Both sides are keeping the true Christ out of Christmas
There is an Irish pub in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, called McNellie’s. The owner, Elliot Nelson, notes that his bar’s design was inspired by a semester he spent in Dublin, bending his elbow at watering holes such as Porterhouse and the Stag’s Head.
In case Nelson’s Hibernian chops still seem insufficient, he was a student at Notre Dame University while he was spending a semester in Ireland.
McNellie’s recently played a small role in a large, roiling war. In this sense, McNellie’s is a little bit like all of us who have the fortune to have been born in America, yet the misfortune to share this great nation with opportunists, cranks and loudmouths of all political stripes.
Last week, a kerfuffle broke out in Tulsa because a parade that some people had come to call a Christmas parade was instead officially renamed a “holiday” parade. This brought howls from the “Keep Christ in Christmas” crowd -- a crowd, incidentally, who should thank God (literally) every morning for all of those newfangled atheist groups out there who are just so willing to let you know that they not only don’t believe in God, but kind of loath anybody who does.
But back to McNellie’s. When the Christmas or holiday or whatever parade in Tulsa lost its sponsor, McNellie’s stepped up and sponsored the parade.
Perhaps they should have flexed some of their financial muscle and given the parade a name that would unite believers and non-believers alike. How about the Whiskey Wonderland parade?
Because after listening to all of these holy rollers and unholy atheists, I really need a good stiff hot toddy.
It may be looking a lot like Christmas these days. But amidst all of the holly and garland, there is a ceaseless culture war.
Try driving through the Lincoln Tunnel these days. Outside of the grimy tube which connects New York and New Jersey are competing billboards, one pro-religion, one anti-religion.
Over in Fort Worth, meanwhile, atheists and believers are doing battle by way of advertisements of buses.
All of this might make you wistful for loud ads for that Hess truck for kids, or even that annoying “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” song.
Of course, the usual Irish suspects are right in the thick of all this.
There’s Bill O’Reilly over on Fox News, going on and on yet again about the War on Christmas.
Over there at the Staten Island Ferry terminal is Bill Donahue of the Catholic League for Civil Rights. Some scholar who works at the ferry terminal apparently placed a Baby Jesus in the facility’s multicultural holiday display. Another genius then decided to remove the offending baby Jesus, thus literally taking Christ out of Christmas!
This made Donahue nearly as angry as ecstatic. After all, he could not have scripted a more perfectly horrible symbol of his own righteous cause.
Though Donahue better be careful. While he was slamming the decision to remove Baby Jesus, Donahue consistently stated this was offensive to “Catholics.”
Last time I checked, Protestants -- for whatever they are worth -- also kind of worship Jesus. Which makes Donahue guilty of the kind of exclusion he so often accuses others of.
Ultimately, this is about as much fun as watching Scrooge do battle with the Grinch. It’s really hard to root for anyone.
The atheists can’t possibly allow someone to be comforted by an otherworldly power, even if that otherworldly power has endured some 2,000 years.
As for the Keep Christ in Christmasers, they seem to want to pretend it’s 1832 in America.
They are prepared to accept that non-Christians exist. They just don’t want to, you know, acknowledge them.
By the way, let’s see how they feel when some do-gooder, in the name of Christian charity, suggests that all retail stores open and close at reasonable hours so that folks can spend Christmas with their families.
Stop the spinning holy wheels of capitalism? Humbug!
And so…Merry…I mean Happy…oh…never mind. Let’s just go to McNellie’s.
(Contact “Sidewalks” at email@example.com or facebook.com/tomdeignan)