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« The Coolest Biologist in Journalism The RantsThe Award for Biggest Idiot of Thanksgiving Goes To... »

The Season of Giving Us a Headache
2005.11.25 (Fri) 11:44

We just had to react to the annual bullshit outcry over the liberal attacks on Christmas — the Religious Right's valiant struggle against fictitious adversity. Take, for example, this quote from a Scripps Howard News Service article:

"It's a sad day in America when you have to retain an attorney to say 'Merry Christmas,' " said Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney in Louisiana who will push the Christmas cause.

See, here's the problem, you fucking oblivious idiot: that's not what's going on in reality. You're free to say "Merry Christmas" as much as your little Christian heart desires. Say it to everyone you meet, shout it once a day in a booming voice that echoes throughout your office, deliberately approach burka-sporting Muslims and wish them a Merry Christmas — heck, you can even do it on the 364 (or 365) days a year when it isn't Christmas. That's what free speech is all about, moron. Even if what you're saying makes people think you're an asshole, you're free to say it — nobody's stopping you.

For the same reasons, privately owned businesses (such as department stores) are free to not scrawl "Merry Christmas" all over the fucking place if they feel that such is not the best way to deal with their broad and ethnically diverse consumer base. Similarly, the owners or managers of any privately owned business that likes to put up manger scenes or bloody Christs on crosses are also perfectly within their rights to do so. We personally have our doubts as to the marketing savvy of such folks, but it's entirely up to them. See, they get to do what they want, just like you get to do what you want. See how that works? It's kind of the point of a free democratic republic.

And then, in order to ensure the individual freedoms laid out above, the government — not individual government employees, but the government itself as an entity — is not free to endorse or prohibit any expression of religious sentiment by any legislative, judicial, or executive means. Again, this is very simple — if the government was able to endorse or prohibit individual expressions of relgious sentiment, then all the little people we talked about above wouldn't be free to say "Merry Christmas" on their own time.

This is all pretty fucking basic First Amendment stuff. Seriously, why the fuck are these folks so completely blind to law, logic and reason?

The answer is, of course, that they have cultivated a false sense of entitlement. The government has given these moronic zealots so many little perks and advantages over the last century or so — like affirming their religion in public school recitations, or in public buildings, or on our coins and bills — that if even one of these blatantly unconstitutional perks is taken away to correct a past mistake and level the playing field for people of all persuasions, these greedy fucks are offended and start crying discrimination. But it isn't the removal of the government endorsement of religion that is the discriminatory act here; it is having it there in the first place.

So, what do the Jesus Warriors have in mind this year to combat their fictitious enemies?

[Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell] has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces.

Jesus Christ on rye, hold the mayo! Can't these people see the blatant contradiction in this statement? They are threatening to sue anyone who spreads misinformation, while they themselves are the ones spreading bullshit! Add to this the fact that "spreading misinformation" about a holiday isn't even remotely legitimate grounds for a lawsuit, and it's clear that Falwell and the Liberty Counsel are a bunch of hateful idiots.

What else do these mental midgets have up their very short sleeves?

An additional 800 attorneys from another conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, are standing by as part of a similar effort, the Christmas Project. Its slogan: "Merry Christmas. It's OK to say it."

Um, yeah, it is okay to say it. Rock on, you zany Alliance Defense Fund blokes. Does this mean that you'll pack up your little Christian Soldier pup tents and go enjoy the holiday with your friends and family so we can all do the same? Not bloody likely, so long as there's a pretend enemy to rail against.

And how will the "Friend or Foe" approach to celebrating the joyous holiday season work?

Friends, according to "Friend or Foe" campaign sponsor Liberty Counsel, "do not discriminate against Christmas." Foes are going to get a letter from one of the pro bono lawyers reminding them that "Christmas is constitutional," not to mention a federal holiday.

"We'll try to educate," said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel. "But if we can't, we'll litigate."

Apparently they'll also equivocate, exaggerate, fabricate, and prevaricate. Sorry, we were previously unaware that Mat Staver was the "Dr. Seuss" of hateful religious loons.

Hey, we like Christmas. Seriously. And quite frankly, these religious asshats are ruining the season, and they're doing it in what we can only assume is a push to whip the mindless Christian sheep into a lather in order to swell their own holiday coffers.

Don't these people see how selfish they're being? Don't they see how their actions run counter to the Constitution that protects their rights just as much as everyone else's? Don't they see that there is no war against Christmas except the one that they are waging? No, of course they don't — without Christmas lights blazing on every single standing structure in the nation, it's just not bright enough for them to see.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Civil Liberties  % Religion  ]

Comments (14)

Fan-man, 2005.11.27 (Sun) 00:38 [Link] »

My wife and I walked in to our neighborhood Target store tonight to waste time after putting our name on the waiting list at a nearby restaurant. As we walked in to Target, we noticed a teen girl (and employee of the store) offering free candy canes to all folks coming through the door. Nothing fancy, she just said "Thanks for coming in, would you like a free candy cane?" The girl had a huge basket full of'em. Hundreds of'em. She offered one to us and I politely said "no thanks." She made a face like we personally rejected her and said in a sarcastic, raised voice "Well Merry Christmas to you anyway!"

The battle lines have been drawn gentlemen. It's the year of the Merry Christmas Crusades.

DOGONIT, 2005.11.29 (Tue) 03:29 [Link] »


Let me tell you a little something about rights. My husband and our right to decorate our first home we owned with our two children for Christmas was met with a lawsuit. That's right, a huge pain in the azz lawsuit! Owning a two family and needing to rent out one of the units to help pay the mortgage was one of the first priorities to the lender to re-pay the loan.

A husband and wife with two small children were among several applicants we interviewed. They were not our first choice, but our second choice. The first choice found another apartment, so we went with "The Moneyhound Family'. We did all the background checks, credit checks, yada, yada.

The MF's moved in a week before Thanksgiving, no problems. The day after Thanksgiving we put up the CHRISTMAS TREE and decorated the front porch and hung a wreath on OUR door. Since the house was a side by side townhouse style, it was really like decorating 1/2 the house or just our side, so we thought.

First problem- they were Jehovah Witnesses. Not a problem to us, but a problem that we were Catholic to them! The wife's mom asked us to remove our holiday decorations, as it was offensive to her daughter and the whole MF's family. They do not celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc...

We stated we would not take down our decorations and suggested that they find housing in a more suitable home they found non-offensive. We offered to refund all their rent, deposits and an additional $300.00 for moving expenses.

We were met three days later with a letter from the couples attorney demanding $5000.00 in damages for mental distress, plus all rent, deposits and $500.00 moving expenses for a grand total of $8,000.00 dollars.

We obtained an attorney and went to court. Our lawyer argued the first amendment and other protections granted to us by the laws of the land. Their lawyer pulled out a sob story and a half, about a dozen lies and his idea of a just settlement.

The judge agreed that because we put lights, the tiny white ones (not even the box refers to them as CHRISTMAS lights) that we impeded on their rightful peace and enjoyment of their home.

It was suggested that we move out until they found suitable housing, restrain from any contact with the plaintiffs and a warning that they the MF's could if they so wished take out a restraining order if they felt threatened.

We had to move out of our own home ( just in case they claimed we'd threatened them), and moved in with my in-laws for three months. All while they lived in our home rent free and a with a settlement check for $5500.00, as decided by the judge as fair and just.

I should mention this took place in good old Massachusetts, the welfare state and all the free government handouts you can think of state.

So, what's that you were saying about fictitious adversity again?

MBains, 2005.11.29 (Tue) 16:09 [Link] »

Sounds like Dogonit shoulda got a real Lawyer. That sit totally sucks and had no Constitutional ramifications what-so-ever.

Merry Holidays! Happy Christmas! Cathartic Ramadan! and a Noodley Chanakha to all!


oh, RAmen

DOGONIT, 2005.11.29 (Tue) 17:29 [Link] »

We consulted three lawyers before the whole mess, each one of them HIGHLY recommended by a friend in the Assistant DA's
office (in a different county).

Everyone of them told us they were probably professional renters. They run a scheme claiming whatever and whoever did them wrong. The judges don't want to look like tyrants putting a family out on the streets, so they figure if your a homeowner, and a landlord to boot, you must be financially well off.

They all recommended we settle for the $8000.00 rather then fight it out in court and maybe even end up paying them "More" money, BS! We scraped every penny for five years and even had to borrow some money from family for the down payment. We didn't sue our way into home-ownership!

We later found out this was the "4th" settlement they received in three years, from Florida to Massachusetts. After re-contacting the people they gave us as references, two told us that they too made settlements and were advised to give an honorable reference to get them out as quickly as possible.

I guess when they say; "It's easier for a criminal in this country to get what they want by lying, cheating and stealing. Then it is for the average hard working, honest everyday man or woman." What a sad statement!!!

Live and Learn

Rockstar Ryan, 2005.11.29 (Tue) 17:49 [Link] »

Need I point out that this is xian vs. xian? Maybe you should all review you sad devotion to ancient religions...

Ebonmuse, 2005.11.30 (Wed) 02:22 [Link] »

I have to say I'm skeptical of the story given by the above commenter. What evidence can you present that this actually happened as you relate it?

The Two Percent Company, 2005.11.30 (Wed) 19:48 [Link] »

Rockstar, we find your lack of faith...disturbing.

DOGONIT, believe it or not, we're on your side in this issue — you owned the house, and you had every right to put up any decorations on it that you saw fit. Paint your half of the townhouse bright red with chartreuse polka-dots, if you're into that kind of thing — it's your property. Rock on.

We are aware that landlord-tenant law generally favors the tenants, sometimes to an extreme, but we've also seen more than a few states in which tenants in a two-family unit in which the owner lives in one of the units have far fewer rights than tenants in apartment complexes. As such, we're a little surprised by the outcome of your case. Of course, if what you've said is true, these people seem to have been professional con artists, and as such, were probably pretty good at exploiting the holes in the legal system.

We also noted your statements concerning how you approached the situation:

We stated we would not take down our decorations and suggested that they find housing in a more suitable home they found non-offensive. We offered to refund all their rent, deposits and an additional $300.00 for moving expenses.

Our guess is that they painted your words as if you were trying to evict them for their religious beliefs. The laws around eviction are very strict, and very much favor the tenant in most cases, which is why this would be a good ploy for con artists. Sadly, it seems to have worked in your case.

All that said, we're not sure how your story is in any way related to our post. To recap, we were writing about the supposed liberal-secular plot to take down Christmas decorations and steal candy canes from children. Your story is about an isolated case of Jehovah's Witnesses having a problem with your Christmas decorations, and not the secular conspiracy that's got folks like Falwell and the Friend or Foe campaigners so hopping mad. For one thing, this was one family, not a sweeping, insidious political movement. For another, they were freaking Jehovah's Witnesses — not the "evil secularists" that the Friend or Foe campaigners are claiming to fight.

When you then revealed that your opponents were scam artists who've pulled this kind of crap before, and were just targeting you as the next victim of their scam, your story became even less relevant to our post. So they're assholes. We're with you on that one. But still completely irrelevant.

So, yes — we will continue to state that the Christmas Crusaders are fighting a fictitious adversary, because the folks they've set their sights on — those who understand and agree with the separation of church and state at the heart of our civil liberties — simply aren't trying to "eradicate" Christmas. It's not happening; there's no big conspiracy. In government-run venues, there is a Constitutional mandate to avoid religious endorsement, and in private homes and businesses, people are allowed to do whatever they want with their own property — just like you should have been. If you want to put up Christmas decorations on your own house, do it; if Macy's wants to wish customers "Season's Greetings" rather than "Merry Christmas," they get to do that, too. End of story.

We don't know the full details of your case, so we can only speculate on whether settling was a good idea or a bad one, or whether your lawyers gave you good advice. However, it seems clear that these people committed a crime; you did not. Perhaps you could have gone to the ACLU, who have always protected the rights of all citizens — including religionists — to do whatever the heck they want to with their own stuff (like their homes and property). Or perhaps that would have drawn out an already shitty situation that these tenants were subjecting you to. Either way, we're sympathetic to your plight, and we're on your side of the argument, no question.

And lastly, a very Merry Christmas to you, as well. As we've said before, we like Christmas, and we aren't offended when someone wishes us a Merry Christmas, as long as it's done sincerely.

DOGONIT, 2005.11.30 (Wed) 23:13 [Link] »

Thank you! I apologize for going off on this blog and am sorry I did not keep to the original relevance of your post. I guess I was trying to make a point that even individuals who find ways to stand up and scream loud enough in the name of religion. They certainly have used this same religious fight in other cases, not exactly the same circumstances, but religion based.

Truly this country is a melting pot of all, including people who have different religions. I do not think government has a right to interfere with religion, just as much as I feel our laws should not be made for one religion or another. .

In God We Trust, doesn't mean that it is a Christian God. There are hundreds of Gods! So, I don't think people have to go nuts and scream remove it. That is just my personal opinion. Atheisism is also not a religion, it is a conscience decision that NO GODS exist and for them NO RELIGION exists for THEM. That is their right!

There are so many things people just don't seem to know about, like for example; In NH where I live the Department of Education clearly states that any child wishing to participate in a time of prayer that child shall not be denied. Nor shall any student be forced to participate in, or attend assemblies they feel goes against their beliefs.

Maybe some of you heard last year about the Principal who asked a sixth grade student at HAJH to remove a Santa suit he wore to a "Holiday Dance". It was all over the news and in the papers. The principal was receiving about 500 hate e-mails a day. Its out of control, some people just think the government is all about their rights, their beliefs. And in a sense they are! To protect their beliefs, my beliefs, your beliefs, etc....

People seem to forget this country was not created for WASP's, but for every person seeking the promised land. So called the promised land, because the first assembly of government stated that all man has the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". Unless you came here as a slave, then you were sh8t out of luck securing that in the promised land!

People can cry all they want, but tell them to get off their piss pots and due something constructive about it. Well most of you probably already know the answer to that one.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and any that I forgot a Happy one to you too!

Dogonit :)

The Two Percent Company, 2005.12.01 (Thu) 00:13 [Link] »


Just to be clear, we weren't telling you that your story wasn't relevant in order to enforce our comment policy or anything like that — it was certainly on-topic enough to not violate that. We only pointed it out because it didn't really refute the point we were making. Please don't take our reply as a message to not post on tangentially related subjects — we often enjoy the tangents, and we have no problem with what you posted!

You seem to have your heart in the right place (as far as we're concerned, anyway). One thing we'd leave you to ponder, though, is bit of "connecting the dots" between two of your viewpoints. You say:

In God We Trust, doesn't mean that it is a Christian God. There are hundreds of Gods! So, I don't think people have to go nuts and scream remove it.

Then you say:

Atheisism is also not a religion, it is a conscience decision that NO GODS exist and for them NO RELIGION exists for THEM. That is their right!

So...doesn't the mention of God (any God) on our government-issued currency leave the atheists out of the party? You're more than welcome to your own point of view, of course, but this is just a little something to think about.

DOGONIT, 2005.12.01 (Thu) 00:37 [Link] »


Years ago if I heard this story or read it, I too would have been skepital. One because I never believed this kind of sh8t could happen in the United States.

Here is what I can tell you, the hearing took place in Salem District Court in Salem, Massachusetts. The year was 1991, the month of April is when the case was settled. The last name of the Plaintiff in the case was a couple whose last name is also the last name of another holiday, having to do with love.

Contact the records department and perhaps they can give you the docket number and you can look it up to read the proceedings. If you understand that I am not about to give out their last name directly or my last name on the web due to safety reasons. This is the only way, short of faxing you about 150 pages of information, charges, the stenographers notes from the proceedings and the cancelled check to them, you can try to put forth your best effort and believe me when I say what happened to my husband and I is true.

Also try going on to websites like:

DOGONIT, 2005.12.01 (Thu) 01:00 [Link] »

I see your point. I guess I contradicted myself a little bit there now didn't I. :) In my particular observations of money and other government property I don't even notice the religious implications. Probably because I have become immune to seeing it so often, that I don't notice it all.

I am sure though that I would notice if it were taken off of money. I personally would like it to stay, but that is a bit self serving and shows me that I have to look beyond my own four walls.

I should really try and see the perspective from the people it offends, or who believe it should not be there. That way I can honestly say "I have looked at other points of view, rather than solely based on my own".

Thank you!

Uber, 2005.12.01 (Thu) 11:25 [Link] »

Hi Dogonit,

Shame what happened to you folks. But this is a religious vs. religious battle. Not the way the 'war on Christmas' is usually put forth.

2 ways to look at this.

God clearly loves JW's more than catholics or religious beliefs are so much nonsense that cases like this will never end.

Religion causes many, many minor conflicts daily. How can anyone not argue for a seperation of church and state when minor issues like this cause so many problems BETWEEN rival sects.

Rockstar Ryan, 2005.12.02 (Fri) 11:21 [Link] »

I wanted to point out that if Dogonit's story is true, which I doubt (you made the claim, I'm not going to do the research if you want me to believe you. That's called burden of proof), I'm totally on her side.

Get over it JW's: we have holidays in this country whether you like it or not. If it's against your made up fairy tales, ignore them, just like I do when morans try to preach to me.

DOGONIT, 2005.12.02 (Fri) 12:19 [Link] »


Yes, the burden of proof is on me, so if you want to believe or doubt the story is true that is your choice. However should I ever have the dis-pleasure of ever seeing them again, I will be sure to forward them to you. Hopefully, you may have an apartment for rent that you won't mind them staying in rent-free for a couple of months.

Then after they decide that you've offended them somehow, religious or otherwise. Just write them a big fat check and avoid the headache of going to court, having to move out of your own home, because two scam artists know the system favors tenants over landlords any day in Massachusetts. Regardless of how far fetched their complaint may be!

You will then save yourself; time, money and unnecessary headaches and have a joyous holiday season without some loony old bat knocking at your door demanding you take down the "Christmas Decorations", because the only time she is not bitching that you do so, she is not celebrating the holidays, birthdays or anything else that would go against her and her daughter's family the right to live in a "PEACEful and ENJOYable Humble Little Abode". :)

Well, at least one good thing I can say is; that they didn't even leave a speck of dust, not a single window unwashed, all the floors sparkling and they even took their trash with them! If they had not done these things, the settlement would have been voided and re-settled for a lesser amount, minus any damage they did.

Note: It also doesn't mean all Jehovah Witnesses behave this way. Albeit annoying with the preaching, but probably not all of them are as sleazy as these people are. :)

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