Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2011

Egyptian Muslims Risk Lives to Protect Worshiping Coptic Christians

     On New Year’s Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. Religious tensions immediately rose in the country, and angry Copts stormed streets, battled with police, and even vandalized a nearby mosque. The riots and heightened tensions between the Muslim and Coptic communities was likely what the terrorists wanted — to divide the Egyptian community and create sectarian strife between different religious groups.
     Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. As Egyptian Copts attended mass at churches across the country, “thousands” of Muslims, including “the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak,” joined them, acting as “human shields” to protect from terrorist attacks by extremists. The Muslims organized under the slogan “We either live together, or we die together,” inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist.
     Now, if only we could get American Christians to stop putting targets on their fellow Christians' heads...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For All the Christmas/Easter Christians

     Lent is quickly coming to an end.  The time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will make way for Holy Week (Hell Week to the priests, ministers, choir directors, etc. who will be working their tails off.), and Christians everywhere can go back to regular habits of eating chocolate, drinking soda, letting their bibles collect dust, and jacking off to internet porn, knowing that they are closer to their god

     In honor of all the Christians who attend services only twice a year (Easter and Christmas), here's a reminder of the similarities between Santa Claus and god.

*Image Credit: LOLgod

Monday, January 4, 2010

11th Hate of Christmas: Orange County

     The 11th Hate of Christmas According to Heretic Gary C:

     The Boyf & I decide that for the first time in our thirteen years we're doing Christmas with both families together as a couple, and they can like it or lump it.  My family doesn't care either way.  His are wigged out but cave when I say it's both of us or neither of us, and since he's The Only Son (like Jesus!), they need him to complete their...something.  Did I mention they're Chinese?  Did I mention their parents were among the first Chinese converts to Seventh Day Adventist...ism ?  This weighs heavily.

     We agree to drive all over Southern California so no one has distance as an excuse.


     My family's first, so we leave Hollywood for The Orange Curtain.  I figured since my niece is living with Another Woman, this will be easy.  

     Wrong.  

     Another Woman has family: redneck family not particularly supportive of her "alternative" lifestyle and not shy about voicing their disapproval, even on Our Lord's Birthday (OLB), even with Christian Soft Rock fouling the airwaves.  I thought Redneck Bro and I were gonna have to have a special education session out back, but Sis stepped in and asked for peace on OLB, so we ate, made our excuses and left...

     ...up the packed 91 to Loma Linda -- Seventh Day Adventist central.  We're almost an hour late, and of course even though we said not to, they're holding dinner for us...except not really.  They're holding dinner for The Boyf, are absolutely gobsmacked that I showed up, and clearly don't know what to do with me.

     So we eat, rather quickly, even though we’re already stuffed, keeping the conversation to safe topics like the food.  We endure a desultory present exchange, during which I'm pretty much ignored, and then gather around the piano to sing carols.  (They've all had decades of musical instruction.)  Knowing what's coming, The Boyf disappears into the bathroom and does not come out again, for over an hour, so I'm stuck.  But, when God closes the [bathroom] door, he makes lemonade.  Or something.  I was in the choir in grade school and have a good memory for lyrics and other unimportant stuff, so I figure I can win them over with my singing.

     Wrong.  

     Even though they use caroling books (seriously, who has fucking caroling books?), they all know all the words to all the verses of everything, and they sing all the verses of everything.  I realize I'm lost somewhere around the fifth verse of "Adeste Fidelis."  Out of nowhere, they ask if I have a favorite carol.  I stammer "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."  After a LONG silence, Mom says, "We don't know any secular carols," in the same tone that she would have used if I’d just farted in church.  Uncle B. mercifully suggests something else, and they're off again.

     The Boyf finally surfaces, and we our excuses without mentioning that I have to work the next day, which for them is The Sabbath.  I had no idea, although it did explain why there was no ham.  They're not as strictly observant as the Jews who won't even turn on a light switch, but close.  The Sister, acting as hostess for the first time, realizes just how strict this is when we learn she isn't even allowed to clear the table, load the dishwasher, or wash the tablecloth because that's considered work, even though the same group (minus us) is coming back for lunch tomorrow.  The Boyf won't break Sabbath in front of the parents, so The Big White Guy winds up clearing the table, loading the dishwasher and starting the laundry just so we can get out of there guilt-free. (Apparently they have no problem with heathens working on The Sabbath.)  Sis will finish laundry, empty the dishwasher, and set the table overnight when her husband is asleep; he will not question this.

     The first thing we both said when we got in the car was "NEVER again!"



Sunday, January 3, 2010

10th Hate of Christmas: Bad Christmas Religious Art

     The 10th Hate of Christmas According to Heretic Tom: bad religious art.

St. Santa of Assisi


The Santa Christ


The True (Catholic) Meaning of Christmyths


Elves Gone Wild

He Laughed like a a Bowl Full of ...


Christ Child Cruelty: the Circumcision of Jesus

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

5th Hate of Christmas: the Gift Giving Game

     The 5th Hate of Christmas According to Heretic Dr. Blue Devil:


     I hate the Christmas gift giving game. This reason for the season is the cause of many headaches and stress.

     Round one is trying to figure out who to buy presents for this year. This round is part one of the offensive tactic. You anticipate who will give you a gift so you are prepared to avoid guilt and embarrassment by handing them a gift in return.

     Round two is receiving a gift that you hadn’t accounted for in your offensive maneuvers of round one. At that point we make excuses, or say that we left “your” gift at home or buy some time to regroup and support our defense.


     Round three is more like round zero because it occurs at all points on the game board. This round is the value card. This stress of gift giving is an undertone that removes most of the pleasure out of the whole game, if there is any, no matter what round you are playing. Did I spend enough? Is my gift equal to the value of their gift? Did I spend the same amount on this person as that person?

     The three round gift giving game: come out fighting when you hear the bell, or the Christmas carols that start at Halloween.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Woman Tackles Pope; Seminarian Clutches Pearls

This video was taken at the 10 PM Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.


     It's shocking footage, for sure.  That anyone would physically attack someone while they are praying or performing a religious ceremony disgusts me.  I always had a fear of this sort of thing while I was a priest.  When up on the altar, one is completely exposed, and people have taken advantage of this vulnerability in history.  Liberation Theologian and Archbishop Oscar Romero, who sided with the poor of El Salvador against the rich and, for a long while, anti-liberation-theology-Vatican backed Salvadoran government, was shot dead while celebrating Mass.  When I was in El Salvador in 2001, I put my fingers in the bullet hole in the wall in the back of the sanctuary

     But in history there are also examples of religious people using the "sanctuary" of churches as a way to kill and commit genocide.  At the Rock of Cashel in Ireland, Protestants burned Irish Catholics.  In the Catholic churches of Rwanda, Tutsis took refuge only to have holy priests and nuns point the way for the military to massacre the vulnerable believers who thought they were safe in the Catholic churches.  In the Revolutionary war, there are reports that the British did the same to Americans in their churches, as the (not-so-good) film The Patriot portrayed so tragically.

     So, who was this Woman in Red that pulled Pope Ben to the floor during the Vatican Christmas Eve mass? She was not an angry atheist, not a militant lesbian protesting the church's continual ban on women's ordinations, not a radical Muslim terrorist, not a victim of sexual abuse by a priest (that we know of) seeking revenge, and not a Jew angry at Pope Ben's anti-Jewish blunders.

     The Associated Press reports that the woman was an unarmed Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems, Susanna Maiolo, 25, who attempted to do the same thing to the Pope at last year's Christmas Eve mass.  She's since been checked into a clinic for treatment.  The Pope is fine and he complete the Mass, but an elderly Cardinal Etchegaray was knocked to the ground in the commotion, broke his hip, and is awaiting surgery.

     While the gasps and screams of the faithful are understandable, a few of the clerics responses were a bit revealing.  Start the video below at about 1:00 to see the contrast between the old bishop's and the young seminarian's responses.


     The old bishop reacts like it's no big deal: "What to do?"


     The young straight seminarian (because the Vatican doesn't accept gays into the seminaries anymore) reacts instinctively by grasping his pearls.

First the gasp...


and then the grasp...


     But the Woman in Red (perhaps an undercover cardinal) wasn't the only believer taking the occasion of the high holy day to draw attention to herself.  Two of the bishops, who were just exposed in Ireland's Murphy Report as despicable participants in the cover-up and enabling of priests' sexual abuse of children, took Christmas as their occasion to resign and had priests throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin read their letters of resignation during Christmas masses.  While I'm happy they finally resigned and offered an apology, was Christmas really the best time to do this?  I thought Christ was the "reason for the season."

     There's nothing like religious men and women taking their own precious holy day and making it about themselves.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tomorrow Begin the 12 Hates of Christmas

     Tomorrow begin the 12 Hates of Christmas.  Every day for the next twelve days, another reflection upon something not very nice about the holidays, and lot of fun, fun, fun.

     Thank you to all you heretics that submitted your "hates" for the project.  I hope you enjoy seeing your work in print.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Auditions/Submission for "The 12 Hates of Christmas"


     Dear Disciples of the Gospel According to Hate:

     In celebration of the holiday season and the coming of the Santa Christ, I'm inviting readers of the Gospel According to Hate to write guest posts about what they hate most about the holidays.

     Why hate?

     Well, the holiday season is a season of joy and celebration, but it can also be a season of deep repression and a powder keg for familial bloodsport.  I invite you to safely let it all out here, so that you don't lose it when Great Aunt Trudy asks you why you still aren't pregnant for the thirty-third time, or when Dad makes you play Trivia Pursuit all night long, or when your in-laws toss veiled barbs about you not going to church again on Christmas morning, or when Grandma gives you that excessively moist kiss that smells of coffee and cigarettes, or when your Uncle Walter drinks himself under the table and goes on and on about how different things would be if he were president.

     I hope to receive and use twelve posts that I will post starting on Christmas day.  The series will be called "The Twelve Hates of Christmas."  Although, the subject matter can be about anything to do with the various holidays of the season.

      If you're worried about it being too difficult, here's a possible way of going about writing a piece.  Spend about twenty minutes writing about something that absolutely drives you nuts about the holidays.  Spend about another twenty reading it out lout and polishing it.  And spend a few more minutes to gather any weblinks to which you want me to hyperlink.  Wait one day and then come back to it for twenty more minutes to rewrite fine points, etc.  All together, you could have a piece in well under 75 total minutes.

     Please limit your piece to no more than 700 words.  Short pieces, even under 100 words or just a picture or a poem that captures what you hate, are perfectly acceptable.

     Type it up and send it to me at gospelaccordingtohate@gmail.com by Friday December 18.  Attach any pictures you want posted in the post as well.  Also, let me know if you have a blog to which you want the post linked.

     Also, if you want me to use a pseudonym to protect your identity when I post your submission, that is okay.  Just let me know what you'd like it to be.  I promise not to give you up.

     I reserve the right to edit or not print everything you write, but as you know, my blog is pretty much no holds barred, so have fun! 

     Heretic Tom

Friday, November 27, 2009

Selling the Santa Christ

     The season of Advent doesn't officially start until Saturday at dusk, but that hasn't kept our Christian friends from joining in the credit-busting wealth-fest and excuse to stampede and kill your brothers and sisters that is Black Friday.  What peaceful season!

     As usual this holiday season, preachers will decry the erosion of the "reason for the season" and call upon good Christian men to rejoice and put the Christ back in X-mas (ignorant of the fact that the X comes from the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in the word "christ" in Greek, the language in which most of the New Testament was written).

     But let them decry the heathens they claim have commercialized Christmas.  Let them point fingers.  For their own kind have also given themselves to the coming of the Santa Christ.  None is exempt, for the internet reveals all.

    Two days only at Lifeway Chritian Stores: Biblical Soulutions for Life: CDs, DVDs, bibles, kids' stuff, everything on sale!  Hurry before your time runs out.

     At Christianbook.com, move fast for this week's specials: the box office flop The Nativity Story for only $4.99 on DVD (sorry no Blue-Ray), the NIV Study Bible, 2002 Edition with black, bonded leather for a whopping 75% off, The Beginner's Bible: 50% off, and nothing speaks Christmas better than a new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD: Saint Nicholas: a Story of Joyful Giving.  Strange that Veggie Tales is only 33% off and the bibles are 75%  and 50% off.  I guess nothing sells the world of god better than a bunch of singing vegetables, which reminds me, you can also get the book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God for just $7.49.


     Rush over to Family Christian Stores for the after Thanksgiving 3 day sale event with $5 and 50% off "doorbusters."  Wallet busters is more like it, but don't fret, you're spending for Jesus.  Think of it as a holiday sacrifice, an indulgence in celebration of the incarnation. Spend a little on cutting-edge originally titled CDs like "In the Hands of God" by Newsboys or "Christ is Come" by Big Daddy Weave. Is it just me or are these boy bands kind of hot?

     What if we ... Brandon Heath?

     Welcome to the Masquerade indeed.


     Or click over to Catholic Supply of St. Louis, Inc. and visit their "Extensive Christmas Shoppe" where adding a "pe" to the end of "shop" makes it okay to exploit religion for financial gain.

     If someone you know is addicted to their yearly Precious Moments cute little crack fix, head over to the Religious Goods Center and slap down $35.00 for a one-of-a-kind mass produced and dated figurine.  The celebration of your savior's birth in a simple manger won't be complete without it.

     Or for more Catholic goods, head on over to Abbey Press, the self-proclaimed "web's top source for gifts of faith, family, and friendship!"  Or head to the Catholic Company and get your Christmas cards ordered during Advent, while shopping for Advent books, wreaths, and candleholders.  We don't want those Jews owning the candle market now, do we?  At Autom.com you can get Advent gifts and supplies for as low as 49 cents!  Try to beat that deal, you Protestants.

     But to get the ultimate Christmas gift for your Catholic friends, drop everything and click over to Vatican Gift, for here you can drop $220 on a rosary and $95 more on a rosary box.  Or go all out and spend $420 on the "The Medal-Cross fo [sic] Saint Benedict - 18 kt Gold and platinum." But don't worry, it's worth it, because Vatican Gift has a direct line to Pope Ben who will bless your purchases "absolutely for free" and they're also throwing in a free 2010 calendar of Pope Ben.  And at Vatican Gift, they go even further by sending "a relevant" contribution to "chidrens [sic] in Africa and in other parts of the world, for their health and instruction."  So, buy now, and you can contribute to children being told by the Catholic church that condoms don't prevent the spread of HIV.  So, give some HIV to an unnamed black kid in Africa!  What could be a better way to spread Christmas joy, hope and salvation?

     So, all ye preachers, decry the commercialization of the season, but don't come crying when your collections go up in the coming weeks and you silently take a little off the top for father's needs.

     After all, we live in Jesusland.