Jerry Falwell the Maccabee
Well it seems that Christmas has come and gone, and that despite all the fears of a War on Christmas the christ-child’s birthday was celebrated without much state repression of Christian religious freedom. The incredible irony of this supposed War on Christmas has clearly been lost by most of the talking heads working the front-lines of the right-wing assault. One version of their claim is that secular Americans (and their Jewish partners) are imposing on their religious freedom by demanding an absolutely secular public square. As the fundies see it they are a repressed minority whose expression is silenced by demands for inclusivity. “Holiday Sales” rather than “Christmas Sales” are offensive expressions like these are forced upon the Christian public by a cabal of “PC” unbelievers.
The irony is that by styling themselves as defenders of religious freedom while actually hiding a fundamentalist agenda, these right-wing activists are embodying the story of Chanukah (not Christmas) more closely than any American Jews today. The story of Chanukah as fundamentalist civil war has already been linked from Jewschool here, here, and here. Given this irony are the Christian fundamentalists more true to Chanukah than multicultural assimilated Jews?
Perhaps… Though on the other hand I am proud that the rabbis of the Talmud intervened to promote the story of eight days of oil in place of fundamentalist rebellion and that two thousand years of diaspora history have largely upheld that change. These days the Jews most strongly reviving the Chanukah story of fundamentalist theocracy are religious zionists bent on imposing a single (Orthodox) religious observance in Israel. Once again the Christian fundies and the Jewish fundies aims converge. I say that we run speedily away from both of these groups and continue to celebrate the liberal multiculturalism of the “new” Chanukah story, history be damned.