Jesus vs. Santa

December 24th, 2011 at 8:36 am David Frum | 97 Comments |

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In my column for the National Post, I ask who is truly waging the War on Christmas:

We hear a lot about the war on Christmas. But the true seasonal struggle is the war within Christmas, a single holiday shared by two deeply antagonistic religions.

Religion 1 is the religion of Jesus Christ, the figure whose birth the holiday commemorates.

This religion emphasizes universal grace and forgiveness.

Religion 2 is the religion of Santa Claus, the holiday’s most visible representative. Santa upholds a much sterner creed.

You better watch out

You better not cry

Better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list

And checking it twice;

Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice

Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake!

While Santa is checking his list twice for naughty children to be denied gifts, Jesus rebuked a disciple who asked if he really was expected to forgive an offending brother over and over again.

Click here to read the full column.

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97 Comments so far ↓

  • abc123

    How do you not show a pic from the South Park wrestling match for this post? :D

    BTW, if there is a war on Christmas, the enemy is losing. I know Hindus who celebrate Christmas, decorating their house with a tree and lights. They decided to because their kids see it -everywhere-, so it’s easier to help their kids feel included in the tradition instead of making them feel left out.

    • dante

      That was my thought exactly. Must be the Gen-X vs Boomers disparity going on here…

    • TJ Parker

      BTW, if there is a war on Christmas, the enemy is losing. I know Hindus who celebrate Christmas, decorating their house with a tree and lights.

      Yah, kinda like how Christmas traditions are stolen from pagan celebrations from around Europe. Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman aren’t Biblical characters, you know. Even my atheist kids know who he is.

  • nwahs

    What the hell happened to Kwanzaa? It was in vogue a few years back, but now you don’t hear it mentioned.

    Have a happy family hugging holiday, no matter what you call it :) Hug a few strangers too – well not the weird ones.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Feats of strength were always my favorite part of Festivus; the airing of greviences being slightly less so.

    And this: “So be good for goodness sake!”

    I think Hitchens couldn’t agree more.

    • paulw

      Do you know how sad I’ve been this year when I couldn’t find any pagans answering to “Io Saturnalia?!”

  • Oldskool

    Of course this will be known as the first salvo in The War On Santa.

  • NRA Liberal

    Great article, DF! The last paragraph is a zinger!

  • balconesfault

    Christmas as a litmus test is just a pathology in America. Only people who are much more dedicated to culture war than to the teachings of Jesus could even begin to think the thoughts that are echoed by so many on the right wing during this time of the year.

  • Graychin

    Great column, Mr. Frum – well done, sir. You are a Jewish man who “gets” Christmas a lot better than many “Christians” do – especially those Christmas Warriors.

    Christmas Warriors are attempting to hijack Christmas for their own political agenda. To them, Christmas is like an American Flag, particularly a Flag lapel pin on a politician – if you don’t use it OUR way, then you aren’t one of US. Those people are dividers, not uniters. It’s a more successful strategy of division than one might expect.

    May Santa leave the Christmas Warriors nothing but lumps of coal in their stockings. “Clean” coal, of course – mined by union labor in mines that place worker safety ahead of profits.

  • Kane

    The war on Christmas. The war on marriage. The war on the Second Amendment. The invention of freedom fries. The chest-thumping of American exceptionalism. Fictional death panels. Birtherism. The made-up controversies of Acorn-gate and Climate-gate. Fear of the census. The mythical threats of Socialism. The faux outrage over the stimulus, recess appointments, lapel pins, teleprompters, fist-bumping, and on and on and on.

    The faux outrage and made-up controversies would be funny if it were not so sad. We have very real challenges at home and abroad that demand a level of seriousness if we are to address those challenges. But these daily faux outrages and controversies created by partisan zealots overwhelm the political dialog, consume the media, continually divide us, misinform, and do damage to our democracy.

    • valkayec

      +100. I couldn’t agree more.

      The one thing this blog post by Mr. Frum pointed out to me is the difference between those who actually believe in the words and message of Jesus and those who say they do but choose to follow the Santa Claus Frum depicted from that old song/poem. I’m also a bit surprised at Mr. Frum’s knowledge of the New Testament. He’s picked up it’s message more thoroughly than most who claim Christian righteousness. Good for you, Mr. Frum.

    • paul_gs

      Faux outrage? Try the Keystone XL hysteria. Or the 2000 stolen election. And the 2004 stolen election. The manufactured debt-ceiling crisis. The left-wing belief in vaccines and autism. And there are many more examples.

      Phony outrage is associated with both political parties. To try and suggest otherwise suggests a lack of insight.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        Paul, the examples you set forth would bolster your argument just fine if only you didn’t include the “debt ceiling crisis” among them. That ‘crisis’ was manufactured by JBS/’Baggers like yourself, not liberals.

        • paul_gs

          There would only have been a “crisis” if an agreement wasn’t reached. As you know, an agreement was reached, hence there never was a “crisis” except for the one Democrats’ manufactured.

          On a related note, why was it OK when Barrack Obama voted against increasing the debt-ceiling in the past? Is seems it is only OK for a Democrat to vote against a debt-ceiling increase or do you have another explanation?

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          I think a vote against raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible regardless of what political party one affiliates with.

          And for the last time: a vote to increase the debt ceiling is nothing more than the congress allowing the treasury to make good on our debts. It isn’t an authorization for more spending. The teahadists purposely confused this issue so that the public would think that, by voting not to increase the debt ceiling, they were voting against new spending. They took their disingenuousness a step further when they tried to paint the President’s opposition to their lunatic scheme as a defense of fiscal profligacy.

          If you want to continue to live in your own epistemically closed-off world, fine by me. Just don’t complain when others ridicule your grotesque alternative knowledge system.

        • paul_gs

          Obama previously voted against a debt-ceiling increase. I don’t remember hearing any criticism of that.

      • valkayec

        The left-wing belief in vaccines and autism.

        WHAT? You don’t believe in science? You think the science that led to vaccines which led to the end of polio as well as multiple other diseases is just left wing mumbo-jumbo? I suggest you moved to Africa or sign up with Doctors Without Borders to get a few lessons on science or for that matter talk to Bill and Melinda Gates.

        You think the parents of kids, mainly boys, who suffer from autism are just left wingnuts but whose kids are perfectly okay? Try telling that to a room full of Moms dealing with the effects of their sons suffering from the disease. I’d be surprised if you left the room without being stoned.

        Good grief!!!!!!!

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          I think Paul was referring to the crunchy paranoiacs who posit a link between vaccines and autism. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t denouncing vaccines and autism as leftwing strawmen.

          That said, with all the idiotic pronouncements Paul has made on this site in the past, it’s totally understandable that you would misapprehend this particular comment.

        • valkayec

          Unfortunately, Paul failed to state that link. His writing could be more clear.

          Truthfully, I don’t know if any connection can be considered left wing or right wing. I do know that, as a mother, parents in general are not concerned about politics when their kids are sick. Their interested is solutions and cures.

          Consequently, I have a hard time labeling people who’s kids are sick left or right wing when what really matters to them are the kids.

        • paul_gs

          Sadly, it is politics which greatly influenced the childhood vaccinations = autism crisis and it was persons with left-wing political leanings (Robert Kennedy Jr., Oprah Winfrey) who promoted it.

        • paul_gs

          What? Can’t you read?

          The belief that childhood vaccinations can cause autism is overwhelmingly a left-wing belief, peddled by progressives such as Robert Kennedy Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Rolling Stone magazine and Jennie McCarthy. And the lowest vaccination rates in the USA remain lowest in “progressive” ridings.

          You might pick up the excellent book “The Panic Virus” if you care to inform yourself a little more deeply on the issue.

        • Bagok

          This is my favorite example of science in action. A rouge scientist making things up caught and discredited by other scientists proves the scientific review process is working just fine. And while I wish everyone were more logical, rational and skeptical, I think think the final reaction was great. Once it was proven the autism-vaccine correlation data was faked the anti-vaccine movement was immediately marginalized and has been ignored since.

        • jakester

          Who is promoting these issues Paul, outside of a few fringers and monomaniacs? Unlike the War on Xmas which is an annual staple of the Right & FOX. So your analogy is false.

        • paul_gs

          The rogue scientist was discredited years ago, yet the paranoia of too many left-wingers about peer-reviewed medicine and large pharmaceutical companies led them to continue promoting the spurious claim concerning childhood vaccinations and autism.

          Hundreds of children died because of this ignorance peddled by the likes of Robert Kennedy Jr., Oprah Winfrey and Rolling Stone magazine. Time to acknowledge that there is a dangerous anti-science element within progressive political parties.

        • Kane

          For years, Republican Dan Burton, one of the most conservative members of congress, has been an outspoken critic government’s failure to determine the cause of the autism epidemic, and he has been a leading advocate to remove the mercury-based preservative Thimerosal from vaccines. On his website, he writes at length about his belief that vaccines containing thimerosal may have been a contributing cause to his grandson’s autism.

          The suggestion that the link between vaccines and autism is a “left-wing belief” is simply misinformed. The issue is of concern to people on all sides of the aisle.

        • paul_gs

          That is one Republican but the political leanings of most of the anti-childhood vaccination movement was and is composed largely of Democrats. Nothing is ever 100% and Dan Burton’s grandson has autism which likely brought him into contact with the vaccination=autism zealots at conferences on the illness.

        • indy

          Paul_gs visits us from his fact free land of assertions where he is king.

          Here is a Pew poll from 2009:

          The last question on first last page reveals essentially no party differences on the issue of vaccines. Although it doesn’t specifically address the MMR-autism link question and polls are notoriously bad at exposing nuanced differences of opinion like that anyway, it’s a reasonably close proxy that I would expect to expose any real differences of opinion over fear of vaccines and the closest to anything I’ve seen to any real evidence regarding your spurious claim. (Note how I can point out that this poll doesn’t really support a definitive conclusion—FYI, that is what it looks like to be honest about evidence and facts. Of course, since you never refer to either of these things, I expect that it’s all new to you.)

        • paul_gs

          Indy, you might try reading a book or two on the issue instead of relying on the results of one question from one poll that doesn’t even address the issue of autism.

          The poll results do highlight something curious though. Among the most highly educated members of society, support for childhood vaccinations is lowest, while support is highest amongst the least educated members of society. Curious indeed.

          So on childhood vacci

        • indy

          Indy, you might try reading a book or two on the issue instead of relying on the results of one question from one poll that doesn’t even address the issue of autism.

          Well, so far, that would be infinitely more evidence than you have presented. I’ve read The Panic Virus, for example, which you mention, so perhaps you can refresh my memory and reiterate the evidence that he presented that supports your thesis that ‘political leanings of most of the anti-childhood vaccination movement was and is composed largely of Democrats’?

          Seeing as how well read you are on the topic, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find actual evidence of your assertion, which up to this point you’ve omitted, and which I find rather odd, particularly from somebody who claims the level of knowledge with the subject matter that you do. Curious indeed.

        • paul_gs

          Sure you read the book indy?

          These people were our peers: They gravitated toward fields like journalism or law or computer programming or public policy; they lived in college towns like Ann Arbor and Austin or sophisticated urban centers like Boston and Brooklyn; they drove Priuses and shopped at Whole Foods.


          And, we soon learned, a good number of them didn’t trust the American Medical Association (AMA) or the American Academy of Pediatrics—or at least didn’t trust them enough to adhere to their recommended immunization schedules, which included vaccinations for diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal, poliovirus, rotavirus, rubella, and tetanus,

          Folks who drive the Prius are overwhelmingly on the left of the political spectrum, and the same with people who distrust mainstream medicine and reputable organizations like the AMA. The Left may claim to be more science-based but this trust of science is selective indeed.

        • indy

          Folks who drive the Prius are overwhelmingly on the left of the political spectrum, and the same with people who distrust mainstream medicine and reputable organizations like the AMA. The Left may claim to be more science-based but this trust of science is selective indeed.

          Oh, I see. Assertions based on other assertions qualifies as evidence to you. That explains a lot.

        • paul_gs

          And vaccination rates (say in California, for example) are lowest in areas predominantly Democrat. But I understand indy, when facts are inconvenient, simply ignore them.

        • indy

          Hmmmm, I wonder which states have the lowest rates of MMR vaccinations?

          West Virgina

          Such bastions of left leaning ideology! Of course, I’m informed enough to know it has more to do with access and poverty, and not much to do with political ideology. You pretty much epitomize the type of ignorance and hermetically sealed belief system based on the faulty assumptions and twisted logic you get from your ‘gut’ that forced me to stop voting for Republicans at the national level. The truth doesn’t matter to you, only ideologically inspired narratives. Instead of admitting your own shortcomings and doing something about it, your only real interest is trying to make the ‘other guy’ look just as bad. You all seem just too stupid, ill informed and self-destructive to hold office anymore. I’m sure some otherwise deserving candidates are caught up in that gross generalization, but it’s the GOP’s own fault.

        • paul_gs

          Hmmm. You left California out, which has amongst the lowest full childhood vaccination compliance rates in the nation, and in some of the richest areas.

          Any reason for that?

        • indy

          Yes, I left it out because California is not the among the ‘lowest’. It has a 90.5% rate, ahead of 19 other states, mostly red ones but some blue ones too. But then you don’t really care what the real reasons are or how to form policies to solve them. You’re only interested in finding something you think you might be able to pin on the other tribe. It’s pretty obvious that it is the only thing that really matters to you.

      • jakester

        Those are at least legitimate (to various degrees) political issues. While anyone who takes the War on Xmas nonsense seriously is a mental midget.

      • Kane

        Paul, I didn’t mention either political party in the list of phoney outrages. But your paranoia and defensiveness speaks volumes.

        • jakester

          As well as no one one the Left continuously harps over them every year for months around Xmas. I mean, when was the last time you heard anyone at all even mention the stupid 2004
          “Stolen Election Conspiracy”?

      • Jack E. Lope

        “”The left-wing belief in vaccines and autism.”

        So you must be way off to the right of Michele Bachmann (R-MN)?

        • paul_gs

          Michele Bachmann got slapped down quick for that nonsense. Yet for YEARS, when Robert Kennedy Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Rolling Stone magazine, Salon were spewing their autism nonsense, progressives rarely uttered a critical word about the autism link foolishness and instead helped feed the paranoia.

          Why was the left silent on the issue for years when the peer-reviewed science had proven over and over no vaccination/autism link?

  • terrible_ted

    You better watch out
    You better not cry
    Better not pout
    I’m telling you why
    Santa Claus is coming to town
    He’s making a list
    And checking it twice…

    Reminds me of the Levin/McCain detention bill…legislation that allows all “accused terrorists” be indefinitely imprisoned by a military rather than a civilian court system -including US citizens within the borders of the United States.

    Now what constitutes an “accused terrorist” is anyone’s guess. The on bill authorizes use of military force against anyone who “substantially supports” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces”. Of course “associated forces” can mean anything.

    Perhaps the OWS movement could be designated a “associated force.” Protesters could be seized off the street and shuffled into secret military detention centers. Or worse, secret torture centers run by private contractors who, BTW, will likely have immunity from prosecution.

    Merry Xmas

    • valkayec

      Did the final bill actually have all of that in it? I know Rand Paul objected to all of that and finally said that after a review of the bill, and discussing it with Levin, he felt satisfied that no American citizen, for any reason, could be picked up and detained indefinitely without charges or trial.

      One of these days I’m hoping Americans will get beyond the hawkish neo-cons and begin to dismantle much of the Patriot Act as well as the whole idea of American Empire and fear mongering. The ghost of Geo. Washington must be shaking his head in disappointment and shame.

  • zaybu

    It’s not a war on religion, it’s a question of making sure the state is secular. If your local city hall wants to celebrate christmas then it must celebrate every religion on this planet — last count, there were more than 10,000 religions — and that would be at taxpayers’ expense. No thanks. So yeah, individuals can celebrate whatever religion they want, but governments must stay out.

    • paul_gs

      I always understood it to be a separation of church and state, not religion and state. It simply means there is no official church, like the Church of England, not that government can not acknowledge the faith of most of its citizens.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        Your argument only makes sense if the concepts “religion” and “church” each exist in their own exclusive sphere. But they don’t, and in fact they have a great deal of overlap (I can’t believe it’s really necessary to say so, but whatever) and hence a separation between church and state and a separation between religion and state pretty much amount to the same thing.

        • valkayec

          Agreed. One must remember the reasons why the Founders chose to separate religion, or as they called it, church from state. Even in the mid to late 18th C., wars of religion still occurred in Europe, although they weren’t as frequent or bloody as in the 17th C. Madison, et al, understood that to have a stable country, religion had to be removed from the state or the country might undergo what had occurred in Europe. What they said was each person was allowed his or her own religious beliefs and could carry those beliefs into their governmental service, but the state would not interfere with religion nor would it allow religion to interfere with government. Government would not support any religion, either financially or philosophically. Madison said specifically that government has no business in being involved in religion or choosing one religious sect over another. Jefferson said all religions were welcome on our shores and all would be treated equally.

        • paul_gs

          Sure, there is a fair degree of overlap between “religion” and “church” but they are still significantly different. Religion is already in government, as most people in North America are at least nominally Xtian and their Xtian beliefs are going to influence how they act, decide and legislate in government.

          Stating government must solely be secular seems to be as bad as having an official church in that it privileges secularism over other beliefs. Which, at the end of the day, leaves me perplexed at how an innocuous Nativity scene offends the concept of separation of church and state.

        • valkayec

          Given your thesis, then, what are the consequences of religion being involved with the state when there are hypothetically a thousand religions being practiced in the country?

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          How does having a totally secular government impinge on your right to freely practice Christianity?

          And surely you realize that even a nominally sectarian government might in fact COMPROMISE your freedom to worship?

        • paul_gs

          But that’s the point, government can not impinge on a person’s right to live their faith. And living one’s faith is both a private and public thing. And since a Nativity scene is not endorsing any specific church such as the Anglican Communion, I am not clear on the reasoning for banning such a display.

          Separation of church and state seems to me to be much different then separation of religion and state and the two seem to be confused with the other.

        • indy

          Paul_gs, revealing yet again his ignorance that words have actual, multiple meanings that can typically be found in dictionaries. Your repeated and pathetic ploy to parse meanings to support some idiotic ideological position is pretty transparent to, well, everybody.

          church |CHərCH|
          a building used for public Christian worship: they came to church with me.
          • (usu. Church )a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines: the Church of England.
          • ( the Church )the hierarchy of clergy of such an organization, esp. the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England.
          institutionalized religion as a political or social force: the separation of church and state.

          And, of course, as noted below ‘religion’ IS the word used in the Constitution itself.

        • paul_gs

          Indy, I suspect you are being deliberately obtuse. The meaning of “church” and “religion” of course overlap, but they also remain distinctive in their etymology.

          No one advocates the establishment of the equivalent of an official government-sanctioned Church of England but it is hard for me to fathom how a simple nativity scene offends the principle of separating government and a legally-enshrined organized church.

          Government must also be representative of the people and most citizens are not secularists nor atheists. Secular absolutism, to me, appears more offensive to democracy then modest acknowledgements of the Christian faith and heritage of most citizens.

          Government also may not impinge on the “free exercise” of one’s faith, and as faith is both a public and private matter, banning ALL expressions of faith while in service to the government, appears, at least to myself, as unduly heavy-handed.

        • indy

          No one advocates the establishment of the equivalent of an official government-sanctioned Church of England but it is hard for me to fathom how a simple nativity scene offends the principle of separating government and a legally-enshrined organized church.

          LOL. And you call other people obtuse? Are you sure you know the meaning of the word? Perhaps you should look it up.

          And, once again, ‘church’ does not appear in the Constitution, so it doesn’t even matter.

        • paul_gs

          Seriously indy? I thought you might be able to muster up a semi-cogent reply. Appears not.

      • jakester

        The original Christians here didn’t even celebrate Christmas

        • indy

          In the latter half of the 1600s, celebration of Christmas was outlawed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Somebody should let the Puritans know they need to be more serious about their devotion to Christianity.

      • Jack E. Lope

        A document that might be relevant to this discussion is The Constitution of The United States of America. Notice that in the first Amendment, the word is “religion”:

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

        There was a letter written by Thos. Jefferson that described this Amendment as creating “a wall of separation between Church and State”, and that is probably the source of our popular term “separation of church and state”.

  • anniemargret

    I’m still a Catholic in my heart, although my avid church-going days are long gone. I take what I can that makes sense to my mind and heart, and leave the stuffy nonsense behind.

    Christ was Love. If Christians today cannot still figure this one out, then they are truly lost. In my house we celebrate Jesus and we celebrate Santa, which if done correctly is the idea of giving. Jesus inspires us to give from an unselfish heart, without big show, and Santa inspires us to bring joy to children with toys and perhaps teaching them to offer up things for those less fortunate.

    There is no ‘war’ unless the idiots who like to meld religions and politics are given too much voice on radio and TV and the Net.

    And if your god is a different God than mine, everyone can bring love and peace and forgiveness into another’s life.

    The best thing I’ve learned in my life is to never assume you have nothing to give. Sometimes a quick smile or hello to a stranger might be the very thing that person needs at that moment.

    Everyone should read “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom…which fictionalizes this idea wonderfully.

    Pox on the Scrooges. Bless the Givers whereever they are.

  • Banty

    Good Yule, everybody!

  • MurrayAbraham

    Things would be sooooooooooooooo much simpler if the English language had a word for Christmas without Christ in it, like the French (noel) or the Germans (Weihnachten).

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      Now that you mention it, Murray, this may be the greatest deficiency in the English language, although I don’t see how this problem could be corrected in the short term. There are simply too many English-speaking Christians in the world (even though their numbers are steadily declining) to summarily chuck the word “Christmas” into the rubbish bin. I suppose this is yet another example of how languages grow spontaneously, and how they largely resist direct attempts to alter them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the cultural evolution of the next two or three centuries buried the word “Christmas” in total archaism.

      Happy Holidays.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    Yesterday I saw a graph over at Media Matters that compares the amount of air time that Bill O’Reilly dedicates to the “War on Christmas” to the amount of time for his coverage of actual wars. The former won out by an embarrassingly decisive margin.

    I’m not really one for “yuletide cheer” and all that, seeing what a bunch of hyper-commercialized gunk that holiday season is, so I really don’t object all that much when the christianist culture warriors bawl about the “secularization” and “paganization” of Christmas and so forth (except to point out, of course, that Christmas has pagan roots), but one cannot help but notice that their objections to holiday debauchery contain that seed of resentment that Mencken long ago identified as the modus vivendi of all puritans: the fear that somebody, somewhere is having a good time.

  • nhthinker

    Frum is a pompous jerk how feels entitled to point out hipocracies of Christianity on Christmas eve.

    Have any commenters here ever feel compelled to take shots at imperfections of Jews on Jewish holidays? I don’t recall any.

    But Frum feels entitled.

    Oh well…. Happy Hanaka, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Wishing your year will not be filled with crass messages from Gringiches: no matter what holidays and holy days that you celebrate.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      NH, I think the Jewish High Holidays are a bunch of atavistic, tribal buffoonery, and I’m not shy about saying so even on the days they occur. Same goes for the Islamic holy observances, which I think are downright psychotic.

      • nhthinker

        But it would be crass to say so on those holy days and I do not recall you ever doing that when Frum writes an article attempting to show an endearing part of Jewish holy days.
        Have you been that crass to put it in writing here?

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          No, but I promise that I won’t disappoint you in the future!

        • nhthinker

          Equal opportunity crassness is all I’m looking for. I’ll be holding you to your word. ;)

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Thinker. Are you going to have a gift exchange with ProfNickD, JimBob and Fart Carbuncle?

        • Bohemian_Idol_Smasher

          Methinks he will be having a very special sort of gift exchange with all the tools you mentioned PLUS one Fair Hardcastle!

        • Bohemian_Idol_Smasher

          Methinks he will be having a very special sort of gift exchange with all the tools you mentioned PLUS one Fairy Hardcastle!

        • medinnus

          Make sure to practice safe lex!

    • Graychin

      I found Mr. Frum’s comments to be respectful of the true meaning of Christmas.

      If you took offense, I think that says more about you than about Mr. Frum.

    • TJ Parker

      Frum is a pompous jerk how feels entitled to point out hipocracies of Christianity on Christmas eve.

      And bravo for him! I have to listen to Christian anti-gay bigotry every day: so if my kids have to hear, every day, how awful and dangerous their family is, then you and yours can hear what hypocrites you are on the day that you celebrate the birth of your savior, selfish greed.

    • medinnus

      *shrugs* Frum didn’t invent Christian stupidity and hipocracy (sic); he just explains it in small words for the True Believers – who don’t care about facts anyways, because They Believe (whatever parts of Christ’s teachings they find convenient, always forgetting about the poor, good works, worshiping in private and not making public display, et cetera ad nauseaum. Of course, there are actual followers of Christ – they’re called liberals).

      Christians stole every major tradition in their religion from the Romans (et al – the Roman Empire was a big place) or Roman-repressed pagan cults, appropriated local traditions and gods as “Saints” and pagan celebrations as Saint Feast days.

      Christian history contains more bloodbaths in the name of their Faith than any number of Muslim killings; of course, the Christians have been at it a few dozen centuries longer…

      • valkayec

        I had to grin and laugh a bit at your comment. It’s so true.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        It makes perfect sense that the most sincere Christians would be at least somewhat liberal. Liberal values– concern for the poor, revulsion to greed and violence, fraternalism– are more consistent with Christ’s message than the values of the individualist right (of which I count myself– my atheist self– as a member).

        Shaw and Mencken have both made a pretty compelling case that Jesus Christ was a socialist.

        • nhthinker

          Liberals forget that Jesus only wanted the rich to give up their wealth totally voluntarily.

          Is this omission in the understanding of the Gospel of the Lord blatant dishonesty or just stupidity?

          Jesus was not Robin Hood nor was he a socialist…He was more of a freewill communist that was liberterian as far as government was concerned… render onto Cesear and all that.

          Jesus believed that good works should be in the name of your god, not in the name of your government or political party.

          Liberals are much too proud and full of hubris to beg the rich to turn from greed…they typically think Jesus was foolish in this regard.

        • jakester

          But who is worse? The cons & GOP who use Jesus politically to defend their wealth and power or the liberals who want to increase taxes for sometimes ineffective social welfare programs?

        • nhthinker

          No one can use Jesus to defend their wealth. Anyone that lives more lasihly than warren buffet is surely gluttonous and have too high an opinion of themselves.

  • paulw

    What Would Brian Boitano Do?!

  • jakester

    I’ll take Santa over Jesus anyday, he is the real giver

  • SFTor1

    Santa is a Christian saint—St. Nicholas. He was one of the senior bishops at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. He was canonized in the 19th century. St. Nicholas used to show up at our school in Belgium in full cardinal garb—on December 6, which is his day in the Catholic church calendar.

    The figure we know today as Santa Claus was popularized by 19th century literature and 20th century Coca-Cola advertising. The real origin of the Santa Claus figure can be found in Norse mythology—the house gnome.

    There is as little historical evidence of Jesus as there is for the aforesaid gnome. Jesus remains a mythical figure, supposedly born in Nazareth, which has no historical mention until after 200 CE. Around 1 CE it was a farmstead—one single farm—not a town or village. The notion that he was born in Betlehem was cooked up by apologists to gloss over the fact that he was identified as a Galilean, more or less the same as being born in Nebraska today. (Nothing wrong with Nebraska, but it’s not where you expect the Savior of the Human Race to come from, especially for snobbish Greeks, Jews, and Romans.) As a purported Galilean Jesus was a mamser—not from Judea, and hence without access to the inner sanctum of the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Christmas is derived from the Roman New Year festivals—Saturnalia, which were held between December 17 and 25—and the ancient Norse pagan festival of Yule. The latter culminated in a blood sacrifice. What we have today is a pleasant family holiday that has some importance for the retail sector.

    Good for the retail sector.

    The whole idea that the holiday has anything to do with giving is recent. The ancient echo of that is found in the Roman practice of emperors forcing unpopular members of society to cough up donations of various kinds during Saturnalia.

    Bah humbug? I don’t think so. It’s good fun, as long as no one, David Frum included, doesn’t impart too deep a meaning to it. It’s pretty close to yet another Hallmark holiday, like Mother’s Day.

    The idea that Christians would fight for the holiday as a Christian festival marking the birthday of Jesus is hilarious on its face. The Puritans prohibited the celebration of Christmas for many years, because they considered the celebration to be entirely too pagan.

  • mannie

    It is curious how the notion of a Santa-centered Christmas has become a non-demominational civic celebration in big parts of the non-Christian world. We were out last evening here in Buddist SE Asia, and Santa’s version of happy- hatted Christmas is huge here.

  • JeffreyGoldfarb

    How people celebrate Christmas is a matter of personal conviction and concern. But the war on Christmas is a major political issue. Those who imagine it fundamentally undermine the civil basis of our democratic pluralistic nation. It’s very funny but also deadly serious.

    • zaybu

      Thanks for the story. It was inspiring to read about people who had to overcome adversity, and still came out with clear heads.

      Happy holidays.

  • Sean Linnane

    Christmas has to be the most mixed up religious holiday in the world. It’s not even really a Christian holiday – everybody knows it’s originally a pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

    Consider: the event is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which occurred in a manger in Bethlehem. Why a manger? Because there was no room in the inn, so Joseph & Mary racked out in the stable. But this begs the question – why were the parents of Jesus on the road in the first place, especially with Mary in such an advanced state? That’s right – to be counted by the Roman census, and to be taxed.

    But everybody knows that tax time is in the springtime, so that throws doubt on the winter solstice date for Jesus birthday.

    Not convinced? OK – somebody tell me where in the Bible can I find Santa Claus and the reindeer? No? Tree not there either. Mistletoe? The fact of the matter is that what we now know as Christmas originated as the Saturnalia – a wild, public orgy based on the Roman god of Wine and Partying (and we all know how the Romans used to party.)

    The tree, yule log & the mistletoe are adopted from Druidic traditions of the Northern Europeans, and I’m good with that. As a modern-day Viking, I can see no better representative of the ancient Viking religion than the Thor-like Santa Claus, with his Asgaardian headquarters in the Frozen Northern Wastelands and his elf army – like something out of Sibelius.

    The early Christians – total prudes that they were – had to come up with a substitute for all that pagan nonsense, so they grafted the birth of Jesus on top of everything else. All in all, not bad results: we Vikings have been Christianized – which is a good thing – and we get to celebrate the solstice with mulled wine and roast beast. Orgies, too, if we are so inclined.

    Merry KwaanzChannukkaMas!


    • nwahs

      I think Christmas has transcended that which accounts for its origin. Now it exists simply as Christmas, a time to reflect on family, the needy, and spirituality. Of course it also has a very commercial component, but all and all not a bad way to close out the year.

      I think the problem is trying to link modern Christmas to its history. Its no longer the same thing. It akin to referring to Ronald Reagan as Nelle and Jacks’s little boy.

  • camus32

    Thank you David. That’s the best Christmas sermon I’ve ever read, I’m not joking.

  • Marquis

    That Jesus in the picture looks like he belongs on the cover of GQ.

  • CitizenWhig

    My money’s on Santa. He’s in a higher weight class, looks like has a reach advantage and despite his physical appearance, has incredible stamina that allows him to traverse the entire world in one night.

    Jesus is a kind of a hippy, walks around a lot but generally doesn’t display any aptitude for physical violence. Santa on the other hand, is kind of a mean S.O.B. After all, he doesn’t just ignore naughty little children, he taunts them with pieces of coal. He also maintains an elvish sweatshop where workers toil all year long in order to simply give away the fruits of their labor.

    Of course, in this kind of battle, it’s likely to come to down to the combatants’ magical powers. While Jesus is the son of god, he didn’t inherit his old man’s capacity for bloody violence and genocidal natural disasters. Meanwhile, Santa can fly, teleport himself through space and time in order to get down chimneys and carries a magical bag from which a number of toys are at his disposal, which would presumably include a number deadly weapons like rifles, nun chucks, golf clubs and even BB Guns (he’ll shoot Jesus’ eye out).

    Jesus will be able to distract Santa for a while by creating a feast for Santa to consume, but it’s clear that Santa can consume massive quantities of food without slowing down even a little given that he eat’s an entire world’s worth of cookies and milk in a single night and still manages to stop at every child’s house in that same night. Santa will continue to advance on his opponent despite this setback.

    Jesus keeps it close due to his uncanny ability to come back from the dead, but at some point Santa learns to simply incapacitate the son of god to state of near-death and declare victory. Santa in a TKO on the 4th day of Christmas.

  • anniemargret

    Oh, fer crying out loud. Christmas is a beautiful season. Believe in Jesus or not, it makes not a whit of difference.

    Everyone, of any spiritual path or not, any religion or not, can find something good to do and say during this season. It is about giving of the self, despite the over-commercialization of the holiday.

    So what’s the big deal? We can all find the good within all religions, which are expression of the innate spirituality in human beings…yes, there is much that is wrong, but there is also much good.

    Put down the fisticuffs, and let’s pray for peace, vote our conscience not party, and put good people in place to lead our country forward. Smile at the kid at the supermarket bagging your groceries, help your Mom, say hi to your Dad, and give your kids a big hug and kiss. Spend time with them. Help your grandparents if you have any.

    And if you have none of the above, send a little money to the troops organizations, or your favorite charity.

    See, the good stuff list goes on and on….. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy Festivus. Peace and Good Will on Earth. And God bless us, everyone.

  • anniemargret

    And I dislike the disrespect given to Jesus Christ on this site. The photo of a glammed up Jesus was disgusting, frankly.

    I am not stuck up about being a Catholic, but it is wrong to insult another’s religious feelings. David Frum…c’mon. As a Jewish man, you would not tolerate insults to Judaism, as it should be. It is a solemn beautiful faith, so don’t do it here.

    Thank you.

  • TJ Parker

    Amen! Jesus is best depicted as a corpse on a stick, as in church statuary and children’s Bibles.