Christmas


The “Buy Nothing Christmas” campaign from Adbusters’Kalle Lasn has attracted the attention of the New York Times: If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, don’t bother. Skip the mall and the…


The late December holidays in America used to be known as “the season to be jolly,” with our streets festooned with bright lights, groups caroling, shopping galore, gift giving and cheer. This…





One of my favorite sites, io9, had some great recommendations for whatever geeky holiday you may celebrate (Saturnalia, Festivus… Wookie Life Day) for just about every variety of nerd there is. They left…


A couple of students at the steadfastly Mormon Brigham Young University test their classmates’ receptiveness to this most pagan of holiday traditions. You may be surprised. Looks like there’s a kiss or two that goes beyond friendly…and one response that is anything but. Any thoughts on the effects of religious repression on the libido? Ever dated someone who was highly religious? How’d that go?


For once the police are called to a Christmas brawl and none of my relatives are implicated. From Bernat Armangue at Huffington Post:

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The annual cleaning of one of Christianity’s holiest churches deteriorated into a brawl between rival clergy Wednesday, as dozens of monks feuding over sacred space at the Church of the Nativity battled each other with brooms until police intervened.

The ancient church, built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, is shared…



It’s nice to remember that people around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. Check out last year’s edition of the annual Christmas parade (“Krampuslauf”) in Graz, Austria, filled with local color as Krampuses (German Santa Clauses) go on parade:



Did you know that for decades, jolly old St. Nick was a heavy, couple-packs-a-day smoker? According to prominent advertising of the twentieth century, at least. How to be a Retronaut has an…




Keepers of morality the American Family Association have released their annual list of companies that are “Christmas friendly” or “anti-Christmas” (the latter using the term “Christmas” sparingly and instead referring to “the…




One of the highlights of Graham Hancock’s lecture in support of his new book Entangled is when he shows us how the mythological character that he refers to as “Father Christmas” (better…


Science fiction writer Robert Anton Wilson once researched all of Santa’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” Jolly Ol’ St. Nick is guilty of more than just paganism, perjury, and trying to steal Christmas from…




An update of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ titled ‘Santa Will Take You To Hell,’ this is sure to earn a place in the modern believer’s seasonal songbook. Actually, it’s nice to see a Christian group that acknowledges that Christmas is a pagan holiday.


Christmas isn’t always accompanied with holiday cheer, sometimes it comes with death threats. MSNBC reports: Iraqi Christians on Wednesday called off Christmas festivities across the country as al-Qaida insurgents threatened more attacks…


The following article is an excerpt of “The Music’s Debt to Nonbelievers” by Dan Barker, one of 41 articles from the Disinformation anthology I edited, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion. For more on Dan Barker, check out the Freedom From Religion Foundation (ffrf.org).

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Irving Berlin (1888–1989)

How many patriotic Americans know that “God Bless America” was written by a man who did not believe in God? Or that it was intended as an anti-war anthem?

IrvingBerlinIrving Berlin is by any measure the greatest composer of popular American music, with hundreds of enduring hits, such as “White Christmas,” “Anything You Can Do,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “I Love a Piano,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Marie,” “Play a Simple Melody,” “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” and “Easter Parade.”

Born in 1888 into a Russian-Jewish family who came to New York City in 1893 to escape religious persecution, he quickly shed his religious roots and fell in love with America. “Patriotism was Irving Berlin’s true religion,” notes biographer Laurence Bergreen.

“Though he is not a religious person,” his daughter Mary Ellin Barrett writes in her family memoir, “doesn’t even keep up appearances of being an observant Jew, he does not forget who his people are.” Irving and his nominally Catholic wife, Ellin, were married in an unannounced secular ceremony at the Municipal Building, not a church or synagogue…