Friday, November 19, 2010

Follow-up to yesterday: Apparently, being a Dick is un-Christian

The American Family Association (AFA) doesn't like it when people and businesses are open and welcoming to all faiths, traditions, and creeds.  They want just their own religion granted a spot of reverence and privilege, and no one else gets any recognition.  That's why they are one of the groups persisting in persecuting this fictious "War on Christmas". 

Yesterday, I discussed the "naughty or nice" list that the AFA has, and the ones getting a "naughty" recommendation are those that don't pander to just the Christians, and recognize that there is a substantial percentage of their customer base that isn't Christian and doesn't celebrate Christmas.  They've just put in a news flash - Dick's Sporting Goods is the "naughtiest of the naughty".

So, if you want to be a real dick about not saying "Merry Christmas" this year, maybe you can do all your holiday shopping at a large sporting goods store.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Are you "Naughty or Nice" this year? It depends on what you say...

When I think of the phrase "naughty or nice", I picture an idyllic scene of a jolly fat man in a bright red suit (with or without the jacket - but when without, having bright red suspenders, too) perusing a long scrolling list of names and laughing heartily to himself as the snow flies lightly outside the window.  I picture the "nice" kids as polite, well-rounded and eager to please, while the "naughty" kids are pulling obnoxious pranks, cursing everything in sight and dressed like a Goth nightmare.

Of course, that's just in my imagination, and I know that all kids have a bit of "naughty" and a dash of "nice", and often you can't figure out which side of the equation the kid falls into. But have you ever heard of labelling a corporation "naughty"?  About the only ones that I could think of would be like Halliburton, Enron and BP, whose offenses against humanity and the world are legendary.  But according to the American Family Association, all it takes for a company to be "naughty" is to not say "Christmas".  That's right.  They can have all the holiday decorations, reindeer-pulled sleighs, nativity scenes and betwinkling lights covering the entire store, but if they don't mention the word "Christmas" in their advertisments, they're waging "War on Christmas".

You can see the list of companies that the AFA has rated here, in three festive colors (Green, Red and Yellow).  It also lists the criteria for making each of the three lists, and how a company can protest which list it's on (they've got to provide written documentation of their inclusion of the word "Christmas" to the AFA).

So, who's on the "naughty" list so far? 

Barnes & Noble
CVS Pharmacy
Dick's Sporting Goods
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret

Of all those, the only one I'd consider placing on a "naughty" list is the last one, and in that case I actually think being "naughty" should be considered a bonus. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The stronger the denial, the further the fall?

Well, it's happened again.  Another anti-gay preacher has "come out of the closet".  And this time, it's not just a local celebrant, but one of the higher up muckety-mucks, a full blown bishop (pun intended).

Yet, and this is what surprises me (not really), there are other Christians who are now denouncing him as not a "True Christian(tm)".  I wonder if they've ever heard of the logical fallacy called "No True Scotsman"? 

Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) said "This so-called 'Bishop' Swilley is a very confused man.  He thinks he's being honest about -- quote -- 'who he is,' but actually, he's compromising the Word of God and he's Christianizing sin, which is impossible."

I've got to wonder how long it will be before Mr. LaBarbara himself announces he has to be "who he is", too. 

I'm sorry, Mr. LaBarbera -- the last time I checked in the Bible, there wasn't a clause stating that sinners of any kind couldn't be Christian.  Maybe I'm reading a different Bible than you are?  Maybe AFTAH publishes it's own version, complete with graphic depictions of those heinous acts they condemn.  I'm sure Mr. LaBarbera stays up late at night studying it hard.

They let crooks, thieves, liars, bigots, cheats, philanderers, and adulterers stay in the pulpit.  Sometimes even after multiple offenses.  In fact, one of the defining positions of Christianity seems to be that everyone is a sinner, but that shouldn't disallow them from being Christian. But touch one member of the same sex, and you are no longer in the club.  Guess they should make a new "log cabin Christian" church?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I'm reading this week

I'm an avid reader.  On average, I probably read at least one full novel per week, along with an assortment of nonfiction, biography and technical writings scattered throughout the year. I've usually got my nose (metaphorically) in at least one, if not three or four, separate books at any one time.  Lucky for me, technology has made it easy to carry around an entire library in the palm of my hand.

This last weekend, I finished the latest book in my To Be Read (TBR) pile, The Gathering Storm by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan.  I needed something to go along with the Clan of the Cave Bear, which I'm also in the middle of re-reading.  And then I saw this:

The Atheist's Guide to Christmas

And joy of joys -- it's only $1.01 on Amazon for the digital edition!  What an amazing deal!

So I've been reading it on and off for the last few days, and it's an insightful and entertaining collection of essays from 42 atheists around the world (well, mostly Great Britain) about what Christmas means to them.  From stories of childhood wishes to farsical comedic takes on the holiday, it's a blast to read, and an very uplifiting set of tales.  And one of the most entertaining things about it is the British colloquialisms and jingo that is peppered throughout the essays, often quite unintentionally funny to a Muricun like me.

If you've got a chance and some interest, I highly recommend this book (especially the Kindle version, which is only a buck).  If you don't have a Kindle, there are a lot of other ways to read it -- on your computer, on your iDevice, or get the hard copy (go ahead, kill a few trees while you're at it!).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So, who thinks it's going to be a cold winter?

It's finally starting to cool down around here (I saw the first frost on roofs this morning). But just because the local weather is cooling doesn't mean the world is.

So far, this year is matching/exceeding 1998 as the hottest ever recorded. So much for the claim by deniers that the last ten years show a cooldown. Not even close!

Anyone want to bet on how much snow KC will get this winter?