‘Celebrating Merry Christmas again’: Trump opens new front in the culture wars

Dec 1, 2017

By David Nakamura

In a St. Louis suburb this week to sell the Republican tax bill, President Trump appeared on stage with twin symbols of his vision of the country’s heritage — a pair of American flags and a row of Christmas trees, adorned with red, white and blue ornaments.

“I told you that we would be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said, eliciting roars of approval from hundreds of supporters at the St. Charles Convention Center.

The theme had little to do with the president’s push on taxes, aside from a reference early in his 46-minute speech that tax cuts would serve as a“big, beautiful Christmas present” to the economy. But the backdrop made clear that a president who has repeatedly used the flag to win leverage in a debate over the meaning of NFL players’ protests during the national anthem was prepared to weaponize the trees in another front in the culture wars.

Trump was signaling to his base that he was following through on a campaign promise to shelve what he and his supporters view as political correctness aimed at marginalizing the nation’s Christian majority in the name of diversity.

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6 comments on “‘Celebrating Merry Christmas again’: Trump opens new front in the culture wars

  • @OP – Trump was signaling to his base that
    he was following through on a campaign promise
    to shelve what he and his supporters
    view as political correctness

    Trump does not do any form of “correctness”!

    He is a prominent practitioner of political, scientific, unethical, and untruthful, WRONGNESS!

    aimed at marginalizing the nation’s Christian majority
    in the name of diversity.

    An example of ironically pathetic “Trump speak”, for “supporting extremist Christian bigots in abusing minorities” while playing the martyr!
    (“My ignorant Xtian-god-delusion is sooooo offended and upset, by the existence of people who are Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Scientists, Humanists, Gay, Transgender etc.”)



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  • @OP – “I told you that we would be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said, eliciting roars of approval from hundreds of supporters at the St. Charles Convention Center.

    Yep! Trump and his deplorable cheerleaders, really are pig-ignorant of religious and Christian history! – but assertively full of their own right-wing media, know-it-all ignorance, anyway!

    https://www.livescience.com/25779-christmas-traditions-history-paganism.html

    Midwinter festivals, with their pagan roots, were already widely celebrated, Nissenbaum said. And the date had a pleasing philosophical fit with festivals celebrating the lengthening days after the winter solstice (which fell on Dec. 21 this year). “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,” one Cyprian text read.

    4. The Puritans hated the holiday

    But if the Catholic Church gradually came to embrace Christmas, the Protestant Reformation gave the holiday a good knock on the chin. In the 16th century, Christmas became a casualty of this church schism, with reformist-minded Protestants considering it little better than paganism, Nissenbaum said. This likely had something to do with the “raucous, rowdy and sometimes bawdy fashion” in which Christmas was celebrated, he added.

    In England under Oliver Cromwell, Christmas and other saints’ days were banned, and in New England it was illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 25 years in the 1600s, Nissenbaum said.

    Forget people saying, “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” he said.

    “If you want to look at a real ‘War on Christmas,’ you’ve got to look at the Puritans,” he said. “They banned it!”



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  • https://www.zmescience.com/science/history-science/origin-christmas-tree-pagan/

    Long before Christianity appeared, people in the Northern Hemisphere used evergreen plants to decorate their homes, particularly the doors, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. On December 21 or December 22, the day is the shortest and the night the longest. Traditionally, this time of the year is seen as the return in strength of the sun god who had been weakened during winter – and the evergreen plants served as a reminder that the god would glow again and summer is to be expected.

    The solstice was celebrated by the Egyptians who filled their homes with green palm rushes in honor of the god Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a crown.
    In Northern Europe, the Celts decorated their druid temples with evergreen boughs which signify everlasting life.
    Further up north, the Vikings thought evergreens were the plants of Balder, the god of light and peace.
    The ancient Romans marked the Winter Solstice with a feast called Saturnalia thrown in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture, and, like the Celts, decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.

    It’s worth mentioning at this point that Saturnalia was the most important celebration of the Roman life.
    It was a week-long lawless celebration held between 17 and 25 December
    . . .. .

    Those dates do sound rather familiar!

    . . .. . in which no one could be prosecuted for injuring or killing people, raping, theft — anything usually against the law really.

    It sounds a bit like Trump’s imaginings about Executive Orders and Republican apologetics for their politicians and apointees!

    But although a lot of people blew steam by taking advantage of the lawlessness, Saturnalia could also be a time for kindness. During Saturnalia, many Romans practiced merrymaking, exchange of presents.



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  • @OP – Trump was signalling to his base that he was following through on a campaign promise to shelve what he and his supporters view as political correctness aimed at marginalizing the nation’s Christian majority in the name of diversity.

    SO!
    Can I wish Trump’s celebratory supporters, a Ra Ra Ra of a solstice, a splendid Saturnalia, the peace of Balder upon them, a yumtious Yuletide Feast, with toasts in beer to Odin and Thor, and a splendid Yule-Log, with a reindeer roasting over an open fire! 🙂



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  • For those who prefer more natural colour than glitter and baubles during the mid-winter holidays, here is an extract from the newsletter of the botanical study organisation BCSS.

    A cactus is for life, not just for Christmas!
    Native to the temperate rain forests of Brazil, the genus Schlumbergera consists of just seven species of epiphytic cacti but literally hundreds of hybrids.
    The original Christmas cactus was a hybrid produced in the 1840s by crossing S. truncata with S. russelliana. In cultivation in the northern hemisphere the former flowers in the autumn while the latter flowers in the spring, so the resultant hybrid blooms more or less around Christmas time. It’s a very tolerant plant but unfortunately is less commonly seen nowadays.
    The ones currently sold are the result of further hybridisation and are more similar to S. truncata, probably because commercial growers prefer plants that are more compact, upright, and early-flowering.
    Every year on the BCSS Forum there are queries about why the owner’s Christmas cactus is flowering in October.
    In reality, there is a whole range of hybrids that will flower from October through to March, or even later.

    Non-members can sign up to receive the e-newsletter via our website by following this link: https://tinyurl.com/bccc-e-newsletter and selecting any of the past issues and then clicking ‘Subscribe’.



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  • Alan

    I can vouch for the New England puritanical view of Christmas here. The old guard New England WASPs were very disapproving of too much merry making at the religious holidays. Some tasteful decorations were fine but over the top anything was sniffed at. Children did have gifts under the Christmas tree but nothing like the conspicuous consumption seen today. Handmade gifts were admired the most. Church services on Christmas eve and Christmas morning were what the day was really about – the true meaning of Christmas. This phrase was emphasized to children. There was a solemnity about the day and I’ll say that it was even more so for Easter. Similarly, we woke up to baskets of candy that was delivered by the Easter bunny but as soon as that was discovered it was off to church in our new formal clothing for a couple hours of sermons about the death of Christ and his great sacrifice for us pathetic sinners. Both holidays ended with visits to extended family (the good part of the day). We were chided for displays of happiness and amusement on Easter. Easter is supposed to be a sad “holiday” not a joyful one. Christmas was the day of the year that sinners in darkness received the gift of Jesus – otherwise known as “light of the world”. This was to be taken with solemn awe not spirited partying.

    One thing about fundamentalists, they don’t like fun.



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