Religious coercion

There is a lot to be liked about any Leonard Pitts, jr editorial (republished in the Spokesman-Review 12 October 2009) and this one is included. That being said, Mr. Pitts still manages to get a few things wrong as will be explained shortly.

First of all, Christmas isn’t the only federally recognized religious holiday, actually Thanksgiving is a federally recognized religious holiday and was celebrated long before Christmas was ultimately given a similar recognition.  And from what I can understand about the history of federally recognized religious holidays, James Madison had some open opposition to the U.S. Government giving Thanksgiving any federal recognition at all.  But, he was apparently outvoted.  At the same time, Thanksgiving is in fact the only purely “Christian” holiday that is celebrated in this nation today.  That is, one not drawn from far older traditions as all other “Christian” holidays are.  And Thanksgiving as celebrated in this nation today, has valid historical roots as well.  That being said, as someone not of the Christian faith; all Thanksgiving means is a day off from work.  I will decorate for it as I like to decorate for all holidays I am most familiar with.  But my decorating theme will not necessarily include Thanksgiving’s purely religious aspects, just who made it possible—the Pilgrims.

I will agree with Pitts, that a cross and a bouquet of flowers along side a highway, city street and etc. that was erected by grieving relatives of the latest in traffic casualties will not offend.  You know what it is for.  And it can be considered an implied reminder to all others who drive those same routes what one careless moment can mean as to what it cost—in lives; be careful out there, this could be you.  For that, I’ll thank those Christians for their concern for the welfare of other drivers and their passengers even as they grieve for their own.

However, when it comes to a cross erected in the Mojave desert for presumably all of the World War 1 dead, if I were traveling through that particular region and did not know what the Cross was for, I’d have my own thoughts about why it was erected, and not necessarily would they be nice thoughts.  I can think of far better markers to honor the dead of that war, a massive block of stone carved with the wording of, “In honor of those who died in World War 1;” where it would leave no doubts as to why it was erected and set out in the same place where the Cross exists now and truly be generic as to whom it included.  Justice Scalia would be entirely wrong on this but also for reasons that Pitts himself doesn’t even begin to address.  There is a history here in this country of bigotry, not only a bigotry of Christian to non-Christian, but also Christian against Christian.  Precisely, where it concerns the latter, who owns the Cross and for whom among the World War 1 dead was it truly erected to honor?  Because of that historical bigotry, even that Cross would have behind it, an element of coercion.  Sorry, Pitts.

Thus, a grave marker would be far more appropriate, and one made of stone would be far more lasting.


Yes, this is October, but I expect it is not too soon to discuss the latest salvos in the War on Christmas, which Pitts mentions briefly as someone suing over the removal of Christmas  as a federally recognized holiday.  Actually, they’d probably have some valid reason to, LOL! as banks don’t necessarily close on Passover, nor will mail not be delivered on Hallowe’en.  If most religious holidays don’t receive federal recognition, why should Christmas or for that matter, Thanksgiving, be the exceptions?

But as mentioned before, Thanksgiving is the only real Christian holiday celebrated in this nation today.  Christmas, on the other hand, beyond the story of Christ’s birth, derives most of its celebrations and traditions not on anything actually having to do with Christ himself, but rather on pagan traditions.  And Christ himself  who would be mindful of Jewish law that opposed the use of the “decorated tree” (Tanakh) would be, I think appalled that his erstwhile followers get hysterical if the “Christmas” tree isn’t called a “Christmas” tree but rather an Xmas tree or holiday tree.  Or if in the case of SeaTac international airport in Washington state, that would rather pull down all “holiday” trees rather than erect one Menorah; “Christians” would rather go on the attack over the loss of something both pagan and biblically verbotën with a lot of vitriol against the d–ned Jew who’d deny them a “Christmas” tree because he wants a menorah for God’s sake erected at SeaTac… How dare he!  Of what would Christ find more appalling, squabbles over symbols one of which is indeed pagan in origin or the failure of his erstwhile followers to obey his commandments?

As to the Cross itself, it has two divergent traditions.  One in which it is a device used for torture/executions by the Romans.  The second, in a similar form and encompassed by a circle, is a Celtic/Druidic symbol.  Therefore, the Cross has been made use of by “Christians” without a doubt.  Perhaps with some historical validity as per Jesus ultimately being executed as an enemy of the Roman state.  But when “Christians” make use of a Druidic symbol as a halo for Christ’s head… as far as I know, Christ wasn’t a Druid.  Hanging him on a variation of a Celtic/Druidic cross… to the best of my knowledge, the pagan Celts weren’t responsible for his execution.  But leave it to the “Christians” to pervert their faith in order to become more attractive to the pagans they wished to convert.  Why else celebrate a “Mass for Christ” in or around the same time as Saturnalia?  The bible gives plenty of clues as to when Christ probably was actually born, why then pattern him after Mithras, a winter demi-god?  When a people divorce Christ from his Jewish beginnings and render him in many ways pagan so as to be “attractive” to pagans, what does that say about faith?

Uh, excuse me, but there are only two types of people who actually “own” the Cross, Druids and Pagan Romans.  Now, go erect that more inclusive grave marker.

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7 Responses to “Religious coercion”

  1. Hank Says:

    Uh, excuse me, but there are only two types of people who actually “own” the Cross, Druids and Pagan Romans.

    I don’t know. The Nazis co-opted the swastika so trying to associate the cross (or the swastika) with only their original owners would be very difficult given the history involved.

    Oh, crap! Was that Godwin’s Law?

  2. Lamar Christianity Says:

    Quotes that have been moved to all appropriate entries may be deleted. Lamar Christianity

  3. jeh15 Says:

    Hank, LOL! When religious groups raise a fuss over a symbol then it is time to return it to its original owner. After all, the cross actually doesn’t represent “Christianity” as much as does the teachings of Christ. When “Christians” abandon those teachings, as many have indeed done and over the last few decades no less, then what has Christ supposedly died for on the pagan Roman symbol of execution?

    What did the most ancient of Christians enter into martyrdom for so that their “Christian” successors could squabble with Jews over the placing of menorahs v holiday trees at SeaTac?

    Yes, the Nazis did in fact co-opt the Swastika as a symbol of “fear” and proof of their “power.” It became a very hated symbol because of the perverted use of it. The same can and will be said of the cross because of “Christian” perversions regarding it.

    Instead of “Christians” fighting over a symbol and ignoring “love thy neighbor,” they should remember what Christ taught and for what he died. I stand by my post.

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