Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The War Against Chanukah

The Moose takes a Maccabean turn.

In recent weeks, the right has attempted to make a big deal about the removal of Christmas from Christmas. Indeed, it is a valid point that many are far too sensitive about offending the sensibilities of non-Christians over the mention of the religious holiday in greetings cards and the like.

The Moose has always been amused by the fervent efforts of some of his religious brethren to be offended by the Christmas creche in the public square or the singing of Christmas carols in school. Growing up in an overwhelmingly Southern Baptist environment - the buckle of the Bible Belt - the Moose's experience was that exposure to other's religion only strengthened his own attachment to Judaism.

Irving Kristol was right. In America, Jews don't have to worry about Christians persecuting them but rather marrying them. It is the Moose's view that the established Jewish organizations should be more concerned about intermarriage than about the influence of the religious right.

This year, Chanukah, the battle of the Maccabees against the tyrant Antiocus in ancient Greek- ruled Palestine, falls at the same time as Christmas. Chanukah commemorates not just a struggle against a foreign power, but against the Hellenist adulteration of the faith - a culture war.

In the past century, the rather minor holiday of Chanukah has been elevated because the holiday usually occurs at Christmas time. To many Jewish kids, it has become their version of "Christmas". It no longer has the impact of the commemoration of a nationalist rebellion, to say nothing of a culture war. It is about gifts and latkes.

The point that the Moose is making is that the beef that the right has over the "War Against Christmas" (or the War Against Chanukah) is not primarily with secularism, but rather with consumerism. The problem is not the ACLU, but rather capitalism.

In so many areas of the culture, religion and cultural values are not being debased by crazy liberals, but by craven capitalists. It is ironic that some righties are throwing a conniption fit about stores that display happy holiday signs instead of Christmas displays - they overlook, of course, the commercial exploitation of the religious theme. Genuine social conservatives cannot worship at the altar of the free market.

The real blaspheme this Christmas season is the Republican congressional effort to slash programs for the poor and vulnerable. Unfortunately, the religious right is missing in action in this crusade to get right with Jesus.

Anyway, for you last minute shoppers, here is the perfect gift for that impossible to please person on your Christmas/Chanukah list.

Merry Festivas!
-- Posted at 8:19 AM | Link to this post | Email this post