[ image, right: Puritans display non-festive spirit of Puritan anti-Christmas ]
New GOP-Sponsored House Resolution Displays Traditional Puritan Hatred Of Christmas generosity, inclusiveness and good cheer
[full text of H.Res 847 at end of post]
They just can't help themselves, can they ? The Christmas spirit and religious bigotry, both eternal, are forever at odds but today's religious right dominated Republican Party seems to have gotten one confused for the other. That's not surprising, however, because the religious right of their day, the Puritans, started the Christian war on Christmas to advance the Puritan values of stinginess and religious bigotry, and the contemporary American GOP is sliding right back into that traditional groove. Somebody better call Bill O'Reilly - the war on Christmas has spread to the GOP. Or, maybe it started there.
The Puritans were the religious right of their day, fundamentalists who thought their society had grown decadent and immoral, and they hated Christmas. In fact, the Puritans loathed Christmas so much they declared war on Christmas by banning the holiday celebration in Scotland, England, and Massachusetts, and today's Republicans are following in their footsteps - with a new House Resolution that exemplifies the Puritan spirit of anti-Christmas...
Iowa Republican House Representative (District 5) Steve King's (who GovTrack.us identifies as a "radical Republican") House Resolution 847, "Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith" inadvertently showcases the extent to which America's elected political representatives, especially within the GOP, have become ignorant of the original historical roots of American Christmas and American Christmas traditions.
Actually, in their ignorance of the history of Christmas in America and in Protestant Christianity the sponsors of House Resolution 847 have approximated the religious bigotry and un-generosity of the Puritan hatred of the Christmas tradition. Iowa Republican Steve King has accidentally introduced a resolution that celebrates anti-Christmas, the traditional Puritan spirit of stinginess, religious bigotry, and Christian supremacy that led to the Puritan bans on Christmas and to the pro-Christmas riots - in England and in Boston, Massachusetts - that protested the Puritan ban on the holiday.
Before "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" came the The Puritans. They didn't believe in having fun, or maybe they didn't know how, and they wanted to ensure the long, cold, hard winter season was completely drab and joyless for everybody. So, the Puritans banned Christmas. It was "impure".
Historically, the early colonists - the Puritans, to be specific - celebrated anti-Christmas. Or, to be more accurate, the Puritans did nothing whatsoever for Christmas, nothing that deviated from their pure, chaste, rigid and joyless routine. The Puritans 'celebrated' their anti-Christmas by going to church on Sunday, as they always did on the Sabbath Christmas or no Christmas, to sit bolt upright on hard wooden pews, in cold churches, listening to long, severe sermons on the merits of discipline, hard work, chastity, sobriety, and gratification deferred until life-after-death in Heaven.
Because the Puritans considered earthly, mortal existence something grim and joyless, something to be suffered with patient forbearance, something to be endured rather than enjoyed let alone celebrated or savored, the Puritans did not cook Christmas roasts, Christmas hams, or Christmas turkeys. The Puritans did not hang Christmas wreaths on their front doors or kiss under mistletoe, nor did they engage in public displays of feasting, singing, dancing, gambling, drinking alcohol or carousing.
The Puritan spirit of anti-Christmas was the first Grinch, the original Grinch glaring balefully down, from his cold mountain, scheming to steal the joy of Christmas from the Whos down in Whoville by stealing toys right out of the hands of all the Who Children, the biggest right down to Cindy-Loo-Who (who was no more than two).
The Puritans were bigots, Christmas religious supremacists who had been chased out of England and, following the overthrow of Cromwell and his religious revolutionaries (Puritans who for a decade had seized political power in England), had fled to the New World. The Puritans wanted the freedom to be as as intolerant of others, and of difference, as they wanted to be. So, they sailed across the Atlantic, settled in Massachusetts and instituted a theocracy in which they could express their freedom of religion, their "purified" form of Christianity, by beating up Baptists, hanging Jesuits, poking red hot skewers through the tongues of those caught swearing, and banning exuberant public displays such as Christmas.
The Puritans disliked public outbursts of mirth and good cheer, and they frowned on spontaneous public displays of generosity - a behavior thought best kept private, chaste, and measured. Puritans considered the Christmas holiday an excuse for public displays of immorality - drunkenness, feasting, gambling, dancing (which can lead to fornication).
Probably the closest the Puritans ever got to establishing a native Christmas tradition of their own, one that was heartfelt and spontaneous, was during the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials, and had the tradition of ferreting out alleged witches stuck and continued from year to year, perhaps the Puritans would have taken to, sometime around the time when Catholics were celebrating Christmas by singing and feasting, celebrating the Puritan version of Christmas by taking other Puritans they'd convicted of witchcraft and slowly pressing them to death, with rocks.
The quintessence of "Puritan Christmas" (although I'm not sure when during the year this actually transpired) came in my childhood home town of Andover, Massachusetts, when the good people of that upstanding community tried, convicted, and put to death two dogs - for witchcraft. Had the Puritans ever developed their own Christmas it would have been capricious, bigoted and deranged.
The GOP of 2007 can be congratulated for getting the original American Christmas spirit, which was the Puritans hatred of the Christmas holiday and all the festivity and cheer that surrounded it, correct by proposing a House Resolution that exemplifies the religious supremacist, bigoted and stingy values the Puritans held dear. House Resolution 847 mentions no Jews or Muslims, no atheists or Buddhists nor does it mention any religion but Christianity as sharing in Christmas or holding analogous or similar seasonal traditions. H.Res 847 celebrates Christian Christmas because it's the tradition of the majority religion in America. Why should the Republican Party mention all those pesky, ungrateful non-Christians when 3/4 of Americans are Christians and Christianity is the biggest religion in the world ?
After years of screwing up managing the US Federal Government and starting a disastrous and costly war, the GOP has, for once, gotten something right, sort of ;
The original American Christmas spirit was hatred of what we now know as Christmas, and by exemplifying the original, stingy and mean Puritan hatred of Christmas and the Christmas spirit the GOP's new House Resolution may represent a bold new front in the war, against Christmas, which has been languishing since the Puritans took off their hats and drab clothes, got off their hard wooden pews, and learned to enjoy life a little.
Maybe, for his next stunning act, Steve King can introduce a House Resolution calling for non-Christians to be pressed to death with rocks, children stoned to death for talking back to their parents, or dogs tried for witchcraft.
What's Christmas without a little gratuitous meanness ?
The GOP's 'Puritan Christmas' House Resolution
Text of Legislation
HRES 847 IH
H. RES. 847
Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 6, 2007
Mr. KING of Iowa (for himself, Mr. AKIN, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. BAKER, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. BRADY of Texas, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CARTER, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. DAVID DAVIS of Tennessee, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. FEENEY, Mr. FORTENBERRY, Ms. FOXX, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. HAYES, Mr. HERGER, Mr. ISSA, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LAMPSON, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. MCCAUL of Texas, Mr. MCINTYRE, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mrs. MUSGRAVE, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. POE, Mr. SALI, Mr. SHADEGG, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. STEARNS, Mr. TERRY, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. WALBERG, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky, and Mrs. DRAKE) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.
Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;
Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;
Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;
Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;
Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;
Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;
Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;
Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace; and
Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;
(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;
(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;
(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;
(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and
(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.