Thursday, November 5, 2009

Amelia; Casualty in War on Xmas

Amelia, OH has had a Christmas parade for the last several decades which, apparently, was sponsored by the Amelia Business Association, but this year the sponsor backed out because they couldn't get enough volunteers. The village council decided that was no problemo; the council would just sponsor the parade. The village solicitor, however, did see a problemo; using village money to sponsor a parade for a Xian holiday could make the village vulnerable to separation of church and state law suits. The village council said they'd solve that by calling it the Holiday Parade.

You might have thought that all the obstructions to the parade had been cleared. Enter the church people. If the parade wasn't going to be named after the birth of Christ, they didn't want to play, because, nothing makes people think about the Son of God like marching bands and floats. Unfortunately for parade fans, church parking lots were the staging areas at the start and end of the parade and those churches were saying; no Jesus, no parking lots.

As if that weren't enough heart burn for Amelia, Catholic League President, Bill Donohue saw an opportunity to escalate the animosity by declaring that this was part of "the War on Christmas" saying, “Make no mistake about it: The declared enemy of these cultural fascists is religious speech, and they will stop at nothing to censor it."

I don't want to suggest that Bill Donohue is an hysterical rabble-rouser who perceives anyone whose opinions differ from his narrow-minded views as a member of some great conspiracy to destroy the planet, because I'd be belaboring the obvious.
Also, I have never seen any evidence of any cultural fascists (look fascist up in the dictionary, Bill) whose declared enemy is religious speech, especially since in order to have a declared enemy, someone has to make a declaration (Anybody got a copy of that? Didn't think so).

What this hullabaloo is really all about is a village solicitor knew that there are laws that prevent a civil government from financing or advocating for a specific religion. It was a non-issue when the sponsors were private business persons, but a village council is subject to different rules. That the government of Amelia chose to abide by the laws should be applauded rather than vilified.

The churches that are angry about this don't want to admit that the laws exist and think that the opinions of church people should trump secular laws they don't like (because church people are always right and anyone who thinks differently is an evil anti-Christian, as well you know). Furthermore, the church people are not intimidated by the threat of law suits since the non-tax-paying churches aren't going to lose any money. The churches get a public venue to pontificate about their views and it's the taxpayers' money that disappears when the village is bankrupted.

This was a secular parade, not a religious procession and the outrage of the local churches is a ridiculous and egocentric overreaction, as is the so called War on Xmas. The truth is that the War on Xmas is really a war on all non-Xian beliefs. The goal is to support the Xian holiday while suppressing the acknowledgement of any other group's holiday that occurs around the same time.

Donohue noted that a "Holiday Parade" didn't point out which holiday was being celebrated which he sees as hypocritical since (in his tiny world) Xmas is the only holiday of relevance. The local church people may know how to google and therefore realize that Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and other religions and cultural groups (including the odious Wicca) have holidays in December. They probably fear that a generic holiday name might imply to some that tacit approval has been given to the tolerance of all those "false" beliefs. Perhaps the "Ignorant and Bigoted Fundamentalist Holiday of the Only True Belief Parade" would be acceptable to them, although the parade would undoubtedly have lots of scary clowns.

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