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Why isn’t there a ‘War on Easter’ like Christmas?

For most Christian Americans, the holiest week of the year looks like most others. People purchase Starbucks lattes without lamenting the design of the cup and shop at Target without critiquing the greeters’ salutations. They may stop by their local courthouse, but it won’t be to protest the removal of an Easter scene from the town square.

In a moment when breathing air seems to stir controversy, Easter has somehow avoided it. Which is especially interesting once you recall that Christmas–the only Christian holy day more popular than Easter–has somehow become a recurring scandal.

Easter and Christmas, as they have come to be known in American popular culture, are strikingly similar. Both mark significant events in Jesus’s life; his birth for Christmas and his resurrection for Easter. Both are celebrated by attending religious services, hosting family meals, and other communal festivities. And both holidays have been wrapped in a secular, consumerist folklore. On Christmas, children wake to find presents brought to them by a fictitious character named Santa Claus. On Easter, children wake to find a basket filled with trinkets and candy brought to them by a fictitious character called the Easter Bunny.

So why has Christmas become a cause for protest while Easter is almost completely uncontroversial?

To explore this question, I decided to chat with Gerry Bowler, a historian who specializes in religion and popular culture. He is author of “Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday.” He shares some fascinating insights about the historical difference in these holy days that explains why Easter has escaped the furor that now comes with Christmas.

RNS: Every year as the holidays approach, I hear rumblings about the “War on Christmas.” Trump, for example, has often claimed often that the holiday is under siege. Why is this?

GB: President Trump is correct. There is, and has always been, a war on Christmas. He is referring to a particular front in that conflict: the debate over what public space is to be given in the USA to religion. Thus, his emphasis on the ability to say “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays” or to send a Christmas card instead of one mentioning “Season’s Greetings.” The war, however, is much older than this aspect and contains many more points of contention.

RNS: Talk about the history of this “war.” When did it begin, and how did it become so widespread?

GB: The first arguments about Christmas began in the early Christian Church when theologians disagreed as to the propriety of celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. Some thought this was the sort of thing best left to pagans. When the Church eventually decided that a celebration was proper, the next debate was over the proper date. Western churches opted for December 25 and the cities in the east preferred January 6.

Then arose a centuries-long struggle to keep pagan accretions out of the holiday, a struggle that was sometimes lost – thus the giving of gifts, the Yule log, and perhaps the Christmas tree – but which was successful against transvestism, riotous social inversion, and wearing animal costumes. The Protestant Reformation brought the abolition of Christmas for a time in England, New England, and Scotland. The Enlightenment and modernity proposed the replacement of religious ceremonies with secular equivalents. Some totalitarian governments such as Nazi Germany tried to paganize Christmas while communist states tried to repress it altogether.

Today, the war rages around the world with opposition from atheists, hard-line Hindus and Muslims, and neo-Calvinists, and attempts by LGBT people, vegans, anti-consumerists, and nationalists to appropriate the season to their own ends.

RNS: Generally speaking, which holiday has been more important to Christian communities throughout history?

GB: Theologically speaking, Easter is the most important date. The Resurrection outranks the Incarnation, Ascension, etc. Though the public involvement in Christmas is now greater, this has varied in time and place.

Image courtesy of Oxford University Press

RNS: It seems to me that Christmas and Easter have similar histories and importance in the West. And both have developed a set of popular symbols—mistletoe and colored eggs, Santa Claus myths and Easter bunny myths–that now overshadow their religious meanings. What do you think?

GB: Overshadowed in the public mind, but not in the minds of the faithful. Churches are packed during the Easter and Christmas seasons. There is no sign that these celebrations have diminished in the lives of practicing Christians. In parts of the world where Christianity is under threat, believers will risk terrorist attacks and government prosecution to attend public services.

RNS: Don’t Easter and Christmas both have pagan roots?

GB: Not at all. Nothing in the Nativity or the Resurrection is pagan. They are the central core of Christianity. There are a number of add-ons or accretions that have a pre-Christian origin. For example, the English name “Easter,” eggs, bunnies, pooping logs, or gifts.

RNS: Do you think there is anything wrong with pairing sacred holidays with secular celebrations and symbols like this?

GB: Not in principle, but it is problematic, lest the secular taint or overwhelm the religious. For Christians, the Incarnation and Resurrection are things to be very happy about and we have spent centuries finding diverse ways to celebrate with dances, feasting, bizarre customs, parades and marvelous music. Christians don’t mind sharing these holidays with the rest of the world which is invited to sing our songs, eat our ritual food, and share the good feelings.

RNS: Talk about anti-Christmas carols. What groups have promoted these and why?

GB: Soviet atheist groups such as the League of the Militant Godless sang songs based on Christian material mocking religion. Nazis produced a version of “Silent Night” which included references to Adolf Hitler. Nowadays, the virulently anti-Christmas Westboro Baptist Church has a veritable arsenal of Christmas carol parodies, the most notable of which is “Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell.” Other neo-Calvinist churches have milder anti-carols. For example, “I’m Dreaming There’ll be No Christmas” or “Banish Christmas,” to the tune of Mel Tormé’s “Christmas Song,” where instead of roasting chestnuts we have the unfortunate Michael Servetus, executed for heresy in John Calvin’s Geneva in 1553:

Servetus roasting in an open fire
John Knox preaching where he can
Calvin teaching against every sin
The folk all look so Puritan.

Everybody knows idolatry is wickedness
for papist, Protestant or Jew.
Though some people say,
They got carried away
Banish Christmas here, too!

Atheists sing:

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

12 happy humanists…
11 atheists doubting…
10 biologist dissecting…
9 agnostics wondering…
8 physicists arguing…

RNS: Do any of these groups protest Easter to your knowledge?

GB: Yes, the neo-Calvinists are opposed to Easter. The folks at Westboro Baptist Church call it “idolatrous, unscriptural, pagan…an invention of the Catholic Whore.” Atheists seem to be less invested in attacking Easter than Christmas but some seem willing to go to the effort.

Recently in Eugene, Oregon an atheist has contacted the ACLU over a banner urging the celebration of Christmas and Easter, claiming to feel “assaulted” by the message. University of Wisconsin atheists have staged campaigns mocking Easter. In 2017, they erected a poster at the state capitol urging people to “forget their guilt” on Easter and “have a happy April 16th.” The Chinese Communist Party forbids its members to celebrate either Christmas or Easter.

RNS: If the notion that Christmas has been hijacked by secularists and liberals is bothersome to conservatives, why do you think there isn’t a widespread “War on Easter?” 

GB: Christmas is celebrated much more publicly and intensely than Easter, at least in North America and is marked by many who are not overtly religious. It is the biggest phenomenon on the planet, dwarfing any rock festival, sports tournament or other holiday. It occupies probably 10 percent of our lives in preparing for it, celebrating it, and paying for it.

That makes Christmas the obvious target of those who oppose any place for religion in the public sphere or those who oppose Christianity specifically. In those times when Christianity was suppressed such as the French Revolution, Nazi Germany, the USSR or the Mao era in China, Easter was victimized in the same way as Christmas.

For more, check out “Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday by Gerry Bowler

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

212 Comments

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  • There is and has never been a “War on Christmas”. It was completely made up by Fux news. So without Bill O,Reilly, there is no war on Easter. And it is a pagan holiday.

  • Not a great scholar. He should have noted that there has not been a ‘war’ on Christmas in the USA. It is a complete fabrication of the conservatives. I hear and say merry Christmas constantly. I receive Christmas cards that say merry Christmas. What a joke to perpetuate this myth.

  • There was never a war on Christmas. Since it occurs around the same time as Hanukkah (and Kwanza and Festivus) some business folks reverted to using Happy Holidays so as to be inclusive. Snowflake Christians were triggered and invented this war. Remember that among fundamentalists there is a built-in desire to be persecuted as this fulfills bible prophecy and proves they’re on the right path.

  • There is no “war on Christmas,” you self-absorbed narcissists.

    It’s revolting to hear Christians casting themselves as victims of persecution in a country that is about 80% Christian. Get over your Matthew 5:10 Syndrome, when Christ condemned the hypocrites he was talking about people like yourselves.

  • “Remember that among fundamentalists there is a built-in desire to be
    persecuted as this fulfills bible prophecy and proves they’re on the
    right path.”

    I call that, “Matthew 5:10 Syndrome.”

    Not only do they eagerly want to be persecuted, it gives them an incentive to promote bigotry (against gays, against transgender people, against Jews, against Muslims, against whatever else you got) because the bigotry inevitably creates a backlash against them, which they then portray as persecution. That’s what the whole modern “we need to protect deep-seeded religious beliefs” movement is all about. They tell gays “get out of my store, we don’t serve your kind here” precisely because they covet the inevitable backlash from it.

  • The war on Easter would be exactly like the war on Christmas.

    Nonexistent. Or, alternatively…

    A product of the need of right wing Christians to feel persecuted sothat they can justify attacking other people.

  • Speaking of the LGBTQ community, I must not have gotten my update to the Gay Agenda because I’m not aware that we try to hijack Christmas for our own devices as he states. I’m clueless as to what he’s talking about.

    The historic attacks on Christmas through the centuries are true, but this modern meme in the US is stupid and totally fueled by Faux News.

  • What caught my eye is the claim that the Resurrection is not a pagan celebration. The idea of the death and resurrection of Gods has been a part of the mythical narrative explaining winter and resurgence of life in spring long before Christianity was invented. People who doubt me might want to read Joseph Campbell’s books about mythology. He also failed to mention that Dec. 25th was selected to take the place of winter solstice celebrations, pagan celebrations. If you can’t beat them than incorporate their celebrations into your own. So the claim that there is a war on Christmas as many point out below is not only ludicrous BUT it seems as though Christianity is just getting it’s just deserts. They stole the date and celebration from pagans and now others are stealing it back from them!

  • Re: “Remember that among fundamentalists there is a built-in desire to be persecuted as this fulfills bible prophecy and proves they’re on the right path.”  

    True, but it’s definitely not just fundamentalists who like feeling persecuted for Jesus. The Christian martyr complex goes back to early Christianity. For instance, the so-called “authentic” letters of Ignatius of Antioch (especially the one to the Roman church) display a kind of joy at the thought of being martyred for Jesus.  

    The overt reason fundagelicals want to be martyred for Jesus is, as you say, due to their view of prophecy, but this impulse is older than that (by many centuries) and has a deeper psychological nature behind it. Their religion is, in essence, a martyr’s cult … founded by a martyr and perpetuated by an initial wave of followers who were all supposedly martyred (except for one, and he was reportedly punished and exiled by Rome). Simply put, being persecuted is the highest form of Christian piety, because it’s effectively “the standard” set by none other than Jesus himself. A Christian literally cannot possibly ever be more “holy” than to be killed for the faith.  

    That obviously is not happening to American Christians, nor will it, so they just run around inventing “persecution” they think they’re being subjected to. It’s all very delusional … but it’s an inevitable consequence of following a deity who was killed for the good of all and on his/her own orders.  

  • Both are myths therefore no wars are required only education:

    Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    http:// www. earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    “John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

    Meier [Marginal Jew I,216-219] notes that the “affirmation of Jesus’ descent from David might easily be placed alongside his birth at Bethlehem as a theologoumenon (a theological insight narrated as a historical event) if it were not for the fact that numerous and diverse streams of NT tradition also affirm Jesus’ Davidic lineage.”

    “Meier suggests that the belief that Jesus was “son of David” may have been held by Jesus’ followers prior to his death, with his resurrection then being understood as a form of enthronement. However, he notes that such messianic views, whatever their provenance, cannot prove Jesus was “literally, biologically of Davidic stock.”

    Mark’s gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, “The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil (ditto for Matt. 1: 18-25, Matt. 2. 1-23)”

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=007_Of_Davids_Lineage

    Conclusion: the holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

  • And once again:

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection/Easter Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university’s theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions. Jesus and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer” (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’ Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body, but also for female bodies.” ”

    “In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.”
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. ”

    So where are the bones”? As per Professor Crossan’s analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

  • Addressing the historic inauthenticity of the post-resurrection sightings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    -The empty tomb myth

    Mark 16:1-8 = Matt 28:1-10 = Luke 24:1-11
    (1b) John 20:1,(2-10),11-18

    Originated by Mark and copied by M, L and J and historically nil after rigorous analyses for number of attestations, time of publication and content. For added details:

    see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s analysis in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 111-114 and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb275.html.

    –The disciples on the Emmaus road

    Luke 23: 13-35 Historically nil. See Ludemann’s book, pp 409-412. Note: Emmaus can no longer be located.

    — Revealed to Disciples

    1Cor 15:5b,7b
    (2) Matt 28:16-20
    (3) Easter Night 2.3.1 (3a) Luke 24:36-40
    (3b) John 20:19-21

    2.4 (4) IgnSmyr 3.2b-3

    See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb018.html and the following from Professor Luedamann:

    “Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus’s appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus’ message to the Eleven. Luedemann notes:

    that “the historical yield is extremely meager.” He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of “a community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.” [Jesus, 255f.]

    Luke 24:36-53 The emphatic realism in the recognition scene that begins this appearance story mans “one can hardly avoid seeing this as a thrust against docetism. Evidently in this verse Luke is combating the same challenges to the bodily reality of Jesus as Ignatius, To the Smyrneans 3.2, does at the beginning of the second century.” Luedemann concludes, “The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historical event and in connection with
    the visions which were the catalyst for the rise of Christianity.” [Jesus, 413-415]”

    –Rev 1: 12-20 (a reboot of Daniel 7:13)

    And then there is this:

    “Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books”.[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he “considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” [31]

    Martin Luther once “found it an offensive piece of work” and John Calvin “had grave doubts about its value.”[32]

    –Appearance to James et al

    1 Cor 15: 7a

    /4/ and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, /5/ and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. /6/ Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. /7/ Then he appeared to
    James, then to all the apostles. /8/ Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb030.html- i.e. historically nil.

  • Actually there is a Christian “war on Easter,” and it’s not just by the Westboro Baptists. I noted this a couple times at least, first 8 years ago, and again 4 years ago. This “war,” of course, is predicated on irrational, ignorant assumptions, pseudohistory, and lies … but apparently that doesn’t matter much to some Christians.  

  • I LOL’ed when the interviewee claimed there were no pagan roots to Christmas or Easter…then in the same paragraph admitted there were many pagan elements to each holiday.

  • I have long thought that we should give the pagans back their Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox “holidays,” if you will. Simply make April “Holy Month;” celebrate the birth of the Christ child on the first Sunday, Transfiguration on the second, Palm Sunday on the third Sunday, and the Resurrection on the fourth Sunday. Combine Advent and Lent into a season of reflection and remembrance (late Feb.-March), and there you go. To me, it would be a gesture of good faith in the spirit of Christian love. Of course, the world’s economy will tank because retailers can’t start celebrating Christmas in July, and there is no more Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But hey, you wanted us to move Christmas, and give you back your festivals and feasts, so don’t get mad at us. Be careful what you ask for! 😀

  • I would challenge the theological notion that the “Resurrection outranks the Incarnation, Ascension, and etc.,” each is part and parcel of an organic completeness. Irreducibly complex, as biologist Michael Behe might say.

  • But in a way not surprising – when I was a teen, I was taken aback once I noticed the number of churches who did not hold services on Good Friday. And as noted, Christmas and Easter Sunday are the “packed pews” Sundays,

  • Since no one likes feeling persecuted, we can attribute your comments to animus against those with religious convictions, particularly – as you like to call them – “Christianists”.

  • That is the sort of insight that really adds to our understanding of Christianity.

    For example, we notice that Christian churches have four-sided steeples that point upward, base wider:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Portsmouth%2C_NH_-_North_Church_steeple.JPG/675px-Portsmouth%2C_NH_-_North_Church_steeple.JPG

    We then notice that the pyramids in Egypt are four-sided with wide bases that taper upward:

    http://img-aws.ehowcdn.com/560x560p/photos.demandstudios.com/getty/article/178/216/87606359.jpg

    Obviously, then, the Christian churches are really memorials to dead pharaohs and Christianity stole the Egyptian designs.

  • Or the war on same sex marriage, which is obviously a product of folks who want to pretend they’re put upon.

  • Slight correction:

    “As per most contemporary NT exegetes …” should read “As per the NT exegetes I happen to like to bandy about …”.

  • Oh, poor little CanisPulchrae.

    More interesting is why someone would call themselves in Latin “The bitch is beautiful”.

  • Aw, you poor little thing! Yes, the insolent, cynical, godless agnostic heathen actually dared post something unflattering about Christianists! Oh the oppression! Oh the persecution!

    Go find a pacifier, you whiney little crybaby, and cry to someone who gives a crap about your persecution complex. Waaaah wah waah.  

    As for “animus,” we’re fully aware of Christianists’ animus against those who disagree with them. So cut it out with the hypocrisy already. Your own Jesus ordered you never to be hypocritical … at any time or for any reason. Obey him.  

  • I see you’re still feeling sorry for yourself and doing your usual projection.

    So cut it out with the hypocrisy already.

  • I wasn’t the one who lied about “Ishtar” and “Easter” being the same word, nor that eggs and bunnies were symbols of Ishtar. Those lies were told by your own people (i.e. other Christians). Go complain to them about it, not me … unless you have no objection to other Christians lying for Jesus.  

  • First of all, I’m not being hypocritical. But second of all, even if I were, that’s fine; I can be a hypocrite if I want. You, however, as a Christian, cannot be.  

    Yeah, I know it sounds unfair, and maybe it is, but that’s just how it goes. Christianity is YOUR religion. You picked it. Grow up and follow it already.  

  • The holyday of Christmasis historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity
    of Mary aka New Years day. Ditto for Easter, the Ascension and the Assumption!

  • This is a guy who needs to read more Religious Studies theory. He may have the historic data, but in this discussion, context is everything. Why was Dec. 25th chosen for the date? surely not to compete with the solstice already being celebrated by pagans. and what of Easter being conveniently situated near existing Spring celebrations and the vernal equinox? rabbits and eggs, anyone? read church documents and political tracts from selected time periods, but look at theories regarding collective religious identity, ritual, semiotics to make a real useful contribution.
    BTW, Bowler teaches a class on Christmas. his only 2 assigned texts? yep. his 2 books on Christmas.

  • Very true — the Torah goes out of its way to mention this is to be a springtime holiday (this is one reason why the Jewish calendar, although lunar, adds a leap month every few years to keep it from moving “backward” indefinitely like the Islamic calendar). Symbols of fertility and rebirth, including the egg, are prominent.

  • Do recall, please, the origin of the phrase “self-absorbed narcissists” in the discussion.

  • Ms. Candida R. Moss, 39, graduated with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2008.

    Less than five years later she published “The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom” she bootstrapped that into an appointment in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham as Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology.

    Her book makes five basic arguments:

    1. The”Age of Martyrdom” – Christians suffering persecution from the Romans – is largely fictional.

    2. Christians were never the subject of sustained persecution by Imperial Rome.

    3. Official persecution lasted for at most twelve years.

    4. Stories of individual martyrs are pure invention.

    5. The oldest and most historically accurate stories of martyrs and their sufferings have been altered and re-written so that it is impossible to know what any of the martyrs actually thought, did or said.

    Her points 1 through 4 are highly contentious at best. Point 5 exaggerates what is freely admitted by hagiographers.

    As might be imagined, the usual suspects loved it: Salon magazine and The National Catholic Reporter.

    Scholars were less enthusiastic.

    Ephraim Radner, a historical theologian wrote that “according to Moss’s criteria…The rule is apparently to read skeptically the writings of the past, but not to doubt the imaginations of present-day scholars. The whole book, however, begs for the latter suspicion. Her framing chapters on the dishonesty and dangers of “persecution” claims by contemporary conservative political voices and religious leaders easily identify her bias.”

    N. Clayton Croy said: “Modern ideology drives Moss’s thesis more than ancient testimony, and the result is a distortion of history more severe than the caricature she wants to expose.”

    I’m happy for her that she earned a few coins and managed to turn it into a sinecure in England, her home country.

    As a work of scholarship, it is not.

  • To take my cue from your mantra, I can do as I wish.

    You continue to feel sorry for yourself and project your self-perceived inadequacies onto everyone else.

  • In the minds of retailers who start rolling their Christmas ads at 8PM Thanksgiving night.

  • “Nothing in the Nativity or the Resurrection is pagan. ”

    This guy lost any credibility with me if he thinks this.

    I personally think that these liberals want to take my Cadbury Eggs away…as we celebrate the blessed morning when the disciples of Reeses removed the plastic green grass from the tomb and Behold…the Rabbit was not there!

    The Bunny has arisen!

  • David….gay agenda updates are sent via Dropbox…not OneDrive…also…if you do not have Acrobat you cannot read it since it is a PDF

  • With a smile on your face and a greedy eye on their money (which spends just like heterosexual money)

  • And i celebrate Festivus right alongside Xmas.

    That is why I am thrilled to make a donation in ALL Of your names to The Human Fund — “Money for People.”

  • Whose bright idea was it to entrust a basket of fragile eggs to a gotdamn hopping rodent?

  • Seeing how many times you and your ilk have declared you will do whatever you can to undo my marriage…

    Bullscheiss.

  • Re: “To take my cue from your mantra, I can do as I wish.”  

    Actually, you can’t! As a Christian you are bound, at the very least, to the teachings of your own Jesus. Among the things he enjoined you never to engage in is hypocrisy. There’s a lot of other stuff he told you to do, or rather not to do, such as do not amass large profits, don’t fight (not even in self-defense), etc.  

    I get that these instructions may be hard to follow. Some are downright absurd, and even self-destructive. But … they were reportedly delivered by Jesus and unless you can prove he never said any of them, then for all you know they remain his teachings, which followers of the faith he founded are supposed to obey. It’s not my fault they’re impossible to live by.  

    As I’ve told you, it’s YOUR religion. YOU picked it. Grow up and follow it already. If you refuse to abide by its stated tenets, how and why would you think outside observers (such as myself) ought to respect it, or you for (ostensibly, if not actually) following it?  

    Show some integrity, fercryinoutloud. And stop bellyaching at me over your own religion’s failings. I’m not to blame for them. I just tell you what they are. If Christianity is broken, then fix it … or don’t. Either way, it’s not my problem.  

  • I have never declared I will do anything, let alone whatever I can do, to undo your marriage, speaking of bullscheiss.

    If your off-line personality is anything like your on-line persona, you won’t need any help.

  • Re: “As I’ve told you, it’s YOUR mouth that’s getting you in trouble.”  

    Actually, it’s your mouth that will get you into trouble … at “the End of Time,” assuming your Jesus is real and will render his Judgment on you:  

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:21-23)  

    “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” (Lk 6:46-49)  

    I’d be really careful if I were you … willfully disobeying your Jesus and all, then getting your knickers in knots because I point it out to you.  

    Re: “Stop bellyaching when people point out you’re underpowered, overmouthed, not very bright, noise.”  

    Oh, the insolence of that horrid, cynical, godless agnostic heathen, daring to tell all those devout and saintly Chrishuns they’re not obeying their own Jesus! How dare he! Why, they’re being persecuted and oppressed — and it can’t be allowed! Why, everyone in the world is REQUIRED to praise Chrishuns up and down for their Jesus! How dare this insolent agnostic heathen REFUSE to do this!? Waaaah wah waah!  

    You have no idea how funny you are, in all your paranoid sanctimony. You really don’t … but I have to say, it’s downright hilarious, and I’ve been laughing at your childish Chrishun paranoia for days now.  

  • Of course you did. But I won’t wade through the mountains of verbal and holy sewage you produce to prove it.

    Have a nice day.

  • EXCEPT when did four sided structures first appear? I don’t know an exact date but before the Egyptians. So who deserves credit for the idea? Now the Washington Monument is modeled after obelisks. That is an example of a BORROWED idea!

    The point isn’t that the Christian celebration is actually a pagan celebration in disguise. It is that Christianity has BORROWED ideas from many other cultures and religions over the centuries and tried to claim they are uniquely there own when they aren’t.

  • You don’t speak for all Christians. Many Christian congregations do, in fact, support and bless same-sex marriages.

  • Up to “Christianity has BORROWED ideas from many other cultures and religions
    over the centuries and tried to claim they are uniquely there (sic) own” you were doing okay.

    The danger of that sort of thing is this:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0071/0071_01.asp

    In fact there is zero evidence the Egyptians borrowed the idea of a pyramid – it occurred several times in history independently in places separated widely in time and place.

    As to why they’re pointed on the top – it’s because they can be turned upside down and stand on their point.

  • No, I made a real point of NOT doing that, on purpose.

    What I proposed is that the Constitution be amended to tie the Supreme Court’s hands to prevent it from (a) devising new “rights” out of thin air and (b) intruding on the powers left in the hands of the states and/or people.

    That would return the decisions on marriage to the states, where they existed from the founding.

    Since – if “in Oakland” refers to the People’s Bear Republic and not Oakland County in Michigan – you live in Sodom on the Bay in what has to be the least conservative (i.e., normal) state in the union, I can hardly imagine your current situation being impacted.

    Or do you think there’s a secret movement in California to return to sanity that might impact the Bay area?

  • Thank you for demonstrating that it’s YOUR mouth that creates the pushback for you.

    The only people laughing are the folks reading your pretentious drivel, e.g.: “I’d be really careful if I were you … willfully disobeying your Jesus and all, then getting your knickers in knots because I point it out to you.” whose total lack of coherence is only exceeded by the even more obvious lack of any discernible content.

    I do understand that if you only posted when you knew what you were talking about, you’d be down to two posts a year, if that.

  • The Greek word “martyres” literally meant witnesses in a legal sense (those who testified against Stephen in Acts 7 and stoned him, for example, were called the “martyres” in that instance). It acquired its current meaning due to so many of Christ’s witnesses having been murdered for their testimony during the early Church age.

  • Re: “Thank you for demonstrating that it’s YOUR mouth that creates the pushback for you.”  

    I am not the problem here. I have done nothing to you except insolently refuse to believe as you want me to and to explain that you are wrong … about pretty much everything you say.  

    Re: “… whose total lack of coherence is only exceeded by the even more obvious lack of any discernible content.”  

    This is very coherent:  

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:21-23)  

    “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” (Lk 6:46-49)  

    Re: “I do understand that if you only posted when you knew what you were talking about, you’d be down to two posts a year, if that.”  

    Coming as it does from a sanctimonious ignoramus like you, that’s a compliment. Thank you!  

  • I wonder if God does exist but is unaware that we exist. That would explain a lot of things.

  • Oh, we’re very evil about it. We wake up on Christmas morning, and those of us with kids experience the great joy of watching them open their presents. Those of us who are Christian go to church or to midnight mass.

    Ots postively diabolical.

  • Testament has the same root as testicals, Testament, and testify— testes.

    It refers to the ancient practice of cupping the balls of your overlord to swear you were telling the truth.

    You can do the math.

  • That’s because ther3 is nothing in serving gays people that says that they are the legal, moral,cultural, RELIGIOUS, human, sexual, and familial equals of you, so they have little problem with it. Or, more like
    Y. They won’t admit it because it really does make them look like bigots.

    But marriage? It’s sort of like interracial marriage that way. Nothing says black and white are equal like marriage. That’s why it was the last cultural bastion of the racist past to fall.

  • The selection of 25 DEC wasn’t to Christianize the Winter Solstice celebration of Pagans. One of the oldest celebrations in the Christian calendar was Mary’s conception of Jesus, the Annunciation, told by the angel. That was historically celebrated on 25 MAR for a couple hundred years prior to any Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Counting 9 months forward (human gestation period) from the 25 MAR date of the conception arrives at 25 DEC. Codified as the date for the celebration in the Western Church by Pope Julius 1. Prior to that, different Christian leaders argued for a variety of dates with differing logic to their selection. Eastern Churches celebrated Christmas on 6 JAN. Most have moved to 25 DEC but a few still use 6 JAN. The Western & Eastern churches that use 25 DEC, celebrate the Epiphany, Jesus’ manifestation to the Gentile Magi, on 6 JAN.

  • Sadly, at this point you are pushing your Anglophone culture on the rest of us 100s of 1,000,000s of Christians around the world. Only English speaking nations call it Easter. The rest of us, not matter the language, call it the Pascha, derived from the Hebrew for Passover.

  • Of course only some Christian church building have said steeples. Others have towers and spires that aren’t 4-sided and topped with a pyramid. LDS Christians build meetinghouses with just a tall spire and no cross on top.

  • There is a reason why the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints does not use crosses at all.

    The reason is the same one that explains why Catholics, Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
    United Methodist Church, and some others do not consider LDS baptisms valid.

  • It is not like interracial marriage.

    Racism treats an infant of one race as substantially different – usually inferior – than an infant of another race.

    This comes about because there is an obvious characteristic – skin color, eye configuration, and so on – between people of different geographic origins.

    Same sex marriage involves moral – or if one wishes behavior – distinctions.

    The first involves birth, the second choices.

  • The Jewish month with Hanukkah corresponds with most of DEC, so it is closest in that Christmas and Hanukkah are usually a few weeks/days apart.

  • Why do you think that the LDS Church doesn’t use crosses?

    I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t consider an LDS baptism valid. They are performed by full immersion in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are performed for the remission of sin and to make one a follower of Jesus Christ.

  • Christianity has “borrowed” many ideas.
    What you describe about ideas originating in several places at one time is true. You might want to look for Karen Armstrongs book, I think the title is the Great Transformation,? anyway it is the one about the Axial Age that looks at the development of the four great religions/philosophies on four separate continents, over the same time period, with each developing some very similar ideas about the nature of human beings. They just took the ideas in very different directions.

  • If ideas originate in several places at the same time, “Christianity has ‘borrowed’ many ideas” falters.

  • There is no “law” regarding same-sex marriage. And who do you think you are that you can arrogantly judge other Christians while you parade your pathetic sanctimony all over the internet?

  • So you really don’t believe In returning marriage to the states. As for the rest of it, well, you are often wrong. Why should this be any different?

    But thanks for admitting one more time that you will indeed do what you can to destroy my marriage. But bigots gotta bigot.

  • “So you really don’t believe In returning marriage to the states.”

    Where, prithy, did you get that from?

    That it is not like interracial marriage does not speak to the legalities at all. You didn’t tackle that for obvious reasons.

    While you state often that I am wrong, your support up this point has consisted of a recitation of what you personally want, which you like to characterize as “rights”, “moral” or something along those lines to give it a bit more fluff. Why should this be any different?

    I have no thoughts one way or the other about your marriage as a matter of law except that the way it was achieved was an insult to the democratic process and the rule of law.

    But people with their hand out gotta keep sticking their hand out.

  • So, Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. (2015) was never decided?

    I have the same right to an opinion as you, an overheated not particularly astute opinionated individual, do.

  • As a former member of the LDS Church, yes, I know exactly what the concept is. However, for the first 300 years of the church on earth there was to orthodox concept of the Trinity, nothing was settled, there was just intent. Do you place all of those Christians in the neat little box in which in your mind with the LDS? Regardless of the concept, the intent is the same.

  • Bobby joe or Joe Bob— which ever of the two altar egos is making its appearance today, through Bobby joe does appear to have killed off joe bob once the lie was discovered— has two neat little boxes in what he thinks of as a mind. One is labeled “the truth according to Bobby joe”, and the other is “everyone else is stoopid.”

    The sad thing is that he actually seems to be pretty bright, except for the self involved, self absorbed, self aggrandizing, megalomaniacal, egomaniacal, maniacal, self assigned and always present assumption of superiority and correctness.

    That part is unfortunately what usually shows up.

  • I thought that both holidays were under discussion.

    What does Passover have to do with Pagan holidays.

  • The only choice that it involves is yes or no to a marriage proposal. Sexual orientation isn’t a choice; gay or straight.

    When did you realize that you were attracted to girls and come out of the closet as straight to your family & friends?

  • I have one of those wallets that shields from card reading. As a by-product it’s cootie free.

  • How was a Supreme Court decision that declared the law unconstitutional in Obergefell v Hodges anymore a violation of the democratic process than the Love v VA decision? Determining constitutionality is the job of the USSC.

  • There wew two frequent posters, bob arnzen and jose carioca. Same attitudes, same tone, same personality, same concepts, same evasions, same sneer, same all kinds of things. Eventually, in what i will call highly esoteric matters, there were too many coincidences. No two people random could be THAT much alike. Ergo, there weren’t two people.

    I called him on it. He didn’t deny it and never has. Jose promptly disappeared, and hasn’t been heard from since. I have brought it up a number of times. Still no denial.

    Im pretty sure i’m right, as sure as i am that he is far right.

  • Short version:

    Read the opinion.

    I have yet to talk to a single person who was pleased with it who can actually explain it.

    If you can’t explain, in particular the basis IN THE CONSTITUTION for it, we’re already done.

    Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) extended the concept that “separate but equal” was not equal protection that it had ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

    It also noted that it restricted only white miscegenation, which made it clear that it was a white supremacy law.

    Same sex marriage was a different legal matter. There was zero precedent for anything but male-female marriage in Anglo-American law. The fundamental reason for providing any marriage laws was to protect the family, the building block of society.

    In Hernandez v. Robles (2006), the majority opinion of the New York Court of Appeals – that state’s highest court – declined to rely on the Loving case when deciding whether a right to same-sex marriage existed, holding that “the historical background of Loving is different from the history underlying this case.” Which is absolutely the case.

    In order to reach its conclusion in Obergefell v Hodges the SCOTUS had to (a) void all state laws and preceding federal laws defining marriage, (b) write a completely new definition of marriage, and (c) back into a “constitutional” reason for doing a and b.

    It is, however, as poorly reasoned, as legislative, and as hare-brained as it was the law of the land.

    In order to remedy that a constitutional amendment will be required.

  • Loving concerned exactly what the 14th Amendment was drafted and ratified to address — RACIAL discrimination in state laws. Marriage itself is not one of the powers enumerated to the federal government and therefore belongs to the states. It was only the presence of racial discrimination in those laws which gave the feds any power over it.

    The same is not true of gender. As the SCOTUS of the generation that ratified it acknowledged, the 14th was not enacted to address gender (otherwise it no doubt would not have contained gender-specific language) and the ERA has never received the assent of the requisite number of states. That leaves no constitutional basis for the federal government to interfere with state marriage laws — therefore one had to be made up out of thin air. And since it is not the business of the SCOTUS to create law but only to interpet and apply the laws the people create, the decision was a violation of democratic process on its face and hence illegitimate.

    You might remember that we fought a revolution over the right to representation in the making of our laws. The SCOTUS is not a representative body.

  • The only choice is whether to engage in sexual relations with someone of the same sex.

    The jury is still out on whether sexual orientation is a choice.

    Whatever it is, it does appear not to be genetic.

    In any case, we compel individuals by law, or by moral edicts, not to act on natural impulses all the time: kleptomaniacs, alcoholics, speed addicts.

    So, it remains a choice.

  • I recall posts by Jose. I just thought he was a Brazilian guy, Carioca is the nickname for folks from Rio and a Portuguese surname.

  • If you know exactly what the concept its, you already know it has essentially nothing in common with an orthodox Christian view of the Trinity, which of course existed during the first 300 years, and already knew why there were no crosses on LDS temples.

    No, the intent is not the same because the content is completely different.

  • https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/why_isn8217t_there_a_8216war_on_easter8217_like_christmas/#comment-3829830664

    Arbustin > Bob Arnzen

    Very true — the Torah goes out of its way to mention this is to be a springtime holiday (this is one reason why the Jewish calendar, although lunar, adds a leap month every few years to keep it from moving “backward” indefinitely like the Islamic calendar). Symbols of fertility and rebirth, including the egg, are prominent.

  • The jury is still out to folks like you who like to state that it is a matter still undecided. You’re like the folks who state that evolution is but a theory. Both statements of wrongheaded ignorance.

    Actually, the field of epigenetics is where my money is of the naturalness of same sex attraction.

  • Actually it didn’t, which was one of the reasons for both Nicea and Chalcedon. There were a number of different ideas about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. One of the largest denominations of the the ancient Church was the Church of the East, which stretched from Mesopotamia to China. All of those Christians through a number of centuries were adherents to what was declared a heresy by Ephesis and Chalcedon, Nestorianism. Are those millions of Christians in your little box of unorthodox folks?

    There are no crosses on LDS meetinghouses because the LDS choose not to dwell on a implement of death as a symbol of their faith in Christ. An LDS poet wrote a poem about what if Jesus had been murdered by a gun and has the line, “Bullets on steeples, how can that be?”

  • There isn’t a war on Christmas or Easter. The only side fighting are people trying to force the religious rituals onto others

  • Actually it did. That is one of the reasons why Nicea and Chalcedon concluded as they did, and the minorities in dispute failed to prosper.

    The Assyrian Church, and the Church of the East of which you speak, were never adherents to Nestorianism – a radical dyophysitism in which Christ’s dual natures are eternally separate. In fact it is doubtful that Nestorius himself ever taught such a doctrine.

    They chose to use different terms for what essentially is the same thing as meant at Nicea and Chalcedon, and the schisms were as much political intrigue as theological disputes.

    I am not going to get into quibbles about the LDS view of the Trinity.

    All of the major Christians bodies have rejected the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints as a Christian church for good reasons after long and careful consideration.

    I have had no bad experience with either it or its members, who present a great number of very positive attributes in terms of family and moral life.

  • I simply love equating genetic research with rejecting evolution, and the treatment of same sex relations as the equivalent of racial equality, speaking of wrong-headed ignorance.

    Btw, the African-American community rejects that because it’s absurd.

    Propaganda notwithstanding, the evidence is not there.

  • I was equating rejecting epigenetic evidence for same sex attraction to rejecting evidence of evolution.

    A majority of folks in this country see marriage equality and racial equality as equivalent.

    Some very loud rightwing African Americans oppose same sex marriage. Some don’t. Even MLK’s family is divided on the issue.

  • I thought the same thing when I read that! When did we start getting down on Christmas? I don’t know a single gay organization that cares.

  • I know what you were doing.

    No, a majority of folks in this country do not see marriage equality and racial equality as equivalent.

    If they did, it would simply indicate that ignorance is rampant.

    The forthright Christian majority of African-Americans oppose same sex marriage and find the attempt to equate LBGT issues with racial equality offensive.

  • No they don’t but if they did. Thanks for the exercise in otherworld logic and facts made from whole cloth.

  • No, thank YOU for the exercise in other world logic and facts made from shredded toilet paper.

  • That almost sounds like you are reading Wikipedia to me.

    The Christology of the Church of the East was not “Orthodox” using other words. Nestorius took refuge in that church and his Christology was their Christology. So much so that when Jesuit missionaries got to China and found that Christianity got there before them, when they found out that it was the Church of the East, they declared it heretical.

    BTW, I have a 4 year graduate seminary education. I’ve been ordained. I have been welcomed by all of those churches that you name and none of them have required that I be re-baptized; U Methodist, Evan Lutheran, Episcopal, etc. The Episcopal Church never required the former Episcopal bishop of Utah to be re-baptized.

    Moving on.

  • Yes, the Jesuit missionaries, not the Catholic Church, declared the Church of the East, the Malankerese, and the Orthodox in communion with Constantinople “heretics” at various times.

    The Episcopal Church doesn’t require baptism at all. One priest of that church gave communion to a canine!

    Here is the Evangelical Lutheran Church position on the baptism of the LDS:

    http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Do_Lutherans_rebaptize_former_Mormons_who_are_joining_the_congregation.pdf?_ga=2.84155225.1531730991.1522459785-900142050.1522459785

    “The last statement moves us beyond issues about the rite of Holy Baptism and points us to consider the teaching of the church and its faith in a trinitarian God. Although Mormons may use water–-and lots of it–-and while they may say “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” their teaching about the nature of God is substantially different from that of orthodox, creedal Christianity. Because the Mormon understanding of the Word of God is not the same as the Christian understanding, it is correct to say that Christian Baptism has not taken place. A former Mormon joining an ELCA congregation may be offered Christian Baptism (not rebaptism).”

    Moving on.

  • There were two frequent posters, Ben in Oakland and David Allen. Same basic attitudes, tone, personality, concepts, evasions, sneer, multiple overlaps. They both really disliked ME. Eventually, in what I will call highly esoteric matters, there were too many coincidences. No two random people could be THAT much alike.

    Ergo, there weren’t two people.

    I have never called either on it. What’s the point?

    Although I’m pretty sure I’m right, either I can address their comments or I can’t.

    Playing Sherlock Holmes at Disqus is more the shtick of Ben in Oakland and William D. Lindsey, who can’t.

  • While you’re much the same – self-involved, self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, megalomaniacal, egomaniacal, maniacal, self-assigned and always present assumption of superiority and correctness – except for the “pretty bright”.

  • NO, because not all ideas originate in many places at the same time, only some. AND the four great religions included Judaism NOT Christianity, which is a young upstart!

  • In order to support NO, your burden is proving that examples in Christianity did not come about because ideas originate in several places at the same time.

    While it was Karen Armstrong’s thesis in “The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions” that four regions of the civilized world created the “four great religions or philosophies” – Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece – her was not exactly a scholarly treatise but more of the popular upbeat fluff that she usually writes.

    Btw, she did not include Judaism in the four great “ideas”.

    She classes Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as secondary flowerings of the original Israelite vision.

  • Poor, poor baby. Reduced to saying “I know you are, but what am I?”

    Or…

    “I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks on to you.”

    You could have just left it at “nyuhhh-uhhh”. Perspicacious readers will notice what is missing, I’m sure.

  • Civil societies do not permit civil discrimination nor any encumbrance of anyone’s civil rights based on anyone’s religious beliefs. You may not like that, but all you mean is that you believe religious authority is, in some way, superior to civil authority as a principle for organizing society.

    Others, like myself, consider such authority –especially when claimed as absolute by every religion– to be harmful, for it always encumbers outsiders who have different religious or conscientious beliefs and practices. No theocratic state has ever protected everyone equally. Indeed, they have mostly determined that ‘outsiders’ have few or vastly diminished human rights in contrast to their members and their hierarchy.

  • If you could work up to “I know you are, but what am I?” it would be a vast improvement over your blubbering about rights, posters’ identities, and the other drivel.

    Chag Pesach samech.

  • ‘Moral law’, absent of civil ethics, is profoundly immoral in how it treats persons with different moral beliefs.

  • Let us not to the marriage of trade and profits introduce impediments!

    Apologies to Shakespeare.

  • Hypocritsians tend to pay no attention to Christ or to his teachings. They reserve the religious right to hate anybody for any reason and to civilly encumber those they especially despise.

  • Secular societies do not permit infringement of civil rights based on anyone’s religious beliefs nor do they permit public religious displays.

    Civil societies do not permit infringement of civil rights based on anyone’s religious beliefs, although they may infringe certain religious practices. They permit public religious displays and the participation of those with religious in the Public Forum.

    No state of any kind has ever protected everyone equally.

  • Actually, public religious displays are accepted in many circumstances, just not by secular institutions. They also only ‘very seldom affect religious practice… i.e. peyote is not allowed nor child sacrifice.

    Civil society is not ideal, but its ideals of equality before and under the law are nonetheless very important.

  • Look at the dates of the Axial Age, Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity and Islam are offshoots of the original! NOTE the Rabbinic in front of Judaism!
    She did write for a general audience but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a scholar or an expert in her field.

  • She’s no scholar, although she did work on her doctorate before throwing the towel in.

    Her thesis is amusing, but not much more than that.

  • It is indeed curious that Christmas should be so controversial while Easter is accepted as a religious festival. Perhaps the problem is that while Easter remains a Christian commemoration, Christmas has become a celebration that is commemorated by almost all.

    People who are upset by “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” should remember that some people are more comfortable with a more secular greeting.

  • There are two forces in the world from before the placement of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. One is the “dark side” or evil, and the other is “the force” or good. Christ rules the good side for the eternal happiness (Heaven) of men and Satan the evil side, for the eternal misery (Hell) of mankind.

    Satan tried to prevent Christmas, or the birth of Christ, but failed, and Christ was born, living a life of love, miracles, culminating in Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the resurrection, providing for the ascension of all believers to heaven. Satan’s goal is to make men “nonbelievers” in order to rule over them in Hell.

    This war continues today, and in Satan’s astute, but very evil mind, Easter and the cross are symbols of his success, and the end of Christ. Christians know that Easter represents the miracle of the atonement, Christ’s greatest gift to men, that all could receive forgiveness, ascend to heaven and live with God again.

    Satan rages with blood, war, horror, and death on the earth, and Christ with peace, love, and goodwill. ALL men either belong to the church of Jesus Christ, or the church of the Devil. There’s no middle ground. The war against Christmas will finally end when Christ returns, soon, to the earth, again, as our KING, and evil is destroyed. SHALOM

  • Because Trumpeteers like the real meaning of Easter, bunnies and chocolates and little chickees. I commend some of the bEvangelicals for dropping the term eatser and calling it Resurrection Sunday.

  • In NYC “Happy Holidays” was a very old tradition among businesses and institutions, going way back before Kwanza, which is a cultural and not a religious celebration (I like it).. Busineses and institutions wanted to acknowledge the “spirit” of Christmas–generosity and kindness– but also wanted to avoid taking a sectarian stand. The Jewish people we knew wished everyone a Merry Christmas as we also wished them a Happy New Year (Yom Kippur), Happy Channukah, and a Blessed Passover.

  • True, but it is Donabvan’s self-appointment as the Defender of the Catholic Church that is the main source of the War on Christmas hysteria.

  • Civil Ethics = Natural Rights, which is not the same as the Catholic theory of Natural Law. Natural Rights, for one thing, starts with the purpose and rights of all persons, not the purpose of certain sex organs. As far as Catholic tradition is concerned the divine virtues of faith, Hope and Charity (belligerence not included) must have as their foundation the Human/civic/natural/cardinal virtues of Prudence (foresight as to consequences), Justice (a prudent justice), Fortitude (a prudent fortitude), and Mercy/Temperance (a prudent mercy/temperance). The Natural virtues are sometimes called the Stoic virtues since they were widely advocated by the pagans of Rome.

  • Catholic Natural Law and what you’re calling “Natural Rights” are highly related.

    Natural law appears in ancient Greek philosophy, referenced by Roman philosopher Cicero.

    During the Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws was used to challenge the divine right of kings, and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, and government – and therefore legal rights – in the form of classical republicanism.

    The notion that there is a design to reality, and that things which exist have purposes, leads to both the concept of natural rights and the Catholic view of the proper use of the sexual organs.

  • Saying gay isn’t a choice solves certain problems but is not accurate.
    As i know from personal experience for some – gay/lesbian- is a choice…for others, it obviously is who they are…they are “pre-wired” this way.
    It’s all good!

  • You or they are confusing bi-sexuality with choice for gay & lesbian people. Bi-sexuals have a choice, gays and lesbians don’t.

  • Second post on this.

    You confuse ‘secular’ with ‘civil’. All governments are ‘secular’. Civil governments, however, are built upon some idea of equal political rights; sometimes even equal rights UNDER THE LAW regardless of sex.

    Since the Equal Rights Amendment was NOT passed, its wording being

    Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

    this means that women do not have equal rights under the laws of the United States.

    A major reason for that reality is the opposition of religious institutions to entrenching equal rights under the law to women.

    Since women are not entitled to equal rights under the law in the United States, I have a rather dim view of the future for women in the United States. I fear religious authoritarianism can easily remove protections against discrimination against women since there is no equal right to the law’s protections which can protect them from inequality.

  • ..and yet, not that long ago, so-called anti-miscegenation laws were supported by most Christian denominations, esp in the south.
    And we heard many of the same arguments against this as we hear now regarding LBGT rights.

  • Anti-miscegenation laws and laws against same sex marriage are completely different things with completely different bases, the 20-year-long propaganda campaign to the contrary notwithstanding.

    At this point as a matter of law laws against same sex marriage are treated the same, however.

  • Not all governments are secular.

    There are still a few theocracies, for one example.

    Civil governments are built upon some idea of civil rights, typically arising out of concepts involving natural rights, which most often arise from notions of natural law such as that summarized in the Declaration of Independence.

    Women have equal rights under the laws of the United States.

    That is one of the reasons why the Equal Rights Amendment did not pass.

    ERA proponents also made a critical mistake when they built consensus in Congress first and only then turned their attention to the states. Consensus-building state by state first is necessary for ultimate ratification. State and regional diversity precludes a successful top-down push.

    In addition thanks to some fairly outlandish decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court which had used superficially innocuous principles such as equal protection to make changes that many conservative and middle-of-the-road citizens opposed, state legislators feared that the ERA would go from a principle they could support in theory to applications they would disapprove of.

    Decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S., (2015), seem to support the conclusion that their fears were well-founded.

  • on
    “Women have equal rights under the laws of the United States.

    That is one of the reasons why the Equal Rights Amendment did not pass.”

    If women had equal rights under the law then the proposed amendment would not have had the wording it did and does. Nor would it have been proposed nor debated.

    Not everyone is convinced that the 14th Amendment could be interpreted to free women from discrimination under the law. Justice Scalia certainly didn’t. I would be willing to bet that Justices Thomas and Gorsuch would agree with Scalia’s position and that many lawyers on the ‘right’ would also so argue.

    Both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 14th Amendment for one and only one reason. Section 2 defined voters as ‘male’. Since women did not already have any privileges and immunities as citizens, it is hard to argue that Section 1 can be interpreted to include them. [Scalia did not accept the SCOTUS decision saying it did, and many agree that no new privileges and immunities were conferred on them.

  • If women did not have equal rights under the law, then the proposed amendment would have gained sufficient approvals to become an actual rather than a proposed amendment.

    Justice Scalia made a distinction between rights and a political agenda, and he opposed giving the 14th Amendment the sort of odd interpretation that Justice Kennedy did in the Obergefell decision, mounting it on a hickory handle and using it to pummel state laws into dust so that he could write new law – and in fact a new addition to the Constitution – in the dust with his finger.

    For example, the 14th Amendment rather clearly was not aimed at providing girls the opportunity to play football against boys in grade school.

    All that demonstrates is, again, why the ERA failed to gain the requisite state support.

  • Both Christmas and Easter have pagan origins. Just Google the origins for both, none of which were celebrated by the first-century Christians, nor were birthdays.

    The ONLY event Jesus instructed his followers to memorialize was his death (also known as the last supper) and not his birth, nor his resurrection.

    Jesus ‘ death was on Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar. The corresponding date this year was March 31, 2018, after sundown. Millions of persons gathered worldwide and learned of the benefits of Jesus’ perfect ransom sacrifice for all imperfect humans (Matthew 20:28).

    Through that ransom sacrifice and Jesus’ upcoming millennial rule (Isaiah 11:1-5), sin and resulting sickness, disease, old age and death will no longer plague the human family on earth (Revelation 21:3,4).

  • Homosexuals & heterosexuals don’t have a choice about to whom they are attracted. Bi-sexuals are attracted to both men and women and can choose which sex to pursue.

  • Women do not have equal rights under the law, whatever you want to believe. Scalia was very clear on this.

    The political agenda was, in fact, securing such rights.

    No one tries to secure rights if they already have those rights.

    You’re being silly if you think otherwise. Don’t confuse your feelings with having given this matter any thought.

  • So because you and Shawnie5 don’t like the ruling or the argument as to how SCOTUS arrived at it, in your opinion it is a bad ruling. However, there are likely as many legal scholars who support LGBTQ equality who agree with the ruling and the arguments at which it was arrived.

    Lawrence V TX also knocked down anti-sodomy laws in any state with one and overturned a previous SCOTUS ruling. You likely don’t like that one either.

  • None of what you have to say recognizes the scare tactics that were used to defeat ratification of the ERA. None-gender specific bathrooms were the biggest scare tactic, that all restrooms would be co-ed.

  • Peyote is legal for use in the religious ceremonies of the Native American Church. It is not legal for recreational use.

  • I believe I mentioned what you call “scare tactics” when I wrote ”

    In addition thanks to some fairly outlandish decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court which had used superficially innocuous principles such as equal protection to make changes that many conservative and middle-of-the-road citizens opposed, state legislators feared that the ERA would go from a principle they could support in theory to applications they would disapprove of.”

    As it turned out, the concerns were apparently well-founded.

  • The phrase “bad ruling” is meaningless.

    So is the phrase “many legal scholars”.

    Assuming for a moment that the proper operation of the Supreme Court is to perform its duties under the Constitution, it would exercise primary jurisdiction over a handful of cases, and appellate jurisdiction over others by examining the facts adduced in the lower courts and applying the law to those facts.

    As one Justice wrote some years ago:

    “to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be – not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”

    which is precisely what the SCOTUS did in Obergefell v. Hodges.

    That is legislating, which is what Congress is supposed to do.

    Returning to the phrase “bad ruling”, you apparently believe it to be a “good ruling” because you got something you wanted. How that was obtained is not something you understand or even care about.

    I believe the ruling was another nail in the destruction of the walls between our three branches of government, in this case a thin majority of one deciding a case based on their own moral convictions or the
    policy consequences they believe might serve society best.

  • “to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be – not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”

    Then the court hasn’t been doing that for quite a long time. Such as modern rulings on the 2nd amendment to provide for allowing civilians to have modern weapons of war under that amendment when the weapons it was speaking about were muskets and ball ammo.

    Yes, I’m happy that they ruled as they did. Too bad all of your arguments amount to sour grapes. Moving on.

  • Yes, we do. But you aren’t in a place where you decide who may act on their natural attractions and who may not.

  • If you compare the decision in Obergefell v Hodges, which is ungrounded, poorly reasoned, contrary to American jurisprudence since its founding even prior to the Constitution with the decision in District of Columbia v Heller, which is voluminous, heavily footnoted, grounded in stare decisis back to the early days of the Republic, you’ll see the difference between jurisprudence and legislating from the bench.

    The “muskets and ball ammo” comment indicates you’re stalled at know what you like, which seems consistent with your approach to everything else.

  • Noting that judicial legislation has been going on for a while is not an argument for its legitimacy. It is simply a bad trend that needs reversing — about a quarter of Trump voters cast their ballots primarily to ensure judicial restraint on the SCOTUS and a return to the proper respect for constitutional federalism.

  • The Christians who claim there’s a “war on Christmas” are really complaining about their loss of dominance in the public square. They no longer get to use government to spread their religion through mandatory school prayer, mandatory bible readings, or banning the teaching of evolution without non-Christians fighting back. It was never enough for them to have nativity scenes on church grounds. They had to have them on public, taxpayer-maintained properties too.

    Many of these same Christians don’t like their loss of dominance over the holiday season. They don’t like the fact that non-believers can enjoy the season without celebrating the birth of Jesus. They don’t like being reminded that December was a time of celebration long before the rise of Christianity, with the focus being on the Winter Solstice and the rebirth of the sun, and that it was the early Christians who co-opted the pagan celebrations for their own use. Fundamentalist actor Kirk Cameron made an awful movie “Saving Christmas” (2014) where he tried to explain away the pagan origins of the holiday symbols. His brother-in-law in the movie, who was complaining that the symbols were not biblical in origin, even said Santa was the word Satan with the letter rearranged.

    Only some, not all, Christians are making these complaints about Christmas.

    As for Easter, the most people will see of it outside of religious settings is in the form of candy and new spring clothes. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t remember ever seeing an Easter religious display on public property. Since one view of Easter isn’t being forced on everyone else, there’s no “war on Easter.”

  • Excellent point Susan. There are many similarities between Christianity and ancient mystery religions such as Mithraism and Osiris-Dionysus. These included the virgin birth, death and resurrection in 3 days, and even the meal of wine and bread. Early Christians, such as Justin Martyr, were aware of these similarities. They called them “diabolical mimicry” and claimed that the other religions were started centuries earlier by Satan to distract Christians later on from the “true faith.”

    An excellent show on the non-Christian evolution of the holiday symbols, including the Christmas tree and Santa Claus, is the History Channel’s “Christmas Unwrapped.”

    It seems that some Christians don’t like their loss of dominance over the holiday season.

  • Maybe because there never was a War on the imaginary, entirely made-up holiday of Christmas. By calling your opinion a “war” it merely attempts to give justification to your political positions i.e. on The Evangelical Right. Not to mention, there is not single historical document which (and no the Bible is not) can point to when Jesus was actually born. It could be on Cinco De Myo or Arbor Day for all we know. Pretty simple stuff to figure out.
    And hell, is there anyone who doesn’t like the Easter Bunny and the egg hunt?

  • Based on your reading material, you’re looking for amusing.

    I am a bit more interested in getting zeroed in on facts.

  • Actually I am.

    For example, we still arrest, try, and convict kleptomaniacs despite their natural attraction to theft.

    We still arrest, try, and convict rapists despite their poor impulse control and their desire for forced sex.

    Our entire criminal law system deals with people who act on natural attractions that have been prohibited.

    The groups who can’t control natural attractions are animals and psychopaths.

  • User Bob Arnzen, have you yet finished using the José Carioca account yet? Disqus would like to clean it up, and also your NRA financial backers won’t want you using that name suggestive of an illegal immigrant over the long term.

  • User Bob Arnzen, have you at last finished using the José Carioca account yet? Disqus would like to clean it up, and also your NRA financial backers won’t want you using that name suggestive of an illegal immigrant over the long term.

  • User Bob Arnzen, have you finally finished using the José Carioca account yet? Disqus would like to clean it up, and also your NRA financial backers won’t want you using that name suggestive of an illegal immigrant over the long term.

  • User Bob Arnzen, have you finished using the José Carioca account? Disqus would like to clean it up, and also your NRA financial backers won’t want you using that name suggestive of an illegal immigrant over the long term.

  • The use of the term “neo-Calvinist” or “neo-Calvinism” in this article is confusing and certainly mistaken. Neo-Calvinism was/is a movement in the Dutch Reformed tradition. This should be differentiated from “New-Calvinism”, even though some parts may overlap. Either way, the use of Westboro Baptist Church as representative of “neo-Calvinism” or “new-Calvinism” is incredibly questionable, and calls into question the precision of Gerry Bowler (maybe the interviewer Jonathan Merritt as well if he is unaware of this). A historian with his qualifications should not be throwing around terms so indiscriminately.

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