Christmas angst

  (13 December 12)
  by Greg Spearritt

People are outraged, if the News Ltd press is to be believed.

We’re outraged, for instance, that the Christmas season is being hijacked by creationists. Victorian schoolchildren – in Christian education classes, no less – are learning such pernicious numbers as ‘God Made Cows’ and ‘He Made Everything You See’. This item does make a valid point that ‘Creation Rap’ and ‘The Butterfly Song’ have turned up in end-of-year State School concerts which are presumably not just for those who attend RI classes. (I’ve long thought ‘The Butterfly Song’ was crying out for the Monty Python treatment.) Presumably any parents involved who felt aggrieved have voiced their outrage to local school decision-makers.

We’re also outraged that the thought police think they can knock Christmas on the head. We’re being made to feel guilty about celebrating Christmas. One munchkin had no nativity scenes at her school this Christmas and, if the photo is anything to go by, she’s Not Happy. No, says Victorian Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Minister Nick Kotsiras: we should be proud to celebrate Christmas. The Minister was “swamped with support” for his brave stand. In other comment it’s been lamented that “a small, angry minority wants to rid our society of any religion or spirituality” and expunge any reference to a baby in a manger. We should “give some credence to the 66 per cent of the Australian population who choose to believe” (though exactly what they choose to believe is not made clear, nor is the source of the statistic.)

It’s not even Christmas yet – we have the rest of Advent to get through first. Our society is clearly going to pot over Christmas. Be prepared to be further outraged.





I can see your point, Terry, but I see our society as having very largely (though certainly not exclusively) a Christian heritage. Like much that we've inherited from Christendom, the festival of Christmas these days has very little genuine religious content. If it wasn't for capitalism with its jolly fat red Coca-Cola santa and the extended present-buying spree I doubt there'd be much of a ripple at all at this time of year. So if it's a national celebration I believe it's celebrating something other than the birth of Jesus: at worse, commercialism; at best a generic be-nice-to-people, feel-good-and-talk-to-your-family time of year. Surely the latter, at least, can't be a bad thing. Let's celebrate whatever we want, provided we're not forcing others to do the same. But, as you say, let's allow those who want to celebrate in a specifically religious way free reign to do that.

Posted by Greg

28 December 2012 - I have a friend who is a Christian Fundamentalist. She claims that Christmas is not Biblical; there is no birth date given in the Bible. And, "shepherds tending their flocks by night", makes it highly unlikely that mid-winter was Jesus' birth date. Secondly, she says, the reindeer and sleighs, etc, are all Northern European imports and not Biblical. As to the Three Wise Kings, in the Bible they are merely "Magi from the East" and not numbered.

Posted by David Miller

Surely you can understand why some people object to Christmas. All you have to do is imagine how you would feel if we celebrated Ramadan instead. Or how an Aboriginal feels when we celebrate the arrival of the First Fleet. I don’t object to Christians celebrating Christmas. I object to it being a national celebration. There are a lot of people, and I’m one of them, who look upon the arrival of Christianity here in the same way as we look upon the arrival of the cane toad. And as time goes on the percentage of people like me in the population is probably going to rise. If we continue to give prominence to Christmas it is eventually going to lead to trouble.

Posted by Terry

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