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Nov 17

The War on Christmas, Or Red Cups and Refugees

I originally posted this to my FB page, but I decided that it should also live here.

I try to keep religion off my Facebook, but I have to get this off my chest. It probably won’t be here for very long. But here goes (update: I guess it’s sticking around. the FB settings for it were changed to public after a few people asked to share)

Let me get this straight. Last week, (many) Christian Americans were proclaiming a “war on Christmas” because Starbucks elected to use an unadorned red cup this year instead of one decorated with snowflakes or other signs of the season.

This week, many of these same people are upset about refugees fleeing religious extremism and violent atrocities by seeking shelter in various communities across western Europe and the United States. There has been much talk about refusing them entry into many of these United States because they represent the very threat from which they flee.

All of this as we prepare to celebrate a holiday based exclusively on the idea of undeserved hospitality that some of our ancestors received from the indigenous people of North America when they came to what is now New England, many of whom, the settlers, were themselves fleeing religious persecution.

And only a few weeks later, Christmas.

Do people think that Mary and Joseph (those of the Bible, just so we’re clear) came from Ohio? That the manger in Bethlehem was in Pennsylvania?

If there’s a war on Christmas, Starbucks is the least of our problems. Instead, let’s think about the xenophobia and hypocrisy that blind us to the suffering of others both at home and abroad.

As another Black Friday approaches, perhaps it’s worth remembering that as a holiday, Christmas isn’t, or shouldn’t be, about retail–whether coffee cups or door-buster sales. It should be about love. It should be about compassion. It should be about generosity. It shouldn’t matter whether a person is from the Middle East or the Midwest or Middle Earth (that’s for you, my Hobbit reading friends).

This, right now, this moment, this debate about letting people in or keeping them out–this is the moment for a true demonstration of Christianity and the Christmas spirit.

And let me just say: YOU’RE BLOWING IT. Big time.
That’s all </rant>.

3 comments

  1. KarinFreeburg

    Erin!! This is great! Exactly my feelings! You spoke for me so eloquently!! Auntie Kari

  2. Donna Williams

    Thanks, Erin, for a great post that gets to the heart of all this zenophobia and pandering going on on the part of so many elected leaders and politicians. I’ve not seen such levels of anti-immigrant fever in my lifetime. A bunch of politicians preying on the human tendency to be very afraid and in so doing turn their backs on desperate war refugees. Of course, I just happen to believe the root cause is a seven year effort to block and obstruct anything that the current administration does. if that means they must turn their backs on people desperate for help, then so be it.

    1. Erin Templeton

      Thanks for reading and for your comment Donna!

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