An Overreaction

Borders bookstores have begun giving out Christmas cards this holiday season along with your purchase of Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion.

The card reads: “O come all ye faithless.”

Cute. Kind of funny. Not really a collector’s item, but a nice little added bonus.

The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. said the idea was “crass.”

Of course he did.

“I am quite sure that Borders intended their Christmas card as a joke. However, I personally find it an ill-judged and insensitive joke,” he said, as reported by Baptist Times.

I don’t get it. Why is it insensitive?

He continued, “Christians have always been used to being punch bags but I would have hoped that, in a society in which we are seeking to show respect to all people and beliefs, we might have grown out of this kind of nonsense.”

How is it disrespectful?

(And while people should be respected, their beliefs certainly don’t have to be.)

He was supported by Justin Thacker, head of theology at the Evangelical Alliance, who said, “It won’t surprise me if this spectacularly fails. Christmas still holds a high place in people’s hearts – I think a lot of people will be offended by it.”

How will they be offended?

The Evangelical Alliance’s Thacker noted, “I think the atheists will love it because it’s bashing Christians around the head. It’s another thing to take a Christian festival and abuse it.

“Borders wouldn’t do this to any other religious festival. Borders [has] made a strategic mistake and Christians will boycott it.”

How does it bash Christians?

(And when will Christians realize their boycotts all backfire?)

(And when will Christians finally boycott my book? I’m a heathen who went to churches and didn’t put any money in the collection plates! Blasphemy! Ban me, dammit, ban me!)

(via Friendly Christian)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Mriana

    For some reason I missed the humour too. Not to mention, I have O Come O Come Emmanual stuck in my head. :? That’s not the right song. :?

    My Buddhist son doesn’t get the joke either. At least I’m not alone. He’s looking up the song in a Lutheran Prayer Book. :roll: We need help. :lol:

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    (And when will Christians finally boycott my book? I’m a heathen who went to churches and didn’t put any money in the collection plates! Blasphemy! Ban me, dammit, ban me!)

    Yeah, I don’t understand that, either….you did everything right in the book. You were calm, reasonable, and approachable, and didn’t really say anything downright offensive. They should be all over you by now!

  • http://www.runicfire.net ansuzmannaz

    If anything, the card is offensive to atheists. After all, it does seem to invite the nonbeliever to join in pious revelry, which I would take as a severe insult. How it demeans Christians, I have no idea.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    The cards are funny and they are not for Christians; they are for people buying The God Delusion, most likely not the devout. Plus, I’m really sick of hearing about Christians who can’t take a joke and who try to make it into persecution.

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    At least know Christians are marching in the street demanding the card’s author be killed and chanting death to borders.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I thought it was funny. I don’t understand why anyone (Christian or Atheist) would think it was not funny considering it was sent out around Christmas. If it was sent out in the summer, there wouldn’t be the Christmas tie-in and it would be a little strange.

    It seems to me that the “give no quarter” approach to atheists that some Christians have is a very bad reflection on Christianity. It seems like they would really rather there be no atheists at all…. that they find any acknowledgement of atheists in our society offensive. I wonder what they would do with one or two more religious-oriented supreme court justices.

  • http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com Dale McGowan

    And while people should be respected, their beliefs certainly don’t have to be.

    I’m making a New Year’s resolution to give a shout-out to everyone who ever includes this idea in a blog. Consider yourself shouted out.

    As for the boycott, I’ve been praying for James Dobson to come out against my book since the beginning. Further proof that prayer doesn’t work.

    How about this, then: You boycott my book, and I’ll boycott yours.

  • Stephen

    Oh cool, even British Christians have a persecution complex.

  • kristi

    What’s a punch bag? Is that anything like a drink-soaked popinjay?

  • Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet)

    It’s another thing to take a Christian festival and abuse it.

    Odd. I thought (and correct me if I am wrong) that the early christians created a Mass of Christ (not jesus’ birthday, just a mass celebrating his coming) in order to supplant the winter solstice festivals (especially saturnalia). Through various misunderstandings over the years (ignorant peasants) the Mass of Christ became Christmas, celebrating the birth of jesus. So couldn’t pagans complain righteously that christians were taking a perfectly good bacchanalia and messing it up with all this son of god nonsense?

  • Siamang

    If these folks are offended by what’s on the Christmas card, wait’ll they read what’s in the book!

    I’m betting a donut that this card isn’t being offered at American Borders. Heck, American Borders wasn’t too big on prominent placement of TGD when it came out, even though it was a bestseller, at least at my local store.

  • Siamang

    “What’s a punch bag? Is that anything like a drink-soaked popinjay?”

    No, that’s Hitchens.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    “What’s a punch bag? Is that anything like a drink-soaked popinjay?”

    No, that’s Hitchens.

    ROTFLMAO!

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    This bookmark is not offensive. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with those couple of British ministers.

    Of course it’s not particularly clever either. Just sort of cheezy – the kind of thing that I might just raise an eyebrow at and then drop back into the bag to be completely forgotten.

    I’m wondering why Borders even bothered in the first place. Were they trying to be cute?

  • http://msmith13.wordpress.com Mark

    It’s no wonder some Christians feel picked on, if part of their belief system is that it’s rude to disagree with them. Did I say rude? I meant blasphemous. See, they hate being disagreed with so much that they gave it a nasty-sounding name and sent people to make-believe hell for doing it.

    The difference between disagreement and disrespect is the difference between “I think you’re wrong” and “I think you’re wrong, asshat.”

    There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get. — H.L. Mencken

  • Larry Huffman

    I have to admit, I didn’t get this either. When I first started reading I thought the card was aimed at atheists…as in, “here you go you godless christmas hater, have a card”.

    Christians are just way too sensitive for their own good…but i suppose that is how they have to be. The festival they took over from others is now being turned into a non-religious festival…and they do not like it. And I don’t care. But this card is not the attack they are imagining.

  • TXatheist

    I thought it was hilarious. Yes, I have faith to some degree but I think the sarcasm in the card is obvious.

  • Mriana

    It’s no wonder some Christians feel picked on, if part of their belief system is that it’s rude to disagree with them. Did I say rude? I meant blasphemous. See, they hate being disagreed with so much that they gave it a nasty-sounding name and sent people to make-believe hell for doing it.

    I don’t think it sounds nasty. :lol:

    Larry Huffman said,

    December 19, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I have to admit, I didn’t get this either. When I first started reading I thought the card was aimed at atheists…as in, “here you go you godless christmas hater, have a card”.

    Yes that was another one of my thoughts too.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I don’t see why you people can’t see it. It’s perfectly obvious why this is disrespectful and offensive to Christians:

    It acknowledges the existence of atheists. In a friendly, jokey, welcoming way, that acknowledges our value as customers.

    Revolting! Avert your eyes! Won’t somebody please think of the children?

    Seriously: There’s only thing I can think of about this that could even remotely be reasonably interpreted as offensive: It assumes that the person buying “The God Delusion” is an atheist, as opposed to a curious believer.

    But considering how many times it’s been assumed that I’m a Christian (by people who don’t know me, obviously), I think they need to suck it up.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    Wow, was I mistaken. When I started reading, I thought it was some knock on atheists and then I saw the christians were pissed. Weird. So Border’s has a sense of humor? Well that’s good to hear. Anyone have a scan of what these cards look like? I’d like to see. If you don’t have a place to host the scan(s) online, email me and I’ll host it for you.

  • Nick

    This reminds me of something I read today.

    http://community.devexpress.com/blogs/thinking/archive/2007/12/10/it-s-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-xmas.aspx

    Nice, but I have one complaint:
    Could you please rename “Xmas 2008 Blue” to “Christmas 2008 Blue” and “XmasSkins” to “ChristmasSkins”? …
    This is a slap in the face to christian programmers who actually remember what Christmas is about.

    A slap in the face? Seriously? How is abbreviating christmas to Xmas offensive? I suppose it is offensive that I didn’t capitalise christmas also? What is with this crazy sensitivity?

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    I’ve found on numerous occasions online that they hate that crap, so depending on my mood they may get “christian” or they may get “xian”. I’ll never give them a cap though. Those are for proper nouns, and I find nothing proper about xianity. ;)

  • AJ

    Can’t be having heretics parodying one of their hymns. Sacrilege! Blasphemy! Burn the witches! On a season we have claimed for our religion, outrageous!

  • Claire

    Nick said

    What is with this crazy sensitivity?

    Using us-vs-them paranoia to enhance solidarity and suppress dissent is as old as the hills, and belongs to no specific group. Certain christian leaders and public figures encourage them to feel persecuted and interpret every possible slight as a deliberate insult, even an outright attack. It’s manufactured, not inherent, although a tendency to do this probably is a deep-rooted part of human nature.

    It happens in all kinds of groups, regardless of culture, anytime the group is threatened, or even just if their leaders tell them they are threatened. Look at what happened after we declared war on Iraq, and how long did it take us to wake up from that? With Bill O-Reilly still in a frenzy over the ‘war on christmas” that he invented, who knows how long it will take for Americans to wake up from this?

    What surprises me most is that this was a British micro-furor. Are there any UK folk here who could shed some light on why this is happening there? I hate to think the Brits are listening to same crap we do, but maybe they are.

  • Claire

    MikeClawson said,

    I’m wondering why Borders even bothered in the first place. Were they trying to be cute?

    Not so much cute or even funny as it was clever(ish). Seriously, how amusing do you expect a marketing department to be? The Borders folks are all about books and writing and words, so yes, the play on words is something that would amuse them. Also, the British sense of humor is different from ours. This was only the UK Borders, a fact which is absent in the news articles I saw.

    As they say, once you have to explain humor, it pretty much isn’t funny anymore.

  • http://ozatheist.wordpress.com/ OzAtheist

    At least this time there are some christians condemning the so called controversy.
    I had a christian comment on my blog that she thought the card was brilliant because she saw it as a “call for the “faithless” to come” (to god, to church, to christianity?).

    Dale, I consider myself shouted at

  • http://ozatheist.wordpress.com/ OzAtheist

    At least this time there are some christians condemning the so called controversy.

    I had a christian comment on my blog that she thought the card was brilliant because she saw it as a “call for the “faithless” to come” (to god, to church, to christianity?).

    Dale, I consider myself shouted at

  • Claire

    PhillyChief said,

    Anyone have a scan of what these cards look like? I’d like to see.

    It’s a pretty small graphic, but you can see it at the Borders UK site.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    The festival they took over from others is now being turned into a non-religious festival…and they do not like it.

    Well, we did it to ourselves, so I don’t see what cause we have to complain.


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