Walter Mencken 10 a.m., July 31
- Community Blog
"Jesus is the ONLY reason for the season" Billboard
I saw a billboard here in San Diego (on University in Hillcrest), which reads "Jesus is the ONLY reason for the season," apparantly sponsored by two businessmen. To paraphrase Jeff Dunham's Achmed the Dead Terrorist: "Don't say Merry Christmas, it only irritates the other infidels.". That is a very profound statement.
What season? Let's start with the Jewish faith. Today was the first day of Hanukkah. To a Muslim, an infidel holiday. How about Kwanzaa (no, not the currency). Sort of bookends this Christmas thing. Observed by individuals of "color". Also, as viewed from the Muslim perspective, another holiday for infidels.
So, we end up with a season that has meaning to Jews, Christians, and those of the African persuasion. All infidels. Now, I hate to break the news to you, but Christ could have been born between March and August. Those that celebrate "Christmas in July" may be closer to the truth. There is much scholarly debate, and I can cite one source here: http://www.hebrew4christians.net/Articles/Christmas/christmas.html
The short version is that the Catholic church (in 336 AD) declared December 25th to be Jesus's birthday in order to replace a pagan Roman holiday, Saturnalia (ironically, the birthday of the sun god). You will also find equally compelling arguments for a Winter birth. In light of these uncertainties, maybe it is adviseable to take a humble attitude and confess our ignorance of the matter.
Now, back to that signboard. I am not the only one who has felt offended by the wording (I saw it on Google), regardless of my personal beliefs. The statement excludes the celebration of the major tenets of Christianity, and the message that Jesus brought. The season means goodwill toward all men. To love others. To be with family. To share. The signboard is exclusionary. It is for everything that Jesus was against.