divisive president/ king. I celebrated Christmas as a child, but as my world expanded, I started to wish some friends "Merry Christmas" and others "Happy Holidays." This is before the term "politically correct" was coined; it was just considerate and appropriate. Now I stick to "Happy Holidays" exclusively, and I'm amused by the Xtians who reply (with an edge that is not very joyful) "Merry Christmas" as if they were slapping me back. JM