Posts Tagged “chanukah”

Angel-FacepalmI’m tagging this post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” because … well … you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! It’s rare to see people do something so insanely stupid, publicly, and then proceed to double down on it, refusing to acknowledge an error which is absurdly blatant and for which there can be no rational excuse.

This December 15, not too far from me in Springfield, MA, the city held a menorah lighting in its famous Court Square. That city’s Republican newspaper reports on the raging idiocy one of the city’s councilors spewed (WebCite cached article):

Jaws dropped in Springfield’s Court Square Tuesday afternoon when Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams offered his take on the annual city menorah lighting ceremony.

“Jesus is the reason for the season,” Williams said during remarks at the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Following short speeches by Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno, who both touched on the history of religion in Springfield, Williams was handed the microphone and uttered the line that had people talking long after the ceremony ended.

What Williams apparently was unaware of, is that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and that Jews don’t worship Jesus. The article gives a brief sketch of what Hannukah is about, and links to Chabad.org’s FAQ page on the holiday. I suggest checking it out.

If you do, you will discover that Jesus had nothing to do with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (except, perhaps, assuming he lived, as a Jew himself, he may have celebrated it). It’s a Jewish holiday, as should be obvious, and Jews don’t revere or worship Jesus.

A lot of folks who said something this stupid would accept correction and apologize. But not Mr Williams. He was having none of it, and is not backing down as the Republican reported just a little later (cached):

[City Councilor Bud] Williams, a Baptist, made the remark during a Court Square event attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, city dignitaries, and leaders of the greater Springfield Jewish community, all of whom gathered at the downtown park to mark the Dec. 16 start of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.

“I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away,” Williams said Tuesday night.

The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.

“They said it,” Williams said.

The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”

Did you catch that? Williams blamed his stupidity on the rabbis, throwing them under the bus, as it were. “They said it,” he insists … ridiculously! In his mind, the rabbis’ mention of “‘the bright light’ of 2,000 years ago” could only have been Jesus, and cannot possibly have been a reference to the “miracle of lights” which the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates. Williams further engaged in his own variation of the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense:

Williams said some people thanked him for his remarks. “A couple of the rabbis walked up to me and said, ‘Great comments, Mr. Williams.'”

The Republican notes, however, that they couldn’t verify this:

Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, who attended the ceremony, was asked Tuesday night for his reaction to Williams’ statement. “I’ll get back to you,” he said.

It’s safe to say that either these rabbis never said any such thing to Williams, or they did, but were just being nice to an assholish, mindless buffoon who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. In any event, Williams plainly hasn’t the slightest clue he said something he shouldn’t have said; thus, he isn’t about to apologize for it. Because, after all — as all the “war on Christmas” proponents have been railing for the past several years — Jesus “is the reason for the season” and anyone who says otherwise is trying to destroy Christianity and kill Christians. Or something like that.

Isn’t it time for Christians to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over themselves? Is it really necessary for them to presume everyone else on the planet sees everything the same way they do … even when they belong to non-Christian religions? Yes, references to “light” can mean Jesus … but they can also refer to other things within other religions, too.

Photo credit: shane_d_k, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on A Major League “Jerk For Jesus” In Springfield, MA

Laura's Sculpy NativityHaving a menorah, but no nativity, on city property in Boca Raton, Florida? That’s absolutely intolerable, according to the militant religionists at the Catholic League. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports on their childish caterwauling (WebCite cached article):

The New York-based Catholic League is accusing Boca Raton of discrimination for buying menorahs with taxpayer dollars and displaying them in public buildings without displaying Christian nativity scenes alongside them.

Contrary to what the Catholic League claims, though, Christians are not being forbidden to decorate for Christmas:

In an e-mailed statement, Boca Raton Assistant City Manager Michael Woika responded, “The City of Boca Raton celebrates the holiday season by having displays in the lobbies of public buildings in a manner consistent with Supreme Court and other judicial rulings. These displays are City-owned decorations and are comprised of a Christmas tree, a menorah, and a “Seasons Greetings” sign, and may include garlands, winter decorations (such as snowflakes and snowmen), and/or lights.”

The irony of the Catholic League’s bellyaching is revealed in this quotation:

“What we have now is Jews get preferential treatment and Christians are told, ‘No, you have to be satisfied with your Christmas tree’,” [League President Bill] Donahue [sic] said.

Well, boo fucking hoo, Bill. Jews are getting “preferential” treatment, you say? Gee, I can recall a time when your own Church was vehemently anti-Jewish, Bill. Time was, under Catholic rule, Christians got decidedly “preferential” treatment over Jews. Remember the expulsion of Jews from Catholic Spain, Bill? Remember the Inquisitions? Sure, that was a long time ago, but in more recent times, Catholics in Nazi-occupied Poland openly aided their mortal enemies in the Third Reich in that regime’s diabolical effort to exterminate as many Jews as possible.

Seems to me that — perhaps — a little comeuppance is in order here, Bill. Besides, Bill, no Catholics are being prevented from worshipping their God as they wish, in their homes and churches under this policy. Besides, I dare you, Bill, to produce any sort of scriptural or conciliar order requiring that they worship only nativities placed on municipal properties in their locales.

I’m serious. Where, exactly, can I find documented the Christian doctrine that nativities are required, only on government property? When are Christofascists going to produce this document?

Oh, and it’s ironic that Donohue is claiming that Christmas trees aren’t religious enough for Boca Raton to permit to be set up, when their religiofascist colleagues at the AFA had just gotten through weeping and wailing that it’s the natural-born right of every Christian to see a Christmas tree in the lobby of every bank in the country? What part of “This is absolutely fucking ridiculous!” do these people not understand?

Isn’t it time for militant Christians to grow up, fercryinoutloud, and quit beefing over the fact that they no longer run civilization and can no longer openly and freely put the screws to everyone else in the universe?

Photo credit: ricklibrarian.

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Comments Comments Off on War On Christmas 2010, Part 7

Or should I call this the Twelfth Post of Christmas 2009?

Well, it’s official. The “war on Christmas” is over, at least for 2009. We have no less an authority on this than Jan Brewer, Republican governor of Arizona. As reported by the Phoenix New Times:

Governor Brewer Puts the “Christmas” Back in “Christmas Tree,” and Makes it Official: Christmas Celebrates the Birth of Jesus

Governor Jan Brewer made it official today: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, Hanukkah is an eight-day festival of lights, and state employees can celebrate either holiday as they see fit.

Brewer signed Executive Order 2009-11 today, which puts the “Christmas” back in “Christmas tree” for state employees after it was renamed a “holiday tree” by former [Democratic] Governor Janet “the Grinch” Napolitano — sending right-wing bloggers into an anti-gay tirade last year.

As written, Ms Brewer’s executive order makes it sound as if the very existence of the United States utterly depends upon Christmas:

WHEREAS, the spirit of good will which has been found each December has been at the heart of our ability to live as one people despite differing faiths and backgrounds;

Honestly, Governor, I’d had no idea Christmas was so important. You’ve certainly set me straight! It’s the solemn duty of every red-blooded American — of whatever religion, or of none — to worship Christmas! Thanks for that clarification.

OK, enough of the sarcasm. Immediately after this “Christmas-is-our-patriotic-duty” implication, Ms Brewer goes on to completely misrepresent the facts:

WHEREAS, the Constitution does not permit the government to tolerate or engage in hostility toward religion, and the United States Supreme Court has affirmed that the public celebration of religious holidays, and the acknowledgment of religious origins, does not offend the Constitution;

That isn’t at all what the Supreme Court has said … as, for example, when SCOTUS ruled against Ten Commandments monuments in e.g. McCreary Cty v. ACLU of KY. Brewer is overstating her case here. Then she says:

WHEREAS, state and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) in the past have attempted to strip both Christmas and Hanukkah of their meaning, including establishment of policies forbidding state employees from placing religious items of celebration at their desks, re-naming of Christmas trees as “holiday” trees, and renaming of Menorahs as “candlesticks;”

Excuse me, but there is no way that either Christmas or Hanukkah can ever be “stripped of their meaning.” Renaming things in no way diminishes their metaphysical nature or their function within Christianity or Judaism. Names are, after all, just names. What something is named, in no way alters its spiritual nature, whatever that might be.

Both of these misrepresentations are enough to place Gov Brewer in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

At any rate, I’m glad to see that Brewer declared victory for the Religious Right in the ongoing “war on Christmas” trope. Maybe it will put an end to this fake, staged dispute.

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Comments Comments Off on War On Christmas 2009, Part 12

The holiday season is hectic enough, but I’m fairly sure the world could have done without this. A cadre of masked anti-Semites tried to disrupt a menorah-lighting in Fairfield, CT a few days ago. The Connecticut Post reports on this deplorable incident:

Masked men disrupt Hanukkah ceremony with Nazi flags, obscenities

Pouring rain failed to dampen the spirts of a small group of families huddled on the Sherman Green gazebo to light a menorah on the third night of Hanukkah Sunday.

Neither did three masked men, who carrying Nazi flags and shouting obscenities, tried to disrupt the ceremony until they fled when police arrived.

Their masks and their flight showed a great deal of cowardice on their part:

When police showed up, the men left in a car headed west on the Post Road with police trailing behind them. It is unclear if the men were stopped by police.

Rabbi Shlame Landa (of Chabad of Fairfield), who staged the event, did — by contrast — exhibit more than a little courage, though, and even offered a classy response:

Landa said it wasn’t a stretch to feel a little by like the Maccabees — on whom the story of Hanukkah is based. After battling religious persecution in 60 B.C.E., a small band of Jews lit a nine branched candelabra called a menorah to help resanctify their temple. The menorah is lit each night during the eight-day festival.

“We continue that battle,” said Landa. “The way we chose to battle darkness is to add a little bit more light. By doing a little bit more goodness is how we fight people who hate. That is what we tried to do tonight.”

It appears that brazen* anti-Semitism is not dead yet, not even in a mostly-enlightened northeastern state like Connecticut. More’s the pity.

Hat tip: Creedible blog.

* Yet, not quite brazen enough that any of them would like to be identified. Reminds me of all those Middle Eastern insurgents and terrorists who film videos of themselves, but with their faces obscured, so that no one knows who they are. That’s cowardly, too.

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Comments Comments Off on As If The Holidays Aren’t Bad Enough …