Mark Shea and I’m sure plenty of others found my Christmas rant to be over-the-top and ludicrous.

Do I care? Not really. In my view, if you don’t sound a little over-the-top, you aren’t paying attention. But I realize it isn’t for everyone. I think plenty of people understood the point being made, and I stand by it: only a fascist psychopath has a problem with the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

Anyway, I’m happy to be here as your local over-the-top crank. I’ll leave the banality to others.

59 Responses to Predictably…

  • Mark Shea finds something “over the top?” What?

  • Mark Shea finds something “over the top?” What?

    Heh, that was my reaction as well. Next he’ll be complaining about some using cutesy catchphrases in their writings.

  • I have always been a connoisseur of a good rant and your rant Joe was a great specimen and in a good cause. As for Mark, he isn’t bad at the rant tossing himself, except he tends to fall back on canned phrases like “Rubber Hose Right”, for which I am sure he now holds the copyright, and one sometimes gets the feeling that he is simply going through the motions. A good rant is heart-felt, spontaneous and inventive.

    Rick Santelli is a master of the art form:

  • Thanks Joe, somebody finally put Shea in his place…

  • For those who would like a miniscule sample of Shea rants over the years:

  • Pope Mark (and his nitwit followers) is a sanctimonious, morally-superior, liberal twit . . .

    I have no use for professional catholics that don’t wear Roman collars (those must prove themselves) who are comprehensively ignorant and wrong all the time.

  • Pax.

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an economy-destroying, environmentally conscious, gay/sodomy accepting, governmentally-funded abortion advancing, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the gender, race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

    By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

    PS: I’m praying for you hellions . . .

  • Merry Christmas! :)

  • Hola, I’m a troll who spends time on M. Shea’s blog.

    “…only a fascist psychopath has a problem with the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’.”

    ONLY? In my opinion, only an imbecile has a problem with the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’. Here is the reasoning behind that statement. Just like you can no more take the Declaration of Independence out of July 4, you cannot take Christ out of Christmas. Otherwise there is nothing to celebrate. IF they were fascists and psychopaths they would be consistent and therefore demand that all “winter” celebrations altogether. The whole reason there is a “winter” celebration that begins on December 25 is because of the Nativity. So, they’d have to give up the secular version as well, because it’s helplessly rooted in the Nativity and is soley dependent on it… just like July 4 is dependent on American Independence. Want to take American Independence out of July 4 and you’ll have to eliminate July 4 celebrations altogether because there’d be nothing to celebrate.

  • Joe H.:

    I don’t disagree that people who go out of their way to be offended by Christmas are human toothaches. However, I seldom meet these. What I mostly see are timid and frightened shopkeepers and bureaucrats (and their employees) who are frightened of the human toothaches, both real and imaginary. The way to approach such people is, I reckon, to wish them “Merry Christmas” and smile rather than scream at them about fascist psychopaths, Nazis, and so forth. It is timidity, not incipient Eichmannism, that is largely the problem. Typically, when I wish somebody “Merry Christmas” they smile and return the greeting, often with a sigh of relief. Those who berate these timid people as incarnations of the Banality of Evil tend not to have such a successful time of drawing them out of the timidity.

    Just the musings of a Milquetoast without the guts to fight for the Faith. Take it or leave it.

  • Mark Shea a liberal?! Nooo! Just because he opposes the death penalty, young earth creationism, traditional Catholics, conservatives, and the vigorous interogation of suspected or known terrorists, does that make him a liberal? Hey, yeah, it does!

  • Well, here’s the problem with all that Mark: I think I made a pretty clear distinction between the people who are intimidated, and the people doing the intimidating.

    The people who would actually drag someone into court or file some sort of complaint against someone for using the phrase “Merry Christmas”, or who approve of that sort of thing as conscious de-Christianizers, are modern fascists.

    The people who give into their fascistic demands – while weak and wrong – are not fascists themselves, but rather their victims. I wish they weren’t so timid. But they are.

    As for you not fighting for the faith, I don’t even think that’s the case. But how about you don’t fight others who are fighting for it in their own way.

  • The very first day a bully asks for your lunch money, you’d better give him a bloody nose or at least be willing to take a punch yourself and refuse his demands. Otherwise you may next end up stuffed in a locker or held by the feet over a swirling toilet bowl.

    The point is that you have to confront these control freaks right from the beginning, even over the little things. You have to shout “no!” and you have to assert your rights, even in small things. To a control freak, to a fascist, there are no little things. Every victory is symbolic, just as every defeat is.

  • Yes. Yes. Life as Power Struggle. Very Marxist.

    However, down here among the groundlings where I live, most people are not the power hungry neo Nazi control freaks you describe, just timid shopkeepers and bureaucrats. So, for instance, setting up websites for the express purpose of publically humiliating them as grinches (which was the subject of the Christmas Inquisitor post to which you took such wonderful umbrage) is exactly the sort of hyper-sensitive overkill that just makes Christians look like joyless Inquisitors with a chip on their shoulder to these ordinary folk.

    By all means, knock yourself out doing battle with the small minority of Human Toothaches who are bound and determined to take offense at Christmas. But–as you say–don’t fight others who are fighting for Christmas in their own way.

    Steve Dalton and T. Shaw:

    Merry Christmas!

  • The people who would actually drag someone into court or file some sort of complaint against someone for using the phrase “Merry Christmas”

    Has this ever actually happened?

  • Blackadder:

    None of your sanctimonious, morally superior liberal twit questions!

  • The ACLU of Tennessee sent out strong arm letters to 137 Tennessee school districts warning them against school Christmas celebrations. Fortunately the Alliance Defense Fund is on the case:

    Nevada high school buckled under to the ACLU:

    Joe is absolutely correct on this issue. There are very powerful forces in our society that despise Christianity, and the annual observance of Christmas grates on them mightily, yet another reason to wish them Merry Christmas!

  • If it never happened, or was never threatened, then no one would be afraid to say it.

    As for the timid shopkeeper and bureaucrat, it is impossible for me to imagine how anyone can be “timid” and moral at the same time. They aren’t “timid”, they’re in”timid”ated, and they shouldn’t be.

    If you don’t want to share my perspective that the small battles matter, fine. I think that sort of blasé attitude is unjustifiable in the present circumstances.

  • Thanks, Tito! You too!

  • During the course of twenty years, I witnessed “Merry Christmas” gradually being removed from cards sent by businesses to their clients lest the recipients be offended. Virtually no Christmas greetings are sent or received by firms, but rather “Happy Holidays.” Recently, many firms have decided to send “Happy Thanksgiving” cards instead of Christmas greetings to avoid offending sensitivities. This is just one example of sterile secular humanism’s antagonism toward Christians and I would tag it as Christian persecution. To do otherwise is akin to turning one’s head to the biggest persecution perpetrated in modern-day history in Germany. And I don’t care if I’m labeled as overly sensitive and hyperbolic, but to NOT be offended by the omission of the birth of Jesus is as insidious as Jesus warned us – neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. He watches.

  • “As for the timid shopkeeper and bureaucrat, it is impossible for me to imagine how anyone can be “timid” and moral at the same time.”

    Happily, it was Jesus and not you who answered the man who pled, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” This sort of intolerance of the weak and ideologically impure is, also, very Marxist. It makes men excellent prophets if their fire is turned where it needs to be (against the powerful and corrupt) but very poor pastors if they insist on scourging the weak and tearing them down as “immoral” when often the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Hope you hone your gifts and ply them where they need to be plied, Joe. Even Jesus felt intimidated in the Garden of Gethsemane. Cut people some slack, Joe. One of these days you’ll be the weak one and you’ll need it yourself.

  • Well Mark,

    When I see Christians in South Korea refusing to bow to the violent threats of actual Marxists in North Korea over their Christmas display, it’s hard for me to sympathize with someone who is afraid of the vermin lawyers who threaten to sue.

    Christians all over the world, for centuries, have suffered terrible injustices for the simple things and the little things.

  • Alrighty then, keep kicking the weak. Beats confronting the powerful. Attacking those who are just slightly different from you rather than the obvious and powerful enemy opposite you is, also, deeply Marxist. Your roots are showing.

  • I say we kidnap all of the heathens and make them go to ChristMASS.

    Merry Christmas from a Christo-fascist with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

    I’d better see you at Mass. ;)

    Are y’all really attacking Joe because he is defending Christmas? This can’t be serious.

  • If it never happened, or was never threatened, then no one would be afraid to say it.

    This is like saying that there must be monsters hiding under kids beds, cause otherwise they wouldn’t be afraid of them.

    When it comes to matters PC people get spooked by their own shadows all the time. Not too long ago there was an incident where school officials said that teachers shouldn’t use the term “brainstorming” as this might be offensive to people with epilepsy. A reporter went around asking people with epilepsy about it, and unsurprisingly found that they were baffled as to why anyone would think they would find that offensive (in fact many found the idea that they would be offended by the term offensive).

  • “Are y’all really attacking Joe because he is defending Christmas?”

    No. I’m defending myself from Joe’s suggestion that I’m throwing the door open to Nazis and psychopaths by not screaming at every timid shopkeeper and bureaucrat. I’m also, inter alia, defending timid shopkeepers and bureaucrats for Joe’s iron certainty of his brave superiority to their immorality.

    I don’t have a problem with defending Christmas. I do have a problem with scourging weak and timid people in the name of defending Christmas. If one is going to scourge somebody, it should be the powerful and corrupt.

  • I think the first amendment to the US Constitution guarantees everyone’s right to be offended. Sadly this includes the saints, especially St. Nicholas who is portrayed as a fat elf, at least he’s jolly and Jesus. Of course, we had better be wary of offending Him. Sure we are celebrating His birthday as a Child, but we have to remember He is also the Supreme Judge. I think we must make observance of Christmas mandatory under pain of death.

  • Donald,

    The Nevada school you mention never said people couldn’t say Merry Christmas and and the ACLU never threatened them with a lawsuit.

    The letter the Tennessee ACLU sent to schools can be read here. There’s nothing in the letters about saying Merry Christmas, or threatening legal action if people use the phrase.

    Frankly, the whole thing sounds like a “too good to check” story.

  • Mark,

    When you fail to defend the Savior especially on His feasts you are making a choice and that choice is that you are deferring to the spirit of the world and seeking human respect. I am not suggesting that you are consumed by the spirit of the world, so don’t get your stockings in a bunch, I am merely saying that, as sinners, we are prone to be misled by the spirit of the world. By failing to joyfully shout Merry Christmas from the rooftops all season long, we are allowing Christ to be marginalized on His birthday, that does open the door to everything that isn’t of God and that includes National Socialists and psychopaths (is there a difference?). As for timid shopkeepers, well you can’t serve God and mammon. Bureaucrats, hmm , let’s see, er, ah . . . I’ve got nothing, there is no defense for them. ;)

  • BA, I assume the ACLU was just sending out the letters in Tennessee for the Hell of it? (Word chosen intentionally.) The implication of the letter was quite clear: stop celebrating Christmas or we will see you in court. In regard to the Nevada school district, the principal was quite clear in his statement that everything had to be “Happy Holidays”. Now that parents are up in arms and adverse publicity is shining on the grinches of the ACLU and the high school administration, both the ACLU and the school district are attempting to backpedal.

    Here is the letter from the Alliance Defense Fund to Principal David Wilson of Virgin Valley High School.

    The letter makes reference to an agreement between the high school and the Nevada ACLU. Assuming the agreement was reduced to writing, I think it would make interesting reading.

  • In regard to Virgin Valley High, here is the original story which ran in the Mesquite Local News on 12\16\10

    After the sky fell in, here is the latest version:

    The school principal, who was so forthcoming on December 16th, is now being told to keep his mouth shut:

    “On Dec. 20, Wilson confirmed that the newspaper report was incorrect, and that no meetings had taken place between his staff and the ACLU.

    “It was all between the lawyers,” Wilson said of contact between the district and the ACLU.

    Wilson went on to say that the Clark County School District had recently instructed him not to discuss the issue any further with the press, and that all questions should be directed to the district’s public information office.”

    I think the principal was telling the truth on the 16th and the updated version is a CYA effort by both the school administration and the Nevada ACLU.

  • BA,

    Whatever. Sometimes the monsters are real.


    When I rejected Marxism, I rejected materialism, not struggle. Spiritual warfare is more real than material warfare.

    Weakness is not a virtue. It is flaw to be corrected. That being said, 90% of my fire was directed at fascists, not their compliant victims.

  • As for this,

    “I’m defending myself from Joe’s suggestion that I’m throwing the door open to Nazis and psychopaths by not screaming at every timid shopkeeper and bureaucrat. ”

    I’m not suggesting that. I don’t want you to scream at anyone. I just want you to not cave in if or when these people try to intimidate you.

    I don’t hate the weak. We all have weaknesses. I am weak.

    The difference is that I try to strengthen myself. That’s all we can do.

  • Sometimes the monsters are real.

    And sometimes they aren’t. This particular monster seems as elusive as Bigfoot.

    Would you concede, at least, that if there aren’t actually any people threatening others for using the phrase Merry Christmas,then Mark may have a point?

  • Dear Mark:

    I’m sorry. I’m not up on things.

    I re-reread my intemperate comment. It was uncharitable. It is the truth as I see it, but still uncharitable.

    I don’t read the NY Times nor your liberal bloggerings.

    Anyhow, I pray for the conversion of sinners each day. It’s that they don’t listen.

    Happy Holidays, or whatever the preferred euphemisim that may not enrage your abortionist, dhimmicrat, gay rights fanatic, socialist justice fellow-travelers.

  • And then there is the story of an elementary school student who was asked to draw something that reminded him of Christmas. When he drew a picture of Jesus on a crucifix, the teacher and the administration recoiled in horror at the “violent image” and recommended that the child be sent for psychological evaluation.

    That child should be herded into an American youth government-funded reeducation camp. Or maybe he’s already in such a camp.

  • Yes, that’s the story — a Catholic kid’s stick figure drawing of the Crucifixion. I’m curious as to what point you are making by using the Shea link that attempts to debunk the incident as a phony persecution scam.

  • We live in a pagan/secular/athiest/apostate country. It doesn’t make any sense to me to “fight back” against people who hate us. I’m thinking of what it was like for the nascent Church in the Roman Empire. Aren’t we in a similar position? Or are some people silly enough to think that this country is a Christian country (that also requires a definition of “Christian”)?

  • Joe,

    This country is Christian in the sense that her founding principles are based on the temporal values of Christendom, drawn from the Revelation of the Eternal Principle, God Himself. The Founding Fathers established a Republic in order to form a more perfect union. That statement, more perfect, can only be understood in a Christian sense. From a secular worldly perspective it is a grammatical error, perfection is absolute, so nothing can be ‘more’ perfect; however, from a Christian view we are all to become more perfect, more like the Supreme Perfect, God. We will never be absolutely perfect, only God is perfect, yet, we can be perfected in Him Who perfects us to our predestined capacity. In Eternity we will be flawless and perfect, we will be gods, but we will never be God. Here below we are to strive to be more perfect.

    The USA is imperfect, it is a creature of man, but she is more perfect because her principles are based on revealed truth. Has she been wounded? Yes. Is all hope lost? Never. The tide of atheistic-paganism can be slowed, can be combated, can be resisted, but we all know that it will seem to achieve victory with the establishment of a global god-state under the power of a dictator beholden to Satan and this will occur shortly before time gives way to Eternity.

    The only perfect society is the Kingdom of Heaven and our country is not Heaven, but we are to live the Kingdom now. As a nation, established in liberty (imperfect and sinful) our country is a shadow of true human liberty, which is life in, for, through and with Christ Jesus, the God-man.

    Holy Mother Church teaches that human life is dour combat with the forces of evil, so it not only makes sense to fight, it is our duty. To be clear, we are to love our enemies and remember that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers. Sometimes we have to kick butt in order to wake our lost brethren out of their slumber. God knows I needed my butt kicked in order to accept Truth, and I often still do. What do you think will happen if we sit back as spectators and ignore the Nativity of God become man, the Word become flesh? Even worse, what if we ignore Easter? The liturgical calendar is our public work, it is set by God and we follow it in order to be His imperfect instruments to usher in His Reign. We are to prepare the way of the Lord, otherwise, why bother being Christian at all?

    Merry Christmas is not just well wishes, Merry Christmas is a proclamation that God dwells with us, O come Emmanuel. He condescended to become one of us to save us from ourselves. Dare we repay that gift by commemorating His birthday in quiet privacy? No! We are to proclaim His birth with vigor, passion and humble love.

  • I’m sorry, would you prefer a different link? The point is, there are two pictures, one of which appears to be doctored. The one that appears to be the original does not have “Jesus” or “INRI” on it but, rather the kid’s name. Mr. Shea is merely speculating (and reasonably so) that this isn’t really a case of persecution but rather someone attempting to cash in.

  • Big Tex,
    Why do the father’s alleged comments negate or at the very least diminish the incident?

  • Because if the picture that the teacher saw was indeed the one with the boy’s name on the placard above the corpus, then I can understand why the teacher acted in the manner that she did. Then where did doctored picture come in to play? Which picture did the father see?

  • Big Tex,
    My grandson draws pictures of laser-wielding stick figures and dragons spitting fire. It’s not hard for me to make the mental leap that an eight-year-old child drawing a stick figure of the Crucifixion would put his name on the drawing. Suffice it to say, the government-funded public school system is not a safe place to be drawing the Crucifixion or toting Rosary beads.

    I do wonder if the psychological evaluation determined that the child was a menace to himself or others.

  • Like I said, I can understand why the teacher/school acted as they did. I didn’t say I agreed with it.

  • This whole thing is pretty hilarious. On the one hand you have merchants who have been engaging in what C.S. Lewis called the “Christmas racket”, i.e. co-opting a sacred festival in order to squeeze as much money out of shoppers as possible. On the other hand, you have a small but determined group of folks insisting that they keep perpetrating this borderline blasphemy in the name of our Savior, or else they might not keep shoveling money into the coffers of big business.

    I sincerely wish C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton were around to relish this absurdity.

  • Big Tex,
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • “Weakness is not a virtue.”

    Nor is contempt for the weak. You can’t do much about the lack of virtue in the weak (though pity and mercy is a start). But you can do a lot about the lack of virtue I mention. My suggestion is to start with sins we can do something about rather than focus your energy on the removing the speck in the weak person’s eye by sticking your finger in it and screaming “Nazi! Banality of Evil! Psychopath!”

    If you must scourge somebody, why not the rich, powerful and corrupt? It is, after all, they who are at War with Christmas and would see it turned into a festival of Mammon.

  • T. Shaw:

    Merry Christmas! Blessings on your and your family!

  • Mark,

    Did you read my second comment above?

    I’ve had plenty to say about the powerful and corrupt. I don’t have a problem with someone just because they are rich, since riches can be used for good.

  • Good for you, Joe. I haven’t read much of your stuff. Forgive me if, based on your remarks about what I wrote, if I got the impression you were training all of your energy on kicking frightened and timid people and comparing yourself favorably with them as a paragon of courage. Y’see, I wrote my piece for the Register on theory that heaping abuse on such people was a sub-optimal way of expressing one’s Christmas cheer and you took that as an occasion to scream about Nazis, psychopaths, and the banality of evil. From that, I did not really derive the impression that you were focusing your energy on beating up small and largely powerless people rather than bravely confronting big and powerful ones.

  • D’oh!

    From that, I did not really derive the impression that you were focusing your energy on bravely confronting big and powerful people but rather on beating up small and largely powerless ones.

  • Merry Christmas to you too, Moe.

  • Mark and all to whom I have been uncharitable:

    May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

    O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to Heaven. And, help especially those (ME) most in need of Thy mercy.

  • T. Shaw:

    Beautiful! Thanks! Merry Christmas!

  • “On the other hand, you have a small but determined group of folks insisting that they keep perpetrating this borderline blasphemy in the name of our Savior, or else they might not keep shoveling money into the coffers of big business.”

    Actually, I rather enjoy celebrating the birth of Christ by exchanging presents with my loved ones. As long as it is not done to excess, and so long as the poor are remembered by donations of time and money at Christmas, I see nothing wrong with it.

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