Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trump saying 'Merry Christmas' does not make him a better president than Obama

Trump is a disaster of an embarrassment of a president. But one thing about him I will consider a positive is how the religious right and anti-LGBTQ industry have no compunctions about publicly humiliating themselves to figuratively kiss his feet.

A perfect example is the following from anti-LGBTQ hate group and faux Christian group the Family Research Council:

There've been a lot of wise men in the White House. But this Christmas, there are three more in the East Room, where the Trumps are highlighting a larger-than-life nativity scene. That's just one of the ways the First Family is separating itself from the Obamas, who came dangerously close to ditching the 50-year-old display in 2009. There wasn't room for Jesus at the inn -- and for eight years, there wasn't much room for him at 1600 Pennsylvania either. 
The Obamas famously wanted a "non-religious Christmas" (which makes about as much sense as a vegetarian barbeque). But they were outed by their social secretary, Desiree Rogers in an eye-opening profile piece for the New York Times. "The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display -- a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.) 
Ultimately, the Obamas caved to pressure and included the nativity in its décor. For two terms, that was the extent of Christmas in the White House. There were no mentions of Christmas on official cards -- and only a smattering of references in eight years of greetings and special events. After eight years of making political correctness a state religion, it's really no wonder Americans flocked to a man who isn't afraid to call the season what it is. 
"You go to stores, you don't see the word Christmas," Donald Trump argued on the campaign trail. "It says 'happy holidays' all over. I say, 'Where's Christmas? I tell my wife, 'Don't go to those stores'... I want to see Christmas." Thanks to the president and First Lady, Americans are seeing Christmas. The White House is alive with tradition, from the "Merry Christmas" on the White House card to its official hashtag #WHChristmas. To the Trumps, it's just another way of keeping their promise. 
"Something I said so much during the last two years, but I'll say it again, as we approach the end of the year, you know we're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about anymore," the president said at last month's Values Voter Summit. "They don't use the word Christmas because it's not politically correct. You go to department stores, and they'll say 'Happy New Year,' and they'll say other things. It'll be red. They'll have it painted. Well, guess what? We're saying Merry Christmas again."
The crowd erupted in cheers -- completely baffling the media. Like most liberals, they couldn't understand why the issue resonated so much with conservatives. Other reporters almost mocked the line, latching on to it as another silly soundbite on an issue they consider so trivial. But to every Christian in that room, the president was talking about a lot more than the war on Christmas. He was speaking directly into the fight for religious liberty in America. 
Maybe the mainstream media didn't notice how stifled Christians were under Barack Obama's government -- how everything they said or wore or posted was scrutinized (or worse, punished). After two terms of the most hostile administration to faith the country has ever seen, I guarantee no one takes the simplest expression -- "Merry Christmas" -- for granted. To the people who elected Donald Trump, this isn't just about putting Christ in a day. It's about putting faith back in American life.

First of all, let me make a quick sidebar here. I for one, am so sick of people like Tony Perkins bogarting the word "Christian" as if God gave them the patent to it. If you asked another group of Christians, say African-American Southern Baptists, about feeling stifled under Obama, they would have a totally different reaction.

But back to the subject at hand -  Perkins isn't the only conservative celebrating over this nonsense, but it is the height of shallowness that he refers to a 2009 article spotlighting former Obama social secretary Desiree Rogers (and probably truncated by his group) to attack the former president.

It is even more shallow, more ridiculous, and just downright sad that Perkins seems to be implying that Trump is a better president than Obama because his Christmas decorations include a Nativity scene or that he makes it a point to say "Merry Christmas."

This is the same Trump who

in his first 100 days in office, has told over 400 lies,

has made over 1,000 misleading claims in his first 298 days in office,

undermines members of his own cabinet,

has made abysmal errors when it comes to the duties of his office in situations such as the hurricane in Puerto Rico,

can't keep himself from attacking his perceived political enemies with slurs even in unrelated situations,

and so many other things, including:

undermining his own intelligence chiefs, sharing highly classified Israeli intelligence with a core ally of Israel’s top geopolitical foe, undermining international cooperation on climate change — and America’s credibility on the world stage, releasing a budget with a $2 trillion math error.

That's the Trump we are talking about.  But Perkins seems to think that  since Trump's Christmas decorations has a Nativity scene and he claims that people can now say "Merry Christmas" (which is another damn lie. We could always say "Merry Christmas."),  or he uses the word "Christmas" a lot, he is  somehow a better president than Obama, who had a scandal free administration (things Fox News and conservatives pull out of their collective asses aren't scandals) and led us away from the brink of a economic depression.

And we apparently supposed to be impressed that cheap crap like this "resonates" with Perkins' supporters. Personally, I'm not impressed. I've never lost my idea of common sense just because someone says the word "resonate." If I feel something is stupid, I will say so.

And the fact that a proven liar and incompetent boob putting up a Nativity scene and lying about the phrase "Merry Christmas" supposedly "resonates" with people whose religious beliefs warns them against such transparent plateaus is not only stupid, but also shameful. Furthermore, I have a feeling that the situation has a lot more to do with who Obama is (and yes that includes racially) than what he may or may not say or do.

So Trump makes it a point to say "Merry Christmas" or include symbols of the supposedly traditional Christmas. Big deal. Does that mean we are supposed to give him a pass from the multitude of errors he makes on the days that aren't Christmas?

Whether Trump is or isn't a better president than Obama is not the question we should be asking because it's a stupid question. If he were unconscious while in office, Obama would still be a better president than Trump.

 And we shouldn't be asking why Perkins and company felt stifled under Obama. We know the answer to that question, even though it's the first time I've heard of a group feeling stifled because a person wouldn't figuratively blanket their asses with praise and kisses.

We should be questioning the religious integrity of Perkins, his fellow right-wing evangelicals, and the folks who support them.  Why is it that they can be swayed with plastic Christmas ornaments and cheap, faux sentimentality over substance?

An old adage says that the devil can quote Scripture for his own purpose. Apparently some devils can say "Merry Christmas" for the same reason.

It's sad how many so-called Christians will allow themselves to be fooled by it.

Favoring sentimentality over sound police is the very personification of how Perkins and company willingly worships the golden calf that is Trump. No one elected him to say "Merry Christmas nor to place Nativity scenes in the White House. And no one overlook his incompetence simply because he does these things.

1 comment:

Frank said...

As an ex-Catholic from an Italian-American background, I often struggle with how to celebrate the holiday with authenticity and not feel like a hypocrite. Sometimes saying "Merry Christmas" or "Buon Natale" just feels forced.

I find the entire celebration of Christmas in America to be so hypocritical that it makes me ill. There is no longer anything "merry" about it: it is exemplified by consumerism and greed; it has become a secular, rather than a religious, holiday. Which is fine, I guess, so long as one acknowledges that and does not pretend to be "Christian" while living a life antithetical to what one purports to believe in.

People like 45 probably don't even know the story, the history, let alone the theology, the Christology,of the feast day, the creche, or even the gift-giving. (I would love if someone quizzed 45 about Christmas).

So, "Happy Holidays" works for me.