Merry “X” Mas, everybody

Well, the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus “X” is upon us. Unfortunately, since the name “X” — and any mention of why the holiday is celebrated, i.e., the birth of “X” — may offend some sensitive folks, the city fathers of Chicago decided to pull a Nativity scene for fear of offending “people of different faiths.” Great move, guys! So what’re you going to do about Easter? I guess the Minorah’s out too, eh?

Let’s remember this when we hear incessant news stories about how certain members of a certain religion of peace get offended by our actions…

16 thoughts on “Merry “X” Mas, everybody”

  1. wow, how can they expect a Christmas Festival not to have Jesus Christ??? amazing huh
    Last I remember America is in a great majority Christian.
    I don’t think anyone is offended for people celebrating their beliefs peacefully. After all, don’t we have Yom Kipur as a holiday and no one gets offended. Muslims practice and celebrate during Ramadan and Christians don’t get offended, why should non-Christians get offended??

    I think the PC-lovers have to revise their Bill of Rights, they might have forgotten to read the First Amedment.

  2. People forget so easily these days that it’s freedom *of* religion, not freedom *from* it.

    The nice thing is, the X really was code for Christ back in the day to avoid Roman persecution. The “clever” pagans who use it nowadays as an affront to Christians are really just falling into our cunning trap. Mwahahahaha! 😛

  3. The “X” is derived from the Greek letter “chi”, the first letter in the word “Christos”. The abbreviation “IC XC” always appears in His iconic portraits in the Orthodox church (even in Japan!). See here for an example.

    So these “clever” people are actually invoking Christ! They are like the enemy of Psalm 7:19: “He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.”

  4. Gus is right. The “X” was used in the original Greek NT manuscripts not as a code, but as the proper spelling of Christ.

    As for the ceremony, y’all have a misunderstanding of the 1st amendment. You’re confusing the free exercise clause with the establishment clause. A government cannot favor anyone religion. If the festival is using public money and favors religion, it is a violation of the establishment clause. Of course, this does not prevent any private actors from setting up whatever festival they want so long as private funds are used.

    I suggest that any of y’all interested in the history of the bill of rights to read “James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights” for an accurate account of the debates and issues faced by the founding fathers, including Madison, who wrote the bill of rights.

    Prior to the bill of rights, it was commonplace that folks had to belong to a particular religion to hold any type of office to the dismay of minority religions such as Baptists and Jews. Take a glance at George Washington’s letters to these groups wherein he assured their equal status.

    If the government could use public money to promote Christ in a Christmas event, then an argument could be made to require the government to promote Allah during their holidays, and Buddah, and Chango, and Yah, etc. Slippery slope people.

  5. Mike, you are 100% correct. However, I’m ragging at the prevalent attitude in the country that continuously rags on Christianity, while excluding other faiths from similar excoriation.

  6. Well Mike but the festival IS privately sponsored. It is a “public Christmas festival” so everyone can attend but it is sponsored by private groups such as the “German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, which has organized the event for several years” and it even has private vendors assisting. Plus, there “will be representations of other faiths.”
    So in this case the establishment of religion argument does not apply because it is privately funded but still it is silly to ask to remove the Nativity scene from a privately sponsored Christmas festival under the grounds that other non-Christians might get offended.

    After all we still have the Yom Kipur Jewish holiday and the Christmas Holiday, and this is because the government acknowledges that the population believes in this customs and has exercised it for decades. This as you can see doesn’t imply that Christianity is the established religion, it simply acknowledges the existence of this peaceful practice probably since before the nation was even established. It is just acknowledging history rather than establishing an official religion.

  7. I read the article, and while the City can ask the group to reconsider, it cannot force the group to comply and it cannot deny them a permit.

    The article does not say that the City is ordering them to do anything. If they did, then there’d be a major lawsuit against the city for violation of the free exercise clause and the equal protection clause.

    Now there does appear that public land is being used, and I will assume that the City has granted them permission to use it either for a fee or something, then again, the City could not order them to do anything such as to remove the movie studio, etc. I would assume after the festival, everything comes down. That’s fine constitutionally.

    Yom Kippur is not a recognized holiday anywhere in the US. Certain governments allow employees to take that day off as a personal holiday as they do with Good Friday and other religious holidays. Some courts are closed on Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashannah more as a courtesy than anything else since many observant Jews would have a right to ask to be excused from trials, jury service, etc. However, the Federal Courts remain open on those holidays. Similarly, state offices here in Fla. remain open as well on the Jewish holidays and on Good Friday too.

    Schools usually give these days off again as a courtesy to the students and teachers.

    Christmas is the only holiday which has a religious significance (rather had one) which is recognized. It’s been so secularized that it would be perverse to argue that maintaining it as a holiday violates any 1st amendment provision.

    SO Georgie, your take on the article is incorrect. The City did not pull the Nativity scene, they only asked the organizers of this event to reconsider….

  8. As a Jewish person of faith, I am offended by the stripping of God from our society. Christmas is a Christian religious holiday, Christianity is the faith of the majority of Americans and I hate the secularzation of Christmas as it deminishes the meaning of the holiday and by extension infringes on the free practice of all religions. I can’t think of a religion that doesn’t include community worship and that is exactly what a public community display of a nativity scene is, a community celebration of a religious holiday. As are Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, and Christmas presents, ditto Christmas vacations from school. They can label all these things whatever they want but it doesn’t change the fact that in December most Americans celebrate the birth of Christ by celebrating Christmas. There, I typed the letters spelling Christ twelve times and I am not offended, haven’t turned to stone or abandoned my own religion. I know you are right Mike, but I also remember back in the old days when Americans, including local governments were free to fully enjoy Christmas, and as long as those belonging to a minority faith were not actually persecuted it was not a problem. I hate the ACLU.

  9. Yes, but:

    “Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza,” Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.

    Don’t you think the organizations sponsoring this will cave thinking about future relations with the city? I would tell the city to stick their opinion where the sun don’t shine. But after that, what? Sounds like a very subtle threat to me.

  10. Municipalities have the right to enforce time, place, or manner restrictions on speech. Now we’re getting into 1st amendment speech issues.

    If they have rules re: signage and displays, they have to be applied equally. If exceptions are made, esp. if on religious grounds, then there’s a problem and a lawsuit.

    The law is, that if the public facility is open to everyone, then it cannot be excluded to a group based on their religion or speech. The City if it were smart, would suck it up, and the organizers should stay put.

    Ziva, without sounding cynical, I’m afraid to say that in reality, Christmas in the USA and most of the Western world is a commercial holiday with Santa Clause and all that stuff. Frankly, I wish they’d listen to Linus’ speech in Charlie Brown Christmas, because sadly, much of the West has turned away from God and religion adopting the philosophy that man is the measure of all things.

    The nativity scene is the true symbol of Christmas. Santa, Christmas trees, are secular symbols. Nativity scenes are allowed, if you include secular symbols, and symbols of other faiths as well. But the reality is, if you are a City, is to not allow anything and let the private sector do it; otherwise, you will be spending tons of taxpayer monies in lawsuits.

    The only ones to blame for the secularization of Christmas is ourselves; society.

  11. Aside from the main point of the discussion, this is another example of what is happening to the city of Chicago; apparently they have some “loose cannon” aldermen/women who seem to have come right out of an Orwellian-Hollywoodian Central Casting Loony Bin and have been trying to pass PC-Nanny (mis)Government regulations. One proposed regulation was to fine drivers who smoked in their car, if there was a child age 8 or under riding – love to see the reaction of the cops charged with enforcing that one; another ordinance threatened to ban foie gras from restaurants – don’t know if it passed, but an article in Forbes Magazine a month or so ago documented the outrage of restaurateurs who vowed to continue serving the dish.

    Regardless of your stand on smoking or foie gras, the spirit of PC/Nanny lunacy seems alive and well in the Windy City. Mayor Daley’s got his hands full dealing with these nut cases. Perhaps the good, sane citizens of Chicago should engage in a little non-PC historical reenactment and grab these busibodies, tar and feather them, and parade them on Lake Shore Drive as their fellow citizens pelt them with rotten eggs and tomatoes.
    It’s gotta be stopped.

  12. Why would they allow the “Christmas” Festival to go on…and then think that ads for a Nativity movie will be offensive to those who attend?

    If being surrounded by a religion that was not my own was offensive to me, why would I attend a festival named for that religion???

    I didn’t know there were laws to protect me from offensive religious material…go figure.

    I wish there were a law to protect me from offensive words in popular music!

  13. Mike
    My point was that the fact that the City asked to reconsider taking out the Nativity scene from a Christmas Festival is kind of silly. It is a very silly claim in itself and even more if they justify it with the excuse that non-Christians might get offended.
    These are the kinds of silly claims that are later on taken to court by the ACLU and that end up in great troubles and lawsuits for the states when in reality they are just absurd.

    With all this PC talk, politicians are forgetting the “courtesy” they owe to their incumbents and to this nation’s history.
    I mean what is the big deal in calling Christmas what it is: Christmas. We call Hanukah what it is and Ramadan what it is and no one gets offended. The problem with all this PC talk is that it stirs up hatred and fear because it strives to erase and undermine the history and reality of a country for fear of the reaction of some. PC talk is a coward’s talk and no one has ever gotten offended by the Nativity scene or the word Christmas.
    The truth is that politicians should be worrying about more important things than making up a PC name for the Christmas Holiday or changing the seal of some court because the ACLU says that since it has religious connotations it is discriminating and blah blah blah.
    The City should be employing its time on useful matters and not this kind of silliness, especially when they are getting paid by taxpayers to solve problems, not to cause problems and confrontations among people.

  14. Qbanartemisa, I agree w/you 100%. There’s always some athiest or some nut in California who wants to make a name for himself, and some schmucks at the ACLU willing to comply which create these lawsuits, bad law, and a waste of taxpayer money.

    Interestingly enough, there was a case a few years ago here in Broward when the County did not want to allow a Church to display Christmas light exhibits at Tradewinds Park, even though everybody else was allowed to participate (participation required payment of a fee). The church sued and won.

    As I said, unfortunately there are those that want the western world to become a secular, moral relativist state where the rules are made up as they go along; a world without absolutes. It’s sad. All the money wasted on these silly lawsuits could be used to feed and clothe the hungry.

  15. The ACLU can’t tell the difference between a manger scene at a Christmas display and a “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live Among You” sign posted in a courtroom.

    The point is *supposed* to be preventing people from feeling they are not getting a fair shake from the government because they are a member of a minority religion, or a rival religious group to that of a government official.

  16. “Gus is right. The “X” was used in the original Greek NT manuscripts not as a code, but as the proper spelling of Christ.”

    Thanks Cigar Mike and Gus3. It was so long ago that I don’t even remember where I heard or read that it was a code so it’s good to have some better info. 🙂

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