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Jews not welcome

So says Bill O’Reilly:

O’REILLY: All right. Well, what I’m tellin’ you, [caller], is I think you’re takin’ it too seriously. You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don’t wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] — if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then. I mean because we live in a country founded on Judeo — and that’s your guys’ — Christian, that’s my guys’ philosophy. But overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don’t wanna hear about it? Impossible.

O’Reilly has a habit of telling people he doesn’t like to leave this country, but that’s not what I’m concerned with here. What I’m concerned with is:

And the holiday [Christmas] is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus.

According to Religious Tolerance.org,

According to ReligionToday for 1999-DEC-8, Judge Dlott decided “that Christmas can be observed as a federal holiday because non-Christians also mark the holiday by celebrating the arrival of Santa Claus. Since nonreligious people also observe the holiday, giving federal workers a day off for Christmas does not elevate one religion over another.”

It seems to me that we have a federal holiday because of Santa, not Jesus.

UPDATE: Bill doesn’t take criticism very well.

Categories: Religion
  1. December 8, 2004 at 7:34 am

    You ever seen those crucified Santa statues by Christian who mean well, but forget about the whole “idolatry” thing? Maybe we should run with that to eliminate divisive religious issues during the holidays. Make a Santa Christ, or a Jesus Klaus, a famous philosopher who was crucified, but rose again so he could give presents to all the good boys and girls of the world.

  2. Andy
    December 8, 2004 at 8:33 am

    Hmmm… just who is the story of Santa Claus based on? Who was that Saint Nicholas fella again? Wasn’t he some sort of, like, religious figure, from a kinda religion based on, like, some dude born in a manger around December 25? Some guy… yeah, I forget… I think his name begins with ‘J…’

  3. December 8, 2004 at 9:40 am

    Hmm, guy whose name starts with a ‘J’…I would say Jesus, but he wasn’t born on December 25th. Also,

    “Most religious historians and experts in folklore believe that there is no valid evidence to indicate that St. Nicholas ever existed as a human. In fact, there are quite a few indicators that his life story was simply recycled from those of Pagan gods. Many other ancient Pagan gods and goddesses were similarly Christianized in the early centuries of the Church. His legends seems to have been mainly created out of myths attributed to the Greek God Poseidon, the Roman God Neptune, and the Teutonic God Hold Nickar. ‘In the popular imagination [of many Russians] he became the heir of Mikoula, the god of harvest, “who will replace God, when God becomes too old.”‘

    When the church created the persona of St. Nicholas, they adopted Poseidon’s title “the Sailor.” They seem to have picked up his last name from Nickar. Various temples of Poseidon became shrines of St. Nicholas. 1 “In medieval England… in tiny sea ports we find the typical little chapel built on an eminence and looking out to sea.” 8 St. Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of “The Grandmother” or Befana from Italy. She was said to have filled children’s stockings with gifts. Her shrine at Bari was also converted into a shrine to St. Nicholas.”

  4. Andy
    December 8, 2004 at 10:48 am

    Well, sure, and he wasn’t born in the Year Zero, either. Note also my use of the words ‘around December 25,’ to acknowledge inability to determine the exact day. But I trust you got my point.

    (Also, mea culpa for responding in a snide, sarcastic manner above. That works when writing to people with whom you agree; not so much with those you don’t, and I don’t wish the discourse to descend there.)

    Origins aside, be it fact or fiction, Christian or pagan, the Saint Nicholas story has been identified for centuries with implicitly
    *Christian* theology.

  5. December 8, 2004 at 12:28 pm

    I got your point, but even “around” the 25th isn’t correct. No one thinks he was born in the winter, if you go by what the gospels say.

    Also, even though the Santa Claus tradition has been identified as a Christian tradition, nothing about it is really Christian. The reinvention of it in the 19th century was a way to get people to change their Christmas celebrations from rowdiness to something less obnoxious; it wasn’t pulled out of scripture. The motivation for making it a Christmas tradition in the U.S. is the only thing particularly Christian about the tradition itself. Plus, I think the cycle that the tradition of Santa Claus/gift-giving puts people through fits atheism better than Christianity.

  6. Andy
    December 8, 2004 at 1:47 pm

    I thought you had never read the New Testament! Good!

    And you’re right about the materialism, of course. But then, that idea conveniently circles back into the Christian assertion of remembering why (true, non-hypocritical believers at least) celebrate the season in the first place.

  7. December 8, 2004 at 2:07 pm

    I still haven’t read it. šŸ˜› I’m gettting to it again, though. After I finish the Christmas book I’m reading, I’m probably going to read the NT until Christmas.

    I was actually thinking of the whole transition from thinking Santa is bringing you gifts to realizing it’s your parents as a metaphor for becoming an atheist in our Christian culture. Anyway, I’ll have a longer post on Christmas in a couple weeks.

  8. Andy
    December 8, 2004 at 3:05 pm

    Keep in mind, in your metaphor Santa is congruent to God, which is what we’ve been discussing all day anyway. šŸ˜‰ (And I haven’t even mentioned the very name of the day in question!)

    Can’t wait for your “longer Christmas post.” :/

    (If Helio would get my blog back up and running, maybe I could write one of my own on the subject. Just kidding, Tate.)

  9. December 8, 2004 at 5:45 pm

    I should bitch out the Canadians for being slow. Or maybe I should try installing it manually….

  10. Andy
    December 9, 2004 at 8:09 am

    From the Dept. of Redundancy, Repetition and Redundancy:
    Thanks, Pharyngula. Thanks, Pharyngula. I had never heard of ‘separation of church and state’ before. I had never heard of ‘separation of church and state’ before. I thank the cosmic accident that brought us together here in this moment in meaningless time. I thank the cosmic accident that brought us together here in this moment in meaningless time.

  11. December 9, 2004 at 10:11 am

    Uh, what am I missing here?

  12. Andy
    December 9, 2004 at 11:19 am

    Nothing. Pharyngula’s comment just seemed an overly obvious byline to our more specific discussion, that’s all.

    My sense of humor is often too obscure, and so dry it makes others thirsty. My bad; I’ll shut up on this now.


  13. December 9, 2004 at 12:12 pm

    I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. That’s not a comment, it’s a trackback. The text is part of the post he made on his blog, and is a quote from the source I quoted earlier. šŸ™‚

  14. December 9, 2004 at 12:57 pm

    Yes, I don’t think Andy recognizes that a trackback is not a regular comment, but a link back to another site with an excerpt from a post there. It contains some quoted text which is necessary for it to stand alone at Pharyngula, but duplicates what Jeff has already written here.

  15. Andy
    December 9, 2004 at 3:13 pm


  16. December 13, 2004 at 5:09 pm

    Forgive him: I just recently yanked him into the world of blogging.

  1. December 8, 2004 at 11:19 pm

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