O, Come All Ye Ignorant

Chill out. It's just a cup.

Chill out. It's just a cup.Every year at this time, it is inevitable that someone (usually multiple someones) will say something stupid in the name of their faith, without actually knowing what the hell they’re talking about.

2015 brought us the sagas of the Starbucks cup, and the Simon Malls glacier. Two basically innocent incidents to which there was an incredibly inappropriate response.

Apparently, a blank red coffee cup and a weird “glacier” display equal a :::WAR ON CHRISTMAS::: (cue reverb). For the love of Santa’s eight frickin’ reindeer, there is no such thing as a war on Christmas.

Here’s what these two situations boil down to: marketing.That’s all it is. Marketing. Pretty innocuous, dontcha think? There was no major message behind these choices. Certainly no religious one. I saw someone justifying the Sbux cup as representative of the blood of Christ. Could be. Could also be Santa, Rudolph’s nose, holly berries, or even Satan and his minions. The fact is, if you want to read a particular opinion in to something, you can do it it. You can rationalize the facts to fit your perception of them, regardless of the actuality of the situation.

As for the glacier debacle – this was just a stupid move on the part of Simon. Who wants to visit Santa on a chunk of ice? Is he at the North Pole or on the Titanic? I applaud Simon for attempting to introduce some new technology and interactivity into the Santa-visiting experience, but anyone with half a brain could have predicted this would have been a bust.

But, when you get the people complaining that removing the tree is messing with their “values” (as someone in the Charlotte Observer suggested), I kind of have to throw my hands up in the air. Because when they say “values” they mean “religious values,” but Christmas trees have no importance in Christianity.

Jesus may or may not have been born in December, but most of those in the know date His birth in the summer. Early Christians hoped to convert large numbers of pagans to Christianity, so they co-opted the festival of Saturnalia to celebrate Jesus’ birth. I especially like this little tidbit, emphasis my own:

Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia.  As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.”  The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.

And, please, please don’t start in on “Happy Holidays!” Who cares? Why does it matter if store clerks say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? They could say, “Bitch, go fuck yourself.” Sure, they wouldn’t have a job for very long, but they could say it.

While the majority of people do celebrate Christmas, there are some that don’t. Are they not allowed to enjoy their preferred winter holiday? If you’re Christian and someone says “Happy Hanukkah” to you, are you going to flip out because you’re not Jewish?

Wait, you probably are. Because you have a stick up your butt about “Happy Holidays.” If someone takes the time to wish me happy anything, I’m going to say “Thank you,” and respond in kind. Why? Because I take such sentiments in the spirit they were intended.

This is why people call me Scrooge.

That, plus the fact that Christmas music now starts playing in August. How am I supposed to keep up “jolly” and “good cheer” for half the year? Compound that with all the stupidity that rears its head because not everyone believes or celebrates how everyone else believes or celebrates, and you’ve created the perfect storm to invoke my Ebenezer-ness.

Look, I don’t care if you’re a holy roller or an atheist. God gave you a brain (or He didn’t, depending on your perspective, I don’t judge). Why not use it? Read a book for God’s sake. Yeah, yeah, pun intended. And I don’t mean just the Good Book. Books with polysyllabic words and no pictures. Books by highly educated people who know more about their subject matter than you and I combined.

I recognize the value of faith and religion, truly. I am not religious, but I believe in God and Jesus, and in the basic tenets of Christianity. IE, don’t be an asshole. But, seriously, don’t use religion as an excuse for ignorance. It’s unfair to the many intelligent people I know who are believers and manage to carry on adult conversations. Don’t stick your head in the Bible-sanctioned sand. You’re lowering the IQ of the planet.

Post Script

If someone uses “Xmas” they are not “taking Christ out of Christmas.” X is the Greek symbol for Christ. Boom. *mic drop*

About Laura

Artist, writer, designer and nerdy creative based in Charlotte, NC. Loves Harry Potter, Firefly, Doctor Who, country music, and Nathan Fillion. Wheelchair-user, due to osteogenesis imperfecta aka brittle bone disease.