Friday, December 02, 2005

"The War on Christmas": Fundamentalist Christianity vs. Postmodern Relativism

Faux News host John Gibson has been ceaselessly promoting his moronic book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought (Sentinel, October 2005), anyplace that will let him talk about it. Media Matters for America has a snippet of his appearance on Janet Parshall's nationally syndicated radio program.

From the November 17 edition of Salem Radio Network's Janet Parshall's America:

GIBSON: The whole point of this is that the tradition, the religious tradition of this country is tolerance, and that the same sense of tolerance that's been granted by the majority to the minority over the years ought to go the other way too. Minorities ought to have the same sense of tolerance about the majority religion -- Christianity -- that they've been granted about their religions over the years.

PARSHALL: Exactly. John, I have to tell you, let me linger for a minute on that word "tolerance." Because first of all, the people who like to promulgate that concept are the worst violators. They cannot tolerate Christianity, as an example.

GIBSON: Absolutely. I know -- I know that.

PARSHALL: And number two, I have to tell you, I don't know when they held this election and decided that tolerance was a transcendent value. I serve a god who, with a finger of fire, wrote, he will have no other gods before him. And he doesn't tolerate sin, which is why he sent his son to the cross, but all of a sudden now, we jump up and down and celebrate the idea of tolerance. I think tolerance means accommodation, but it doesn't necessarily mean acquiescence or wholehearted acceptance.

GIBSON: No, no, no. If you figure that -- listen, we get a little theological here, and it's probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be -- have to answer for following the wrong religion, they're not going to have to answer to me. We know who they're going to have to answer to.

PARSHALL: Right.

GIBSON: And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition.

That is about as clear a red-Blue statement of its position as you're likely to hear. Tolerance, which is one of the most crucial aspects of the Green Meme's worldview (multiculturalism, pluralism, relativism, egalitarianism), is something to be put up with, but not embraced as a "transcendent value."

The view of God depicted here is of one who is judgmental, jealous, and angry--a very Old Testament view, certainly not a Christ-based view. Christ taught love and tolerance of all people, no matter their race, gender, religion, or place in life. These are not the views expressed by these fundamentalists.

Gibson's book and his appearances on various Faux News shows is just another part of the "culture war" that is raging in this country. Faux News and its talking heads are actually creating the war as much as reporting it, which seems a rather new function for news reporters. Anyway, the fundamentalist red-Blue Christian Meme is convinced that it has the one true god and the one true religion, and that relativists and secularists are out to destroy them and their worldview.

To be fair, they are partly correct, which makes their most extreme claims (such as the supposed war on Christmas) that much more difficult to refute. The orange-Green Meme (progressives in Westernized countries) really has no tolerance for organized religion, seeing in it the oppression of women, minorities, and anyone who is not a believer. With that view, this more "tolerant" Meme sets out to dismantle Blue structures, such as organized religion, authoritarian political systems, and oppressive social values, for example, apartheid and segregation.

The Green Meme loves to hold up all religions as equally relevant--everything from Wicca and paganism to Buddhism and Islam. This infuriates the fundamentalist Christians as well as the Islamic fundamentalists. ALL fundamentalist variations of the world's major religions (you can add communism to this list as well) believe they hold the one true religion and that all others are the enemy.

Here is the irony: the Green Meme (what Wilber calls the Mean Green Meme--repressive collectivism) can also act from a fundamentalist stance when it works to dismantle systems that is doesn't like.

Each worldview in the first tier of the Spiral Dynamics model believes it has the only "true" version of reality. However, this does not make them fundamentalist in that most people expressing these worldviews do not feel a need to destroy those who hold opposing worldviews. Those who do feel the need to destroy opposing worldviews are the fundamentalists, no matter which worldview they are expressing.

In the case of the supposed war on Christmas, pluralist Green wants to make the winter holiday season all inclusive, and to that end it wants people to say happy holidays rather than Merry Christmas. It wants a holiday tree rather than a Christmas tree. In 2005, Christmas falls on December 25, as usual, but Hanukkah begins, along with Kwanzaa, on December 26. There is no reason why the winter holiday season can't be inclusive of other traditions. We are a pluralist society, not a Christian society.
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