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'Zat You, Santa Claus?

SOURCE: Published: 2013-12-23


We Americans and our religious holidays are hard to figure, that's for sure. 

First, you hear us demanding tolerance and equal time for people who choose to affiliate with an anti-religious philosophy, or no religious practice at all. The next minute, we are decrying the absurd religious discrimination being exercised by a commercial enterprise like A&E Network with their top-rated television program, Duck Dynasty. Then you hear us defending our gay brothers and sisters. Then you see 360 choir members and 110 orchestra players gathering at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a Christmas celebration with people like the venerated newscaster, Tom Brokaw.

And then you see our celebrations of Christmas cheer with commercial television programming and advertising aimed straight at the affluent American consumer, accompanied by a flat-out affirmation of capitalism and its rewards, as we vocally sing our re-written, anglicized Christmas carols.

What gives? 

Here you go: it is the 237-yr.-old American commitment to the little guy, the underdog. As of 1776, all bets were off. Whether it had been the current British King George and his Anglican Church's haughty supremacy over the Empire, or the eventual President of the United States of America and his distinctly Protestant mindset, none had the power or dominion over another man's mind. A person's religious beliefs, no matter how absurd or disconnected from mainstream thinking, were his own and a sovereign choice. 

So when you hear Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
singing “'Zat You, Santa Claus?," keep in mind that he did so of his own free will... and that he could not have done it anywhere else in the world.

As for Christianity and its prominence in a Christmas celebration—do all religious adherents practice the principles of their faith without hypocrisy?... of course not. But the concept of love and tolerance and even forgiveness of your brother are its central tenets... and the central tenets of every civilization since the dawn of time. Only crazy people have a problem with that.

And as for the celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day and the darkest night of the year, as a religious prophet's birthday and a time for a lights-out party? How are you going to argue with that?

'Zat you, Santa Claus?


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This story appears courtesy of Jazz (Jazzers Jazzing) by Carl L. Hager.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.
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