Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Boba Fett of Foliage

Somewhere, sometime, the tree switched sides.

The Christmas Tree is at it again. This time it’s fighting for the other team. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the “war on Christmas.” It turns out that Christian conservatives are unhappy with the homogenization on the holiday season.

Leading the troops on the side of conservatism is Jerry Falwell. As always. He put together a legal super-squad to sue Boston over the renaming of their city’s Christmas Tree. You probably already know all this, but if you don’t, I’ll tell you. Bean Town was keen on the idea of changing their Christmas tree into a Holiday Tree. Just like that. As if by magic. They felt that the name change might help people to feel included in the holiday season. As if by magic.

Also, as if by magic, the city changed its mind. The Boston Christmas Tree remains, unchanged.

The whole idea is stupid if you ask me. I’m an atheist. I don’t have much use for religious fundamentalists. I have even less use for Jerry Falwell. But does it really matter if the name of the tree changes? Who cares. Call it a Christmas Tree (I do), don’t call it a Christmas Tree…

Jerry cares. He was on TV this morning talking about Christmas trees and what they represent. How the Christmas tree is a fundamental symbol of the birth of Christ. “It’s not a Ramadan tree” he said. Yup, I’m sure that Muslims are really bummed about that.

Man, you would think to hear Jerry go on about it, that the Christmas tree practically gave birth to little Jesus (maybe it was J’s wet nurse or something, I don’t read the Bible all that much).

Yet, it seems like only a few years ago that the Christmas tree was again on the front lines in the battle against Christmas. But in those days, Christians would have you believe that the tree was trying to put a 60 caliber round square in Jesus’ forehead. It was there in the trenches, breathing mustard gas and sharing naked pictures of pin-up girls with Santa, the Menorah, Fanoos and Kikombi Cha Umoja.

But then the Tree turned mercenary.

Now it’s fighting for the Christians. Now it’s fighting for Jerry Falwell. Now it’s Jerry symbol for the birth of Jesus.

The tree is also prophetic it turns out. It’s been around a lot longer than Jesus. In fact Jeremiah writes about it in the Old Testament (of the Bible). But he’s not as cool with it as Jerry. Here’s what Jeremiah had to say about it:

Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version)

Okay, so the Bible condemns Christmas trees. So what. That’s the Old Testament anyway. It was written by Jews. Of course they don’t like Christmas trees. Besides, it sounds like Jeremiah has more of a problem with tree bondage than anything else.

You go, Jerry. You fight that good fight. Maybe someday you’ll actually win the battle against Christmas. It’ll be saved! They might even make it a national holiday! Who knows?

But, Christmas Tree, I’m very disappointed in you. There’s blood on your hands, pal.

Really though, it’s just a freaking tree, people.

Fun Fact: A Fanoos (or Fanus) is a traditional Ramadan lantern hung by the Egyptians to celebrate the magical month. As it turns out, the Fanoos is also under fire by certain Muslim groups who feel that it is incompatible with Islam. Maybe because one of the derivation theories has it originating with Christians? Does it really matter, Muslims?

It’s just a freaking lantern, people.

The Kikombi Cha Umoja is a traditional Kwanzaa cup used for…well…drinking and pouring stuff…that is meant to symbolize the first Principal of Kwanzaa, Umoja (Unity). The principal of Umoja is to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

That “race” part makes me a little uneasy (what does unity of race entail exactly?). No one is attacking the Kikombi Cha Umoja, but hey, does it really matter?

It’s just a freaking cup, people.

And if you don’t know what a Menorah is…TS.


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