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November 26, 2005

Wow, can ya feel the love over Christmas!

Well, it is certainly interesting the reaction my relating my mom's experience at her local US Post Office has engendered in my comments. The abject hostility towards Christmas stamps and/or the story itself is revealing.

Seems a lot of people have a reading comprehension problem. Let's take it from the top, shall we?

~~Mom related her personal experience with us at Thanksgiving
~~I related it to y'all here within a few hours of the telling, while it was still THANKSGIVING
~~The employee offered up his remarks to my mother unsolicited by her.
~~The information was two-fold, both about no "religious" stamps to be further issued AND that USPS employees were to say "Happy Holidays" in lieu of "Merry Christmas"
~~I stated in my original post that the 2004 religious stamps (all of them) were still available, even linking to the USPS site.
~~I linked to past issues of Madonna & Child stamps
~~Since it was 7:30 pm, I asked people to check with their own local P.O.s to check out what my mother heard for themselves
~~I did call the USPS customer service line, did NOT get a definitive confirm or deny.

Hostility towards the Judeo-Christian culture of America is not an urban myth. From the ACLU threatening lawsuits against municipalities large and small to rid city/county seals of the dreaded Cross to the fight over the war memorial at Mr. Soledad in San Diego, the effort to Bowdlerize American history and culture of its religious heritage continues.

And such an attitude is being exhibited in my comment section.

Let's face facts here, shall we? We have, via the Constitution, a secular government that must adopt a neutral stance towards religion, neither promoting NOR inhibiting the free exercise of religion.

The US Constition's First Amendment does not say Freedom FROM religion. For those of you members of the Church of the Easily Offended, grow the fuck up. The majority culture is Christian and celebrates Christian holidays. Obviously, you are so unsure of your own beliefs, your own convictions are so tender and wimpy, the mere sight of colored lights down a city street send you into paroxysms of rage.

I wouldn't go to Israel and then rage about the ubiquitous celebration of Yom Kippur and Hanukka, or visit Turkey during Ramazan and sit around seething and sniping.

People celebrating Christmas by saying "Merry Christmas!" is not going to make your genitals fall off (though some of you may have already lost 'em it seems).

Posted by Darleen at November 26, 2005 09:16 PM


The US Constition's First Amendment does not say Freedom FROM religion.

This is one of the stupidest arguments you could make. The US Constitution's First Amendment says that you have freedom of speech, not freedom FROM speech, so clearly you don't have the right to remain silent.

People celebrating Christmas by saying "Merry Christmas!" is not going to make your genitals fall off (though some of you may have already lost 'em it seems).

Thinking of the easily offended, you and your commentors seem quite offended by "Happy Holidays." Other people being inclusive won't kill you either.

Posted by: John Bagley at November 27, 2005 07:52 AM

"The US Constition's First Amendment does not say Freedom FROM religion.":

This is one of the stupidest arguments you could make. The US Constitution's First Amendment says that you have freedom of speech, not freedom FROM speech, so clearly you don't have the right to remain silent.

Thinking of the easily offended, you and some of your commentors seem quite offended by "Happy Holidays." Other people being inclusive won't kill you either.

Posted by: John Bagley at November 27, 2005 07:52 AM


Freedom of speech definitely means not Freedom FROM speech -- ie you cannot force someone else, via government, to shut up just because you are "offended." Freedom of religion is not freedom FROM religion -- ie using the government to scrub the public square of all aspects of religion. Acknowledgment of religious beliefs, heritage and history is not establishment. Anymore than city permits for "anti-war" rallies is an establishment of anti-Americanism.

The phrase "Happy Holidays" has long been around, but its ascent as a term of political correctness - to shove the word "Christmas" out of the public square and to dilute and obfuscate its origin is obvious.

Posted by: Darleen at November 27, 2005 09:01 AM

True, you cannot force someone to shut up because you're offended, but that's not how you're using the term freedom from religion. No one is using the government to scrub the public square of all aspects of religion, but some are attempting to prevent the use of government to promote religion. Such promotion (acknowledgement in your words) of religion is clearly establishment if it involves use of government funds, property, personnel, or other public resources to promote religion.

As for Happy Holidays, it's attempt to be inclusive, not an attack on Christianity, and the origins of the Winter Solstice holiday predate Christmas by millenia. The Roman Church decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the 4th century and chose the date December 25th. Why the 25th? Because Roman Emperor Aurelian had declared that the Roman celebration of the Solstice, Saturnalia, be held on that date, and the Pope wanted to convert Saturnalia to a Christian holiday.

Of course, that's the very reason why the Puritans refused to celebrate Christmas: they disliked its pagan and Catholic history and traditions and some Puritan influenced settlements banned the celebration of Christmas. Now that's a real abridgement of freedom of religion, unlike what you write about above, but it predates the US Constitution. However, Christmas celebrations weren't common in early America until well into the 19th century. Christmas finally became a federal holiday in the decade following the American Civil War.

Posted by: John Bagley at November 27, 2005 02:17 PM

Now that I've established the actual history of Christmas, as opposed to the (to use your term) Bowdlerized version of Christmas history shared by many who think that it's been celebrated in the US since the 1600s, let me move on to my positions on your questions.

I may be less easily offended than you. I don't take notice of whether people say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, and I use both terms myself. I'm a philatelist who likes the Madonna stamps, though I don't think that the USPO printing or not printing such stamps is a matter of freedom of religion. People aren't forced to buy them and no government funds are used, so they're clearly not establishment of religion, but it also seems clear to me that the USPO cannot and should not be required to print such stamps if they decide not to do so.

However, I don't support the use of any government resources to promote religion, not because I'm offended but because the convergence of government and state is dangerous to both entities and all people. The pushing of religion into the American public sphere in the 1950s due to the McCarthyism scare has done a disservice to both religion and government.

The result of converging government and state is frequently demonstrated throughout Western history in the inter-Christian conflicts of Rome's last century and in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, but if we want to see the long term outcome of such convergence, we only have to look to the Islamic world. Mohammed simulataneously founded the Arab nation, law, and religion, producing a civilization that even today has a deep trouble with the very concept of separation of church and state. While for a time, that lack was a strength as Arab armies conquered the world, but the long term result is the modern backwardness of Islamic government, science, and technology.

Posted by: John Bagley at November 27, 2005 02:39 PM

What an uncouth, boorish lot the Christmas enemies posting on this and the Thanksgiving day threads are. Raucous emotion and imprecise arguments seems to be their hallmarks. But their objective is quite clear: eradication of any public presence by Christianity.

In defence of Darlene's Place:




Posted by: john brimelow at November 27, 2005 06:34 PM

John Brimelow, are you reading the same thread as I am? I am reading polite, cogent arguments, like the comment directly above yours, by people who are defending America's great tradition of freedom of and from religion, with tolerance to all and favoritism to none. Period. No one wants to eradicate Christmas. But as a Jew, I certainly don't want it forced on me by my government. Let each of us embrace God and religion as we see fit, and leave government out of it.

Is this "uncouth and boorish" enough for you? If so, how does it compare on the uncouth and boorish scale with the words of our host in the post above:

For those of you members of the Church of the Easily Offended, grow the fuck up. The majority culture is Christian and celebrates Christian holidays... People celebrating Christmas by saying "Merry Christmas!" is not going to make your genitals fall off (though some of you may have already lost 'em it seems).

Is this in the spirit of Christ?

Posted by: richard at November 27, 2005 11:04 PM


I think you are being a bit naive if you think that no one wants to eradicate Christmas.

I wonder what actions you and John Bagley feel constitute government sponsorship of religion. Would it include a small town organizing a "Christmas" parade rather than a "holiday" parade? Would it include the singing of Christmas carols such as "Silent Night" in the public classroom? Would it include channeling emergency relief funds to victims through religious groups? Would it include allowing the Boy Scouts, an organization that promotes religion, from using public parks or public school auditoriums?

The assault on religion is not about someone being "easily offended" by a few wording changes. The ACLU and other groups are trying to change my country to meet their interpretation of constitutional limits. Don't expect me to go down with out a fight.

Posted by: JohnDewey at November 28, 2005 07:39 AM


I suspect the real reason they're all so mad is that this story makes them uncomfortable; it makes them seem like the very bigots and haters they claim to oppose; they'd like Christmas, and Christians, out of the way, properly stifled, but it makes them feel mean when somebody accuses them of trying to do that very thing. They hate being seen as mean. Hurts their sensitive sensitivities, you know. . .

And Darleen, and Mr. Brimelow? Merry Christmas, to the both of you! Happy Hannukah to all Jewish posters, and as for the rest of you---trying growing a few callouses on those delicate sensitivities of yours, 'Kay?

Posted by: TalkinKamel at November 28, 2005 12:08 PM

Yes, the long war on Christianity. I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion…. perhaps around their necks? And maybe — dare I dream it? — maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.

— Jon Stewart

Posted by: JSFan at November 28, 2005 02:55 PM

Enjoy it while you still can, John.

The powers that be are all working against it. (As witness some of the furious responses to Darleen's story. Also, check out the many criticisms of President Bush, and his allegedly horrible "born again" Christianity.)

Posted by: TalkinKamel at November 28, 2005 03:57 PM

I went to the post office and they had new Kwanza (sp?) stamps, and all the others. No word on them being discontinued. I asked.

Posted by: Mieke at November 28, 2005 09:45 PM

Heh, heh, of course they've got new Kwaanza stamps! Kwaanza is a politically correct, completely made up holiday, created by Marxist-minded criminal! Ergo, anyone who doesn't support it is a racist!

(I've found it hilarious watching Kwaanza pushed on the hapless American public, despite the fact that most of them, including Afro-Americans, have no interest whatsoever in celebrating it.)

Posted by: TalkinKamel at November 29, 2005 12:09 PM

Mieke & Kamel

The Kwaanza stamp (like Hanukka and Madonna&Child) are still available from last year. I have little problem with that, ditto the EID stamp (moslem).

I said in the original post that they WERE still available and for people to either phone or check with their local POs.

John Bagely

No one is using the government to scrub the public square of all aspects of religion,.

You're wrong. I can cite several instances, including the ACLU getting the city of Redlands and the country of Los Angeles to remove the cross from their seals. .

Outside of Judge Moore who was rightfully censored for installing a 10-commandment monument in his courtroom, can you give me ONE other instance where people are using the government to ADD religion to public institutions?.

I can give you chapter and verse in people, like the ACLU, AUSCS, et al trying to REMOVE historic/cultural religious symbols and references via the government.

Posted by: Darleen at November 29, 2005 12:51 PM

Using religious symbols on a city seal is the same unconstitutional use of public resources to promote religion as the recent law adding "In God We Trust" to all American currency and coinage. It's in the same category (though of much less importance in my opinion) of putting up the 10 commandments in the courtroom, which you agree was wrong.

As for the ACLU, they're a great defender of religious speech. For example, there was the recent Turton, et al. v. Frenchtown Elementary School case where the ACLU defended the right of a second grader to sing song "Awesome God" in a voluntary, after-school talent show. The ACLU also recently defended the right of street preacher to speak in New Mexico after he was thrown in jail by local police for doing so. The ACLU is also well known for a variety of cases defending the rights of Muslims as well as Christians.

You may disagree with precisely how the ACLU delineates establishment, but portraying them as an enemy of religion who wants to suppress freedom of religion is completely inaccurate.

Posted by: John Bagley at November 29, 2005 05:19 PM

So, um John---I guesss you're also in favor of having the goddess Pomona removed from the California state seal? That's pushing religion, isn't it?

You're also okay with getting California taxpayers to pony up for a brand new, completely non-religious seal? (Out here, the ACLU's not only trying to remove all historical/religious references---they're trying to get the taxpayer to pay them for this! But, of course, they're really the champions of the little guy, defending them against horrible religous abuse, which, oddly enough, all the little guys don't seem to appreciate somehow. . . )

Posted by: TalkinKamel at November 29, 2005 06:20 PM

Hmmmm. She said it was the new Kwaanza stamp- which by the way is much uglier than last years.

I'll have to do more investigating.

Posted by: Mieke at November 29, 2005 07:47 PM


The tiny cross on the LA county seal was a symbol of the Franciscan origins of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.

Indeed, John. Are you suggesting that California rename all the cities named after saints? San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, San Fernando, San Gabriel? Shall we raze the California Missions in order to spare offense?

Just because the ACLU tosses a couple of cases in to show their (cough) evenhandedness (cough) doesn't offset their steady anti-Christian bigotry. They are using SLAPP techniques to intimidate communities and it is indecent.

Posted by: Darleen at November 29, 2005 07:56 PM

Darleen, when are you either going to update or put up a new post to come clean. Your original story, via your mother, stated that a postal worker informed her that there were to be no more religous themed stamps issued, and that they were "instructed" not to say Merry Christmas, but to say "Happy Holidays" instead. Both of these claims have been disproven. The new Madonna and Child stamp for 2006 was already long since in development, and I got a hearty Merry Christmas from the counter worker at our local Post Office when I went down Monday and purchased two books of 2004 Madonna and Child stamps. I spoke to their supervisor, who told me that news of any "instruction" not to say Merry Christmas was, as he put it, "nonsense."

Yet you leave your post up saying it's still "under investigation" by you and Malkin. What's left to investigate? What is the name of the person at the USPS you spoke with by phone who would neither confirm or deny? Where are your facts?

Thus far, it appears that only three scenarios are possible and I don't see any way of sorting out which is the actual case.
1. You lied.
2. Your mom lied.
3. Your mom talked to a wacko at the post office who was making stuff up out of his/her butt, likely for partisan political reasons.

Which do you suppose it is?

Posted by: Jazz at November 30, 2005 06:00 AM

you know, Jazz, for someone who has decided to hide his/her identity, you sure talk a mean streak about "lying", eh? I see a very possible 4th scenario I'm leaning towards the more PO employees I talk to -- that the "Happy Holidays" thing is/was more a LOCAL supervisor directive and that the stamp thing deals with scuttlebutt within the USPS about 'overtly religious' stamps and with bad publicity they are now saying they will go forward with it. I'll blog about this again when I'm satisfied one way or another. I'm certainly not responsible for your reading problems that I said specifically that what my mother was told, UNSOLICITED, should be checked out. Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Posted by: Darleen at November 30, 2005 06:58 AM

Since you refuse to own up to the propaganda of your false story, let's put an end to your other little disinformation campaign and point out even more of your hypocricy. You've been to my site. (You left a comment, so don't bother trying to deny it now.) With less then three or four clicks, along with information available on the front page at the very top (which is probably what threw you off the scent) you can find my first and last name, my home city, my valid e-mail adress and photos of me. You may not like the name Jazz, but that's the name on the door knocker of my house and the door to my office. I've never legally changed it, but it's the only thing anybody has called me since I was about 12.

Now, how about Darleen's site? Hrmmm... I went through both your blog and your "business" site. Unless your last name is "Click", as best as I can tell you put up no bio, no pictures, no information as to where you live, and just a first name. (Assuming your name actually is Darleen.)

If you have some fixation with me, my name, or my identity for whatever warped reason, your mystery is solved and could have been solved by you with only five minutes work. (About as much as it would have taken for you to find out that the Post Office story was bogus before you ran with it.) You, on the other hand, are hiding behind complete anonymity on your blog, or have hidden the information so well that the average user would be very hard pressed to find it.

Can you say "hypocrite"? Probably not. I'll look for a one sylable word for you later.

Posted by: Jazz at November 30, 2005 09:21 AM

Wow, Darleen, you sure hit a nerve with Jazz, whatever it was!

Way to go!

Posted by: TalkinKamel at November 30, 2005 11:49 AM

Wow. Merry Christmas everyone.

Posted by: Dave S. at November 30, 2005 12:50 PM


If I were female, I think I'd do everything I could to hide my name from some of the unbalanced jerks who post on my blog. Don't know if you realize it, but your last post certainly didn't win you any admirers.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Posted by: JohnDewey at November 30, 2005 03:42 PM

Merry Christmas, Jazz---and you sound like a real creep!

Posted by: TalkinKamel at December 1, 2005 07:58 AM

"Are you suggesting that California rename all the cities named after saints? ... Shall we raze the California Missions in order to spare offense?

You're completely ignoring what I've written in this thread with your absurd examples. First, I cited a commonly used definition of establishment above: use of public resources to promote religion. How is not razing missions a use of public resources?

Second, I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting such a course of action. If this is one of your examples of the ACLU attacking religion, I'm skeptical and going to need you to give me a citation.

Posted by: John Bagley at December 1, 2005 03:41 PM

John, the ACLU has set a precedent with the case removing the cross from the seal. Now that that precedent has been set, they can go after the missions, the names of cities, anything they like. Knowing how the legal mind works, this may have been the reason they decided to target the cross. Get that precedent-setting case set up, and the rest will follow.

The missions, especially, are in a precarious position, because some of them get at least money from the state for their upkeep. This makes them a far better target for anybody who wants to get sensitive about "Separation-of-church-and-state." And many of them do still perform religious services. (Nobody, even Christians, actually worshipped the cross on the California seal.)

Just watch. Sooner or later---and probably sooner rather than later, somebody's going to be shaken to their sensitive core by the fact that some of the missions still---gasp!---hold religious services! They'll sue, the ACLU will back them up, citing the california seal case, the missions will be closed, and the California tax payer will end up footing a lot of the bill.

(Darleen, I've heard of a case in San Diego, where the ACLU is helping some group try and get rid of a cross, set up by some veterans on a hillside. Have you heard anything about that?)

Posted by: TalkinKamel at December 1, 2005 04:02 PM

John Bagley,

I'm not so sure those examples are absurd. I'm not positive about California, but missions in San Antonio, TX, are maintained by the National Park Service. That money is spent so that no one will forget the historical significance of the Catholic Church in Texas history. Those missions are just as much religious symbols as the tiny cross on the city seal you referred to. Both celebrate the heritage of our nation - a heritage you apparently want to erase because, after 200 years, you and your atheist friends have decided our communities no longer have the right to celebrate.

I am ready for a constitutional amendment to restore some degree of sense to our nation. Every stupid action of the ACLU makes passage of an amendment just a little easier.

Posted by: JohnDewey at December 1, 2005 04:04 PM

I did a bit of googling on the San Diego, Mt. Soldedad cross case. Yes, it does seem that an atheist, Phillip Paulson, filed suit to have the cross---a verteran's cross, which has been around since 1954---removed from public land because it violates that precious separation of church and state by being on city land.

Remember, this is a cross to honor veterans who fought for the country, not a specifically religious shrine, or place of worship. If they can go after this, they'll go after anything!

I'm sure the missions are coming next. Then, we can all change the names of our California cities to something inoffensive such as "Pleasantville" or "Politically Correctville."

(If you want to find out more about the San Diego case, go to Google, type in "Mt. Soledad Cross Case.")

Posted by: TalkinKamel at December 1, 2005 04:14 PM

Well, not that it should surprise anyone, but the wingnutosphere is WRONG again ....Tee Hee, and little Darleen gets Called OUT!

Funny. It must be hard to keep that sense of phony outraged grievance going.

Posted by: Angel at December 2, 2005 12:41 PM

Now that it has been debunked Darling, time for a post or an update, don'tcha thimk?

(I've made a bet that you won't post a correction, and a sidebet you're a man.)

Posted by: jerry at December 2, 2005 01:20 PM

Oh, I dunno Angel and Jerry. . . you guys keep your own phony sense of outrage going all the time.

Posted by: TalkinKamel at December 3, 2005 05:30 PM