Thursday, April 13, 2006

All Your Peeps Are Belong to Us
A reader sent me a link to a Think Progress report on Bill O'Reilly's attempt to whip up a war against the War on Easter, suggesting it might be good blog fodder. I confess I didn't watch the video, but it's really not necessary to watch it, because you already know the argument: Liberals are out to take Easter away from honest, God-fearing Americans who want to celebrate the torture killing of a shadowy figure from first-century Palestine by hiding chocolate eggs and Marshmallow Peeps for their children to find, all the while telling the kids that the candy has been hidden by a giant rabbit.

I get why some Christians might really think there's a "war on Christmas"--what with manger scenes, which are overtly religious, being barred from public places. However, it seems to have escaped the notice of these same Christians that the Easter Bunny is not a religious symbol. But in Wingnut World, that's no barrier: take one part incident and two parts bullshit, mix well, and presto! Another battle in the culture war erupts.

For what it's worth, there is an actual "war on Easter" being fought by a documentary filmmaker trying to hide 666 DVD copies of his film The God Who Wasn't There in churches across the country, to be discovered by parishioners. He's going on right-wing talk radio and offering frequent updates on his campaign on the Internet. (He's even received a visit from the FBI, apparently.) The whole thing seems a bit juvenile to me, although I guess it's clever PR. And the film itself includes some impressive figures: Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith; urban-legend busters Barbara and David Mikkelson of Snopes.com; and historian Richard Carrier, whose brilliant stuff at Infidels.org helped me figure out what I can believe and what I can't.

Here's the thing about the war on Easter, though--it just isn't getting any traction. Google the phrase "war on Christmas" and you get about 781,000 hits. Google "war on Easter" and you get about 67,000. Too bad, Bill--but there's always next year. Unless Jesus comes back before then, of course--although if he does, I'm guessing the Easter Bunny is going to have a hard time then, too.

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