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The Man Who Saved Christmas

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Posted on Dec 13, 2007
O'Reilly

How exactly does one pull off a “Taliban-like oppression” of Christmas?  Well, according to Bill O’Reilly, his finger ever on the pulse of global injustice, one prevents department store employees nationwide from wishing customers a merry Christmas.  Not to worry, America—O’Reilly is vanquishing these foes of jingle bells and mistletoe through the magic of TV punditry.

Watch the clip here.

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By GW=MCHammered, December 26, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why’s BO on TV driving up the price of our products? Better yet, what are any of these over-priced TV Affected Profundity Flame War Trolls doing in our pocketbooks? BO is just another great reason to end Mindless Materialism.

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By rage, December 26, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One would think NewsCorp offered that phenomenal health package that afforded Brillo the drugs his shrink team prescribed, along with that recommended visiting healthcare professional to guarantee Brillo was taking these meds intravenously as ordered. Troubled America should enjoy the comfort of being able to see that IV line trailing off the back of Brillo’s hand toward the pump that is managing his clearly labeled LITHIUM drip. Alas, one more Faux Noise failure hatefully brought to us by the evil Rupert Murdock.

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By Louise, December 22, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Bill’s getting old, huh ...

Seems every time he pops up on truthdig there’s a
little more rouge, a little less hair ...

Poor Bill.

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By rage, December 22, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A real job where he can’t use his lips is the surest way to end Brillo flatulence. We’ve endured this annual yule tide stench long enough. Real back-breaking labor in the real world would cure this nut of this delusional ranting.

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By Maani, December 21, 2007 at 11:58 pm Link to this comment
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[Part I]

In keeping with Christmas Info’s helpful post, here is a paper I wrote some years ago about Christmas. It will probably shock you to know that I am an evangelical minister…(but don’t let that scare you!).

How Christian is “Christmas?”

Setting aside the crass commercialism and consumerism of what we know as “Christmas” (and how Jesus might view that aspect of the holiday…), there is some real question as to just how Christian “Christmas” really is.  I offer the following in this regard.

Jesus’ birth.

Although all of us are familiar with the events surrounding Jesus’ birth as provided in the Gospel of Luke, little or nothing is known about the timing of those events – and we certainly have no clear record of when Jesus was actually born.  However, there are a few facts and Scriptural passages that give us some idea of when it might have been – and when it might not have been.

The most salient single “fact” comes to us from the historian Josephus.  Josephus indicates that John the Baptist was born in the Spring, most probably March or April.  And we know from the nativity story in Luke that John was almost exactly six months older than Jesus, as Gabriel tells Mary at the time of her inception: “Now, indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son…and [she] is now in the sixth month…” (Luke 1:36).  Thus, if John was born in March or April, Jesus would have been born in September or October – not December.  [N.B.  There is a reverse interpretation of this as well; i.e., that John was born in September or October, and Jesus was born in March or April.  However, that would actually strengthen the case I am making here.]

There are other indications that Jesus was not born in December.  In Luke’s nativity story, we are told that “…there were in the same country [i.e., near Bethlehem] shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8).  It is highly unlikely that shepherds would be “living in the fields” watching flocks “by night” in December; they are more likely to have been doing this in the still-warm month of September, or even early October.  There is certainly no indication that it was cold, much less snowing.

Thus, while we have no solid evidence of the exact date of Jesus’ birth, what evidence we do have points to an early Fall (or, by the alternative interpretation, mid-Spring) birth - not a late-year birth.

A Brief History of “Christmas.”

According to both secular and religious scholars, Christmas developed from the Roman holiday of “Saturnalia” (which honors the pagan god, Saturn), which was celebrated from mid-December through January 1st.  The following is quoted from just one of hundreds of websites that address this:

“Saturnalia was a fun and festive time for the Romans, but the Christians thought it an abomination to honor the pagan god…As Christianity spread, they were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs…At first the church forbid this kind of celebration.  But it was to no avail.  Eventually it was decided that the celebration would be tamed and made into a celebration fit for the Christian Son of God…The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights and gifts from the Saturnalia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas…In 350 A.D….Julius I [Bishop of Rome], chose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.”

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By Maani, December 21, 2007 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

[Part II]

As Christians, we are reminded over and over (mostly in the Old Testament) “not to do as the pagans [or heathens] do.”  Yet Christians have apparently happily subsumed the celebration of the birth of our Savior into a pagan festival!

The “Christmas” Tree

Jeremiah 10:2-4: “Learn not the ways of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain. For one cutteth a tree out of the forest…They deck it with silver and with gold, and they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not.”  Cutting down a tree, fastening it so it doesn’t move, adorning it with silver and gold.  Sound familiar?  This is the earliest Scriptural record we have of what became the “Christmas tree.” And, again, it is a “heathen” (i.e., pagan) practice.

A Brief History of St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus aka Kris Kringle)

Contrary to the reference to “gifts” in the website quotation above, the actual conscious practice of gift-giving did not stem from the pagan holiday of Saturnalia, but from a separate source: the holiday figure we know as “Santa Claus.”

“Santa Claus” is derived from a real-life priest called St. Nicholas, a member of a wealthy Turkish family, in about 300 A.D.  From Bozeman’s “Brief History of Santa Claus”:

“Many stories are told of his generosity, as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children.  Legends tell of him dropping bags of gold down chimneys or throwing the bags through the windows where they landed in stockings hung near the fireplace to dry…Some years later, Nicholas became a Bishop; hence the long-flowing gown, white beard and red cape…Eventually [after his death], the Catholic Church started celebrating Christmas, and St. Nicholas was incorporated into the season…When the reformation took place, the new Protestants no longer desired St. Nicholas as their “gift-giver,” as he was too closely associated with the Catholic Church.  Therefore, each country or region developed its own gift-giver.  In France, he was known as Pere Noel.  In England, he was Father Christmas…To the Dutch, he was Sinterklass, which eventually…became “Santa Claus.”

“Others called him Kris Kringle, a name most likely derived from “Christ Kindl” (Christ-child).” (Jeff deLuzio’s “Santa Claus: A History”).

A Brief History of Christmas Carols

From “Looking at the History of Carols”: “The early Christian compositions are regarded as chants and hymns.  The original carols referred to a circle dance which did not have any singing – that came later.  As the church struggled against the influences of pagan customs, the singing of carols was barred from sacred services…St. Francis of Assisi is credited with bringing carols into the formal worship of the church during a Christmas Midnight Mass in a cave in Greccio, in the province of Umbria, in 1223…The music sung that night was more akin to what we know as carols than to hymns.”

Note also that the vast majority of the most popular Christmas carols sung today derive from the words and music of writers and composers from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries, and were introduced by the Protestant Church less than 200 years ago.

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By Maani, December 21, 2007 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

[Part III]

Summary

Jesus was almost certainly not born in December: even the church admits that the December celebration of His birth is the subsuming of a Christian celebration into a pagan festival.  The “Christmas tree” is a “heathen” practice.  Gift-giving during the holiday season has nothing to do with Jesus, but with St. Nicholas.  “Christmas Carols” are a recent introduction into the already arguably pagan-derived celebration of Christmas, and were also a pagan custom “struggled against” by the early church.

I have heard both sides of this debate.  On the one hand, some claim that anything that brings people closer to Christ is okay.  On the other hand, some claim that it was only due to the “weakness” of the church that it “gave in” and permitted the celebration of Jesus’ birth to be subsumed into a pagan holiday, and that it remains pagan.

I am led to side with the latter.  In asking myself the question “What would Jesus do?,” I feel strongly led to believe that He would not support the celebration of a pagan festival under any guise or rubric (much less in His name!).  Indeed, given that there is not a single mention of His birthday in the entire N.T. (other than the circumstances surrounding His birth), one can only assume it did not mean very much either to Him or to the disciples, or it would certainly have been noted.  But we can almost certainly assume it would mean something to Him that we – as Christians – have allowed ourselves to be “gulled” into celebrating a pagan festival, even if we do not see it that way.

As for “anything that brings people to Christ is okay,” I can only say that my understanding of Christianity does not permit us to use “negative” means to achieve positive ends.  That is, while it is true as Paul tells us that “All things work together for good for those who love God,” this does not mean we can consciously do “un-Christian” things and assume that they will turn out “good.”

Is there an alternative?  Should we choose an arbitrary date in late September/early October and “transfer” the holiday there?  Should we celebrate a “gift-giving” holiday in December, but “take Christ out of ‘Christmas’?”  Should we be “scrooges” and stop celebrating at all, especially since Jesus apparently didn’t care enough about His birthday even to mention it?

I don’t have the answers, nor do I pretend to.  However, for all the reasons given above, I do not celebrate Christmas – i.e., give gifts, go caroling, attend “Christmas” services, etc.  Some consider me a “scrooge” for my decision.  And I may very well be incorrect in my interpretation.

However, I have to consider what I believe my Lord and Savior would think, say and/or do in this regard.  And I am led to believe strongly that, while He would be pleased at our wish to give Him our praise, we should be doing so every day, and not just on one particular day - especially one that is at best fraught with possible apostasy, and at worst a direct “affront” to Him, in as much as we are essentially celebrating a pagan holiday in His name.

Peace.

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By Cristmas Info, December 20, 2007 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Origin of Christmas - The Traditions and Controversies
For today’s Christian, the origin of Christmas is, and should be, the birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. Nothing more and nothing less. However, most of what we witness on December 25th each year has absolutely nothing to do with that blessed day, which probably occurred in late summer or early fall about 2,000 years ago. In fact, most of the customs and traditions of Christmas actually pre-date the birth of Jesus, and many of them are downright deceptive in their meaning and origin. Here are a few examples:

The date of December 25th probably originated with the ancient “birthday” of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence became widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries A.D. Mithra was related to the Semitic sun-god, Shamash, and his worship spread throughout Asia to Europe where he was called Deus Sol Invictus Mithras. Rome was well-known for absorbing the pagan religions and rituals of its widespread empire. As such, Rome converted this pagan legacy to a celebration of the god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god during the winter solstice period. The winter holiday became known as Saturnalia and began the week prior to December 25th. The festival was characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and downright debauchery, as the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples.

Variations of this pagan holiday flourished throughout the first few centuries after Jesus Christ, but it probably wasn’t until 336 AD that Emperor Constantine officially converted this pagan tradition into the “Christian” holiday of Christmas.

Origin of Christmas - What Really Matters?
The true origin of Christmas is filled with controversy and compromise. A quick study will reveal a number of disturbing roots that we haven’t been able to cover in this brief article. In short, the Christmas holiday we celebrate today is indicative of Christianity’s willingness to absorb the world’s customs and traditions, and forget its simple roots in the historical reality of Jesus Christ. Christmas should be nothing more than a simple, yet wonderful reminder of Christ’s humble beginning as a human child in this world. His birth merely set the stage for the power, glory, and salvation that would be revealed in His life, death, and resurrection! Whether it’s December 25th, sometime in late September, or any other day of the year, we should use each and every opportunity to reflect on Jesus Christ and His message of hope for all of us.

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By Pacrat, December 19, 2007 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fox Noise objective? You got to be kidding.

O’Reilly is crazy and obsessed with his sexual fantasies. The latter is based on his descriptions of how women are photographed, etc. The man is sick, sick, sick! And, dumb, dumb, dumb!

So is Fox News! How could so many crazies be assembled at one station at the same time?

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By Scott, December 19, 2007 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Out of respect for my neighbors beliefs I put up a nativity scene. I added a few dinosaurs to make it as realistic as I could.

Oh oh, it looks like the police just pulled up out front…

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By Jon, December 18, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Last night, my family went to a choral concert put on by the choir at the local public high school where my son’s girlfriend attends.  The kids performed wonderfully, and it was a nice evening.  There were two songs that had nothing to do with Jesus, one by the Beach Boys and the other Jingle Bells; ALL of the others were traditional Christmas carols of the kind most of us grew up with, and they ended the night with the original German version of Stille Nacht (Silent Night) accompanied, as it was the first time it was performed, by a guitar. 
    Oops, I must have dreamed it.  That couldn’t have actually happened, because there’s a “war on Christmas” and things like this aren’t allowed to happen in, much less be sponsored by, public high schools.  That, or Bill O’Really is making things up.
    The good news, maybe, is that Bill feels the NEED to make things up because it’s so difficult to be outraged by the realities perpetrated by the “liberal left.”  Things like the 40-hour week, the minimum wage (not great, but better than the alternative), child labor laws, the women’s vote, abolition, etc., etc.  Oops, those sound like the sorts of things genuine Christians would appreciate, so they must not have happened, either.
    It’s okay, Bill.  We understand.  I’d feel personally attacked, too, if half of what came out of my mouth was challenged by people I didn’t like and turned out not even to be true.

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By Druthers, December 18, 2007 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no doubt about it, O’Reilly is a real warrior in his camoflage Santa suit, charging into battle with courage not shown by veterans of other wars, looking death in the eye, ready to sacrifice all for the Cause - Cause he makes a pile of money with his lucubrations.

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By Mr. Bill, December 17, 2007 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah, he’s the man who saved Christmas. If that is so, then I’m the man who saved Arbor Day.
Give me a break, Bill Orally?
If he saved anything, it’s all in his head.

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By BruSays, December 17, 2007 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Oh, it’s so rich.

To think that the seminal event that launched the “War on Christmas” crusade last year occured within the doorways of WalMart - that corporate, capitalist purveyor of foreign, cheap labor, mass market material goods.

Such hypocrisy. As others in this blog have pointed out, most every aspect of the Christmas holidays (the tree, the yule log, mistletoe, caroling, GIFT-GIVING) originated from pagan rites or rituals that celebrated the solstice. Even Christ’s birth was changed to coincide with the solistice celebrations in order to swell the ranks of new believers.

Fast forward to the industrial revolution, the rise of the middle class, and a consumer-based culture and “Ta-Da” - the cash cow Christmas as we know it today.

I’m not even a “believer” and I laugh when I hear people shout “Keep Christ in Christmas” as they rush past their Christmas tree, step under their mistletoe, brush through their wreath-clad door, and pass their life-size Rudolph on the lawn - on route to the shopping mall.

O’Reilly’s attacks would better have been directed at the Grinch. After all, it was the enlightened Grinch who wisely noted:

“Christmas isn’t bought in a store. Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Wow, what a concept.

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By Hemi*, December 17, 2007 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

Be open of hearts and minds.
Let us take the virgin birth and make it our own.
Let us all share in that sentiment for the holidays.
Embrace a new celebratory phrase.
And here it is:

“Go f*ck yourself!”

And when it is offered, answer in kind.

“Why thank you, f*ck yourself too!”

You’re getting in the spirit, aren’t you?
Hearts are light and full of goodwill.
People of all faiths can get behind this.
Department store employees will join in the chorus.
Not that they haven’t been silently in the spirit.
Offer your holiday greeting on the phone, in the car,
at work, at school, at the ball game, it is always
appropriate.

Eventually the celebration will expand from one day in winter
until every day of the year will be filled with “Go f*ck yourself!”

Until then, Happy Hollandaise!

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By nogodude, December 16, 2007 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

I realize there are many variables but after many hours of study and analysis I have come up with this very simple and irrefutable equation.

                     

                          Bill O’Reilly=Garbage

end of lesson.

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By dave, December 16, 2007 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“That’s Entertainment”

Bill and his bunch reallyknow how to push the buttons.
The problem is not with them, but with the dim-witts that think their huffing and puffing has merit.
Too many of the listening public have no idea HOW to listen discriminately.
This year I enlisted as a soldier in the “War on Christmas”.  http://waronxmas.blogspot.com

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By Outraged, December 16, 2007 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

Seems odd that Bill O’Really finds it so “important” to save Christmas since factually it is a pagan holiday.  Maybe he just wants to have a “hot time on the ol’ town tonight”.

From Wikipedia:
“Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. Yule logs were lit to honor Thor, the god of thunder, with the belief that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year. Feasting would continue until the log burned out, which could take as many as twelve days.[4] In pagan Germania (not to be confused with Germany), the equivalent holiday was the mid-winter night which was followed by 12 “wild nights”, filled with eating, drinking and partying.[12] As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan celebrations had a major influence on Christmas. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the Germanic word Yule is synonymous with Christmas,[13] a usage first recorded in 900.


Christian origins

Origen, a father of the Christian church, argued against the celebration of birthdays, including the birth of Christ.It is unknown exactly when or why December 25 became associated with Christ’s birth”.  To read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

Well…the scuttlebutt is…. Bill really (pun intended) likes those, ““wild nights”, filled with eating, drinking and partying”.

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By Thomas Billis, December 15, 2007 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Never satisfied in his unending religious crusade Bill will be going after the “War On Easter”.Secularists doctors will be the target.How do they know it is impossible to rise from the dead.This myth that rising from the dead is impossible must be attacked and defeated.Corpses must be maintained for a prolonged period of time because it can be so difficult to push the lid of a coffin and climb through six feet of dirt.A task that even Christ could have found daunting in his weakened condition.We may have had the second coming and not know it.Sound stupid.It is about as stupid as Bill’s war to save Christmas or any of the other ridiculous arguements these fanatics make.You know what my greatest fear is that this ridiculous arguement may spark a movement.

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By mpgarr, December 15, 2007 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

For the past few years—the rotten apples at Faux have trotted out that putrid canard “about the war on Christmas” Everytime I hear this crap—-my head wants to explode!!!

I would like to ask them—what is so incorrect about someone saying “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings?”

At this time of year—-there are many holidays celebrated by people of different cultural origins—not just Christmas.

One of my favorite “Christmas” type songs has been “Happy Holidays” and that song goes back to the ‘50s I do believe—probably came from a movie as I recall—

They do have to trot out the notion that there is a war on Christmas because John Gibson has to sell more of his books on the subject.

The only thing that dimishes Christmas—is the crass commericialization of the holiday and that dog got out long ago!!

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By minamoto no taira, December 14, 2007 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

On Christmas Eve, I wish this idiot to be visited by three spirits, of pundits past, present and yet to come.  Nah, that would only work for people who actually had a chance to change for the better.

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By ThomasMc, December 14, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who knew Jesus was such a greedy capitalist?

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By P. T., December 14, 2007 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

Thomas Jefferson opposed a Thanksgiving public holiday because he thought it religious.  I did not realize he was a Maoist.

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By Outraged, December 13, 2007 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

#120049 by tyler on 12/13

Good job, I agree.

#120057 by Bleeding Heart on 12/13

Nice…I couldn’t have said it better myself.

#120077 by SoccerGuy on 12/13

Hey…!  If I remember correctly you are a Christian.  Well, I am not.  Just the same good people are good people and you’re right, Bill O’Really spews garbage.  If I’m correct and you are a Christian that’s A-OK with me because for me to dissparage you would be to disparage my own mother.  I would never do that.  My mom is the nicest person anyone would ever want to know, YES, I CAN QUALIFY THAT ( and there are many others who would back me up), irregardless, Bill is a…. how did Lou Dobbs describe these types..?  oh yes..A WHACKJOB!  I would soooo love my mom to put ol’ Bill to shame, it’d be great.

Just the same, I do have one issue with y’all.  The name for this jackass is: Bill O’Really….I’m serious…..BILL O’REALLY…I don’t think that’s mean, more….TRUTHFUL…

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By SoccerGuy, December 13, 2007 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

This guy does not for a second believe the very words that spew out of his mouth.
As long as he picks controversial topics and it lines his pockets he is content.

He represents the worst in all of us repub. and Dems alike.  He is the kind of chicken shit guy who hangs out with the bully’s so no one will pick on him, he is the type of guy who would never get in a fight, but rather egg others on to fight. 

It is appalling that he has a following at all.  Even though it is only Ultra conservative religious freaks, he still has followers.

Unfortunately, as long as he has ratings his ranting will be rewarded with a six figure+ income.

Good old America. The really good and the really horrible get rich, but anyone in the middle that does not stand out gets poorer and poorer.

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By Bleeding Heart, December 13, 2007 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wish this pompous, hypocritical, windbag would go away.  He’s all for the free expression of Christianity but on a daily basis he campaigns for war, hate, division, oppression of the poor, greed, vanity, materialism…

I wonder if he really forces himself to believe he’s fighting the good fight as a means of tramping down his guilt for being a hateful, greedy, warmongering egomaniac, or if he knows that he is, deep down just a tool being used by the powerful to make the serfs accept their lot with a smile. 

If Democrats really wanted to take away the Christian vote from the Republicans they could do so very easily by calling them on their hypocrisies, and showing how their policies are more in line with the spirit of Jesus’s teachings.  Or perhaps they just haven’t, as a group, reached the depths of depravity that allows the Republicans to use people’s faith to manipulate them.

As to why Democrats haven’t tried this, all I can guess is that they are either not a very bright group of people, they are - as the Republicans charge - an anti-Christian party of moral relevancy whereby they don’t even know what the message is, they simply believe that morality and God have no place in the public discourse, or (worst case scenario) the two party system is an illusion, with both parties striving for essentially the same goals, while passifying the public by making them believe they have power over their leaders.

If the beginnign of the twentieth century is any indication, I would have to say the later is the case.  That would not be good.  But public opinion is a strong force, and you can’t maintain a strong hold on power when mass opposition exists, so the sooner people start making their displeasure felt on a mass scale, the sooner we can get our country back - but we DO need a clear moral foundation upon which to build the new house!

Jesus has been diefied to the extent that his whole message has been lost, perverted,mystified, and politicized.  The message is nothing short of a prescrition for personal and social happieness.  Christianity was a radical movement at its inception and was wholly founded in unity and love. 

I’m not a Christian in the modern sense, but I will say that what he taught is the truth and we all know it.  Violence is bad, you are neither better nor worse than anyone else, reject materialism, love your enemies, wealth is frivolous, help the poor…These should be the messages at Christmas time - particulary when as a nation we are being asked by our leaders to fund and perpetuate more hate, war, opression of foriegn peoples, greed, fear of others - not whether or not some poor bastard can or cannot utter a pagan slogan in a department store!

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By tyler, December 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If anyone knows who oreilly’s plastic surgeon is, could you please post their contact info because I would like to offer them a bribe to sew oreilly’s mouth shut next time he goes into have his eyes pulled.

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