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Young Geoffrey

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This Filthy, Secular, CBC [Dec. 24th, 2006|08:35 pm]
Young Geoffrey
It's 8:36 on Christmas Eve, 2006.

I am a atheist, laughing at the idea of god from the first time I heard the concept. Worse, I am a leftist - a "social democract" some days, an "anarcho futurist" on others.

A couple of weeks ago, some judge in Ontario declared that a Christmas tree in the main entrance to her courthouse was an affront, of some sort.

A number of times, over the last few years, a good friend of mine - albehim, a conservative, religious, friend - has bitched about the securalism of CBC Radio, a sewer-ful of atheist and leftist nonsence.

And yet, he is not the rabid neocon the first three paragraphs may suggest to you he is; no more, than the fact I am not a fan of the current US or Israeli administrations makes me "anti-American" or "anti-semitic".

My friend, a serious Christian, wonders why his tax-dollars don't pay for more than 1 hour per week - on one of three radio channels - of our country's Public Broadcaster don't deal with with religious issues.

Rhetorically, he was right. Religion - serious religion - is intensely personal. Given that I (and the CBC) live in Canada, it is not even remotely clear whether "Regigion" is in favour of, or opposed to, gay marriage - Which churcyh are you asking? Which husband, which wife?

And yet, even such a "politically conscious" (if not - thank "god" - "politically correct") institution as the CBC has a sense of perspective.

I repeat: I am an atheist. Your Christ-son-of-God-@ct is nothing to me but a pretty story.

Well, and a pretty story that was written really well.

And which story was one of the basis of my civilization.

Point being. That hideous, secular beast, the CBC has nearly blanketed this 24th of December Carols, with Bible Readings, with all sorts of CHRISTmassy programming.

And good on them.

I am not a Christian, nor am I an apostate, but that tradition is mine, as it is for most of the people in this country.

But you know what? Most of the people in this country are (at least vaguelly) Christian. It is appropriate - it is right - that that tradition is acknowledged by the public's broadcaster. CBC Toronto's Metro Morning works day and night to seek out Toronto's multiplicities of race, creed and religion - because of Metro Morning, I know when Kwanza is happening, when Jews light candles, and when Muslims won't eat while the sun is astride the horizon. But for a couple of days, it is right to acknowledge the majority culture and celebrate that tradition.

Like I said, I am not a Christian. From what I have read, I see no reason even to believe there was, around the year 0, a baby born who would become a great teacher; there is no tangible evidence for the existence of Jesus at all.

But most people in this country think I am wrong. And yet, they are not telling me that I shouldn't think they are wrong. They don't even want me to march in their parades.

But if it hasn't happened yet, someone is going to write a Letter of Complaint because the CBC is playing "holy music" tonight.

And when that happens, I will join with the Christians and say, "Bugger off."

From: spells_disaster
2006-12-25 02:54 am (UTC)

I dont get it either

I loved your post.

Partially, because I dislike the consumeristic, hell-fest that is 'xmas'.
I follow some Buddhist principles and thats about how far I go in terms of 'religion'.
I grew up with the whole Christian thing being shoved down my throat, and have leaned away from the church because I find the people who go to church creepy.
I read the bible, I know the rules, I don't need the sociliazation of that place. Not to mention, I am a little creeped out how racist and classist a lot of em are.
Anyhow, I'm off to write my own Dec 24,th post.
Hope you're doing well

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-26 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: I dont get it either

Thanks, present indications I have survived yet another holiday season, though I can't say I've enjoyed it. I think I isolated myself a little too much.

I can't say I've found the people the last two times I've been to a church "creepy" (one was High Anglican, the other Unitarian), but definitely alien to me. In my case, I think I am more uncomfortable with the communal aspect of it than anything else; I've never been a joiner.
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[User Picture]From: shara
2006-12-25 03:04 am (UTC)
The whole point of "multiculturalism" is that it's supposed to let everyone practice their culture as publicly as they feel like; even Christians. Nothing gives the policy a bad name like the Christmas Tree Incident. It's not about erasing all cultures, it's about celebrating all cultures. More difference = better.

I might be the least godly person ever to crawl the earth, but I don't begrudge Christians their holiday. Besides, it's a fun one to celebrate, and I will do so to the utmost in my secular way.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-26 07:48 pm (UTC)

Giving the Good a Bad Name

Nothing gives the policy a bad name like the Christmas Tree Incident.

I agree entirely. The majority culture in this country is not under any tangible threat, but its dominance is being chipped away at (which is a good thing, in my opinion). But there is nothing like attacks on group pride to create a backlash - which, presumably, is precicely the opposite of that judge's intention.
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[User Picture]From: superficiality
2006-12-25 05:40 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: stormheller
2006-12-25 01:47 pm (UTC)

Word! (as the young people say), and also? Happy Ho Ho Ho.

Why didn't you and I stay friends?

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-28 01:37 am (UTC)

I Don't Know ...

It wasn't (a happy ho ho ho, but what the hell), but thank you for the good wishes anyway; I hope yours was better.

Why didn't we stay friends?

Because I was at once lazy and distracted. Because you wanted a strictly online (but intense) relationship and I wanted to meet in person. Because you were married and I was very single. Because I didn't think we had as much in common as you thought we did - or at least, that circumstances didn't allow us to find out which (if either) of those perspectives were true.

And maybe, because I sensed this was the sort of question you would ask in a public forum rather than via email.
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[User Picture]From: steelcaver
2006-12-26 07:03 am (UTC)
I can see why the judge would have asked for the tree to be removed. After all, she works in a courthouse, not a schoolhouse.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-28 01:40 am (UTC)

That's the Theory

And if the tree had been a creche, I would agree with the judge.

But even if you leave aside the Christmas Tree's pagan roots (no pun intended) and pretend it began as a strictly Christian symbol, in North American (or at least, in Canada) it has become an almost universal symbol of this ... holiday, which happens to fall around the time of the solstice.

I don't think the judge was acting from malice, but from stupidity.
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[User Picture]From: steelcaver
2006-12-28 03:54 am (UTC)
Not everyone thinks of it as a holiday, but that's a whole other story. As I said, we're talking about a courthouse here. I wouldn't expect to see any seasonal decor up in a courthouse. They're supposed to be solemn and serious to a fault, not festive. Call it foolish, but I don't see a courthouse as a place for celebratory decorations.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-01-03 01:36 am (UTC)

Re: That's the Theory

I wouldn't expect to see any seasonal decor up in a courthouse.

That's missing the judge's point - she wasn't banning the tree because it was "seasonal" but because it was religious. And in 2006, I don't think a Christmas tree is religious anymore, if it ever was - though, granted, it does refer to a Christian holiday.
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[User Picture]From: steelcaver
2007-01-03 07:47 am (UTC)

My Logic:

The decorated fir tree originally referred to the pagan Yule holiday, not Christmas (note the lack of fir trees in the middle east), but decorated trees of varying sorts have been used in religious ceremonies for time immemorial. Yule was primarily a Winter Solstice celebration, so I think of the tree as seasonal, Christian revisionists be damned.
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[User Picture]From: steelcaver
2007-01-03 07:50 am (UTC)

My Position:

Justice is supposed to be secular. Regardless of how the tree is viewed, whether religious or seasonal, it is indeed an invocation of a religious festival - and thus has no place in a court of law.
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[User Picture]From: rev_jo
2006-12-26 08:24 pm (UTC)
atheists for jesus!

we had a fiasco a while back about removing plaques and monuments with the 10 commandments on them from courthouses..
i had mixed feelings about this..on one hand, it is a religious icon..on the other, what it espouses is the basis for law in the western and mid-eastern worlds.. i can see why that would be relevant to a courthouse..
i don't see how a christmas tree would be relevant, unless the staff of the courthouse wanted to decorate for "the season", which would include all of the holidays and winter itself...and the public who the courthouse serves..

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-28 01:44 am (UTC)

Christmas Tree Vs. 10 Commandments

I think there's a significant difference between the two kurfuffles.

The Christmas tree has over the years become a nearly-universal symbol of a seasonal holiday. The 10 commandments, on the other hand, though admitedly part of the basis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are still an overtly religious set of laws.

As for relevancy, I suspect the particular Christmas (I'm starting to understand how the short-form, X-mas, came into being) tree in question was there, well, just because it symbolizes that most of us have a few days off.
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[User Picture]From: rev_jo
2006-12-28 06:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Christmas Tree Vs. 10 Commandments

hmm... i would disagree with it being just a symbol of the 'season'..as the judge who ordered it to be removed obviously saw it as a symbol of a christian religious holiday..as do most people in my area..i think the majority of people in WNY celebrate it as a religious holiday...and this isn't even a "red state"
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-01-03 01:38 am (UTC)

Re: Christmas Tree Vs. 10 Commandments

I think the difference between my point of view and yours may be geopolitical in nature; Canada is a far-less "Christian" country than is the US, if what I've been reading for the past 25 years is even close to accurate.
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[User Picture]From: rev_jo
2007-01-03 02:30 am (UTC)

Re: Christmas Tree Vs. 10 Commandments

there has been a huge resurgence in christian activism in this country in the past couple of decades.. the past 10 years moreso..
yep..bible-beaters and fascists... that's us..
all hail Dubya

i want to move... heh
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[User Picture]From: colinmarshall
2006-12-27 01:00 am (UTC)
My will-o'-the-majority respect outweighs my cold, hard atheism as well, and, hell, I live in "Jesusland" itself.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-28 01:47 am (UTC)


I thought California was Young-Children-Having-Intercourse-With-the-Paternal-Grandparent-of-Their-Own-Gender-Land - or is that just San Francisco?

Happy solstice!
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[User Picture]From: colinmarshall
2006-12-28 02:04 am (UTC)

Re: Jesusland?

Estimates of Jesusland's borders vary widely. Some maps, for instance, actually incorporate my home state into the "United States of Canada":

By other estimates, I'm in Mexico:

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-12-28 02:18 am (UTC)

Re: Jesusland?

I don't know about that last map. It looks like it incoporates Saskatchewan, the birthplace of this continent's "socialized medicine". (An interesting factoid: the CCF government of the day did not create medicare until after it had paid off the provincial debt. The-Premier Tommy Douglas apparently said something to the effect of, We can't control our own destiny as long as we owe our soul to the banks."
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