The Chosen Frozen

Screenshot of my blog, The Chosen Frozen

As you may or may not know, I am a blogger for The Jerusalem Post, which is the major daily English-language newspaper in Israel. My blog, The Chosen Frozen, appears on their website, JPost.com. I blog about Judaism, life as a convert, politics, diaspora issues and events, and much more. Check it out at http://www.jpost.com/Blogger/Ryan-Fagan

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My take on the ‘Religious Freedom’ law in Indiana

I’m gonna use a bakery owner as an example:

Refusing to bake a damn cake for someone due to their sexual orientation is stupid… Aren’t you a businessperson? Don’t you want to make a damn profit?  You don’t agree with homosexuality?  Well, that is your own thought and you are entitled to it, but keep it to yourself.  You’re a twice divorced baker? If that is the case, on the same accord you should be refusing service to yourself… What do you think about that? Bake the damn cake… It doesn’t affect you in any negative way. You may be a bigot, but you’re making money.

Are You Being Persecuted This Christmas? Here’s A Helpful Chart

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It’s that time again.

Last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reillylaunched his annual offensive against the alleged “War On Christmas.”

For some conservative Christians like O’Reilly, changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” is a sign that it is somehow becoming harder for Christians to practice their faith openly in America.

In response, Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans boiled down the controversy into a simple flow chart.

Are You Being Persecuted This Christmas? Here’s A Helpful Chart

Carol Kuruvilla  The Huffington Post 12/08/14 02:07 PM ET

It’s that time again.

Last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reillylaunched his annual offensive against the alleged “War On Christmas.”

For some conservative Christians like O’Reilly, changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” is a sign that it is somehow becoming harder for Christians to practice their faith openly in America.

In response, Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans boiled down the controversy into a simple flow chart.

There is real religious persecution happening in the world every day —houses of worship are being destroyedpeople face job discrimination at work, and some are even killed because of their religion.

Evans claims being wished “happy holidays” by a stranger doesn’t amount to persecution because there is no way that God can be kept out of Christmas.

The whole story of Advent is the story of how God can’t be kept out. God is present. God is with us. God shows up—not with a parade but with the whimper of a baby, not among the powerful but among the marginalized, not to the demanding but to the humble. From Advent to Easter, the story of Jesus should teach us that God doesn’t need a mention in our pledge or on our money or over the loudspeaker at the mall to be present, and when we fight like spoiled children to “keep” God in those things, we are fighting for idols. We’re chasing wind.

According to the Pew Research Center, 42 percent of Americans said they wanted stores to greet customers with “Merry Christmas,” while 46 percent said it doesn’t matter. About 12 percent preferred “Happy Holidays.”

Huffington Post’s Executive Editor Rev. Paul Raushenbush suggested that the rise of “Happy Holidays” reflects a willingness to embrace America’s increasing diversity.

For a long, long time Christianity was dominant in the United States and represented the civic religion of the country. But America is about the people who are here now, and that is a much more diverse group. And that’s good! It is time to stop insisting that everything revolves around us. Instead, let’s join the wider circle of the many traditions that make up our country. Besides, any Christian knows that Christmas is not about displays in shopping malls, or capitols, or schools, it is about a spiritual event that we honor most in our families and our homes.

The ‘War on Christmas’ is a Big Fat Lie

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Every year without fail the “War On Christmas” begins once again, and every year without fail we see the same tired old memes and talking points from the same old sources about how we need to “Put Christ Back In Christmas.” Whether it’s Sarah Palin hawking another lousy book which is released just in time for the Christmas shopping season (complete coincidence, I’m sure) or Bill O’Reilly’s annual kvetching about the “Secular Progressive assaults on the traditions of Christmas” – enough.

It’s not just these two self-promoting snake oil salespeople spreading misinformation for a buck – there’s millions of people out there who are actually convinced that people like myself and others who believe fully in the separation of church and state are coming for their Christmas. It’s also not a surprise that many of the same people think that Obamacare has death panels, that the government is coming to take their guns, or that gay marriage will somehow be a threat to their own heterosexual union. Let’s be absolutely clear – there isn’t a “War On Christmas” and nobody is trying to outlaw the holiday. Nobody is going to come and seize your tree or take little Bobby’s presents from under it like The Grinch. This whole fake outrage is nothing more than a gimmick by opportunistic individuals to drive TV ratings and book sales. Christmas isn’t going anywhere; in fact, the holiday now seems to stretch from before Halloween until the dried out tree hits the curb around New Year’s Eve. However, once upon a time, Christmas was banned – and it wasn’t by “godless atheist secular progressives,” either. Remember the Puritans who came to the New World in search of religious freedom? They completely outlawed Christmas in 1659, and even fined people who celebrated it:

Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts. In 1686, the royal governor of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, sponsored a Christmas Day service at the Boston Town House. Fearing a violent backlash from Puritan settlers, Andros was flanked by redcoats as he prayed and sang Christmas hymns

Yes, the “Christian values” that our nation was supposedly founded on did not include Christmas, and it wasn’t even made a federal holiday until 1870 when it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. So the next time some talking head on Fox News or your Republican uncle who believes every word they say tells you that “liberal secularists” are out to destroy Christmas, feel free to teach them some history. Remind them if it had been left up to the religious right, we may not have celebrated the holiday at all.

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Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Seasons Greetings! 

How to be a Cookie Cutter Conservative:

First and foremost you must have an unrealistic view of growing up American – In the conservative world you are automatically born into a loving family with zero moral or financial issues.  You live in a nice house with both parents present until you go off to college without worrying how to pay for it and move immediately into the job you deserve or better yet create your very successful small business.

Along the way there are certain things you absolutely have to be in favor of:

God – God must be the deciding factor in all things.  God has put you on a pre-determined path, and the choices you make are all a part of His plan.  Don’t worry, there is inevitably a passage in the bible somewhere that will support your actions and guide you through your next concern.

Guns – If you aren’t in favor of all things gun related you are un-American.  You will support the right of people to carry assault rifles through Home Depot and carry shotguns to the playground, all for the purpose of keeping people safe.  You oppose any kind of gun safety legislation because 14 people were killed in Chicago in a single weekend in a gun free zone.

The Constitution – Even though you’ve probably never read it, you have to support it.  You absolutely must be shocked and outraged every time a story comes across your newsfeed claiming President Obama has once again usurped this magnificent document you don’t understand by issuing an Executive Order that doesn’t apply to you.

Once you have those things covered you are well on your way to being conservative.  Next you must conform to a list of things you are against:

Freedom of Religion – This very important first item may at first seem confusing, because as a lover of the Constitution you are already in favor of Christianity, since it was written by people filled with the spirit of the Lord.  You are all for school prayer and “under God.”  You don’t need to be in favor of freedom of Christianity since our country is a Christian one by law.  You are opposed to freedom of all other religions or lack thereof.

Government assistance – Having grown up in the perfect home and moved into the perfect job you are fundamentally opposed to people who require any form of public assistance.  Those people are lazy and in need of an education.  If you’re one of the millions of conservatives who lives in a poverty-stricken red state and collects benefits you are still opposed to the poor people of the inner cities getting benefits because they are all committing fraud and eating steak with the taxes you don’t pay.

Women’s rights – You oppose abortion because all life is sacred unless you’re a Muslim or on death row.  You oppose fair pay for womenfolk because they spend less time building their “human capital,” a term you don’t feel the need to truly comprehend.  Women who dress provocatively are asking to get raped.

Illegal immigrants – All people with brown skin are illegal immigrants.  It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been here, whether or not they’ve obtained legal residency or become US citizens or were born on American soil, they should all go home.  They are taking all of the jobs and sucking up taxpayer money via welfare and food stamps.  You believe a 30 foot electrified fence should be built from one end of our southern border to the other.  Because it’s our only border.

Corporate taxation – You oppose the taxation of corporations…for some reason.  You have bought the “job creator” line that has led to the largest gap in wealth inequality in our history, and you support corporate personhood.  It matters not that these companies are essentially being paid to send factories overseas and hide their profits offshore because the Mexicans are taking all the jobs and the poor are taking all the money.

The environment – The EPA is nothing but a sham.  Global climate change is a hoax.  It’s important for big energy companies to continue fracking away the future of our planet because people need jobs.  Clean energy won’t get your ’72 Ford pickup from point A to point B any faster, therefore it’s unnecessary.

Gays and gay marriage – In case you don’t have enough things to hate you can always add this tiny demographic to the list. Gay people will teach children to be gay.  Gay marriage will destroy the foundation of our country because, well, it just will. These people must be stopped before pedophilia and bestiality run rampant in America. Also… AIDS.

There are of course many other factors that will assist in qualifying you as a modern conservative. You should be white and vocal about loving being white while at the same time blaming minorities for racism.  You should be male or subservient to one.  You should believe that all of your views are backed by facts because you read them on the internet or heard it on FOX News.

If you put it in perspective you’re basically a bigoted white male, ammosexual-regressive who wants to see our country revert to 1863 with no understanding of our founding fathers or of our laws.  That won’t matter to you, though, because that distinction was given to you by a lazy liberal whose only interest in life is wrapping their government assisted arms around useless trees.

Your parents will be so proud.