Getting quickly back on topic, here’s some more material from Michael Brendan Dougherty, a very fine, openly Catholic writer who bears watching for his frequent articles about foreign policy, politics, religion, popular culture and just about anything. Potentially a strong ally in the fight against militarism.
It’s Christmas Eve so I am going off topic a bit. You have probably heard the song before and even seen the video. But if you read Michael Brendan Dougherty’s heartfelt tribute to the Pogues’ classic you will never think about the song in the same way again. A very fitting message as we begin the “Year of Mercy.” Merry Christmas!
I am somehow both astonished and not at all surprised at the so-called “War on Christmas” that has again surfaced in the public consciousness. This time around the epicenter of the quake is a red paper coffee cup. In years past I recall that the storm was all about whether or not it was appropriate for people working in stores to wish their customers “Merry Christmas”.
There is a Real War on Christmas that’s been going on for a long time. It’s obvious and it’s subtle. It’s taking place thousands of miles from here and it’s taking place a very short walk from wherever you are. It’s all around us and it’s within us.
We declare War on Christmas when accept that buying things in stores is what the season is all about. When we accept that “that’s just the world we live in” and conform to the social expectation that says “shop ‘til you drop” we declare War on Christmas. When we wait in line for the hour the door opens to storm into some big box store for Black Friday “deals” we declare War on Christmas. The ensuing mad rush to get something off the shelf before someone else can is the modern blitzkrieg in the War on Christmas.
We engage in War on Christmas when we hold onto our resentments and refuse to forgive on the grounds that those who have wronged us don’t deserve it. We stay at War with Christmas when we keep our hearts hardened and cling to our belief that we are “right” and anyone who doesn’t see it our way can take a long walk off a short pier. When we don’t consider the equal dignity of all who are not practicing Christians we also guilty of waging War on Christmas. We perpetuate this war by the arrogant assumption that ours is a “Christian Nation” and if someone doesn’t have a membership card to the “club” they’ll just have to scrape by as best they can. Or they are told to “go back to wherever they came from if they don’t like it here”. Allegiance to the “us vs. them” propaganda is jet fuel on the fire in the War on Christmas.
We put an end to the war on Christmas when we slow down enough to smile and say a kind word to people we don’t know as well as to those we love most dearly. We put an end to the War on Christmas when we remember that every human being everywhere is our brother and sister. We end this war when we live up to our birthright as creatures made out of love, made for love, and designed to love each other and ourselves. We end the war when we no longer allow ourselves to be blinded by our hatred and fear. We end it when we connect to the truth that every one of us is part of and belongs to all of creation. Peace is ours when we realize that we are all part of the same crazy, wonderful, and mysterious family.
So drink your coffee from any cup of any color that makes your heart sing. Wish anyone you like a “Merry Christmas”. Or smile and wish them “Happy holidays”. Or if you want to be particularly subversive you can wish people “Happy Holy Days”. Or just smile and wish them a “Good day!”. But don’t mistake Christmas for something that comes from a coffee shop or a retail store.
The following was posted by Colorado Congressman Jared Polis today, 12/16/15:
“Around 1 a.m., we were finally given copies of the 2009-page omnibus bill that will decide funding for all government operations next year. I’m still reading through the bill, but wanted to highlight a couple of gems for you.
1.) A massive cyber-surveillance bill calling for more government access to our personal information was tacked onto the end of it.
2.) Funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration has inexplicably been raised by $50 million.
3.) It includes a treasure trove of funds for the maintenance of outdated, ineffective nuclear weapons programs designed for the Cold War.
If you click on the link below, you’ll notice that the bill is called the “Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.” That’s a shell bill to get around the rules. We’re supposed to have at least three days to review any legislation that comes to the floor (particularly when it’s thousands of pages long!). So Republican leadership posted this old bill, and then a new version went up in the middle of the night with an amendment that essentially said “Strike the whole thing and replace it with entirely new language.” But because it has the same bill number, we’re going to pretend it’s the same bill and that we’ve all had enough time to review it.
Back to reading…”
We try to stay away from sarcasm here at CAM, but this article that someone shared on Facebook really struck me. They say a culture’s humor is a window to its soul. Or something like that…
“Mike Dirosa is just more proof that, every now and then, it’s good to hear about people doing nice things for no reason at all. What about you? Do you kill people you see in your city or town? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!”
A great article over at The Paris Review about “reading Flannery O’Connor in an age of Islamophobia.” And of course I love anything that mentions Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day in the same article.
“The word Holocaust is never used in the story—nor are Jew and Hitler. In the absence of specificity, the mass murder feels somehow even more mysterious, senseless, and unspeakable. But it also puts the reader more firmly in Mrs. Shortley’s perspective: completely lacking any context that would move her to see this heap of bodies as victims, as human, as people like her.”
“The story is full of such barbs, suggesting that the perceived racial pecking order ultimately overrules any notions of Christian charity. ‘I am not responsible for the world’s misery,’ Mrs. McIntyre thinks to herself as she scolds Guizac.”
Apparently PBS turned the story into a short film with Samuel L. Jackson…
Thanks to one of our readers, Robert, for the heads up about this!
Tom Woods did a podcast on the Just War Theory, interviewing author Laurie Calhoun, author of War and Delusion: A Critical Examination (Twenty-first Century Perspectives on War, Peace, and Human Conflict).
Calhoun: “The theory has no content…It is vacuous…If you examine it…you find that in fact [the criteria] tend to be platitudinous and they are used rhetorically by leaders to support their cause for war.”
Indeed, the JWT is used to justify, not limit, war — and it has been that way for centuries.
Last year, China opened up all of its military positions to women. This year the U.S. follows suit.
“Now That Women Can Serve in All Combat Roles in the Military, Should They Also Be Required to Register for the Draft?” The New York Times, December 7, 2015
Well, that was predictable. Catholic men, take heed, writes Doug.