Maybe if O'Reilly and the other conservative idiots pimping this phony war on Christmas did a bit of reading on the origin of the holiday, they wouldn't be so quick to defend it.
Because the Yuletide celebration goes back considerably further than the birth of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.
Most famously, the Romans celebrated their Saturnalia with seven days of drinking, feasting and gift-giving around this time of year. Their neighbors to the north, the Celts, had their own version of the holiday, one that involved the lighting of trees, decorative wreaths and kissing under the mistletoe.
The church didn't get around to assigning a birthday to Jesus until 336 A.D., and most scholars believe Dec. 25 was chosen because people still celebrated the pagan festivals despite having become nominally Christian.
So deeply entrenched were the pagan origins of the holiday that the Puritan pilgrims of New England outlawed the celebration of Christmas entirely."
Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas and the like, either by feasting, forbearing labor, or any other way ... every such person so offending shall pay for each offense five shillings as a fine to the country," read the early statute.
And Puritan clergyman Increase Mather found Christmas nothing but "mad mirth ... highly dishonorable to the name of Christ."
It wasn't until 1877 that our most alcoholic of presidents, Ulysses S. Grant, signed a law making Christmas a federal holiday, paving the way for countless office parties celebrants have difficulty remembering afterward. A fitting legacy if ever there was one.
Not even the pious Pope Benedict XVI agrees with O'Reilly and his ilk. Speaking on Dec. 11, the pope said that rampant consumerism, not the ACLU, was the biggest threat to Christmas."
In today's consumer society, this time is unfortunately subjected to a sort of commercial 'pollution' that is in danger of altering its true spirit," he said. O'Reilly would likely say the pontiff is out of touch, as he did when Pope John Paul II came out against the American invasion of Iraq.
Whatever you celebrate, may it be joyous. As the author of our article here says:
Anyway, here's hoping you have the best Christmas ever. Or the best Hanukkah. Or the best Kwanzaa. Or the best Saturnalia or Yuletide.
Now, isn't it just easier saying "Happy Holidays"?
Happy Holidays, indeed!