Religious freedom, they want us to believe, is under attack
Ho ho ho, it’s the height of the War on Christmas.
What have you done to subvert this struggling holiday so that it can finally be replaced by a Winter Pride Festival featuring parade Grand Marshall Hermey, the elf who aspired to be a dentist in the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation special?
It’s only a matter of time! Keep saying, “Happy Holidays.” We’ll get there!
One need look no further for proof that Christmas is under attack than the Christmas tree set on fire in New York in front of the Fox News Headquarters. 50 feet tall, flaming, and fabulous! That’s how we like ’em. Seriously, though. A man was arrested for allegedly starting the fire, and it should be clear that it is not cool to set things on fire, especially things in crowded public spaces. But there’s something about a Christmas tree that gets firebugs going, apparently.
The Washington Post reported that Christmas trees have been recently burned in Oakland, California, and in Chicago, where “the Christmas tree in Washington Park was set on fire for the third year in a row.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 160 home fires are caused each year because of Christmas trees.
Clearly, Christmas trees are dangerous, and they should be banned, and Christmas should be canceled. The end.
But, of course, there’s no way to keep Christmas down. In part because nobody is actually trying to do so. The “War on Christmas” is completely pretend and part of the larger victim mentality of right-wing Christians who consider any secular recognition of the holiday as a personal affront.
Religious freedom, they want us to believe, is under attack. And this claim is the basis for so much anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The belief is that hating LGBTQ people and denying them their humanity is fundamental to being a Christian. To force a Christian to recognize the freedom of an LGBTQ person is to take away that Christian’s freedom to discriminate without any consequences whatsoever.
Obviously, not all Christians believe this. But the right-wing ilk who do is the backbone of the Republican party. They’re running the show. They’re the ones making laws across the country prohibiting trans kids from using the restrooms at their schools. They’re the ones trying to ban books that include LGBTQ+ characters or themes from libraries, in the name of religious freedom.
This is a dangerous time. But not for Christianity. Christianity is doing just fine, despite the fringe’s insistence that there’s a war going on. Because the same people who believe it are the same people who believe that Dr. Faucci is Satan and that the vaccine is a liberal hoax.
They believe that Trump is our rightful and true leader and see the Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt as a dress rehearsal. They’re the ones who want abortion and birth control to be illegal. They’re the ones who think kids reading And Tango Makes Three is a sign of a moral vacuum that can only be filled by Christmas cards featuring elected leaders posing their children with assault rifles.
Their version of religious freedom depends on the stripping of freedom from others. I would say it’s unAmerican, but these are the same people who think that this whole American experiment isn’t worth shit if it means they don’t get to be in charge. Representative democracy only works if straight, white, Christian males remain at the helm and get to keep being racist, homophobic, sexist creeps in the name of Jesus.
Look, I want to feel hopeful about the future. But it’s not easy. I can only beg people to vote Republicans out of office so many times. The only thing that will bring about change is electing people who give a shit about other people.
Who holds elected office matters.
In the meantime, I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Yeah, I said it. And I’m not even Christian. Because the people who get angry when someone says “Christmas” are as real as the War on Christmas. Call the season whatever you want. Spend it with the people you love. Watch Die Hard. Eat candy canes. But whatever you do, don’t burn your house down. Or your neighbor’s.