Christian Right Weekly Round-Up: The War on St. Nicholas, A Glass of Wine & Thou

saint-nick-statueBrass tacks, ladies and gentlemen.

There is no War on Christmas.

What there is, however, is a WAR ON ST. NICHOLAS.

Long before Coca-Cola solidified Santa Claus as the Patron Saint of Capitalism in the 1930s, there lived a Christian bishop from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who earned his sainthood by saving impoverished young girls from prostitution by paying for their dowries.

St. Nicholas died on December 6, 343 CE.  If the decidedly non-whiteMegyn Kelly, are you reading this?!Nicholas of Myra had died in any month other than December, it is highly unlikely (at least in this author’s opinion) that the Santa Claus myth ever would have evolved.

Also, in case you’re wondering, Christmas itself emerged as a definitive Christian holiday in the Fourth Century—the same century as St. Nicholas’ life.

Prior to then, Christians considered it appropriate only to observe a person’s “death date,” not his or her birth date.  On this, let us consider the thoughts of the great Third Century Christian theologian, Origen, who wrote “of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday.  It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.”

Christmas is many things to many people.  But Santa Claus himself is the real victim in the War on Christmas.  St. Nicholas’ self-sacrificing holy life has been sacrilegiously desecrated into a myth of Mammon. 

So if you really want to celebrate the life of St. Nicholas this holiday season, please consider donating to one of dozens of vetted organizations that oppose human trafficking.  Here’s a list of such organizations at Wikipedia.  Here’s another list at CNN.

Seriously, pull out your credit card.  Uncle Louie does not need that electric nose hair trimmer nor that “yard of chocolate.”  Instead, please consider a donation to an organization such as End Human Trafficking Now!

The real St. Nicholas would be proud.

Pastor Pillow here!

Damn.  I just reviewed the NFL schedule this weekend and fell asleep at the keyboard.  Sorry, you have no excuse not to make this evening’s 5:30 p.m. service.  What, are you going to skip the Eucharist because of the Saints-Rams matchup?  (Apologies to Manny Schewitz.)  Thus, I fully expect everyone who has made it this deep into the article to take the time to review the asinine antics of the Radical Right during the past week.

Also, for dedicated readers of this Sunday feature, I just wanted to let you know that after today Pastor Pillow will be taking a several-week hiatus until January.  I’m headed on my annual pilgrimage to Mount Athos, where I intend to commune spiritually with Eastern Orthodox monks.  (Moreover, the feta cheese is to die for.  And you’ve never been drunk until you’ve been drunk from a literal wineskin.)  But don’t worry:  I’ll return refreshed and sobered up in 2014, ready to tackle fundamentalist Christian idiocy leading all the way up to the November 2014 Elections.

5. Dobson Only Dude at Beach Obsessed with Abortion, according to the Christian Post:  “Dr. Dobson Draws Line in Sand”

The James-Dobson-Focus-on-the-Family-Political-Machine is on the warpath.  Dobson & Co. will do anything to get you to believe that Obamacare is demonically Pro-Vagina and Anti-Life.  They also want you to think that unless the sinister Kenyan Commander-in-Abortion is held at bay, the Affordable Care Act will put Dobson and his minions in danger of having to find real day jobs.

“Rarely has there been a battle with higher stakes for the future of religious liberty.”

Really?  Ever heard of the Iron Curtain?

You know what, I’m just going to defer to my friend, Jonathan Eastvold, who wrote on the subject of Dobson’s Obamacare-Infanticide-Mania way back when in June 2012.

Here I quote Mr. Eastvold:  “Dr. Dobson, please cut the hysterics about President Obama coming to get you because of your beliefs.  We don’t live in a police state.”

Indeed, we do not.  Nor can taxpayer funds be used for abortion.  The Affordable Care Act is no exception.

But we understand, Mr. Dobson:  you’re just trying to stir the base for November 2014.  Surely that’s more important than good old-fashioned Christian honesty.  Right?

Man, Mt. Athos never looked so wonderful.

Next.

4. Bartender, I’d Like to Buy a Drink for that Evangelical Lady at the End of the Bar, via Christianity Today: “Ladies, Who Needs a Drink?”

ChristianMingle executives, I hope you’re paying attention.  The fundies are starting to nip at the toes of Bacchus.  Might have to add a new category to those profiles:  “Parties Like Christ at Cana.”

Yet, according to author Ashley Moore, drinking can be “a slippery slope.”  Funny how no Evangelical ever says that about military service.

I don’t know.  I was reared in a teetotaling charismatic Christian environment, where the communion could only be freshly-squeezed Welch’s.  I had my first drink at the age of 21, liked it, and decided to spend the next several years sipping bottles of Johnny Walker while researching Christology term papers.

And I turned out all right.

(Just please don’t tell those Wheaton College administrators.  There’s no telling what they’d do to my transcript.)

To this day, I’m not sure I find anything more entertaining than Evangelicals hyperventilating over adult beverages.  Then again, without this topic, they’d have to spend their days worrying about whether God approves of oral sex.

Seriously, not a single one of the baboons, rhinos or elephants in this clip are headed to hell for partaking of the fermented marula fruit.

So get over it already.  Enjoy a carafe of wine.  Use a designated driver.  Sing a verse from “To Anacreon in Heaven.”  Read Song of Songs aloud and be glad!

Indeed, Ms. Moore, we all “need those things.”  So let’s stop referring to scholarly studies about “wine in Scripture” and just pop the cork.

3. The Pom-Pom Struggle for Leviticus, over at Liberty Institute:  “Kountze Cheerleaders Await Decision”

It’s bad enough that there’s a place in this world called Kountze High School.  And, yes, of course it’s in Texas.

Hell, it’s even worse that I’m siding with Liberty Institute in the case of religious freedom.  Clearly I need a sabbatical with monks and goats on a faraway Greek mystical mountain.

For the past several months, attorneys from Liberty Institute have been duking it out with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation about whether the cheerleaders of Kountze High can create Bible verse banners for the football players to run through.

Really, I don’t see what everybody’s up in arms about.  Let the cheerleaders make their banners.  Let the jocks of Kountze burst through them.

Just let these be the verses:

Exodus 4:24-26:  “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.  But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it.”

Deuteronomy 25:11-12:  “If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand.  Show her no pity.”

Ezekiel 23:20:  “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

2. Let Not Your Cell Phone Know What Your Brassiere is Up To, thus saieth Christian Broadcasting Network: “Cancer Alert? Make Your Bra a ‘No Phone Zone’”

What the hell is going on around here?  Evangelicals are openly drinking, and now they don’t even blink twice about using words like “bras” and “breasts” in an article.  Before you know it, Pastor Pillow will be out of a job and spending the rest of his days amongst the ungulates of Mt. Athos.

I have been following Pat Robertson’s news rag for the better part of a year now, and honestly there are days when I think they just want to report the straight-up news.

Then I see an article like “Sarah Palin: ‘War on Christmas’ Tip of Greater Battle,” and I realize what’s going on.  CBN knows the power of a boob clip when it sees one.  The Evangelical world is filled with unhappily married sad sacks who yet can only dream of a consolation beer when they get home from a hard day’s work.  (Just ask Ashley Moore.)

So of course they’re going to click a link with bra in the title whenever they get the chance.

By the way, I wonder if this means I should stop carrying my smartphone in my boxers.

1. SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO FOX NEWS ANCHOR MEGYN KELLY

Parting shot as I pack my shepherd’s crook and head for Mt. Athos…

Listen, we all get it.  Fox News takes to the airwaves every day now with the goal of parodying itself.  Murdoch’s minions across the board are just shock jocks.

But, seriously, Santa Claus was Anatolian.

Want to know what a Turkish guy with facial hair looks like?  Click this link.

Here are several other mustachioed citizens of Asia Minor.

Listen, no one necessarily wants to imagine Jolly St. Nick as Kemal Ataturk in a chapka, but there you go.  Santa Claus was from Turkey—which I’m sorry even to mention, as this will only goad megacorps into further Thanksgiving/Christmas side-by-side associations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for some much-anticipated meditation in a mountain shack with a bunch of guys named Seraphim.

Well, folks, that’s a wrap!

And just why do we present the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up each week?

According to Forbes, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) alone brings in nearly $300 million per year in revenue. CBN isn’t alone in the 9-figure Radical Right Revenue Game. According to the website Ministry Watch, CBN is dwarfed in comparison to the nearly $900 million raked in annually by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

But TBN and CBN are mere bright stars in a galactic empire of hundreds of Christian news and media organizations. If you have a few minutes to spare, review the membership lists of the National Religious Broadcasters and the Evangelical Press Association.

Each and every one of these Christian media organizations have one thing in common: they report news to members of the Christian Right across the Fruited Plain. And the Christian Right account for nearly one-third of America’s voters.

Not only that, but here’s a list of what’s on the line in November 2014:

—All 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives

—33 seats in the U.S. Senate

—46 State Legislatures

—And 38 State and Territorial Governorships.

Sorry to preach politics from the pulpit, but if that doesn’t scare the shit out of you enough to submit an early 2014 ballot, I don’t know what will.

See you next week.

And a final message for people everywhere, don’t forget: the November 2014 election is this many days away.

Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina. Visit the archive for Arik’s campaign website, and check out his latest book, So I Ran for Congress. You can also follow his political activities on Twitter @Bjorn2RunSC and on Facebook. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!

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  • Michael Siever

    This week, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the “Merry Christmas” bill into law, which removes the legal risk of saying “Merry Christmas” or using the word “Christmas” in any capacity in public schools and public venues. Last time I checked, nobody was going out of their way to sue people over saying “Merry Christmas” or “Christmas trees” in public, but if placebo legislation helps you sleep better at night, feel free to indulge yourself…

  • Erik Madison

    Thinking on Coca Cola… I noticed ‘the gang’ took umbrage over Macy’s recently. Coke may have ‘invented’ Santa, but just about every other modern tradition was created and paid for by Macy’s. They pretty much own the holiday and can therefore make any changes to it they wish…