Like Christmas decorations, as we get into December, down from the attic come the grunters and moaners, hypocrites, dogmatists and self-righteous sinners. It's the season of ill will and miserableness.Oh, shove a mince pie in that gob, someone!
The usual suspects – schools, local authorities, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs – are rounded up, charged with plotting to kill Christmas, or lethally wounding the celebrations with something called PC. PC GONE MAD!!!, to be exact.Hindus and Sikhs..?
Err, where? Those are two groups I’ve never seen whining about Christmas. In contrast to the other three…
On a popular daytime TV show I was asked what I thought of Dundee council, which decided to have blasphemous "winter lights" this year because, say their accusers, they were too scared of offending other religions. Bin Laden must be hiding in Dundee and beheadings would have followed if stars and angels had garlanded the streets. The Lord Provost of the city fought back and reinstated "Xmas lights". The audience roared with approval when the presenter laid the blame on PC GONE MAD!!!Hmm, didn’t this story turn out to be a pile of horsefeathers on closer inspection?
Notwithstanding that, they were quite right to object to any proposed name change, though the decision to rename them is likely to have been taken not by Muslims or others objecting to Christmas themselves, but by the professionally-offended-on-behalf-of-other-cultures.
The sort of people given a great deal of comfort by Yasmin’s columns...
What if, I asked, there was only good intent behind the winter lights? November and December herald joyous festivals for many communities – why not share them with each other as people of these isles? Can't we even do that?Because this is, by tradition and custom, a Christian country.
No-one is banning Diwali or Eid; in fact, many councils celebrate these as well. But Christmas is Christmas.
Of course, since Yasmin realises that she isn’t going to make much headway with that argument, she falls back on the ‘And the Brits don’t even celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday!’ one:
These protests are not raised at all when "Christmas" lights are bought up by big business to advertise their goods – Disney in Regents Street, for example. Ho! Ho! Ho! and a bottle of Coke.Because they remain Christmas lights, no matter how advertising executives may with to meddle. The fact that they do tells you something, doesn’t it?
And not about overconsumption, either…
But it’s time to whine about the faith of her reluctant hosts:
There is a real, nameless anxiety beneath these absurd and disagreeable national spats. The meaning of this foundational and affirming festival seems to be crumbling away, a precious edifice falling to ruin like so many lonely churches. But who did this? Who neglected to care and keep up the true spirit of Christmas and Easter? Not the so-damned army of PC enforcers but Christians themselves. They who did not halt the Un-Christianing of Britain. (Let us call it UC.)Well, Christian leaders, actually. Plenty of people aren’t too happy with them about that, either.
Rev Gledhill warns us, especially non-Christian Britons: "Christians aren't going to disappear quietly from the marketplace". The marketplace, he will be glad to hear, is teeming – flush with credit cards and shoppers buying drinks, party canapé trays, frocks and shoes, pure silver napkin claspers for the discerning lobster eater, snakeskin shoes, giant TVs and diamond bracelets. The churches are empty and cold. The people do not go in. Too busy or not sure what the religion stands for.And the fault for that is the people themselves? Or the Church leaders, who do indeed appear to have watered down their Christian beliefs in the same mistaken attempt to ‘not give offence’?
Most powerful Christians do not fight robustly enough for progressive values. There is fudge or surrender to conservatism on feminism and gay rights, for example.At least we aren’t stoning them to death, Yasmin…
Many humble Christian leaders do understand their role and the crisis. They live by the eternal tenets of their faith, applying them to modern life and its myriad challenges. Take one example. Doctors from several of the Royal Colleges have called for incarcerated asylum children to be released this Christmas, as have dozens of children's authors.Ah, right. This is what Yasmin really means when she decries the faith of modern Christians – they aren’t sufficiently welcoming to immigrants.
Dear god, does everything revolve around this woman’s race and her bitter carping about how unwelcoming her host country is?
And so Rev. Canon James Rosenthal and Rev. Professor Nicholas Sagovsky took presents to the asylum children held in Yarl's Wood detention centre. The guards wouldn't let the kind men through.Because it’s a high-security establishment. And they hadn’t booked.
You know, Yasmin, just like when you hadn’t booked the right ticket for that plane you wanted to get on…
Many of the young there are severely traumatised; some self-harm and may never recover. Mary had to seek refuge. Here, today, she would have had to nurse her infant behind razor wire and kept in her place by hardened guards.Oh, FFS..!
On the other hand, perhaps she’ll like this Christian minister a bit more:
The Taliban could be admired for their religious conviction and their sense of loyalty to each other, the new bishop for the Armed Forces said.*sigh*
The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists.
The Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the insurgents were portrayed too negatively.Or shot out of hand, perhaps?
No, on second thought, that’d probably help resolve things a lot quicker…