Saturday, December 18, 2010

The True Story of Christmas

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

What to sing at Christmas if you don't believe in the myth

I'm going to reference a funny, on-the-spot essay by Greta Christina titled, "10 Best Christmas Songs for Atheists."

She begins by noting that not all atheists hate Christmas. "Lots of atheists like Christmas," she says. "Heck, even Richard Dawkins likes Christmas." And then, in a fine snarky way, she notes "...we find our own ways to adapt/create/subvert the holiday traditions to our own godless ends."  And that's what this essay is all about!

Most atheists, she says, would like the government to get out of sponsoring any kind of religious displays at any time of year, especially "with the whole 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion' thing."

But I really love this part: "And some of us do rather resent the cultural hegemony of one particular religious tradition being crammed down everybody's throat, in a grotesque, mutant mating of homogenized consumerism and saccharine piety."  (My emphasis.  See photo above!)

Yes! Things have changed a lot over the past 40-50 years. Back then, many claiming to be Christians bemoaned the commercialism that had taken over the Christmas holidays. Today, have made capitalism part of the Christian creed, they love the commercialism or as Christina puts it, "the homogenized consumerism and saccharine piety." 

What they don't like is people snubbing their commercialized Jesus.  They don't like that some folks actually dare say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." They don't like the fact that there are millions of people in this country who don't give a damn about Christianity but really enjoy having a good time during the winter solstice! And what's even more weird is that it is the most amoral, un-Christian, anti-everything Jesus taught people who get most upset, such as Rush Limbaarger and Bill O'Reilly and Ms. Coulter.

Ms. Christina, like so many of us, is "very fond of Christmas. Some atheists even like Christmas carols." Well, not so much the carols anymore with their "angels and magic stars and the miracle of the virgin birth." It's pretty hard to sing about any of that anymore.

So, Ms. Christina has come up with a list of "Christmas songs that atheists can love unreservedly." Or agnostics. Or those who go to church just once a year but don't believe much of anything.

She sets some parameters, such as the "Songs cannot have any mention of God, Jesus, angels, saints, or miracles," and that the "Songs must be reasonably well-known."

Ultimately, she ends up with 10 oldies but goodies, No. 10 being "White Christmas," which is "an entirely secular Christmas classic written by a Jewish agnostic..."

I'm not going to name the rest of them. You'll have to read her essay to find out.  And you can do that here.  I think you'll like her selections.  If not, just substitute your own list.  Nobody's going to claim you're starting a war on Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Alone

To enlarge, please click on the cartoon.

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

Wikileaks, Glenn Greenwald and Michael Moore

[Photo of Julian Assange from AP/Kristy Wigglesworth at]

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been released on bail from prison in London.  Meeting with the press, he thanked his supporters, then mentioned his experience in solitary confinement and suggested that there are many people being held in a similar manner in prisons around the world for no good reason, without recourse to law or lawyers, and it behooves all freedom-loving people to remember them and try to find ways to assist them in their time of need.

Meanwhile, back in the "freedom-loving" U.S. of A., politicians of various stripes are falling over themselves loudly berating Mr. Assange as a criminal mastermind who should be captured by any means possible and incarcerated, preferably forever.  At least one American politico has called for his assassination.  Many of these freedom-loving folks call themselves followers of Jesus.

Bah, humbug!  If Jesus returned today, they'd be the first to hang him on the nearest cross.

Amy Goodman talked with Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional scholar and lawyer, about Assange and WikiLeaks.  Greenwald said:

"Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted.  Yet look what has happened to them.  They have been removed from [the] Internet ... their funds have been frozen ... media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization."

Then Greenwald hits the proverbial nail on the head:  "What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose--which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world's most powerful factions."

Ms. Goodman's entire article is here.

Down through the years I have been involved in leadership roles in a number of organizations.  One of the things I've learned about organizations (political and otherwise), groups, committees, boards of directors, etc., is that they do not like controversy or disruption.  They do not like anything that threatens the status quo.  And when faced with disruption or controversy, they will call all their resources to put such disturbance down as quickly and quietly as possible.  They will do this even if it means they end up hurting their organization or themselves.  

This is why so many people in the U.S. have become so anti-government and anti-tax as part of that, or anti-healthcare, or pro-war, or anti-WikiLeaks.  Their level of comfort has been attacked.  They've know they've been sold a bill of goods but they don't know by whom or why.  I would guess, for example, that most tea party participants are unaware that theirs is not a grass-roots movement, but a well-organized and well-planned operation funded by extreme anti-government rightwing billionaires!  Their status quo (even if it is based on mainly imaginary scenarios) has been disrupted.  Thus, they act and vote against their own best interests! 

We are a supposedly a democratic society, which means our government of the people, by the people and for the people is supposed to operate in the open, and NOT in secret.  The people are supposed to be informed as to what their government is doing so the people can make good decisions as to the direction in which the country should go by electing the right people to keep the country on the right track.

Sounds like pie-in-the-sky and I suppose it is, for the United States has not operated like a truly democratic society in years.  Perhaps it has never done so.  But that doesn't mean it shouldn't!

Michael Moore, one of our favorite agitators against a government run amok, put up $20,000 dollars toward Mr. Assange's bond.  In an article posted December 14 on his website,, he tells why and discusses other steps he has taken to help Mr. Assange:  "... I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues to work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars."

Moore says that if WikiLeaks had been around in 2002, Bush and his cabal might not have been able to lie us into a war in Iraq.  "The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy."

That, of course, is why WikiLeaks is under attack.  WikiLeaks has "outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth."

 Moore references a photo of George Bush being handed a "secret" document.  The date was August 6, 2001:  The document heading read:  "'Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US.'  And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered 'patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.'  Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

"But if that document had been leaked, how would you and I have reacted?  What would Congress or the FAA have done?  Was their not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?"

Moore insists, rightly in my opinion, that secrets are deadly; that secrets led to the death of over 4,000 soldiers in Iraq and at least 100,000 Iraqis; that secrets were partially responsible for the 58,000 American dead (and 2 million Vietnamese) in Vietnam.

"Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt," which pretty well describes our Congress, the Pentagon, most government agencies, and even our Supreme Court these days!
Moore has much more to say, all of it pertinent and important.  And one of those things is "Please -- never, ever believe the 'official story.'"  I'd agree with that and add that we also can no longer believe the "story" given out by the mainstream media for it is owned by the same corrupt masters that control the government.

What we must never forget is that WikiLeaks is not the problem.  Julian Assange is not the criminal.  The criminals have other names:  George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, just to name a few.  Those are the ones our DOJ should be looking to indict!

Please read Mr. Moore's entire article here.