‘Tis the season for Bill O’Reilly to get his nativity-themed knickers in a knot over his invented War on Christmas. I thought maybe he’d cover a war on some other holiday this year, like possibly New Year’s. Christmas is less fun for adults than for kids, but it still has some value, while New Year’s loses all meaning once staying up until midnight becomes commonplace. Or what about the War on Halloween? No, it’s still Christmas that he’s claiming to defend, even though the Grinch’s heart already grew three sizes. Here’s one of his latest diatribes, arguing that people oppose Christmas because they want gay marriage, abortion, and the right to use drugs.
Now THERE’S more of a stretch than Santa Claus has to do before going down the chimney. Speaking of which, he’s also joined the Jack Chicks of the world in insisting Christianity isn’t a religion. Unless I’ve been misinformed as to the definition of Christianity, it isn’t just admiring Jesus’ philosophy, but believing Jesus is the savior of mankind and Son of God. So yes, that’s a religion. It’s also a philosophy, but aren’t all religions philosophies? It’s just that not all philosophies are religions. The dictionary.com definition of “religion” is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” I would tend to think the superhuman agency would be a necessary part of religion, but that’s debatable. So yes, Buddhism is also a religion, because while it may not have a god (and some branches of Buddhism do have gods, at that), it does have a supernatural meaning to the universe. I’m not religious myself, but if you are, why not just admit it? Since when is “religion” a bad word?
Speaking of words that have received inexplicable negative connotations, there was recently a Salon article about women not wanting to call themselves feminists, and a Facebook friend alerted me to this response. As usual, it seems that the problem is a distaste for the word in particular, and for people who claim to be feminists but actually oppose free choice for women. (At least, I’ve HEARD of people who fall into this group; I can’t say that I’ve ever MET any of them, but I’ll admit I don’t know a lot of people.) There are still many people out there who won’t bother to look feminism up in a dictionary, and instead insist it has something to do with hating men and/or not shaving your armpits. Granted, definitions can change, but to me saying you support equal rights across gender lines but aren’t a feminist is like saying you believe Jesus is your savior but aren’t a Christian. You’re redefining the terms and then saying you don’t care for the definitions you gave them. I can’t say I really get it.