The Friends of California Libre...

21 December 2005

It's the Winter Solstice Screed That Might Explode on Contact

Greetings, friends,
In Flannery O'Connor's novel Wiseblood, a soldier named Hazel Motes comes home to Tennessee and creates the Church Without Christ. After forty years of gingerly sidestepping the question of my own religion, I've begun to think the opposite, that perhaps I should teach the word of Jesus Without God. It's just a thought.

Recently the Christians in my country are enraged by the idea that minimum-wage workers at Wal-Mart and Target should greet them with "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", or that the cut foilage that comes from a much older celebration than the Year Zero should be called anything other than a "Christmas Tree". If I could figure out how to assemble all these nimrods en masse, perhaps this is how I would give them my first sermon of Jesus Without God.
Battles rage in U.S. over celebrating holidays

About 6000 years ago, when our ancestors started piling mud bricks into buildings and scratching their celestial observations into rocks, the holiest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) was undoubtedly the winter solstice (today). On that day, the relentless and deadly progress of the sun south and away would slowly reverse itself, and the sun would move higher in the sky, predicting the end of winter, the explosion of spring, and the luxury of the summer solstice, when the days would grow shorter again. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, literally the darkest day, and every culture on Earth either celebrates it or, in the Southern Hemisphere, the equivalent on 21 June. The axis of the earth does wobble, cycling the dates of the solstices through the year. Guess what date the winter solstice was 6000 years ago? That's right, on 25 December.

There's an even older solstice celebration in India, Sankranti, in mid-January. This would date back over 30000 years, to the large-scale (not first) migration of humans from the Middle East to India. You can read up on all the celebrations here:

The other night I happened to see a recording of preacher Dr. Gene Scott doing one of his golden oldies, this one dating to 1988. He was facing the camera in his trademark dark glasses, a chrome 5-star general's helmet, khaki jacket, and lighting his cigar with a small bronze blowtorch. One thing that especially endeared me to Dr. Scott was, although he was certainly a good Christian who liked to browbeat money from his minions, he believed there are obvious and ignored truths in the Bible and would violently go after any sacred cows commonly accepted, and they rebroadcast his 1988 anti-Christmas sermon every year. The Bible lays out directly that Jesus of Nazareth was not born on 25 December, but closer to my own birthday of late September. The reasons:
1) The shepherds were still in the fields, according to the Gospels, which they would not have been much after October.
2) Joseph is returning to Bethlehem to be taxed by the Romans. The Romans would not impose a tax in the middle of winter, but just after the harvest in the fall.
3) Mary, if she was 9 months pregnant, would not have undertaken the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem unless one of the important Jewish festivals was taking place in Jerusalem. During the three feasts (which were adapted from pagan Canaanite rituals), hundreds of thousands, even millions, came to Jerusalem, which would explain why there was "no room at the inn" in Bethlehem, a day's walk from Jerusalem. They are: Passover/Pesach (Spring), Pentacost/Shavouth (Summer), and Tabernacles/Sukkot (Fall). This is powerful evidence to me, because I could never understand why Mary would travel with Joseph to be taxed.
4) It is noted in the Bible that Jesus was six months younger than John the Baptist. Also in the Bible, an angel informs John's father, the priest Zacarias, that he will conceive a child with his barren wife Elizabeth. This is during his service at the Temple in Jerusalem, which would have been in June. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive, he notes that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant...December. John is born around March, and Jesus? That's September, folks.

Enclosed find a long list of websites, some of them pretty weird, which provide further boring arguments to this effect. Feel free to distribute widely and say proudly that JESUS IS A VIRGO and NO, Christmas is NOT Jesus' birthday, happy holidays, the Christmas tree and Santy Claus and the elves and the reindeer and all that bullshit is a wonderful PAGAN (or as Dr. Scott sez, HEATHEN) HOLIDAY.
US Jews Feel Threatened by Religious Right
By Michael Conlon

Or, you could just get plain mean (thanks, Mark):
for your "holiday" pleasure:

As for me, I have had it up to HERE with Christians, Jews and Muslims. If I could walk into Saint Ambrose on Fairfax and get myself excommunicated, I'd probably do it, but it isn't that simple. In the meantime I prefer not to be associated with any religion, and frankly I doubt Jesus would either today. A good friend introduced me to the concept of Scientific Pantheism, a kind of advanced universe-worship advocated by people who believe in Geology and Astronomy rather than the Bible. Despite the obvious appeal, I am going to keep religion-free for a spell before I decide to join the Pantheists or the Masons or the Anarchists or go back to the Punk Rockers. But here is an informative website for your edification on this Holiday:

I am not, incidentally, advocating a return to Paganism or Wicca, which frankly I find as full of BS as their arch-enemies in Rome. I played the Wicca game in Berkeley during the mid-1980s and while they like to have sex, they also like to play a Goddess power trip which reminds me too much of mass hysteria, like the hoards of pious Mexicans who show up in Los Angeles when someone sees a puddle or a splotch shaped like the Guadelupe. Yeecch.

Can't we all just get along...with dangerous intoxicants? Now THERE's the holiday spirit. How about a little absinthe (thanks, Bill)?

Or here's a wonderful American innovation, a drink that makes you sick before you choke it down:
Chicago bar serves up 950 dollar cocktail

Many of you might already have heard about the gang of drunk Santas "gone wild" in Auckland, New Zealand ("Santarchy"), who put our local Cacophony Society to shame, tsk.
40 drunken Santas...six geese a-laying...

It just demonstrates my point:
Christmas Is Damaging the Environment

I mean, what is Christmas about, really? Is it about giving a credit card to a tree?

Is it about blasting the hell out of your toys (thanks, Geri)?
Save her from the abuse....,,2-1939678,00.html
Researchers Find Barbie Is Often Mutilated

Is it a celebration of childhood?
Fourth-Graders Accused of Counterfeiting
Money and fame more important than anything, say British youngsters

In case you parents out there want to drill some manners into your Barbie-mutilating, counterfeiting, greedy kids, this is a useful site:

Epicurious: Etiquette Guide

"Learn how to avoid both humiliation and the dry cleaner" with these tips for eating foods such as artichokes, corn-on-the-cob, finger foods, shellfish, fondue, and pasta. Includes guidelines for using chopsticks, napkins, finger bowls, and utensils. From

ANYWAY, on with the screed. The theme this time, for the planet-wide holiday of the WINTER SOLSTICE, should be world peace, eh?

How about America losing all our friends in the UN?
Bolton Loses British Backing for UN Tactics
By Philip Sherwell
The Telegraph UK

I mean, you know things are bad when the Brits start giving us the stick, as they say over there:
Tussaud's turn Bush and Blair into pantomime cow

And the Spaniards helping the Venezuelans give us the stick...
** Venezuela signs Spain arms deal **
A deal that will see Venezuela supplied with military hardware by Spain goes ahead despite US opposition.
< >
Chavez Defies Bush and Buys Arms from Spain
By Roméo Langlois
Le Figaro

...or getting some stick from the poorest country in South America. I don't know about you guys, but I'm looking forward to snorting some good, inexpensive cocaine in 2006. To hell with the Colombians!
Evo Morales Elected Bolivian President in Landslide Victory
By John Hunt
Bolivian Could Be a 'Nightmare' for US
The Associated Press

Seriously, though...
In the Footsteps of Che Guevara: Democracy in South America
By Daniel Howden
The Independent UK

And then speaking of getting the stick, how about giving the Governator the stick for giving Tookie the needle?
Europeans Outraged at Schwarzennegger
By Vanessa Gera
The Associated Press

He took this criticism with typical Austrian cool:
Schwarzenegger severs ties with Austrian hometown

PS If you didn't hear much about Tookie in the screed, maybe it's because I don't mind gang-bangers getting sent to hell, or I had a fantasy of standing out front of his open-casket memorial with a sign that reads FUCK CRIPS. The death penalty may be BS, but he wasn't the guy I was going to blow up over. PPS As a children's librarian in South-Central I read his books and they were crap.

No, folks, on the Solstice it's truth-telling-time.
A News Revolution Has Begun
By John Pilger
t r u t h o u t Perspective
The Indian writer Vandana Shiva has called for an "insurrection of subjugated knowledge." The insurrection is well under way. In trying to make sense of a dangerous world, millions of people are turning away from the traditional sources of news and information and toward the world wide web, convinced that mainstream journalism is the voice of rampant power. The great scandal of Iraq has accelerated this. In the United States, several senior broadcasters have confessed that had they challenged and exposed the lies told about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, instead of amplifying and justifying them, the invasion might not have happened.

Not that truth-telling counts for much in the US of A any more:
US Ranks Sixth among Countries Jailing Journalists, Report Says
By Katharine Q. Seelye
The New York Times

See, in this country, Hollywood writes the future:
"Napoleon Dynamite" Honored in Idaho

Too bad Hollywood can't rewrite the past (thanks, Ralph):
*Young Singers Spread Racist Hate*

Can we stop for a moment and talk about the end of the world? Will technology save us, or will it not turn a profit?
** The rootkit of all evil? **
Sony is in trouble but we might be the ones who lose out in the end with copy-protected CDs, says technology analyst Bill Thompson.
< >

Will secret codes permeate the very substance of our lives?
Molecular markers trace manufactured materials
A NEW microscopic technology able to be incorporated in almost any
material is revolutionising product authentication and taking the
guesswork out of bulk mixing.
For the full article:

Car paints changing with temperature

http ://

Breakthrough chip delivers better digital pictures for less power

Tiny cameras could run for years
PC inside a Pen

Or will we, like Christine sez, use our powers only for good?
Europe Has the Hot Hand
A prosthetic hand intended to restore feeling for amputees when they touch something is in development by a consortium of European scientists. The Cyberhand advances the EU position in the robotics field.,1286,69749,00.html?tw=wn_story_mailer

Or not?
Rich Nations Refuse to Let Go of Subsidies as WTO Talks Near
By Philip Thornton
The Independent UK

I am fascinated that in these dark times, people still bicker among themselves:
The Struggle for Europe

The American government has not such illusions, and to them all world unity is an enemy:

So go ahead, get stuck in the past:
The Bonaparte legacy: The victory France forgot
The Argument over RU 486, the "Abortion Pill," Inflames Italy
By Jean-Jacques Bozonnet
Le Monde
EU Prefers Russia to Turkey
Link to article:

But watch out, because the future is coming to kick your ass, just as sure as the sun will begin to march north tomorrow:
The Psychology of Global Warming: Alarm-ist Versus Alarm-ing
By Bill Blakemore
ABC News
Whales and Dolphins Threatened by Naval Sonar, Says UN Report
By Daniel Howden
The Independent UK

The sick thing is that there really ARE answers to our problems out there:
How to Tame the Logging Beast
By Glen Barry
The Independent UK
Radical Overhaul of Emissions Allocation Required
By Richard Douthwaite
Irish Times
Pay Up to Save the Rainforests
By Peter Popham
The Independent UK
Indian state plugs into "green" bamboo power

I'm not the crazy one. See, at least the Pantheists recognize that Earth is our heaven, and not some wonderful place we get to traipse through after we've reduced our pretty planet to a cinder:
Tiny Bubbles, Rising Seas Point to Warming
World Is at Its Hottest since Prehistory, Say Scientists
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK

But America is a Christian Nation, natch, and up to Heaven we shall march:
America's Shame in Montreal
The New York Times Editorial
US to Battle Allies on Post-2012 Global Warming
By Alister Doyle
How America Plotted to Stop Kyoto Deal
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
Clinton Says Bush Is 'Flat Wrong' on Kyoto
By Charles J. Hanley
The Associated Press

Can it be? Can our G finally lose it to EVERY other country in the world?
US, Under Fire, Eases Its Stance in Climate Talks
By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
Climate Campaigners Claim Greatest Ever Success at Montreal
By Andrew Buncombe and Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
Peak Oil Resolution in US House of Representatives
By Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Co-Sponsors
Global Public Media
Lawmakers Prepare for Showdown over Arctic Oil Drilling Provision
By Carl Hulse and Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The New York Times

Or is it just a feint before the Apocalypse of 2006?
Greenhouse Gas Pact Is in Disarray
By Anthony DePalma
The New York Times

As a Californian, I have faith that individual states, not the US, will decide the fate of North America:
Americans Take Local Road to Kyoto
Kyoto Treaty Powers Up US Alternative Energy Firms
By Evelyn Iritani
The Los Angeles Times

Even GWB's closest allies in the war on the Earth are seeing the light:
Australia Shifts on Climate Change
By Michel Comte
Herald Sun, Australia

One only hopes it is not too late for our friends to the north:
Climate Change Major Environmental Challenge for Europe
The Associated Press
Canada Urges Wider Global Warming Fight

Or the south:
Pacific islanders move to escape global warming

Finally, an interested reader sends some links regarding the destruction of the US National Park system. Read up, take the Solstice off, and go look at some nature...and remember, it might be there tomorrow, but in a year we may have to knock off some petty criminal bureaucrat for it.
> National Park Service is Being Skinned from the Inside-Out
> Past is prelude: Whose interests should national Parks serve?
> Former Park Service leaders condemn policy rewrite
> The official guh’mint version of the whole huge plan (and a convenient public comment form) is here:
> NPS’s friends at the National Parks Conservation Association have a lot to say about the plan. They cut to the chase.
> NPS’s friends are also suing NPS to help them get the political means to stop rampant damage to Parks by offroad vehicles, a very low priority of the current administration.
> Working hard to find a positive spin, NPS Director Fran Mainella recently stated that the Bush’s LOVE our National Parks. She noted that, although the unfunded maintenance backlog is our biggest problem (NOT the above mentioned controversy, and it is now thought to be several billion dollars), Laura Bush is helping to raise money for the Junior Ranger Program.
> All right, so now you know.
> Rock on,
> Robert Taylor

Vive le screed!

No comments :

Facebook Blog Networks

Valid Atom 1.0!
To subscribe via e-mail, fill out the form at ; for RSS readers, use the feed link at FeedBurner , or this drop-down menu: