Monday, December 19, 2005

the rat on lambs, skunk and chimps

Just when I was thinking of Howard in terms of his slippery rat-like cunning, he reverts to nerd. Allow me to give you The Shorter Sunday Telegraph Exclusive with our Prime Minister (no link avail it seems):

"I am tense and uncomfortable about three things: nativity scenes disappearing from shopping malls, cannabis and politician's low salaries."

It's the bit about religious iconography that I find especially hard to swallow.
"John Howard wants to see more nativity scenes in shopping centres to put religion back into Christmas. He says he has contempt for arguments Christianity should be downplayed at Christmas in case it offends those of other faiths or non-religious people. "You don’t demonstrate tolerance towards minorities by apologising for your own heritage. [Nativity scenes] seem to have disappeared in recent years and you have this, sort of, "Oh, we don’t want to offend anybody (attitude) [sic]. Actually, you’re offending a lot of people who think it’s a great pity they’ve disappeared. Even if they’re not especially religious themselves, they like the association. It’s part of the culture and the history and the nature of this country."

What does this mean? That it’s okay to wish to try to avoid offending people so long as they’re the majority? I mean, here Howard is himself exhibiting his despised 'oh, we don’t want to offend anybody attitude'. It’s just that the people he doesn’t want to offend are white Christian Australians, who he claims are the majority.
Why does Howard care if God isn’t found in shopping malls at Christmas-time, anyway? People wanting nativity scenes need only go as far as their local Church to view one. Why does Howard want to link commercialism to the religious aspect of his religion?
Not quite sure who Howard is mad at here, either. It’s not Muslims or Jews, as they "respect the fact that it’s a Christian day". So he must be blaming shopkeepers and/or secular society for this wanton removal of religious icons. It must be frustrating for Howard to witness the market forces of a secular society causing the diluting of the amount of Christian religious iconography being displayed in public places.
You know, we value-less atheists who do celebrate Christmas don’t do so out of hypocrisy, greed or some other immoral purpose. We celebrate it because we’ve never really had any choice not to, so we’ve made it our own. After all, what’s not to like about time off work, eating and drinking and being merry with loved ones, and shopping for gifts to celebrate each other? We just leave off the bits that don’t make sense to us, basically the religious mythology that is the traditional background to the festival.

see also more discussion on this at Road to Surfdom.