Canon Fodder
Thou Shall Not Change Halloween for "Christian" Reasons
By Matt Hutaff
Oct 19, 2004

"[Sunday is] a day for the good Lord, not for the devil," Barbara Braswell of Newnan, Georgia exclaimed last Friday.

Oh, really?

I love the audacity and ignorance of the typical churchgoer, in particular brain-dead rednecks who actually think that God prefers which day of the week one prays to Him. You'd think that the sincerity of the prayer would overshadow what calendar day it was e-mailed to Heaven, but then thinking enters the equation, a step most fundamentalists bypass when it comes to their faith.

I should know. As a reformed fundamentalist, I used to argue about all sorts of nonsense, like the location of the Garden of Eden, the exclusion of the Apocrypha from the Protestant Old Testament and other literal interpretation of scriptures. Interpretations that are about as correct as current election polling data.

I was an obnoxious asshole (as opposed to now, of course) who would engage in shouting matches with people of other faiths — hell, other Christians — because they chose to believe something slightly different. They were wrong, I was right. End of story.

So I see a little of myself in Ms. Braswell, so fervent in her righteousness that she and other like-minded goons are trying to move Halloween festivities to October 30th, as the holiday reserved for doling out candy and wasting money on silly costumes falls on a Sunday this year.

"You just don't do it on Sunday," Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, Georgia says in the abovementioned article. "That's Christ's day. You go to church on Sunday; you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a child."

Aside from the fact that the only confusion a child will endure is why he's a pariah in his own community while his friends trick-or-treat, Hulsey and the rest of her Bible-thumping crew have it all wrong.

You see, a Christian isn't supposed to dedicate just one day a week to following the examples and precepts set down by Jesus, it's a lifestyle choice. You either live through Christ or you don't. Segregating one day to act phony, sing hymns and praise the Lord in front of fellow impressionable parishioners isn't being Christian, it's being a follower of the lowest order. You can't even commit daily to the one thing in your life that is supposed to change you on every level? You're a damn hypocrite.

The sad fact is that today, celebrating Christianity on Sundays is about as accurate and reflective of the early Church as celebrating Halloween is a call to devil worship. Thanks to hundreds or thousands of years of message dilution, power-grabbing and just general idiocy, Christians can fiercely hate gays, disapprove of people based on the color of their skin and work feverishly to impose their will on others and still think of themselves as Christ-like.

Ladies and gentlemen, Christ taught compassion and love for all ("agape" love). He taught tolerance of those who we might disagree with, and most importantly, he taught that should someone wrong us, we forgive them without question. These fundamental ideologies are part of the basis of Christianity, not calling children who bought into the commercial hype of a candy orgy "devil-worshippers."

The funniest thing about this manufactured controversy is that Sunday isn't even supposed to be the day of rest and worship of the Lord, Saturday is! During the height of the Roman Empire, Christianity outright stole holidays of pagan religions and grafted their beliefs onto them. It eased confusion when the Empire's official religion became Christianity and helped people already worshipping something else to make a transition to the new state-approved belief system.

That's why even though Jesus was born in the spring his birth is celebrated on December 25th, near the winter solstice (a pagan holiday in and of itself) and on the feast of Sol Invictus. It's why elements of sun worship made their way into Jesus' mythos — the halo around his head is the warm glow of a sun. It's why Sunday — the worship of the sun, — is the day of celebrating Christ!

Thus the irony of Barbara Braswell's ignorance is made manifest. She says Sunday isn't for worshipping the devil? Wrong! Because the pagan sun-worship instigated on that day thousands of years ago is the impetus for moving the Christian Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. It is the day for the "devil!"

Ever wonder why Jews set aside Saturday for the Sabbath? It's because, according to the precepts in the Bible, that's the day you set aside to worship God. Which means all this bickering over kids getting some free food is not only pointless, it highlights the complete lack of knowledge Bible-Belt Christians have about the history of their own religion.

Here's an idea for all those Christians who seem to know what their religion is all about: actually read about it. Just a book or two. It'll blow your mind how wrong your conceptions are. Maybe those pleas for tolerance and acceptance from Jesus will rattle that concrete in your skull and you'll realize you're just acting like a hateful bigot by convincing your community to move an innocuous holiday from one day to another.

After all, who cares if people of other religions or creeds don't believe Sunday is the be-all end-all of their faith, right? Jews claim Saturday, Muslims Friday. Do you see them raise a stink whenever Halloween falls on one of those days?

It blows my mind that an organized body of believers of a fantastic vision like Jesus' can be such knuckleheaded idiots. There is hope, though. I was able to wake up and see the light. Maybe Barb and Sandra will wake up through healthy doses of self-education and common sense and let their children do what all their friends do — dress up and act silly for a night — without turning it into a morality battle cry.

Stranger things have happened.

Canon Fodder is a weekly analysis of politics and society.



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