atheists

New York Times proves why "Saving Christmas" is important

The New York Times -- which is in the middle of laying off 100 staffers due to the public's growing disinterest in what the Times thinks -- made no effort to attract new Christian readers on Christmas Day. Instead, the nation's supposed "newspaper of record" sneered at the majority of Americans -- who tell pollsters they are believers -- on the very day celebrated nationwide as Jesus' birthday.

"Christmas Day on the New York Times opinion page meant two pro-athiest pieces, but no column to reflect the view of Christian believers on one of their two biggest holidays of the year," wrote Fred Lucas for the Blaze. 

The Times' snide attacks dispelled the Washington Post's recent back-handed proclamation: "Kirk Cameron can breathe easy: the War on Christmas is over. Jesus won."

Cameron, of course, ruffled liberal and atheist feathers with his politically incorrect "Saving Christmas" movie -- still in theaters weeks after its limited run was supposed to end ... amid unprecedented social media attacks by activist atheists.

So, the Post says the war on Christmas has been won by believers? New York Times Magazine food columnist Mark Bittman demonstrated otherwise on Christmas Day -- setting the Times' hostile tone with his "An Atheist’s Christmas Dream.“

“I’ve spent much of my life trying to ignore Christmas,” he wrote. “As a secular Jew, an atheist and a progressive, my reasons are common. It’s a commercial, obnoxious, even dreaded holiday. But it’s not changing anytime soon and we should make the best of it. (Hanukkah, I might note, is no better, although it gives us an excuse to eat latkes.)”

T. M. Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, wrote "Religion Without God," praised the Unitarian Universalist church, whose statement of principles does not include God. “As it happens, this kind of God-neutral faith is growing rapidly, in many cases with even less role for God than among Unitarians,” Luhrmann explained.

She said part of the reason for going to church without a faith is for community.

“Religion is fundamentally a practice that helps people to look at the world as it is and yet to experience it — to some extent, in some way — as it should be,” she wrote. “Much of what people actually do in church — finding fellowship, celebrating birth and marriage, remembering those we have lost, affirming the values we cherish — can be accomplished with a sense of God as metaphor, as story, or even without any mention of God at all.”

Interestingly, as a majority of Americans celebrated Christmas with joy, fewer of them are reading the New York Times, writes Ken Kurson  of the New York Observer: "The Times is staring at an enormous shortfall—as much as $50 million, according to this source—that must be closed immediately.

And with drooping circulation and reduced advertising income, "that explains the draconian cuts of 100 journalists," writes Kerson. "As the New York Times prepares for the latest culling of the most talent-rich newsroom in America, the sad march has already begun. David Corcoran, a Times near-lifer who runs the beloved Science Times section, has reportedly accepted a buyout, as have legendary business reporters Floyd Norris and Bill Carter, labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, arts reporter Carol Vogel, staff editor Jack Bell, plus at least six photographers and picture editors."

Maybe the Times shouldn't be putting so much faith in atheists and Godless religion.

Chinese university denounces Christmas as 'kitsch,' foreign

A Chinese university did its best to keep students from celebrating Christmas.

The school in northwestern China denounced Christmas as "a 'kitsch' foreign celebration unbefitting of the country's own traditions," reports Reuters news agency. 

To make sure students didn't ignore the ban, the Modern College of Northwest University in Xian forced its students to spent Christmas Day watching Chinese Communist Party propaganda films.

It goes without saying those films did not include Kirk Cameron's "Saving Christmas." The movie has been a surprise hit throughout the United States this holiday season -- held over nationwide beyond its scheduled two-week limited run.

Preventing the spread of Christmas celebration was the intent of the Chinese school, which "strung up banners around the campus reading: 'Strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays' and 'Resist the expansion of Western culture,'" reported Reuters.

A state-run Chinese newspaper reported that students were warned they would be punished if they did not attend a mandatory three-hour screening of propaganda films with teachers standing guard to stop students from leaving.

"There's nothing we can do about it, we can't escape," the student was quoted as saying.

"An official microblog belonging to one of the university's Communist Party's committees posted comments calling for students not to 'fawn on foreigners' and pay more attention to China's holidays, like Spring Festival," reported Reuters.

"In recent years, more and more Chinese have started to attach importance to Western festivals," it wrote.

"In their eyes, the West is more developed than China, and they think that their holidays are more elegant than ours, even that Western festivals are very fashionable and China's traditional festivals are old fashioned."

Christmas is not a traditional festival in officially atheist China, however, it is growing in popularity, particularly in more metropolitan areas where a growing number of people are celebrating the holiday, giving gifts and decorating their homes.

"Western culture, particularly in the form of U.S. pop culture, is wildly popular with young, educated Chinese, which occasionally causes discomfort for the generally quite conservative ruling Communist Party," noted Reuters.

The Xian university isn't the only Chinese entity opposing Christmas. "Wenzhou, a city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, has banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Inspectors would make sure rules are enforced, it added," according to Reuters.

Now this, just in from the atheists!

Nah, scoffs the Washington Post, there's no war on Christmas. It's all in the mind of well, you know ... "Kirk Cameron can breathe easy: the War on Christmas is over. Jesus won," writes the Post's Chris Ingraham. "That's the implication of a new Pew Research Center survey."

Conservatives such as Fox News talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have long warned of a “War on Christmas,” citing moves by retailers, public schools and local governments to remove references to Christmas from displays and celebrations.

But Cameron had nothing to worry about when he created this year's Yuletide hit, "Saving Christmas," writes the Post reporter.

Why not?

Well, Ingraham reasons that nearly three-quarters of Americans -- 73 percent -- believe that Jesus was literally born to a virgin, according to the Pew survey. "This is especially surprising when you consider that only one third of Americans say that the Bible is the word of God and should be understood literally.

"In other words, about 40 percent of Americans say the Bible should, in general, not be taken literally, but they nevertheless believe in the virgin birth. In addition, 81 percent say Jesus was laid in a manger, 75 percent say that the three wise men brought him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh, and 74 percent say that his birth was announced by an angel to the shepherds."

"In all," writes Ingraham, "Pew reports that 65 percent of Americans believe all four key elements of the Christmas story are to be taken literally. This is more than the percentage who express confidence in evolution, global warming, or the efficacy of vaccines.

"Another sign that the War on Christmas is over: 72 percent of Americans say nativity scenes should be allowed on government property. 44 percent say nativity scenes should be allowed even if symbols from other religious faiths are prohibited. Only one in five Americans say nativity scenes shouldn't be allowed on government property at all.

"Or take this datapoint, from 2012: when asked whether they prefer 'Merry Christmas' or a generic holiday greeting, a plurality said it didn't matter. Among those with a preference, Americans preferred 'Merry Christmas' by a 4-to-1 margin. Even non-religious Americans prefer 'Merry Christmas' by nearly 3-to-1.

"So, looking at this data, it's hard to find a true War on Christmas," writes Ingraham, who in typical Washington Post tradition chose to ignore a news release delivered to its front desk that AtheistTV has unveiled its “War on Christmas” line-up on their little-viewed television channel.

The line-up features “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community,” writes Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times.

“Christmas is hard for many atheists, so we will provide programming free from superstition and fairy tales that allows families to watch together and not worry about being preached at,” American Atheists President Dave Silverman said in a statement.

AtheistTV’s slate of “holiday-inspired specials” probably won’t make anyone forget “A Charlie Brown Christmas,”  notes Richardson. "They include a speech by Council for Secular Humanism Executive Director Tom Flynn and an episode of the atheist viewpoint titled, ‘Is Christmas a Religious Holiday?'”

There’s also the “Xmas 2009” episode of The Atheist Experience and episodes of The Atheist Voice with The Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta, according to the press release.

The AtheistTV channel was launched worldwide on July 29 and can be accessed via Roku set-top boxes or as a free online stream at www.atheists.tv, the release said.

England's Christmas is threatened by ... streakers?

Reverent Christmas observances in Britain  are increasingly the target of irreverent pranksters -- who are disrupting such solemn events as Midnight Mass.

"Priests are voicing growing fears," writes John Bingham for the Telegraph, "because of invasions by raucous drinkers and even streakers."

"Streaking in December in England?" asks  a staff writer at Healthista. "You have got to be bonkers."

American filmmaker Kirk Cameron examines a number of such threats in his film "Saving Christmas." The hit was held over beyond its scheduled limited run in a number of venues nationwide -- and new theaters were added -- despite a campaign by activist atheists to slur the movie. He says Christmas is also threatened by Christians in many cases -- believers who preach that celebrating Jesus' birth is sinful.

British clergy didn't blame atheists or fundamentalists.  Instead, drunks and exhibitionists were cited. A survey by the British Catholic magazine, the Tablet, discovered 50 venues where festivities have been scaled back or cancelled altogether due to disruptions in years past.

"Priests at more than 50 deaneries – groups of parishes – across England and Wales contacted this week confirmed," wrote the Tablet's Joanna Moorhead, Liz Dodd and Katherine Backler, "that there has been a decline in the number of churches offering a Mass that ushers in Christmas Day on the stroke of midnight.

"In some pastoral areas it will not be offered at all, while in many the first Mass of the nativity is now scheduled for as early as 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve."

Many priests reported problems with drunks infiltrating services that begin just as the pubs close.

Some congregations have been forced to boost security, effectively putting bouncers "at the doors to deter those overcome with festive excess from making unscheduled appearances," writes Bingham.

"Monsignor David Hogan, of St Bernadette’s, in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, estimated that less than a quarter of parishes in his area now offer mass at midnight on Christmas Eve.

“Last time we had it, we ended up with a drunk trying to get the doors off the church,” he told the Tablet.

“So we’ve made the decision not to have Mass when people are pouring out of the pubs sloshed.”

"One parish in York has brought the mass forward to 8 p.m. after last year’s service was interrupted by a streaker," writes Bingham.  "Meanwhile a church in Havant had to call police three times after drunken yobs threw bricks at worshipers during Christmas prayers.

But other churches are holding firm with tradition. Father Michael Marsden of Our Lady of Lourdes in Hessle, East Yorks, who will be presiding over the only midnight mass in his immediate area, said: “Going to midnight mass at Christmas used to be one of the hallmarks of being a Catholic, it is sad if that is changing.”

Christmas carolers threatened with arrest!

It seemed like a great idea -- a group of high schoolers taking a merry Christmas flashmob to a retail super-center. However, they didn't expect to be confronted by a modern descendant of the Grinch and Ebeneezer Scrooge. "A shocking video that has gone viral after being posted on Facebook shows a group of caroling kids being thrown out of an Oregon Walmart store and being threatened with a call to the police," writes Dominic Kelly on the website Opposing Views.

The video was first posted on Facebook by a singer's mom, Stacy Kerns. A large group of teens can be seen nervously gathering in front of the checkout counters at a Walmart in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The kids break out into song, belting out Christmas carols and attempting to bring some holiday cheer to the shoppers.

After all, similar Yuletide flashmobs have been well received -- even became international sensations, such as the Philadelphia Opera Company's gathering of 600 singers from schools, churches, community chorales and barbershop quartets at Macy's department store in Philadelphia. Without announcement, they broke out into the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah -- to the delight of shoppers and 8.7 million viewers on YouTube.

It inspired imitators worldwide, such as the college kids who brought the Hallelujah Chorus to a shopping mall's food court in Canada. Their YouTube video has been seen by 45 million viewers worldwide.

But not everybody likes Christmas joy -- as moviemaker Kirk Cameron has learned all too well -- as his fun, family-friendly film "Saving Christmas" has been targeted for derision by militant atheists ... and even well-meaning Christians who are convinced celebrating Jesus' birthday is a sin.

In the Oregon Walmart, the high schoolers were rudely interrupted and threatened with arrest. The joyous strains of "Jingle Bells" gave way to memories of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

“My daughter and the Henley chorus were doing a flash mob at our Walmart and the co-manager told the kids in the middle of the song to leave it they would call law enforcement,” Kerns wrote on her Facebook video post. “Make this go viral people please!!!!”

Kern’s wishes have come true, as over 3,000 people have now shared her clip on Facebook, resulting in more than 140,000 views. It's also been picked up on YouTube.

"KOBI-TV reports that a spokesperson for the Walmart store has refused to comment but did say that the group wasn’t invited to sing on their private property," writes Kelly. "After the incident in Walmart, the kids were able to successfully bring their Christmas carol flash mob to a Fred Meyer store nearby."

Is the atheist campaign hurting "Saving Christmas"? On the contrary ...

SCBlogImage-OnTheContrary.png

“I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right,” declared famous showman P.T. Barnum -- founder of what today is "The Greatest Show on Earth," the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Playwright Oscar Wilde put it another way: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

To quote Barnum again: "There's no such thing as bad publicity." He knew that if his show featured a new attraction that drew no reviews at all, the public wouldn't know about it  -- and the show would be a failure. Obviously, he preferred good publicity. However, he knew that bad publicity also sells tickets.

That's a lesson militant atheists apparently have forgotten. In the last week, we've seen an unprecedented campaign against Christian moviemaker Kirk Cameron's film "Saving Christmas." But the ironic thing is they are inadvertently filling theaters with moviegoers wondering what all the fuss is about.

"Saving Christmas" was originally scheduled for a limited two-week run in a few selected cities. However, with all the publicity that atheists have generated denouncing the film, it has been held over -- and is expanding to new cities.

Atheists helped spread the word by urging non-believers to log onto the Internet Movie Database website and as well as the review site Rotten Tomatoes vote "Saving Christmas" the worst movie in history.

Here's a social media post by "religion is a parasite," urging readers to vote. Notice that one follower responded with a pang of conscience, wondering if only people who had seen the movie should vote.

10685575_1563376337214466_2085872524224631378_n

The nationwide atheist campaign succeeded in stuffing the ballot box -- and suddenly all sorts of media which had ignored the film was announcing the news -- that "Saving Christmas" is the worst movie ever made.

For example, media gadfly Perez Hilton suddenly jumped into the discussion, telling his millions of followers:

perez However, the public isn't stupid. Here's a Facebook post that resulted: response Here's another response: facebook2

 

And so, something designed to hurt a godly cause has actually helped it. Interestingly enough 4,000 years ago, one of God's greatest prophets had thoughts on that topic:  Isaiah 54:17 -- "No weapon formed against you will prosper."

There's also "The day is coming when God will reckon with wicked men for their hard speeches" (Jude 1:15).

And: "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you ... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you'" (2 Chronicles 20:17).

 

Signs of the "war on Christmas" popping up right on cue

SCBlogImage-AtheistBillboard.png

Like a four-year-old bouncing on the coffee table and shouting naughty words, atheists nationwide are doing their best to offend anyone who loves the reason for the season. "The most reliable annual 'war on Christmas' fodder in all the land has arrived," reports Abby Ohlheiser for the Washington Post. "A billboard, released by an atheist group."

“Dear Santa,” the billboard reads. “All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales.”

The American Atheists organization posted the billboards in Memphis, Nashville, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Arkansas. The signs are aimed at "in-the-closet atheists who are pressured to observe religious traditions during the holidays," reports Lauren Squires for ABC News in Memphis.  "While previous billboards have been located in urban settings like New York City's Times Square, this year billboards are located in more residential areas near schools and churches."

"Atheists in Illinois are taking direct aim at Christmas," reports Billy Hallowell of the Blaze, "by posting numerous public displays in an effort to combat nativity scenes and other religious sentiment.

“Once again this year, the non-religious will have a voice in the Chicago area countering the religious symbolism widely present on public property during the the month of December,” reads a press release from the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter. "The group has posted a large, illuminated scarlet 'A' along with banners celebrating the winter solstice" in Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza.

The organization is also collaborating with the Chicago Coalition of Reason "to unveil a separate set of messages over the weekend inside North School Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois," reports Hallowell.

The atheist plan is to "outnumber religious symbols" commemorating Christmas, according to the press release from the the secular group’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter. Among the messages will be a banner that asks, “Are you good without God? Millions are!”

But a few folks are fighting back -- including the thousands packing out theaters featuring Kirk Cameron's movie "Saving Christmas." It had been scheduled for a limited two-week run in select theaters -- but instead has has been held over nationwide. And more theaters are picking up the movie each week.

In fact, Cameron has unofficially put out the word that the only way to see "Saving Christmas" this year will be in theaters -- that no DVD will be released this Christmas season.

And in Redmond, Washington, signs proclaiming “It's OK to say 'Merry Christmas'” are popping up all over for the third consecutive year.

No one seems to know who’s responsible for posting the placards, according to the Redmond Reporter. The green signs include two Bible verses — one from Romans and another from Luke.

The text from Romans 1:16 reads, ”For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

"The signs," reports Hallowell, "which are placed near the library, police department and a local church, appear to be an attempt to encourage citizens to abandon more generic season’s greetings like 'Happy Holidays.'”

“We live in a pluralistic society and I'm grateful that we have freedom of expression,” said Suzanne Aviles, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

According to a Pew poll, many of the states targeted by the atheists this year have a smaller-than-average percentage of people who responded that they do not believe in God. In Tennessee, for instance, just 2 percent of respondents said they do not believe in God. But American Atheists told the Post it is bringing the campaign to the South not because of the quantity of atheists there, but because “discrimination and mistrust of atheists is especially pronounced” in the region.

In Mississippi, no billboard company would rent the atheists a sign.

"Overall, American attitudes towards atheists are not positive," noted the Post. "In a poll earlier this year, a majority of Americans said that a belief in God is necessary for individual morality. And a temperature-based rating system from Pew measuring how people in the United States feel about different faith groups found that Americans, by a wide margin, have the 'coldest' feelings for atheists."