Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Truth Behind Palin's Soon-to-Be Released Book on Christmas

by Nomad

Nomadic Politics- Sarah Palin
Decries the commercialization of Christmas
by peddling her book just in time for the holidays 
Rumor has it that Sarah Palin has another book in the works. Hurrah! According to USAToday, the book is "focused on putting faith and values back into Christmas."

The book, reportedly entitled "A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas", is supposed to come out in November, right in time for the holidays. All carefully calculated to be a "hot" seller during the holiday season. (And who wouldn't want the a Sarah Palin book as a Christmas gift?)

No doubt Sarah hopes the book will be a money-maker for her. The timing of the release is wonderfully ironic. According to the publisher the book, a well-beaten dead horse if ever there was one, will deal with the commercialization of Christmas. Ho-humbug.

We can be assured it will take to task all those baddies who don't share her view that America is a Christian nation. No doubt the book will list every perceived offense, such as endangered nativity scenes on public property, etc. etc..  Anybody of you who dare to use the term "happy holidays" had better run for cover. Having failed in taking back America, Palin is now apparently planning to take back Christmas. 

In typical Palin-speak, Palin issued this statement through her publisher, HarperCollins.
"Amidst the fragility of this politically correct era, it is imperative that we stand up for our beliefs before the element of faith in a glorious and traditional holiday like Christmas is marginalized and ignored."
Fragility? How is a politically-correct era fragile? Could she have meant frigidity?  
She said the book will be "fun, festive" and "thought provoking." It will "encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas."
It's hard to imagine what she means by a politically-correct Scrooge. (Scrooge always sounded like a conservative to me.) But then it's generally hard to imagine what she means whenever she speaks. We will deal with the last part of her statement (Christ out of Christmas) in a moment.

Her publisher, HarperCollins just happens to be a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, parent company of Fox News. Last year, coincidentally enough, Fox News spent hours of valuable programming time on the so-called "War on Christmas." Fox and Friends even went so far to interview a phony Santa Claus about the phony controversy.  
It's easy to dismiss this nonsense with a smirk and move on. But MediaMatters, quoting a Fox News insider, gives us an interesting insight into the minds of people like Fox News president, Roger Ailes (and by extension Palin) . 
The insider notes:
If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas."
Nobody seems to have told Sarah that the War of Christmas, which Fox News has covered annually has become something of a joke. As ThinkProgress noted:
This year, however, Fox’s own religion contributor, Father Jonathan Morris, denounced the coverage calling it “silly” and pointing out that the number of people actually attempting to restrict expressions of faith is a “very small percentage.”
However, before Sarah gets too carried away about Christ-less Christmas, it is important to recall the facts behind this particular holiday.

Christmas History- December dateWhat Sarah Doesn't Know About Christmas
Reading from "The Bible as History" by Werner Keller, I found an interesting note regarding the origins of Christmas.
Christendom celebrates Christmas from December 24-25. Astronomers and historians, secular and ecclesiastical, are however unanimous that December 25 is not the authentic dates of the birth of Christ, neither with regards the year nor the day. The responsibility for this lies at the door of the Scythian monk Dionysius Exiguus, who made several mistakes and miscalculations. He live in Rome and in the year 533 he was instructed to fix the beginning of the new era working backwards. But he forgot the year zero which should have been inserted between 1 B.C and 1 A.D. He also overlooked the four years when the Roman emperor Augustus had reigned under his own name, Octavius.

The Biblical tradition gives this clear indication" "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, in the days of Herod the king ( Matt, 2.1) We know from numerous contemporary sources who Herod was and when he lived and reigned. In 40 B.C. Herod was designed king of Judaea by the Romans. His reign ended with his death in 4 B.C. Jesus must therefore have been born before 4 B.C. if Matthew's statement is correct.
It's not just that the dates are wrong. There's more to it than that. The author continues:
December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in 354 A.D. for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian, it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the "Dies Natalis Invicti," "the birthday of the unconquered," the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival and, therefore, a time when the Christians could feel most safe from persecution.
Dies Natalis InvictiSaturnalia was celebrated with gift-giving and partying- (sometimes more raucous than your average Christmas party at the office.)

More interestingly, as a celebration of the god Saturn, whom, they believed, ruled over the Earth during a Golden Age. In that age, according to their belief, there was a spirit of social equality between all humans, an equality in fundamental worth and in social status. To our surprise, we find the true spirit of Christmas, lurking in pagan tunics.

Compare that egalitarian ideal to what a character in "A Christmas Carol" says:
But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time.... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
*    *    *    *
So what about  about the Roman pagan holiday that fell on December 25? For more details, we should consult this source:
The Dies Natalis Invicti was probably first celebrated in Rome by order of the Emperor Aurelian (270-5), an ardent worshipper of the Syrian sun-god Baal. With the Sol Invictus was identified the figure of Mithra, that strange eastern god whose cult resembled in so many ways the worship of Jesus, and who was at one time a serious rival of the Christ in the minds of thoughtful men.

Mithraism resembled Christianity in its monotheistic tendencies, its sacraments, its comparatively high morality, its doctrine of an Intercessor and Redeemer, and its vivid belief in a future life and judgment to come. Moreover Sunday was its holy-day dedicated to the Sun.
This view that Christmas was actually an pagan holiday that has been put into service for the Christian faith is supported by numerous sources. And that's not merely secular revisionism. One 12th century Syrian bishop lays out the case clearly:
"It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day."
Despite this evidence, the Church continues to hold fast to the traditional view.Wikipedia actually goes so far to pretend as though the idea has been refuted. (or should I say, refudiated?)

According to the scholarly "Pagan Christian Creeds" the similarity between the mythology of Christ and the pagan mythology are too clear to be written off as a coincidence: 
Mithra was born in a cave and on the 25th of December. He was born of a Virgin. He traveled far and wide as a teacher and Illuminator of men... His great festivals were the winter solstice and the Spring equinox (Christmas and Easter). He had twelve companion or disciples.. He was buried in a tomb from which however he rose again; and his resurrection was celebrated yearly with great rejoicings. He was called Savior and Mediator and sometimes figured as a Lamb and sacramental feasts in remembrance of him were held by his followers.
In a footnote the author also adds this bit of logic:
There is a difficulty in accepting the 25th of December as the real date of the Nativity, December being the height of the rainy season in Judea when neither flocks nor shepherds could have been at night in the field of Bethlehem.
*   *   *   *
All of these facts will no doubt be news to Sarah Palin who now seems to consider herself an authority of the Christian faith. Whether she realizes it or not, Palin is probably opening up a big can of squirming worms for Christians who, thanks to Sarah's imaginary war on Christmas, will have to face some historical facts about a very lovely seasonal celebration.
Instead of bringing people of all religions together to celebrate (or not) in whatever fashion they wish, Palin has once again decided it is more profitable to her to divide people and impose her religious (and uninformed) views on the rest of society.

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