Pat Robertson: the gift that keeps on giving.

Pat Robertson is onto our Grinchly plans.

Although, to be completely fair, I do want Pat Robertson to be miserable.  :P

Robertson talks about presents and music and all kinds of happy things, and then points a gnarled finger straight at us and accuses us of wanting to take it away.  It’s perfectly implied how we intend to do it too: by saying Happy Holidays.  We plan to make Christmas miserable by wishing happiness on others.  Once those five terrible, but ill-intentioned syllables escape our lips there will be no more presents, no more laughter.  We would just say “fuck you”, but people can still sing and give gifts then.  No, the only way to make sure little Christian children wake up to cold, dying pine trees on Christmas day is to voice a sentiment far worse than a mere “eat shit”.  “Happy Holidays” is that phrase.

Of course, in past years it hasn’t so much as slowed down the traditional activities of the holiday season, but our campaign is not like science where we use past experiments to determine future outcomes.  Our “Happy Holidays” line of attack is more like prayer: keep doing it until something happens.  It’s the strangest thing though, everybody who isn’t in Robertson’s camp seems to take additional joy when someone expresses hope that their holiday season will be filled with happiness.  Only the people combing society for even the silliest reason to feel persecuted seem to hear us wish them well and come away feeling insulted and less happy at Christmas time.  Funny, that.

Robertson talked about how atheists are miserable and therefore want everybody else to be miserable.  Seems to me it’s the other way around.  It is Christians who have somehow managed, through entirely their own effort, to dredge unhappiness from the holiday season, and who expect others to be similarly without cheer.

The narrative that atheists are miserable is very important to the Christian narrative.  It’s a reason to stay Christian; because Christians are happy and atheists have no hope or don’t believe in anything or whatever other ridiculous lie fits the bill.  Don’t even begin to doubt unless you want to tumble into misery in life (and even more misery after death)!  Fear!  Fear!  Fear!  And do you know how we atheists combat beat narrative?  By enjoying the shit out of our lives like we always do.  :)  This is why I’m a big fan of criticizing religion in creative ways (pirate fort!) that allow us to have fun!  If we assault religion with a smile on our faces and with songs in our hearts, it undermines the story that so many believers hear in church about those sad, sad atheists.

And combating that lie gives me another reason to grin during the holidays.  :D

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Gordon

    In the words of Tim Minchin: “I… really like Christmas. It’s sentimental I know, but I just really like it.”

  • Rob

    So he’s against all those companies that prefer Happy Holidays over Merry Christmas? Guess he hates Chik-fil-a then.

  • Erülóra

    It’s all Bing Crosby’s fault.

  • iknklast

    Oh, but it’s so much more than that! It’s the way we immediately begin to beat up anybody who wishes us Merry Christmas! Can’t we just get along?

    I will probably be wished Merry Christmas about 10,000 times over the next month. I will not beat up anyone who wishes me that, but will smile and wish them the same back. If they wish me Happy Holidays, I will reciprocate. But I am not running a business that depends on a diverse set of people. When I say good-bye to my class, I will wish them Happy Holidays. If they wish me Merry Christmas, that’s fine, too, because they do assume anybody they like is Christian, and that will just mean they like me ;-)

  • RuQu

    My wife and I are both lifelong atheists, and both from military families with lots of moving and life away from extended family. That last bit gets relevant in a moment.

    She was raised that way. I was raised in a Catholic family but realized early on that it wasn’t a reasonable belief structure.

    Guess which one of us loves Christmas. Hint: it isn’t the one raised by Christians.

    Her early Christmas memories are all about spending time with family she didn’t see often enough and, of course, lots of food and presents. My early Christmases were exactly the same, except that they also involved lots of standing around at midnight candlelight vigil masses in large churches. Except my sister’s annual tradition of accidentally lighting some of her hair on fire with the vigil candles, this added a great deal of drudgery and intense boredom to the whole thing, and it actually took time away from my uncles and grandparents who I loved to stand around singing bad songs badly to a 2000 year old dead guy.

    It seems to me that it’s the Christians taking the real joy out of the season.

    • Brad1990

      Yes! Yes to all of that! You know what me and my family do at Chrsitmas? It all starts on Christmas Eve, when me and my immediate family go down the pub and get drunk. I then wake up with a hangover the next day when my sister, who is in her twenties, comes and jumps on me like an excited two year old. We open presents that we really want but don’t really need, and breakfast on smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, toast and Buck’s Fizz. The extended family arrives at around 10/11, then the beer comes out and the real fun begins.

      We begin by sitting around in the living room drinking, before playing the annual game that involves sitting far more people round a dining table than said table can fit; and after we’ve all squeezed ourselves in and had a laugh about it we proceed to eat far too much delicious food and drink WAAAYYY too much alcohol. Afterwards we flop in the living room for a bit, still drinking, and then after the food has started to go down we tend to gather around the dining table and play cards, while still drinking. The general result is a day of drunken hilarity.

      Meanwhile the religionists get up early on Christmas morning to go and chant at a deceased Jewish man before trudging home and eating some turkey in a joyless, sober atmosphere of religious contemplation, for which priveledge they have to say another quick prayer before being allowed to eat. I then imagine that they spend the rest of the day alternatively contemplating their Lord and Savior’s agony while on the cross and getting angry at the secular family next door for having too much fun and being too consumerist, though I may possibly be exaggerating slightly…

      In short, Christmas is about family and fun, not celebrating the birthday of some dead Jewish guy on the wrong day. Fuck that.

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Neo-puritan blames atheists for sucking the joy out of Christmas.

    • ButchKitties

      Which is kinda ironic considering that the actual Puritans found Christmas so abhorrent (Feasting and singing? Immoral! Pagan origins? Offense against God!) that they made the holiday illegal, and imposed a fine on anyone caught celebrating it.

  • Kimberly

    I’m a Christmas-loving atheist…most of their “traditions” are of pagan origin anyway. I wish Pat Robertson would die already.

  • Baal

    When christians aren’t being actually persecuted they have to make stuff up. Otherwise, they’d have to drop the whole ‘we’re the victims here’ line. FWIW Pat’s earned any and every ill wish. He’s consistently (for decades now) argued that gays are subhuman and that wives should be beaten. I can’t believe that his christian listeners never avail themselves of Pat’s directives and as such Pat’s responsible for increasing physical harms.

  • Bix

    I have to imagine that businesses are trying to be inclusive when they say Happy Holidays, since Christmas isn’t the only holiday in the holiday season. How many Christians actually are offended by the phrase? And don’t really conservative Christians refuse to do Christmas because Jesus wasn’t actually born in December and it’s all pagan anyway?

    I do enjoy my perfectly secular Christmas, thanks very much.