Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Fuckin Xmas


 I’m not fond of religious zealots whose zeal is directed at the behavior of others.  Since 9/11, I’ve come more and more to understand the similarities in thought and motivation between Muslim fanatics and Christian fanatics.  Both are cut from the same deranged cloth.  Both types of fanatics share the same long–range goal: they want the whole world to think and believe as they do.

American politics is getting crazier by the second as America’s jihadists, also known as Christian  fundamentalists, feel more and more “directed” by “God” to change school textbooks, apply tests of religious orthodoxy to political and other public figures, and encourage the murder of gay men and women in third–world countries.  Look no further than Michelle Bachmann; if she doesn’t scare the shit out of you, nothing will.

What got my dander up recently was something way less significant and world–altering than an attempt to teach “intelligent design” instead of science.  I was totally pissed off by a friend who got all over me for writing about Xmas.

He asked me to commit to stop using that common abbreviation for Christmas and to promise always to spell the word out in its entirety.  In reply, I wrote what I thought was a friendly, even fraternal, note to him reminding him that Xmas is a Christ–based abbreviation of the full word “Christmas.”  The Greek word for Christ is Χριστός.  Its first letter, chi, is the same as a Latin (and English) X.  Xmas, then, uses a little Greek to save us the hassle of writing six letters when one will do.  I referred him to a Wikipedia page that spells all this out.

My friend wrote back saying that he did indeed know the origin of the abbreviation, but that, if I and others continue the custom of writing Xmas, I and others are just a a tiny baby step away from taking the “Christ” or the Χριστός , out of Christmas.  He asked if I also was in the habit of wishing people “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”  Sounding like a modern Pope Pius X, he railed against the secularism that is robbing our country, and the world, of all the benefits of Christian, specifically Roman Catholic, tradition.

As a mater of fact, I do use the greeting “Happy Holidays.”  Even worse, I reject Christian and Roman Catholic theological traditions in favor of secular humanism and sane, logical fact–based thought.

I have no problem with Christmas; I celebrate it as a secular winter festival and I enjoy it as such.  I am happy that Christians are able to comfort themselves with the nativity narratives and legends.  All I ask is that we be allowed to teach our children science in their science classes, that we allow gay people to live openly and safely, and that I be allowed to write “Xmas” if I want to.

Geeze–o–flip, as we used to say.

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