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So we had the annual argument about the phony war on Christmas, prompted by complaints from angry Christians. Most Christians are kind, respectful and tolerant, as are most people. But some want to force their ways of acting, speaking and even thinking on others. So every year they complain that some of us don't celebrate Christmas, or don't celebrate it as they think we should.

In Kearny, this year's whine focused on the display at Town Hall. It included a Christian nativity scene, a sparsely decorated evergreen tree, a Menorah, a sign wishing everyone happy holidays, a Frosty-the-Snowman and a couple other things. The display complies with the law, in that it at least reflects an effort not to make the state an agent of the church. A few people who call themselves Christians didn't like that. They insisted that their religion wasn't being acknowledged, but obviously it was, with the nativity scene. So they whined, claiming that Mayor Santos called the tree a holiday tree. I haven't seen any evidence of that but let's assume it's true.

Here's their problem: Their main religious holiday is also a national holiday, only they can't force people to see Christmas as they do. Maybe some, or most, Jews/Humanists/Buddhists/etc. will celebrate Christmas. That doesn't mean they're celebrating the birth of what the Christians think is the world's Lord and Savior. You can have a Christmas tree in your house without being a Christian, or celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday.

So Christians pushed their symbols onto town hall lawns over the country, and in doing so, they contributed to their coming to mean something else. Go ahead, insist that Christmas is a national holiday. Write it into the law. People like the holiday season, so they join in the celebration. But that doesn't mean they converted to Christianity, especially biblically literal Christianity. And that's the part that some of the biggest whiners don't seem to get. They force their holidays on us at a cost to themselves. You want to have a decorated tree, no problem, we like it. We'll just call it a holiday tree, so it includes everyone. So it represents the human values of kindness and goodwill. There's nothing they can do to stop us from celebrating the season in our own way.

And that's why they're so angry. Do us all a favor, grinches who call yourselves Christians: next year, just enjoy the good feeling at this time of the year. You'll feel better, and so will we.

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So we had the annual argument about the phony war on Christmas, prompted by complaints from angry Christians. Most Christians are kind, respectful and tolerant, as are most people. But some want to force their ways of acting, speaking and even thinking on others. So every year they complain that some of us don't celebrate Christmas, or don't celebrate it as they think we should.

In Kearny, this year's whine focused on the display at Town Hall. It included a Christian nativity scene, a sparsely decorated evergreen tree, a Menorah, a sign wishing everyone happy holidays, a Frosty-the-Snowman and a couple other things. The display complies with the law, in that it at least reflects an effort not to make the state an agent of the church. A few people who call themselves Christians didn't like that. They insisted that their religion wasn't being acknowledged, but obviously it was, with the nativity scene. So they whined, claiming that Mayor Santos called the tree a holiday tree. I haven't seen any evidence of that but let's assume it's true.

Here's their problem: Their main religious holiday is also a national holiday, only they can't force people to see Christmas as they do. Maybe some, or most, Jews/Humanists/Buddhists/etc. will celebrate Christmas. That doesn't mean they're celebrating the birth of what the Christians think is the world's Lord and Savior. You can have a Christmas tree in your house without being a Christian, or celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday.

So Christians pushed their symbols onto town hall lawns over the country, and in doing so, they contributed to their coming to mean something else. Go ahead, insist that Christmas is a national holiday. Write it into the law. People like the holiday season, so they join in the celebration. But that doesn't mean they converted to Christianity, especially biblically literal Christianity. And that's the part that some of the biggest whiners don't seem to get. They force their holidays on us at a cost to themselves. You want to have a decorated tree, no problem, we like it. We'll just call it a holiday tree, so it includes everyone. So it represents the human values of kindness and goodwill. There's nothing they can do to stop us from celebrating the season in our own way.

And that's why they're so angry. Do us all a favor, grinches who call yourselves Christians: next year, just enjoy the good feeling at this time of the year. You'll feel better, and so will we.

So do you call a Menorah a holiday candle?
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So do you call a Menorah a holiday candle?

Stop whining. Stop trying to divide the community. A Menorah is a human-made object. Trees grow naturally. You decorate them and call them whatever you like.

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So do you call a Menorah a holiday candle?

A Menorah has many candles so calling it a "holiday candle" wouldn't make sense. It would be like putting up a tree and calling it a holiday branch.

More important, you're missing the point. The Jewish religion has never been forced on people in the United States the way the Christian religion has been. If we take equal treatment for people of all religious beliefs seriously, then we can't make one religion speak for everyone. So you can have a holiday tree, with some lights on it, and call it a holiday tree. Or you can have a tree with little creches draped all over the branches and call it a Christmas tree. But if we do that, then we have to find a way to acknowledge other religions equally. What Kearny Christian seems to want is for Kearny to promote Christianity as the town religion, which it may not do. Calling the tree a holiday tree is just a way of being respectful to everyone.

Imagine the shoe on the other foot. Walk a mile in your brothers' shoes, if you really aspire to be a Christian. Imagine that Jews had settled and dominated this country at its founding. Imagine that Jews put up their Menorah in town squares all over the country, and no towns were putting up Christian symbols. Over time, as the population diversified, maybe people would enjoy celebrating the holidays in this predominantly Jewish country. But because most people are kind and generous, they were finding ways to include people who weren't Jewish in the celebrations. And the non-Jewish population was finding ways to enjoy the holidays, which began because of Jewish traditions, even though they were not Jewish. Over time, the religious significance of the symbols would begin to fade a bit, and then people might start calling the Menorah by another name. You can't have it both ways. Either everyone's religious beliefs are treated equally, or one is preferred over the others. And if you want to maintain your religious traditions untainted by secular or ecumenical influence, that is what your churches are for.

Why is that so hard for some people to understand, or maybe accept? We all know the answer, it's just that some people won't admit it.

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Okay we'll call it a Holiday Candelabra!

"Either everyone's religious beliefs are treated equally, or one is preferred over the others. And if you want to maintain your religious traditions untainted by secular or ecumenical influence, that is what your churches are for"

You contradict yourself with this point. I believe that is exactly what most posters are stating is happening to Christmas by changing the name of Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, and Christmas itself has become x-mas. Now I'm not saying you should not celebrate the Holiday season. I'm just wondering why non secular groups seem to have this need to take this one day that is one of the most Holy days for Christians and distort it? Why can't you celebrate the Day and just leave the symbols of Christmas alone?

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Christmas has never been FORCED upon the American people. The forcing is actually coming from those trying to remove it from American culture. Christmas came to the new world with the pilgrims and has been celebrated by citizens, villages, towns, cities ever since. Obviously those who came to America in the years after who are not Christians do not celebrate. It is the ridiculousness of political correctness that is making it all of a sudden inappropriate to goodnaturedly wish a neighbor, a client, a customer a Merry Christmas. A coworker gifts me with a bag of chocolate gilt (not sure of the spelling) at Hannakuh every year. Do I yell, "my God, how insulting! I am not Jewish! How dare you share your holiday, you culture, your generosity and good wishes with me?" No, I say "thank you!" And that's all that's necessary. And when I bring him a box of Christmas cookies, he offers the same thank you.

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Okay we'll call it a Holiday Candelabra!

"Either everyone's religious beliefs are treated equally, or one is preferred over the others. And if you want to maintain your religious traditions untainted by secular or ecumenical influence, that is what your churches are for"

You contradict yourself with this point. I believe that is exactly what most posters are stating is happening to Christmas by changing the name of Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, and Christmas itself has become x-mas. Now I'm not saying you should not celebrate the Holiday season. I'm just wondering why non secular groups seem to have this need to take this one day that is one of the most Holy days for Christians and distort it? Why can't you celebrate the Day and just leave the symbols of Christmas alone?

Why can't you leave the Pagan symbol of a holiday tree alone? Has it ever occurred to you that people from other traditions may think a decorated tree is their symbol? Why did you steal it?

Why are you in such an uproar that the tree has to be called a certain thing? Christians don't have a monopoly on decorated trees. People like the holidays but for them it isn't about Christ. So they call is x-mas. That's their choicet. But you want whine and stomp your feet loudly enough that you make people call the holiday what you want them to call it. You can't have it both ways. You put your main religious holiday into the public square at a cost to both government and your religion. This is exactly what is meant by the statement that mixing government and religion damages both. The dominant Christian majority made its choices. Now the community responds, only it isn't the same community as existed 100 years ago or 50 years ago. It's an even more diverse community now than then, and of course, many self-described Christians don't like that either. The real ones, who understand Jesus' teachings, have no problem with it.

There's no contradiction in my statement. If you decorate a tree with symbols that are unique to the Christian religion, then it would only make sense to call it a Christmas tree. But if the government does it, then it also has to make sure that it treats all religions equally. So it has to make sure they are represented too.

On the other hand, if you put some lights on a tree, it's perfectly appropriate to call it a holiday tree. And by the way, there still isn't any evidence about what Mayor Santos did or did not say, if anything, on the subject. Apparently, all this fuss is about something that never happened.

Christians have forced their belief system on people who do not share it. That is why we have "In God we trust" on our currency and "under God" in our national pledge. That is why every president and every presidential candidate MUST say "God bless you and God bless America" at the end of every public address: so-called Christians will punish him if he doesn't. Just like they won't elect an atheist to public office. Those statements are not unique to Christianity but they were forced on us by a Christian majority. A growing percentage of Americans do not believe in a god. Yet most of us put up with this crap and don't even complain about it because as a country we have bigger fish to fry - not that we're frying those either. You can't then whine if the country or the community tries to find a way to reconcile what you did with the commitment to equality and religious neutrality that is part of our Constitution. This time, Christians are the ones forcing the issue. For decades, it was your way and only your way. Now it isn't, so you're whining. Like hell you haven't forced your beliefs on the rest of us. You're not getting your way anymore, so you're angry about it.

Try another approach. Try respecting all religions, the way you claim to do. Then there won't be a problem.

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Christmas has never been FORCED upon the American people. The forcing is actually coming from those trying to remove it from American culture. Christmas came to the new world with the pilgrims and has been celebrated by citizens, villages, towns, cities ever since. Obviously those who came to America in the years after who are not Christians do not celebrate. It is the ridiculousness of political correctness that is making it all of a sudden inappropriate to goodnaturedly wish a neighbor, a client, a customer a Merry Christmas. A coworker gifts me with a bag of chocolate gilt (not sure of the spelling) at Hannakuh every year. Do I yell, "my God, how insulting! I am not Jewish! How dare you share your holiday, you culture, your generosity and good wishes with me?" No, I say "thank you!" And that's all that's necessary. And when I bring him a box of Christmas cookies, he offers the same thank you.

Would you like to discuss what those "Christian" pilgrims and their progeny did to the Native American peoples and their belief systems? The Christian religion has been forced on tens of millions of Americans who are not Christian, especially the non-Christian Americans who were here first. The fact that you can make a statement like the one you made, referencing our country's early history, only reflects the blindness of a privileged majority. This is nothing new. Many white southerners still complain that the North won the Civil War and the USA ended slavery. Last I recall, one state even continued to display the Confederate flag, an obvious insult to every African-American in the state. They don't see their bigotry and you don't see what this looks like from the other side. And no, I'm not comparing Christianity to slavery. I'm pointing out how the blindness of a dominant majority can work. It is worth noting that many of the same people are usually on the wrong side of the both issues.

Ron Reagan, the former president's son, has openly said he will not run for public office because he is an atheist and does not believe he could be elected, for that reason. Sadly, he's probably right. The Constitution forbids any religious test for any public office in the United States. Yet all over the country, we have a religious test imposed by the dominant Christian majority. And people see nothing wrong with saying they don't trust an atheist to hold public office, even though that is as bigoted a statement as statements that once were made about African-Americans, or women, or people the dominant majority didn't consider to be "one of us." Of course the Christian majority has forced its beliefs on the rest of us. The disappointment is that more Christians don't stand up and oppose this.

To be fair, a few atheists are trying to remove Christmas from American culture. They would like to rid the world of all theology and everything associated with it. They do not represent the majority of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other people who do not believe in a god.

There are also a few so-called Christians who would like to rid the world of atheism. They do not represent the majority of Christians.

So there's bad behavior - such as claiming the Mayor said something, when he didn't - which I don't like. But that has nothing to do with the display on Kearny's town hall lawn. It is a respectful display that openly acknowledges the Christian religion, along with other traditions. We have these laws to strike a balance between competing interests. You can't just declare an entire month or two to be your holiday time, and no one else gets to be represented then.

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Christmas has never been FORCED upon the American people. The forcing is actually coming from those trying to remove it from American culture. Christmas came to the new world with the pilgrims and has been celebrated by citizens, villages, towns, cities ever since. Obviously those who came to America in the years after who are not Christians do not celebrate. It is the ridiculousness of political correctness that is making it all of a sudden inappropriate to goodnaturedly wish a neighbor, a client, a customer a Merry Christmas. A coworker gifts me with a bag of chocolate gilt (not sure of the spelling) at Hannakuh every year. Do I yell, "my God, how insulting! I am not Jewish! How dare you share your holiday, you culture, your generosity and good wishes with me?" No, I say "thank you!" And that's all that's necessary. And when I bring him a box of Christmas cookies, he offers the same thank you.

The Town of Kearny and Mayor Santos haven't done any of those things. Sounds like you feel self-entitled, everyone is supposed to do things your way. There's no other reason for you to set up a straw man and complain about things that didn't happen here.

By accident of who settled here, Christmas is a federal holiday. Obviously, you're content with that outcome. Personally I don't have a big problem with it either. I like having the day off, and most Americans are Christian, though that is changing, so you might want to be careful about pushing government too far into religion. But just because towns make their displays about the holidays instead of making them specifically about Christmas is no reason to get upset - unless you think you're entitled to have the season, which includes holidays from many religions, celebrated only the way you want it to be. It might be different if the town didn't acknowledge Christmas but you can't say that with a creche sitting on the lawn at town hall. Sorry but you're wrong on this one.

By the way, if you know that your neighbor doesn't like being told "Merry Christmas" or "God bless you" when he sneezes, OK, maybe he's being silly. Then again, you don't know what he has had to deal with. Quite a few people carry some serious lifelong scars from their religious upbringing. Either way, it won't hurt you to respect his wishes. Unless of course it's all about you and what you believe. It's not much of a wish if you know the other person doesn't like it.

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For me this isn't about forcing Christianity on anyone! It's about one day that Christians and others recognize as the day Jesus of Nazareth was born! That is why the day is called CHRISTmas!!!! It's about certain agenda fueled groups and individuals trying to change the publics concept of that day. Like I said celebrate the holidays any way you want but if you don't believe in Christmas don't try to change the day into something it's not just leave the day alone! God Bless You!!!!!

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How you think people of other faiths would react if Christians decided to put forth an agenda to hijack other religions Holy Days.

For example:

Ramadan will be X-Adan

Krishna Janmashtami will be X-Janmashtami

Rosh Hashanah will X-Rosh

Yom Kippur will be X-Kippur

Alban Elfed will be X-fed

Navratri will be X-Atri

Samhain will be X-Hain

Hanukkah will be X-Ukah

Just to change a few. Hmmm seems ridiculous dosnt it?

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Please allow me to present two premises for discussion.

#1

Premise #1: If the universe evinces purposeful design, there must have been a designer.

Premise #2: The universe does evince purposeful design.

Conclusion : Thus the universe must have had a designer.

#2

Premise #1: If the universe evinces traits of non-design, there is no designer.

Premise #2: The universe does evince non-design.

Conclusion: Thus the universe had no designer.

Which premise seems more probable?

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Guest Kearny Christian

The Town of Kearny and Mayor Santos haven't done any of those things. Sounds like you feel self-entitled, everyone is supposed to do things your way. There's no other reason for you to set up a straw man and complain about things that didn't happen here.

By accident of who settled here, Christmas is a federal holiday. Obviously, you're content with that outcome. Personally I don't have a big problem with it either. I like having the day off, and most Americans are Christian, though that is changing, so you might want to be careful about pushing government too far into religion. But just because towns make their displays about the holidays instead of making them specifically about Christmas is no reason to get upset - unless you think you're entitled to have the season, which includes holidays from many religions, celebrated only the way you want it to be. It might be different if the town didn't acknowledge Christmas but you can't say that with a creche sitting on the lawn at town hall. Sorry but you're wrong on this one.

By the way, if you know that your neighbor doesn't like being told "Merry Christmas" or "God bless you" when he sneezes, OK, maybe he's being silly. Then again, you don't know what he has had to deal with. Quite a few people carry some serious lifelong scars from their religious upbringing. Either way, it won't hurt you to respect his wishes. Unless of course it's all about you and what you believe. It's not much of a wish if you know the other person doesn't like it.

I pray that the mayor will have an epiphany and understand the idea of a holiday tree is stupid. I pray that next year he will display a Christmas Tree, in

recognition of the birth of Christ and continue the tradition that has existed for hundreds of years.

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For the record, Christmas was NOT Celebrated by the Pilgrims, and was, in fact suppressed in the Massachusetts Colonies as a "Papist" Celebration, and the Puritan colonists did NOT participate even when enough others had joined the colony over time that it could no longer be suppressed. TRY and get your facts straight before you claim to speak for "All' Christians...your ranting makes us all look bad.

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Christmas has never been FORCED upon the American people. The forcing is actually coming from those trying to remove it from American culture. Christmas came to the new world with the pilgrims and has been celebrated by citizens, villages, towns, cities ever since. Obviously those who came to America in the years after who are not Christians do not celebrate. It is the ridiculousness of political correctness that is making it all of a sudden inappropriate to goodnaturedly wish a neighbor, a client, a customer a Merry Christmas. A coworker gifts me with a bag of chocolate gilt (not sure of the spelling) at Hannakuh every year. Do I yell, "my God, how insulting! I am not Jewish! How dare you share your holiday, you culture, your generosity and good wishes with me?" No, I say "thank you!" And that's all that's necessary. And when I bring him a box of Christmas cookies, he offers the same thank you.

"Conservative Christian" accused the mayor of not acting like an American by calling it a holiday tree. Sure sounds like forcing it to me.

I'm interested to know if the mayor, the council or the town actually called it anything. If "Conservative Christian" just made it up, looking for a fight, that's even worse.

Just seems like the people on that side of this argument aren't interested in what the facts are. They look like a self-entitled interest group looking for a fight.

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"Why can't you leave the Pagan symbol of a holiday tree alone? Has it ever occurred to you that people from other traditions may think a decorated tree is their symbol? Why did you steal it? "

Was the Pagan tree which I believe was the celebration of the Winter Solstice decorated and recognized on the 25th of December? Is the winter solstice always celebrated on December 25th? If not put up your Solstice tree at the appropriate time and I will respect your Pagan tradition and not try to claim that your Pagan symbol on a day not December 25th is actually a Christmas Tree!

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Guest 2smart4u

The Town of Kearny and Mayor Santos haven't done any of those things. Sounds like you feel self-entitled, everyone is supposed to do things your way. There's no other reason for you to set up a straw man and complain about things that didn't happen here.

By accident of who settled here, Christmas is a federal holiday. Obviously, you're content with that outcome. Personally I don't have a big problem with it either. I like having the day off, and most Americans are Christian, though that is changing, so you might want to be careful about pushing government too far into religion. But just because towns make their displays about the holidays instead of making them specifically about Christmas is no reason to get upset - unless you think you're entitled to have the season, which includes holidays from many religions, celebrated only the way you want it to be. It might be different if the town didn't acknowledge Christmas but you can't say that with a creche sitting on the lawn at town hall. Sorry but you're wrong on this one.

By the way, if you know that your neighbor doesn't like being told "Merry Christmas" or "God bless you" when he sneezes, OK, maybe he's being silly. Then again, you don't know what he has had to deal with. Quite a few people carry some serious lifelong scars from their religious upbringing. Either way, it won't hurt you to respect his wishes. Unless of course it's all about you and what you believe. It's not much of a wish if you know the other person doesn't like it.

Sounds like you carry some serious lifelong Kool-Aid effects. There's clinics that can help with those issues, good luck.

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Sounds like you carry some serious lifelong Kool-Aid effects. There's clinics that can help with those issues, good luck.

Yeah, you would sneer at it, in your usual snot-nosed, disrespectful way. The fact remains, telling a three-year-old that he's going to burn in hell if he doesn't believe in a certain religion is child abuse.

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How you think people of other faiths would react if Christians decided to put forth an agenda to hijack other religions Holy Days.

For example:

Ramadan will be X-Adan

Krishna Janmashtami will be X-Janmashtami

Rosh Hashanah will X-Rosh

Yom Kippur will be X-Kippur

Alban Elfed will be X-fed

Navratri will be X-Atri

Samhain will be X-Hain

Hanukkah will be X-Ukah

Just to change a few. Hmmm seems ridiculous dosnt it?

None of those religions has ever been culturally dominant here. Make any of them dominant in a nation committed to religious liberty for everyone, and have the adherents to the dominant religion force their religion on everyone as many Christians have done here, and the same thing will happen.

Or maybe you would like a law banning use of the word "x-mas." Hmmm?

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Please allow me to present two premises for discussion.

#1

Premise #1: If the universe evinces purposeful design, there must have been a designer.

Premise #2: The universe does evince purposeful design.

Conclusion : Thus the universe must have had a designer.

#2

Premise #1: If the universe evinces traits of non-design, there is no designer.

Premise #2: The universe does evince non-design.

Conclusion: Thus the universe had no designer.

Which premise seems more probable?

None of us has any framework for evaluating the question. However:

Consciousness pre-existing matter is contrary to everything we know about consciousness.

I love my life, and the fact that others can have life too. But I am one of the lucky ones who lives to evaluate it. The amount of pointless suffering experienced by other living beings is incalculable, so mainly we don't think about it. We avoid thinking about it. Only a maniac would design a universe, and living beings, this way if he was omnipotent.

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For me this isn't about forcing Christianity on anyone! It's about one day that Christians and others recognize as the day Jesus of Nazareth was born! That is why the day is called CHRISTmas!!!! It's about certain agenda fueled groups and individuals trying to change the publics concept of that day. Like I said celebrate the holidays any way you want but if you don't believe in Christmas don't try to change the day into something it's not just leave the day alone! God Bless You!!!!!

The day is whatever people make of it. Much of what it has become is due to commercialism. The most important thing is, you are free to celebrate it as you choose, and it shouldn't bother you if others either celebrate it in their own way, or don't celebrate it at all. No matter how you twist and turn this "discussion," there are some people who want to force others to do things their way. That's not freedom. It's not even Christian.

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Guest Kearny Christian

An atheist didn't open this whine-fest. But let an atheist dare to talk back, and look what happens.

I feel nothing but sorrow for atheists, poor lost souls.

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"Why can't you leave the Pagan symbol of a holiday tree alone? Has it ever occurred to you that people from other traditions may think a decorated tree is their symbol? Why did you steal it? "

Was the Pagan tree which I believe was the celebration of the Winter Solstice decorated and recognized on the 25th of December? Is the winter solstice always celebrated on December 25th? If not put up your Solstice tree at the appropriate time and I will respect your Pagan tradition and not try to claim that your Pagan symbol on a day not December 25th is actually a Christmas Tree!

The tree at town hall in Kearny was up and decorated on the Winter Solstice, which is approximately three or four days before Christmas. In fact, the tree was up and decorated for approximately a month, during which time many holidays occurred. But you complain only about Christianity being slighted in some way, which clearly shows that your complaint is only a reflection of your bias. We have one decorated tree at town hall, which is up during everyone's holiday. Yet you seem to think it's exclusive to your religion, as though you owned it, and no one else gets to use it. You don't even see the other people and their religions. In your myopic view, it's as though they don't even exist. That seems to be a common pattern among some (certainly not all) people who call themselves Christians. They don't even understand their own religion.

The history of Paganism and Christianity is an interesting one. Elaine Pagels has an interesting book on the subject, as do others. In the fourth century, Christians took the Pagan holiday as their own, then shut the Pagans out of it. Christianity's history is not always a peaceful one. So you might want to be careful about arguing that someone else has stolen your religious symbol. In fact, early Christians are the ones who stole the Pagan holiday. And let's all be thankful that nothing like that is going on in Kearny. The town is just trying to have a nice little display that includes everyone, why do you have to ruin it by whining that it isn't just for you?

So what do you propose? Shall we have an entire forest of trees on the lawn at town hall, one tree for each religion? I like the idea of one tree to celebrate all the holidays. That way we can all celebrate them together, as one community, even though we don't all subscribe to the same religion. E pluribus unum - from many, one. Good idea, don't you think? If you would just stop looking at religion as a way of dividing people, and think of it as a way to bring people together, the "problem" that doesn't exist except in your head would go away. And you'd be so much happier, as would our entire community. Let's all pull together.

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