Kirk Cameron’s Citizen Cane

Uh-oh, it seems our favorite white evangelical movie star has set his sights on Saving Christmas.

As Hemant Mehta says, “If someone filmed a parody about the ‘War on Christmas,‘” it might look just like this upcoming, family friendly holiday treat from the man who was once Buck Williams.

Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, reports on the upcoming film: “Hollywood Actor Says His New Movie Will Hammer Political Correctness and Frustrate Atheist Activists.”

I’m guessing that headline is true. This looks like a movie that will “hammer” and “frustrate” everyone who sees it.

Beckling Billy Hallowell reports:

Actor Kirk Cameron is taking political correctness to task this fall with a new movie that aims to deflate arguments regularly made against Christmas, while simultaneously pushing back against atheist activists’ annual attacks on the holiday.

In “Saving Christmas,” Cameron plans to tackle some of the most controversial and disputed issues surrounding the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday — claims that he says have had a profound impact on the way believers and nonbelievers alike view the Christian celebration.

The odd thing, judging from Cameron’s comments and description of the project, and from what we can see in the trailer, is that Saving Christmas isn’t going after more than just the usual targets in the annual Fox News “War on Christmas” faux-persecution festival. That’s part of it — Cameron’s voiceover in the trailer laments the phrases “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings.” He sneers, “Whatever that means,” because, apparently, he’s unaware of when winter begins and he’s never heard of Hannukah or New Year’s Day.

The movie’s unoriginal tag line — “Put Christ Back in Christmas” — follows that same Fox agenda of asserting sectarian hegemony. But Cameron also seems intent on defending all the rest of the cultural accretions associated with the holiday — Christmas trees, boughs of holly, stockings, candy canes, partridges in pear trees, silver bells, the Detroit Lions, Black Friday … maybe even Frosty and Rudolph — as being specific, sectarian expressions of Christian faith.

“It’s all about Jesus,” Cameron’s character says in the trailer, seeming to insist that everything we associate with Christmas is somehow directly related to Jesus and the story of the Nativity. The Blaze article seems to suggest that too:

Unlike some of his more recent projects, Saving Christmas isn’t a documentary. It’s a comedic narrative that weaves together educational elements that, through a character-driven storyline, address these common complaints and critiques.

Cameron said some of the claims that will be addressed in the film include: the notion that Christmas is really a church co-opting of winter solstice celebrations, that Jesus was not born on December 25, that Christmas trees are pagan and that consumerism is overshadowing the true reason for the season.

Hoo-boy. Sounds like Cam-Cam is saying that he’s going to try to convince us that December 25 is Jesus actual birthday. And also that consumerism is really an expression of “the true reason for the season.”

So let me just pre-emptively post this snippet from the Snopes.com page on the origin of the candy cane:

In recent years several different stories have been advanced claiming that the candy cane was designed to be fraught with Christian religious symbolism, variously offering it as a secret form of identification used by European Christians during a time of persecution, a sweet treat created to induce children to behave well in church, or a confection dreamed up by a candymaker in Indiana to express his Christian faith. 

CAMCAMThe first of these claims — that the candy cane was intended as a means by which persecuted Christians could furtively identify each other — is directly contradicted by history. Even questionable accounts regarding the origins of the candy cane place its origins no earlier the latter part of the 17th century, at which time Europe was almost entirely Christian. By then, only people who were not Christians would have been the ones in need of this form of “secret handshake!” Like the apocryphal tale of the “true” meaning of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” this claim is a modern day attempt to infuse a primarily secular holiday artifact with Christian origins and meanings. 

Another popular account claims a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, as the inventor of the candy cane. … However, this account also presents significant historical problems. Despite the authoritative-sounding appeal to “church history,” no one has yet produced any documentation that either verifies this account as true or reliably dates it to the 17th century — it exists only in the form of anecdote, recorded no earlier than the mid-20th century. Moreover, English-language references to “candy canes” (1866) and their association with Christmas (1874) didn’t begin to pop up until the latter part of the 19th century, two hundred years after the treat had supposedly been invented and popularized as a Christmastime confection. 

… Claims made about the candy’s Christian symbolism have become increasingly widespread as religious leaders have assured their congregations that these mythologies are factual, the press have published these claims as authoritative answers to readers’ inquiries about the confection’s meaning, and several lavishly illustrated books purport to tell the “true story” of the candy cane’s origins. This is charming folklore, but one should not lose sight of the fact that such stories of the candy cane’s origins are, like Santa Claus, myths and not “true stories.” 

Here is my bet with you, dear readers. I’ll wager that some variation of this “charming folklore” about candy canes gets presented as fact in Cameron’s movie.

The stakes of this bet are very high: If I lose, I have to watch the entire thing.

 

 

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