Yes, Children, there Really IS a War on Christmas!

This sickens. . .but needs to be seen, I guess

This sickens. . .but needs to be seen, I guess

I read that the Attorney General of New York is trying to get stores like KMart, Walmart and Amazon to stop selling fake guns that look real.  If you think this is overreacting, take a look at these two websites (you really should):  Toy Arsenal and More Toy Guns.  I particularly like the Swat team and Sniper rifles, but also the U.S. Army Carbine for only $28.95.  Gee, I’d like to see a whole army of children with those!  And what better time than Christmas!

I can still remember how thrilled I was when my dad gave me a bb gun for Christmas.  I was probably 8 or 9.  I’ll bet I went right out and gunned down a happy robin singing loud and joyful on Christmas Day.  It was only a year or two later that I shot a blackbird through the head and saw it hang upside down on a branch.  That was the last time I shot anything with that gun.

This is all these “toys” do.  They kill or wound things, living things, people.  Or, pretend to.  Think about that.  Pretending to kill someone.  Nice thing to teach children isn’t it?  Sure, target practice was fun.  But it’s just too hard for children not to sooner or later blast something or point the gun at someone. . .like a police officer.

Goodbye child.  Goodbye any real parenting.

I’m waiting for someone to claim it’s their Second Amendment Right for their child to own as many Toy Guns as they want.  Waaaaaahh.

One childlike question:  How many more kids will die “playing with guns” real or fake?

One grownup question:  Raising children to shoot things gives us what kind of adults?

Teaching violence has to be the Real War on Christmas since it’s the Real War on Our Children too.


Connecticut School Shooting

Here’s an idea:

Since we’re all sad and feel rather helpless to save our children from the madness of mad people with guns. . .

This holiday season:

Religious leaders could get up in their pulpits or on their stages and ask everyone with a gun (at home, or in their pocket in the pew) to go home, sit with their nice cold steel weapon, think of their own kids or the children who died, think long and hard about their need to feel protected and powerful, their “right” to kill who and when they want. . .and to ask themselves what “faith” means or “god” or “The Child in the Manger,” and come back next week to talk about it.

Then, these leaders can ask the godly gun-lovers in their midst to make a decision.  Each one is invited to bring their (unloaded) gun to church (synagogue, mosque, temple) and make it an offering of peace, of sanity, of “faith.”

And for the Christians: they can place their weapons right in the manger with the baby.  And then everyone together can say a prayer or think a peaceful thought for all the children who have been killed by these weapons. . .and all the innocents who will NOT be killed or wounded by the offerings.

The madness needs to stop.  The madness CAN stop!

We’ll now see Who the True Leaders Really Are. . .Who will Do the Right Thing and “stand their ground” with the NRA.

We’re waiting to see.  We’ve waited too long to see.

I urge you to visit the NRA Website and just see how the Religion of Guns is proclaimed.  Read how joyfully they report things like this, even in the Christmas Season:

“Sometime next week in Florida, somebody will become the state’s 1 millionth holder of a concealed weapons permit, solidifying the state’s No. 1 standing in the nation in that category.”

A Christmas Message from a Christmas Baby


A Secular Sermon and Heretic Homily from a Christmas Baby

Chris Highland

Trees and turkeys hate this time of year, especially Christmas.  Well, I suppose if you’re an oak tree or a palm or a sequoia you may not dread the axe before Gratefulness Day.  And if you’re a wild turkey who can shut your gobble long enough to hide in the hedgerow you may be safe. Nevertheless, it’s not a good time to be an evergreen or a fat tom.  There be fowl play in the air.

Though I was born on December 25th, I don’t like it much myself anymore.  I love the Season but not the seasonings, Solstice but not the silly Santa and the same-old-Sacred.  I think I’ll celebrate with the forest and the birds.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have no desire to make good will and peace go away.  I like a few lights, some cider and a little more time with family and friends, if they can leave the cellphones in the car.  I enjoy a simple exchange of a few presents.  But what I really celebrate is that wetstuff from the sky with the gifts of greening hills, the freshness of the air, hikes to the glorious waterfalls, migrating birds and maybe a bit of wine-tasting by a fire.

What about the Christmas story?  Well, this might shock a few people who knew me as a minister, but it lost the magic a long while back.  I was a follower of the Bethlehem Baby for a good part of my life.  In fact, I was ordained as one of his shepherds.  Then it came to pass that this pastor no longer felt pastoral.  I met some nice sheep, but I suppose I just couldn’t see the connection any longer between the baby-god, his poverty and the religion of stables and pastures.

I jumped the fence to be a chaplain among the poorest people, those who have no homes, no families—whose holidays are often empty days, cluttered with sad sleighrides of emotions—who stand in the cold with cardboard signs as churchloads of credit-card-carrying followers of the Christmas Child pass them in the Winter night.

Now, I’m a writer and teacher, a lover of Nature and the wild.  Every day is a holy (extraordinary) day, a holiday, a day for peace, light and the good.  Each day is my birthday, a day to celebrate life and the new birth of hope.  The nativity of every lifeform on the planet is special, “blessed.”  I don’t need any wise people on camels or in cadillacs to tell me that.  I need no star.  I need the universe of stars, because they remind me that life is a spark of a gift and I am incredibly small, but somehow significant.

Along the snowy way I also discovered that I don’t need the baby anymore.  The manger is empty for me.  There are millions of poor children born every day and even on December 25.  I could learn a thing or two from them, but I don’t need someone to tell me to love or be compassionate, that I need saving from something.  That all seems to me now to be a huge distraction–to look back in history and mythology to find a savior, a messiah, to make me a better person, to make the world better.  We’ve had two thousand years and I wonder if we’re any better for the birth of a little Palestinian Jewish boy to teenage parents in a dusty reststop called Bethlehem.

I still find powerfully disturbing teachings in the life of that boy (about justice for instance, challenging religion for example) but my honor of him as a teacher and reformer doesn’t include the add-on title of “god” or “lord.”  Why would we get distracted from his life and simple instruction for that?  And more poor people die for me, because of me, each year through unhealthy work conditions, poverty, pollution, political policies and war, than anyone could have sacrificed themselves a long time ago.  Heaven is here (“the kingdom of heaven is within you”) and I’m reminded every time the seasons change that I am a part of Nature and Nature is good, beautiful and yes, sometimes brutal.  Nature is the present we seek and it is no toy or game to technologize or theologize with.  The natural world is all we have and that’s wonderful!  What a holyland we live in!

I left Christmas, like the crumpled wrapping paper around the tree of my childhood.  I stopped cutting a tree, choosing instead to climb one to honor the changing seasons of my life.  I need no hymn or carol to cause me to dance for higher, simpler presents.

So, I no longer celebrate either the Christian holyday or the consumer hollowday.  I opt out of the spending, the driving, parking, indebting madness, when millions of children (and adults) get more stuff and stuffing than they’ll ever need-–things, unneeded toys, symbols of nothing but the opposite of the original, “simple” message of love, justice, compassion. . .the true, lasting gifts.  And as I said, all the junk simply distracts us from the beauty of Nature.  Junk or Jesus, it adds up to the same thing: we are no better human beings than last year–-we just have more junk, in our minds and our over-stuffed mangers.

What could take the place of the manger and the mall?  Can anything replace the Elves or Angels, Santa’s Shack or the Stable? Let’s hope so.  For me, I am trying each year to return to a simpler, saner way.

I honor the Season itself.  The Solstice offers those free gifts described by the poet Robert Burns on his own birthday: “What wealth can never give nor take away.”  I am learning to cherish the simple “things” and “stuff” freely given to all by Nature.

I practice a deeper understanding of all beliefs, of all nations, races, creeds, colors and languages on this small spinning blue-green-brown ornament.  And I have a growing dislike for those who crucify the Bethlehem baby along with his message of compassionate justice on their artificial trees heavy with ignorance, judgment and bigotry.

I try not to kill anything to celebrate a holiday!  I don’t kill an animal or a tree to honor Life.  That’s just crazy.

Whatever your beliefs or means of celebrating, may you create a new tradition of peace in this beautiful time of year, find some universal goodwill, and avoid getting trapped in the wrapping of the past.  You don’t have to “Do the Holidays” this year.  You really don’t.

A Peaceful Green Season of Light to You!