"I don't think President Bush understands these things. When they told President Bush that Dick Cheney's gay daughter was pregnant, he said, 'It's a Christmas miracle.'" --Jay Leno
First of all, thanks to everyone for their healing wishes. I'm doing better now. I'm still stiff and sore, but I no longer need Vicodin.
My aunt's a bit annoyed at me. Her boys are 14 and 11. I sent them a holiday tradition in their e-mail: the Burger King Christmas Carol. L'Ailee thinks it's mean, and didn't even care that I teased her about being "politically correct." However, there's very little that will make boys that age laugh that isn't just outright gross or offensive. My aunt is annoyed because the boys have been going around singing, "Ding! Fries are done!"
But that's not the only reason Cousin Lilo is a bad influence!
This aunt loved the Left Behind books and is a true believer in the theology they espouse. (Basically, that True Christians will be taken away suddenly by God while the rest of us deal with chaos and the Antichrist.) I knew the boys would be getting the Left Behind Video Game. Even its supporters acknowledge that players must convert or kill "unsaved" New Yorkers. Unlike the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, I don't want to convince stores not to sell it. I'm not interested in joining a Secular Family Association. However, it did upset me and L'Ailee that these boys would be playing a game where they were taught to see New Yorkers as this undifferentiated, unsaved mass to do something about.
Well, I recently learned that at Thanksgiving, the topic of the game came up. Other relatives believe in the Rapture, too. My 14-year-old cousin bravely told them he didn't want the game! He had gotten a demo from his church. He clearly articulated that he didn't want it because:
1. My wife and I are in NYC, and "unsaved", and he doesn't want to shoot at people like us or think of people like us living in a war zone. He really likes us both. L'Ailee teaches martial arts for a living; she taught him moves that took down a bully when he needed them.
2. When he went to NYC, a very nice Jewish lady, who made a real impression on him because he loved the way she talked (apparently she educated him in Yiddish), helped him when he was separated from his parents for a few minutes. He doesn't want to shoot at people like her, either.
3. He heard about Arab children being taught to hate and kill people for having a different religion in his church. People tried to convince him that this wasn't the same thing, but he wouldn't be convinced.
His mother, reluctantly, is hearing what he said and won't give him the game or tell him to play it. She likes that he thinks for himself, even if their pastor and some of the people she and her husband trust with their spirits don't. Another aunt (we come from a large family) was upset. She said this proved that L'Ailee and I are an undue influence on the boys and that he's beginning to choose us over God. Now, I don't want to cause a rift or make his life harder. I can't say I wasn't pleased, though. I'm trying to avoid pumping my fists, actually. :-)
Because of families like ours with a variety of beliefs, and because many religions fly our colors, as it were, around the Winter Solstice, it's inevitable that there will be collision. My mother asked me what I thought of the trees being taken down then put back up at the Seattle airport. I said I thought it was a shame that the airport workers had extra work to do and that I felt sorry for the airport management, having to make that choice. I surprised myself. In Florida, I might have been on that rabbi's side--all or nothing! I am more blase in NYC. It's not because I'm less Pagan--it's because I'm more so. Paganism is about interacting with the environment and being aware of the world. In Florida, there is sunshine all year. It isn't necessary to assure ourselves and each other that gloom and gray will go away. In NYC and other large Northern cities, it's vital. I understand more why companies and city governments want to decorate. I don't think all traces of Christianity must be removed from the public square. I only want it acknowledged that I and others are part of the public square, too.
Sinead O'Connor has delayed the release of her new CD until April 2007, because she's getting a brand-new baby for Christmas. However, she is going to release a couple of songs free for downloading, as a Christmas present to her fans. I can go along with that. You can get, or just hear, the songs this Friday, December 15, at her MySpace.
Also on Friday, that beautiful baby panda girl at the Atlanta Zoo gets her name.
Conservative Christians are getting tired of the "War on Christmas", too.
The Simon Sez Santa is back! This time you can ask him to "kill Rudolph."
The Holiday Party Excuse Generator
Gift ideas for Pagans at Yule.
Middle Eastern Christmas recipes. Yes, they do celebrate it, and these are yummy. It's probably what Jesus really ate!
The 25 stupidest politcal quotes of 2006. Don't worry, they'll probably make a last-ditch effort to top themselves...