Canadian Politician (Sort of) Apologizes for Offering Holiday Greetings to ‘Infidel Atheists’

Brian Pallister is the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, and you may recall his recent impromptu holiday greeting to blogger Natalie Pollock:

… I wanted to wish everyone a really really Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, all the holiday… all you infidel atheists out there, I want to wish you the very best, also. I don’t know what you celebrate during the holiday season — I myself celebrate the birth of Christ — but it’s your choice, and I respect your choice. If you wish to celebrate nothing and just get together with friends, that’s good, too. All the best.

I wrote the other day that it struck me as “sincere-though-somewhat-sarcastic.” Pallister would have been better off avoiding the word “infidel” and not suggesting that atheists “celebrate nothing” — but I didn’t sense any malice. (Though commenters on YouTube and other websites found reason to criticize him.)

Yesterday, Pallister half-heartedly apologized for his comments, though he was mostly upset that anyone took him out of context:

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Xmas or Christmas? One Preacher Sounds Off, and It’s Not What You Think

Seven years ago, when I became fast friends with Benjamin Corey — a preacher, theologian, and blogger — he was a Christian fundamentalist. And back then, he cringed when he saw the word “Christmas” rendered as “Xmas.”

He would fume (though mercifully not within my earshot),

How dare those godless atheists try to take the baby Jesus out of my manger, and block out the word Christ with a big, black, X?

Since then, Corey (many of his friends call him by his last name) has had a change of heart. A student of ancient Greek, he’s discovered that (drum roll…) there is no secular conspiracy to remove Christ from Christmas.

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Atheist Sign Goes Up in Illinois Capitol Building

On Saturday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation placed a Winter Solstice sign in the Illinois Capitol building in Springfield:



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Ebenezer Scrooge, the Televangelist…

Bob Seidensticker, one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, has written a really neat alternative version of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol with an atheist twist. His novella features a televangelist (Nathan) who gets visited in the night by ghosts that take him through his past, present and future to show him the problems with his message and the consequences that await him if he keeps pushing it.

In the excerpt below, Nathan and Bill (the “Ghost of Christmas Present”) look in on an old couple watching Nathan’s show on TV:

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Is This Canadian Politician Slamming Atheists in an Informal Holiday Greeting?

Brian Pallister is the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba — kind of like a Canadian version of John Boehner.

He recently offered some holiday greetings to interviewer Natalie Pollock, and his comments took a strange turn when he began to talk about atheists:

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