December 9, 2006

Onion gravy is traditional, but cranberry sauce is nice

United States: Some schools have a system whereby non-profit organisations may give flyers to schoolchildren. A recent court ruling affirmed that, to avoid church and state issues, the system had to be made available to all non-profits, or none at all. The case was brought by an organisation run by preacher Jerry Falwell.

The dispute started last summer when Gabriel and Joshua Rakoski, twins who attend Hollymead Elementary School, sought permission to distribute fliers about their church's Vacation Bible School to their peers via backpack mail. Many public schools use special folders placed in student backpacks to distribute notices about schools events and sometimes extra-curricular activities to parents.

School officials originally denied the request from the twins' father, Ray Rakoski, citing a school policy barring distribution of literature that is for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes.

A Charlottesville weekly newspaper, The Hook, reports that Rakoski sicced the Liberty Counsel on the county, and the policy was soon revised to allow religious groups to use the backpack mail system. Liberty Counsel is a Religious Right legal group founded by Mathew Staver and now affiliated with Falwell.

So, when a Unitarian Universalist congregation used the system to advertise an event about the pagan origins of Christmas, followed by a Yule celebration, who got all upset about it? Yep, Christians.

Suddenly not everyone was pleased by the open forum. Jeff Riddle, pastor of Jefferson Park Baptist Church in Charlottesville, wrote on his personal blog, If the school allows the Baptist or Methodist church to send home a note to its students about Vacation Bible School, it also has to allow the Unitarian Church to send home a note about its 'Pagan ritual to celebrate Yule'....This kind of note adds weight to the argument that it is high time for Christians to leave public schools for reasonable alternatives (homeschooling and private Christian schools).

Another conservative Christian blogger in the county complained about finding the flier in her child's folder. Apparently unaware of Falwell's role in bringing it about, the blogger who goes by the name Cathy, noted disclaimer language at the bottom of the flier noting that the event is not connected to the school and wrote, They [the school officials] aren't endorsing or sponsoring this? Then it shouldn't have been included in the Friday folders. The Friday folders have never been used for any thing other than school work and school board and/or County sanctioned/sponsored programs.

And the stushie soon came to the notice of the fundies at World Net Daily:

Amazing — government schools ban orthodox Christianity, but allow an openly pagan organization to proselytize six-year-olds! one observer who asked for anonymity told WND...

The banner also displays three symbols: a cross, a Star of David and a pentagram — a star enclosed in a circle — often associated with paganism, witches groups such as Wicca, and even Satanism.

At least the World Nut Daily can tell the difference between a pentacle and a pentagram, unlike most Neopagans these days.

Andrew Ian Dodge also pointed me towards a forum discussion of the issue, where one or two people were a little upset about it.

I'm shocked that people think this would hold up. What about local control? Aren't local standards used to define what is obscene?

I thank God for Christian schools!

Obviously, the obscenity in question must be the gruesome method of execution depicted on the flyer.

Falwell’s Flub: Jerry-Rigged Policy Opens Door For Pagan Proselytizing In Virginia Public SchoolThe Wall of Separation, 5th December 2006;Pagan Christmas ritual pressed on young kidsWorld Net Daily, 8th December 2006.

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December 8, 2006

O Holy Shite

To get you in the mood for the festive season, here's a delightful rendition of 'O Holy Night'.

Posted by Feòrag in Ho! Ho! Ho! at 17:44 | View blog reactions

Grauniad miscelleny

The Guardian has published a number of stories of interest recently.

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October 31, 2006

The Christmas Tree and the Original Sin

Sheesh, Hallowe'en isn't over yet, and we're being nagged about yuletide! is a regular contributor to newsgroups such as alt.conspiracy, and seems to be a Jehovah's Witness of some sort. His contributions are rather interesting, his latest drawing connections between the Garden of Eden, willies, bodily fluids, chakras and Christmas trees.

Continue reading "The Christmas Tree and the Original Sin"

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December 21, 2005

Axial tilt is the reason for the season

In case all the nonsense from evangelical Christians had left you confused about the festive season, the kind folk at Astronomy Picture of the Day have posted a graphic reminder of what it is we celebrate at this time of year.

As the seasons change, the direction toward the rising Sun will change, too. The Sun will always rise and set furthest to the south during the day of Winter Solstice, and furthest to the north during Summer Solstice. Today is Winter Solstice, the day of least sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere and of most sunlight in the Southern Hemisphere. In many countries, the Winter Solstice brings a change in season, as it is the first day of winter in the North. The solar heating and stored energy in the Earth's surface and atmosphere is near its lowest during winter, making it usually the coldest months of the year. On the brighter side in the north, daylight hours will increase every day from now until June.

A dramatic composite picture by Anthony Ayiomamitis has been chosen to illustrate the real meaning of Christmas.

Sunrise by SeasonAstronomy Picture of the Day, 21st December 1005.

Posted by Feòrag in Ho! Ho! Ho! at 15:38 | Comments (5) | View blog reactions

December 6, 2005

Bargain of the Day: A very scary solstice

So, you know that Christmas isn't even slightly Christian, but those twee fluffy bunny Pagans have no idea how to have a good time. May we at Prattle Towers recommend A Very Scary Solstice—the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society Solstice carol album and songbook.

We returned to the studio with a bigger-than-ever cast of actors and professional singers. Thrill to the magnificent sounds of the Dagon Tabernacle Choir. Marvel at the exsquisite harmonies of the Arkham Carolers. Tap your tentacles along with the Dunwich Children's Chorale. All twenty-five numbers are professionally produced and recorded with the same maniacal care that made A Shoggoth on the Roof such a disturbing achievement in musical theatre. From beatific choirs to maniacal mariachis, there's something for everyone in this first-ever CD of Lovecraftian Solstice Carols.

You too could wander the street of your town entertaining people with such delights as Great Old Ones Are Coming To Town, Have Yourself a Scary Little Solstice, Oh Come All Ye Olde Ones, Silent Night, Blasphemous Night and Away In A Madhouse. Free samples, including MP3s and sheet music available to whet your appetite, and that of the Great Cthulhu.

November 7, 2005

A Merry Corporate Christmas

Australia: Christmas has some less appealling aspects. The garish assault on your eyes and wallets by stores; the forced interaction with family members you avoid for the rest of the year; and the insanity of stupid corporations with a rabid legal department and lack of clue who over-indulge in an fit of political correctness.

I recently got a rant from a friend who'd been charged with designing the company Christmas card and was seriously pissed off at a request from the new company owner. The e-mail is quoted with permission, provided neither my friend nor the company are mentioned.

I've just been informed by our new US based overlords, that our company christmas card is not allowed to use the word Christmas as it's not considered politcally correct. Holly and santa references are ok, but no Christ references please were american.

This looks like a job for the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

or possibly Hoff-mas

A follow up from a furious Australian CEO had the wally in the US backpedalling to suggest that perhaps both an Australian and a censored American version of the Christmas card be created.

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December 19, 2004

Scary nativity

There is no shortage of seasonal craft ideas available out there on the web. As an example of the delights to be found, how about How to Dress Trolls as Nativity Scene Figures?

1. Assess your trolls and assign them roles: the most feminine one, of course, will be Mary. Tie or braid the hair for Joseph and the three wise men.

They mean the dolls, rather than large, rocky creatures or net pests, by the way. I wonder if the plush cthulhus would mind being adapted in a similar manner? (via Going Jesus).

December 13, 2004

Mad Inventor Corner

While British people of a certain age will be delighted to hear that Wilf Lunn has a website, what interests the residents at Prattle Towers is his page of Curious Christmas Trees. I particularly like Confuse a Fairy and Ski Slope. Red Wolf must surely appreciate the Australian.

Posted by Feòrag in Ho! Ho! Ho! at 15:34 | Comments (2) | View blog reactions

December 9, 2004

Deck the halls with boughs of fibre optic

Christian blog Going Jesus is celebrating Advent by posting a daily Nativities That Maybe Don't Need to Exist. Every example would be a Bargain of the Day here. So far, my favourite is the Chicken Nativity (I would really have to display this one in a creche made from a KFC bucket).

And that site also provides a related link:

This site is here to show those houses where the residents are likely celebrating a happy holiday, but have no sense of decency in how they choose to celebrate. We will show the garish, the ugly, the weird. For your own sake, and the sake of your neighbors, do not try this at home.

(Thanks, Charlotte.)

Posted by Feòrag in Ho! Ho! Ho! and Religious Tat at 18:55 | View blog reactions

November 23, 2004

New tool for evangelists?

Russia: Want to send a Christmas card to aliens? Well now you can, thanks to the boffins behind the Glonass-M satellites. The launch of the latest model on 25th December, marks the start of a special extraterrestrial message service.

Glonass-M satellites orbit the Earth at the height of 20 thousand kilometers, and they can stay there forever. Information in the form of texts and drawings for extraterrestrial beings can be placed on aluminium plates, which make so-called cargo models to balance the satellite's center of mass. Official spokeswoman for the association, Elena Matveeva said that the first six informational plates were placed on the Glonass-M 12L satellite, the launching of which was planned to take place on December 25th. The plates contain the information about the enterprise and its founder, academician Mikhail Reshetnev.

We have already started accepting applications for the next Glonass-M spacecraft, which is to be launched in 2005. Anyone can submit their applications free of charge - students, enterprises and so on and so forth, Matveeva specified. First priority will be paid to information about planet Earth, the human civilization, education and modern terrestrial space technologies. The scientific association for applied mechanics does not exclude that extraterrestrial civilizations might be interested in such messages from Earth.

Russia to launch space mail for extraterrestrial civilizations - Pravda, 19th November 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Forteana and Ho! Ho! Ho! at 12:10 | View blog reactions

November 20, 2004

Damned Flick Switch On Lights

United Kingdom: A decision to invite punk rockers The Damned to switch on Cambridge city's Christmas lights has sparked controversy among church leaders.

Captain Sensible is due to join Father Christmas and city mayor Roger Dryden for the festive switch-on.

But the decision has led to fury among church leaders.
Continue reading "Damned Flick Switch On Lights"
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September 21, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Christian Yule ornaments

You are a Christian who celebrates the (pagan) Winter Solstice by putting up a (pagan) tree and decorating it with (pagan) ornaments representing the return of the sun. Before you engage in (pagan) feasting, why not try to pretend it's really a Christian festival by adding this SET OF 6 ASSORTED CROSS WATERGLOBE ORNAMENTS to the solar and fertility symbols on your tree?

READY FOR CHRISTMAS - NEW IN BOX - These ornaments are highly decorative and distinctive.
Each waterglobe features an embossed design base accented with assorted color jewels and a jeweled cross at the center of each globe.
Ornaments measure 1 5/8" diameter x 2 5/8" high and include ribbon for hanging
By International Silver Company
Posted by Feòrag in Ho! Ho! Ho! and Religious Tat at 21:19 | View blog reactions

January 10, 2004

Christmas Ornaments are Evil

Saudi Arabia: The morality police are out in force and they are determined to stamp out annoying commercialised Western holiday paraphenalia.

Continue reading "Christmas Ornaments are Evil"
Posted by Red Wolf in Church and State and Ho! Ho! Ho! at 02:27 | View blog reactions

December 30, 2003

Ruffled Feathers

United States: The gathering of stern men in brightly coloured frocks and funny hats that make up the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has demanded the removal of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals billboard showing the Virgin Mary cradling a lifeless chicken in her arms.

Continue reading "Ruffled Feathers"
Posted by Red Wolf in Church and State and Ho! Ho! Ho! at 01:31 | View blog reactions

December 21, 2003

Lonely this Christmas

United Kingdom: There you are, King of the Witches and dead, dead powerful—you know you are because you told the tabloids loads of times, and they printed it, so it must be true. So what do you do with these amazing poweres? Bring about world peace, an end to hunger and a cure for AIDS? How about influencing the pop charts so that one piece of inane tripe is number one at Christmas, at the expense of another piece of inane tripe.

And Kevin [Carlyon, who else?] revealed the witches were also using their powers to try and keep Ozzy's single with daughter Kelly at the top of the charts for Christmas thwarting a rival effort by the Pop Idol finalists.

And for good measure, just to emphasise that you only do white magic, how about cursing Simon Cowell for being rude about Ozzy Osbourne? WITCHES' SPELL ON COWELL FOR OZZY BIKE SLURThe Daily Record, 20th December 2003.

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December 10, 2003

A Helpful Guide for Surviving an Australian Christmas

Australia: Hark the Herald angels sing — your complete guide to the festive season Downunder.

Continue reading "A Helpful Guide for Surviving an Australian Christmas"

December 9, 2003

Yule (TM)

The Australian gives us a vision of a fully commercial festive season, with a piece about the flotation of Christmas Ltd.

The company has acquired patent protection over a range of Christmas trademarks from the Patent Office of IP Australia and anticipates rapid growth offshore once its applications for IP protection are processed in other jurisdictions such as the US and the UK.

There will, of course, be some changes:

For instance, depictions of Santa Claus, nativity scenes, Three Wise Men and other iconic representations will from next year be accompanied by the distinctive UBS "Three Keys" marque and Macquarie Bank's silver doughnut logo.
Christmas Ltd has also obtained copyright over music such as Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Away in a Manger. It will also receive royalties from the commercial production of any Christmas carols in Australia and New Zealand.

Glib tidings of good cheer - The Australian, 10th December 2003.

December 1, 2003

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas

United States: There's nothing like Harry Potter to bring the fundies out of the woodwork, as Marshall Field's discovered when they selected the boy wizard as the theme for their 2000 Christmas display. I have to wonder if they are just as miffed over this year's theme of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It's a given that these intellectual giants are ignorant of that fine Christian tradition of co-opting pagan traditions as their own to convert the heathen masses.

Get your facts straight people. The Christians hijacked the pagan celebration of the winter solstice and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. These celebrations date back at least 4,000 years, long before the birth of Christ and are responsible for such Christmas traditions as the Christmas Tree and decorations, Mistletoe and Exchange of Gifts. The actual date that was chosen to be the notional birth of Jesus was, in fact, the day celebrated as the birthday of Mithras, the Persian sun god who was popular at the time Christmas was created by the Pope in 320AD. Rather than try to get the peasants to change celebration dates it was decided to use this date even though evidence suggests that Jesus was actually born around midsummer, i.e. June or July.

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas - The Green Man, 26th November 2003.