Home > Religion > Attacks on Christmas as anti-semitism

Attacks on Christmas as anti-semitism

Mike over at The Last Best Place has a post about this war on Christmas thing. He points out a rather odious interview with John Gibson and a bizarre column by a Jewish author at WorldNetDaily.

I mentioned connections to JBS and Henry Ford a while back, but I wasn’t trying to imply the proponents of this war on Christmas conspiracy theory were anti-semitic. But the Gibson interview makes it a lot harder to take that view:

GIBSON: No, no, no. If you figure that — listen, we get a little theological here, and it’s probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be — have to answer for following the wrong religion, they’re not going to have to answer to me. We know who they’re going to have to answer to.

GIBSON: And that’s fine. Let ’em. But in the meantime, as long as they’re civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition.

There’s really no other way to take those comments than as chiding Jews for waging a war on Christmas. It certainly on the face of it looks anti-semitic. The WorldNetDaily column is just strange:

That has changed, you may have noticed. And I blame my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the American Civil Liberties Union, at the forefront.

It is the ACLU, which is overwhelmingly Jewish in terms of membership and funding, that is leading the attack against Christianity in America. It is they who have conned far too many people into believing that the phrase “separation of church and state” actually exists somewhere in the Constitution.

Written by a gentile, I can’t see that being thought of as anything but anti-semitic. Being published by the very Christian WND, it certainly looks to me like anti-semitism.

So then, is this war on Christmas hysteria anti-semitic? Maybe. I would attribute the hysteria to the common conservative Christian persecution complex. Anything that isn’t propping up their religion is seen as attacking it. They don’t seem to understand the concept of neutrality. The fact that their religion has been propped up by government in the past makes it worse. I think this hysteria can be seen as stemming primarily from that.

But, they need an enemy. Conspiratorial thinking is legion on the far-right and the Jews have always been a favorite target. Why shouldn’t they appear here? Notably, O’Reilly has blamed George Soros for the war on Christmas. I can see nothing that really makes him a prime candidate for the position. His contributions to the ACLU are fairly recent, as far as I can tell, and not large enough to justify top-billing here.

O’Reilly typically blames “secularists” for this war on Christmas. The things is, he seems to use the term rather broadly. It uses it to indicate anyone who believes in the separation of church and state, from what I can tell. Is it just a misdirection, then? Does he mean Jews? It’s hard to say. He did go out of his way to criticize a Daily Show piece from last year the other day, calling Comedy Central “secular central.” You could certainly read something in to that.

It looks to me like the root of this current hysteria can be blamed on that Christian persecution complex I mentioned. Anti-semitism isn’t driving it, but it generates rhetoric that looks an awful lot like anti-semitism. That leads me to believe that it may not be intentional, especially from people who believe it rather than propagate it. Still, it’s not a good thing for our discourse to be bathed in fundamentalist and quasi-anti-semitic rhetoric.

(as a side note, Mike’s got a PhD now; congratulations!)

Categories: Religion
  1. December 8, 2005 at 10:29 am

    One question is why is happy holidays offensive; that’s what I am trying to figure out. And one answer is that it puts Christmas in the same box as Hannukah (and Tet and Kwanza and sometimes Ramadan). They may see it as offensive to consider Christmas as a holiday equal to those other holidays.

  2. December 8, 2005 at 2:23 pm

    That’s pretty much it, I think. They think they’re special and anything that dimishes that is offensive to them.

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