Labels: Christian Right, Christmas, Left Behind, Original Sin, Santa Claus, Timothy LaHaye, TM, Transcendental Meditation
Why is the Christian Right so bent out of shape about Christmas? Of all the stories of the Bible, none has engendered as much worldwide peace and love as Christmas: many wars have been suspended for that one day. People are noticeably friendlier, happier, more compassionate. For at least one day out of the year, much of mankind becomes more human in being ... humanitarian. So why are Christian Right-wingers up in arms about it?
They don't own it anymore. It's one of the few good pieces of PR that they had left and they can't lay claim to it. Christmas transcended them when it morphed into "Happy Holidays" because the true Spirit of Christmas lay in sharing and including everyone, inviting people of all faiths, some with holy-days falling at about the same time, to celebrate mankind and his potential for good. Christmas has also become a time when Original Sin is all but forgotten: guilt does not play the role that it stars in at Easter time. And to many right-wing Christians, Original Sin is the bedrock of Christianity. Original Sin helps them to feel wonderful about themselves when they forgive someone. Yes, take away Original Sin and the label Christmas and they don't have anything left of the holiday to which they felt entitlement. Christmas, or rather the Holiday Spirit, isn't theirs anymore. Not exclusively theirs.
Does anyone out there remember the Transcendental Meditation craze of the mid 70s? I practiced it for a while in order to deal with stress. I should take it up again. I remember it now not only because of the meaning of the word "transcend" but because I vividly remember the times I actually did transcend from my world to another plane. And whenever I transcended to that plane, it was a jolt, a breakthrough as it were. And after the breakthrough there was a feeling of freedom.
The Holiday Spirit is like that, isn't it? It frees us of the burden of hatred, for even though hatred is easier to achieve than love, it comes with emotional baggage we need to lug around forever. So once we've achieved the Holiday Spirit, we go beyond it and don't think of it in terms of gifts, Santas, old-time carols or even a babe in a manger. We think of it as freedom and the peace freedom brings with it.
The Christian Right, however, is still lugging its baggage of intolerance and won't let itself appreciate the wonderful feeling of transcendence. Oh, they think they feel it and crow with a superior sense of entitlement that they above everyone else should know what Christmas feels like. But with their self-righteousness they have built a wall that hinders them from feeling truly free. And they can't join their brethren who enjoy unconstrained, unqualified love and acceptance.
I guess I should feel sorry for those who are truly "Left Behind" (ala Tim LaHaye), but ... I can't. You see, I'm hindered by memories of "Age of AIDS" Christmases here in San Francisco, when thousands of volunteers - strangers, really - strove to bring as much comfort as they could to people who had been evicted from their homes while they were sick and dying under the guise of "righteousness." It saddens me that I can neither forgive nor forget. Perhaps someday...
"We want Christmas back, it's OURS!"
Sorry, but the Spirit of Christmas, the Holiday Spirit they lay claim to is no longer theirs: it's gone beyond them and is traveling through the hearts and minds of ... everyone else.
Have a Happy Transcendental Holiday, Everyone!