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Tilting at Windmills

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December 9, 2009

HOUSE GOP IS PRO-CHRISTMAS.... It was just six weeks ago that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided he was fed up with empty, meaningless congressional resolutions. These largely symbolic measures are taken up all the time -- it's been routine fare for years -- but Boehner decided they're now evidence of Democratic negligence. "These are your hard-earned tax dollars at work," Boehner scoffed.

He apparently didn't persuade his own caucus. This week, 19 House Republicans unveiled a resolution (H. RES. 951) to make it clear that Congress likes Christmas.

Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and

Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment of the Constitution, in prohibiting the establishment of religion, would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;

(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and

(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.

That'll show the anti-Christmas crusaders. If this entirely toothless resolution garners support, everyone will know that congressional politicians approve of the holiday. All of those folks intent on "banning references to Christmas" -- presumably they exist outside of far-right imaginations, right? -- won't know what hit 'em.

"These are your hard-earned tax dollars at work."

Steve Benen 1:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

I strongly urge that this very, very, very important bill be returned to committee where it can be fully debated and amended ad nauseam. We need to spend lots and lots of time discussing all the historic ramifications of this very, very important bill, and take the advice of all the relevant lobbyists who may wish to have input into this very, very important bill. Treat it like we do health care reform...sit on it until your ass is numb.

Posted by: candideinnc on December 9, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

They sure make it sound like a holiday you wouldn't want to celebrate.

I'm not a big holidays kind of person, but christmas carries with it the notion of good will, happiness, celebrations....Republicans and conservatives are hell bent on turning it into a caustic weapon. This resolution sounds forced, blunt and almost mean spirited...very Christmas like, isn't it?

Posted by: SaintZak on December 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Bill O'Reilly had declared victory in the War on Christmas a few years ago?

Posted by: Speed on December 9, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

And people say congressional Republicans don't have any ideas about how to fix the economy, reform health care, trim the deficit, fight global warming, and improve the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: Master Mahan on December 9, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Bill O'Reilly had declared victory in the War on Christmas a few years ago?

Like most wars, it's too profitable to stop.

Posted by: TonyB on December 9, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I urge everyone to celebrate Christmas in the most meanigful way possible. With a generous gift to the ACLU! Ho Ho Ho......

Posted by: Paul Dirks on December 9, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

if anything in america looks like the temple overflowing with moneychangers, it is the capitol building in washington dc.

that building is filled with rotten arrogant assholes sold to the highest bidder: corporate america. god damn the lot of 'em...

Posted by: neill on December 9, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

The actual law from 1870 reads, "Dec.25, which some call Christmas Day...".

Factual Fail, as usual.

Posted by: Tim H on December 9, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Some Democrat should add an amendment (or propose parallel bills) extending support for the use of symbols and traditions of Kwanzaa and Hannukah. Love to see the GOP vote the Christmas one up, and the other ones down.

Posted by: K Ashford on December 9, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I want the Winter Solstice to be a global holiday.

What are 3 words that Santa Clause can't say anymore?

Ho. Ho. Ho.

(Why do you think he was such a jolly old elf anyway? :-) )


I think the honorable congressman was referring to the reality that

you can wish someone Happy Hanuka or Happy Kwanza, but ya can't say Merry F**king Christmas without some politically correct terron taking offense.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 9, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

What about those of us celebrating Saturnalia. I WANT a resolution:

Whereas, in recognition of the valuable contribution of the Romans to the form, philosophy, and architecture of the American Republic;

AND whereas, this contribution has been forgotten in recent years.

BE IT RESOLVED: that Congress declare December 17 Saturnalia so Americans can celebrate and reflect on the contributions of the Romans to our Republic.

According to Wikipedia: "the feast with which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn" ... It lasted 7 days from Dec 17 to Dec 25.

Posted by: Kurt on December 9, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

[...] would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog [...]

Amendment! Not prohibit, no, but limit the references to God to say (exact numbers can be debated on the floor), once per term, per representative. With penalties for overuse. That's to stay within the "Do not call God's name in vain" injunction (sorry, I'm translating from Polish; I don't know the traditional English for the phrase but I'm sure it must exist). Since, most of the time, the representatives' invocations of God's name are entirely frivolous, this would make them think before speak. One hopes.

Posted by: exlibra on December 9, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
ya can't say Merry F**king Christmas without some politically correct terron taking offense.

Have you tried "Merry Frigging Christmas"?

Posted by: noncarborundum on December 9, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK
Some Democrat should add an amendment (or propose parallel bills) extending support for the use of symbols and traditions of Kwanzaa and Hannukah. Love to see the GOP vote the Christmas one up, and the other ones down.

Excellent idea. Seconded.

Posted by: a different phil on December 9, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Do they know Santa Clause isn't real?

Posted by: flubber on December 9, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Until the CBO scores this, I'm not making up my mind on why I will filibuster it.

Posted by: HernCo on December 9, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Festivus for the rest of us!

Posted by: greg on December 9, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Dems should do this for Medicare:

Whereas Medicare is a national program providing care for millions of American senior citizens; and

Whereas the Congress that established Medicare established a legacy for the future of all Americans by establishing a Constitutional means to respect the contributions of America's senior citizens: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the importance of the continuation of a robust Medicare program;

(2) strongly disapproves of any attempt to slash Medicare benefits to make way for tax cuts; or any attempt to argue that programs such as Medicare are un-Constitutional; and

(3) expresses support for the continuance of the Medicare program as a pillar of our society's commitment to its senior citizens.

See who votes against THAT.

Posted by: st on December 9, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I strongly urge that this very, very, very important bill be returned to committee where it can be fully debated and amended ad nauseam.

That's what Jesus would do.

Posted by: qwerty on December 9, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

You know what would be a great symbol of the Christmas spirit, GOP?

Passing healthcare reform and a jobs bill that helps those Americans who need it.

You know, actually doing something that would make Jesus proud.

Posted by: 2Manchu on December 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I wanted to know...

...What bans of Christmas?

But all the replies above were much better.

Posted by: Crissa on December 9, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's so odd to me that Republicans keep insisting that Wal-Mart and Toys R Us are their houses of worship that must not be desecrated by "Happy Holidays" signs when the rest of us have, you know, actual churches to go to for Christmas.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 9, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere right now Jesus is saying, "Elvis, what did we do to deserve this!"

Posted by: SaintZak on December 9, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

As for the complaints about people saying "Happy Holidays" this time of year, it seems that New Year's Day and New Year's Eve are no longer holidays that fall a week after Christmas. When did that happen?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 9, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"whereas the first amendment of the Constitution bars state recognition of a religion, we would like the state to recognize this religious holiday".

Posted by: Jane on December 9, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

ya can't say Merry F**king Christmas without some politically correct terron taking offense.

I don't know about that, but the fundie whiners get their hackles up every time I direct that exact phrase toward them. And I was just trying to be nice.

Posted by: shortstop on December 9, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Bill O'Reilly had declared victory in the War on Christmas a few years ago?

Like most wars, it's too profitable to stop.

i don't know about that but it certainly is an easy straw man to prop up whenever needed.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 9, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, why the rush to Christmas? I think this bill needs to go back to committee and get some bipartisan support.

(BTW, did I miss a meeting of the Vast Left Wing Cabal? I didn't know we were trying to ban references to Christmas. When did we start that?)

Posted by: biggerbox on December 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown

Posted by: Alan B. on December 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner has set a clever trap because there's nothing the majority of Americans hate worse than the Baby Jesus.

Posted by: Rev. Bob on December 9, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, (snap!) Greg beat me to it!

Posted by: ML on December 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Praise ME!

Posted by: Jesus H. Christ on December 9, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

ya can't say Merry F**king Christmas without some politically correct terron taking offense.

I tried Happy F**king Holidays, but that didn't go over well either.

Posted by: Master Mahan on December 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sky Fairies; Easter Bunnies and Santy Claus(ies) are so cute and adorable...

Really though, so the solstice on 12/21 has the sun standing still for three days; then it begins the process of shining ever extended light on earth till equal day\night on 4/21 and wicked ass long on 6/21

Tough to explain that back in the day, so they made you a story!!! (and killed the folks who couldn't "grasp" it...)

Posted by: rf on December 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's sure nice to know at least somebody is taking the preeminent issue of our time, the War on Christmas, seriously! All this health care and financial reform nonsense... I mean, really. That's just a waste of our hard-earned tax dollars. Now the real* People's work is getting done!

*White, wealthy, Christian, married males. All others need not apply, and better not either.

(/snark)

Posted by: electrolite on December 9, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

A HOLIDAY present to Alan B from me, courtesy of my quotes file:

I despise those shallow religious comics. Dennis the Menace, for instance, is the most shallow. When they show him praying -- I just can't stand that sort of thing, talking to God about some cutesy thing that he'd done during the day. I don't think Hank Ketcham has any deep knowledge of things like that.
-- Charles Schulz, to David Templeton in 1999, quoted from Templeton, "My Lunch with Sparky" (2000)

The term that best describes me now is "secular humanist."
-- Charles Schulz, to David Templeton in 1999, quoted from Templeton, "My Lunch with Sparky" (2000)

Posted by: Tim H on December 9, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

I get a lot of those much forwarded right wing emails from my old misguided friends. Most of them go straight to the trash barrel, but I saved this one. I don't think the sender realized how liberal the thoughts are:


> Dear Children,
>
> It has come to my attention that many you are upset that folks are taking My
> name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born
> during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who
> decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan
> festival. . . although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.
>
> How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily
> understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.
> I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just
> GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
>
> Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which
> you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a
> couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own
> front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such
> a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around
> town.
>
> Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday
> tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can
> remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I
> actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to
> you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up
> John 15: 1 - 8.
>
> If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish
> list. Choose something from it:
>
> 1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is
> being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home.
> They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me
> all the time.
>
> 2. Visit someone in a nursing home. Not just during Christmas time, but all
> through the year. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to
> know that someone cares about them.
>
> 3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the
> cards his staff sends out this year, why don't you write and tell him that
> you'll be praying for him and his family? Then follow up. It will be nice
> hearing from you again.
>
> 4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they
> don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I
> came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that
> I love them.
>
> 5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
>
> 6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own
> life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't
> know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could
> make the difference.
>
> 7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the
> holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile
> and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas"
> that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on
> Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and
> let their employees spend the day at home with their families
>
> 8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary--
> especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard
> My name.
>
> 9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town
> who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any
> presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few
> gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which
> believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
>
> 10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and
> loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that
> you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words
> that you are one of mine.
>
> Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what
> I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list
> above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in
> your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you
> love and remember :
>
> I LOVE YOU,
>
> JESUS
>
>
>

Posted by: sparky on December 9, 2009 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Can we find someone to hold or filibuster? After all, it is a very, very, very important bill.

Posted by: Mellifluous on December 9, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Attach single payer healthcare as an amendment to the bill and then vote to pass it. When the republicans try to filibuster the bill or vote it down tell the press they hate Christmas.

Posted by: tolkien on December 9, 2009 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

rf, let me just take grumpy issue with your 'religious people are stoopid because they don't understand ellipses.'

An intelligent barbarian would know that the sun would come back: she would also know that it would be really easy for the sun to stay away just long enough to create a Fimbulwinter that would destroy the human race. The miracle is not one of periodicity, it's one of periodicity merciful enough to survive in.

It's also the first phenomenon big enough to illustrate mathematics beyond counting to humankind. A hunter will just follow the wrinkles of a complicated earth and may or may not find game--but the paths of the Sun and Moon and the changing of daylight present arcs and angles to the most untutored of folks. The world around the hunter is lumpy, crooked, and unreliable--but the sky is filled with mathematics.

The solstice is thus both an awareness of a mercy that is still, today, a mystery--and a celebration of the birth, when you think carefully, of Science itself.

And all that is implicit in the most primitive of festivals.

Posted by: pbg on December 9, 2009 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

This should be offered as an amendment to any jobs-creation bill the House comes up with. Maybe that'd get some R votes.

Posted by: mmm on December 9, 2009 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

2000 years ago it undoubtedly took courage to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ anywhere in Rome's empire.

What the GOP doesn't realize is that over the last two millenniums things have changed.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 9, 2009 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

candideinnc @ 1:53pm:

I strongly urge that this very, very, very important bill be returned to committee where it can be fully debated and amended ad nauseam.

I propose, instead, that we attach a strong public option, welcome to all comers, and make the Republicans either voter for it, or vote against Christmas.

.

Posted by: JGabriel on December 9, 2009 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

to Sparky - thanks for the shared message. I think I'll use it.

Posted by: clueless on December 10, 2009 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

I have come up with a way for Boehner to save some face on this issue and even did the math. First let's figure out what the hourly pay for all the Republicans in the House is combined:


Leader's Salary:
$193,400 / 2080 avg. work hours per year = $93.00 per hour

Member's Salary:
$174,000 / 2080 avg. work hours per year = $84.00 per hour

Total Per Hour:
(176 (Republicans in the House minority leader) * $84.00) + $93.00 (you Mr. Boehner) = $14,877.00/hour

Now figure up how much time it takes to see this resolution through from birth to passage and multiple that by the $14,877.00 and have the Republican caucus donate that to some charities that are helping struggling families give an actual Christmas. That seems like the real Christian thing to do.

Posted by: Jamie on December 10, 2009 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

What a crappy resolution. Here in Scotland we had a resolution saying how great AC/DC are:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/motions/Default.aspx?motionid=15436

Much more like productive (and indeed representative of most right-thinking people's view).

Posted by: ally on December 10, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Fuck the RepubliKKKans.

Posted by: Kenneth Mark Hoover on December 10, 2009 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is not Christmas, but Advent, the season of preparation and anticipation that begins 4 weeks before Christmas. I celebrate Advent, which the church has done for about 1900 years. Christmas does not begin until December 24th in the evening. In the old tradition, we do not sing Christmas carols until the 24th. The commercial world declared war on Advent many years ago and they won. If I refuse to celebrate Christmas until its rightful time, and instead celebrate the season of Advent, does that mean I am part of the war on Christmas---the one dreamed up by the department stores? Have a blessed Advent. skip

Posted by: Skip on December 12, 2009 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

What a complete maroon. Tis the season, Saturn is the reason; no doubt that an orgy would pretty much be cleared out immediately upon Mr. Orange glow disrobing at the entrance. Stick with the "Virgin" John.

Posted by: Trollopoly on December 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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