Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Worst Halloween Ever

Most of you who read my blog probably keep up with other blogs, and many of you have probably already come across the rebranding of Halloween as "Jesus Ween."  I'm not sure exactly sure when Jesus became a wiener dog . . . . all right that's not really it.  Jesus Ween is the latest shot in the ridiculously stupid culture war being fought by many Christians.  It's a silly effort to turn Halloween into an evangelical mission, and ruin many a Halloween by passing out Bibles instead of candy.

Like most people, I'm hardly ever exposed to Christianity.  I'm unaware of most Christian Holidays, and none of my friends on facebook post Bible verses.  Of course that's all bullshit, and the simple truth is that nearly everyone has already been exposed to Jesus and the Christian Church.  I understand the effort to evangelize (monotheism by its very nature has to be intolerant and the "only" way), but I don't know why a mostly secular (with Christian elements) holiday has to be co-opted to do so.

I know that Halloween scares the shit out of Evangelical Christians, but that's only due to their own ignorance.  About the only "Pagan" elements of Halloween are the associations with death and the date of October 31st.  After those two things there's very little Pagan left.  The tradition of trick or treating is a Christian one, as is the jack-o-lantern.  Dressing up in costumes has nothing to do with the Celtic holiday of Samhain, but because Pagans celebrated something on October 31st the assumption is that all of that day's trappings are Pagan.

I would love to claim that Halloween as it's currently constituted is an ancient Pagan holiday, but it's just not.  Heck, the modern holiday of Halloween has only really been celebrated since the late 1940's in the United States, before that the celebration of the holiday was an extremely regional thing.  While Halloween has a longer history in Great Britain, it's not by much.  I'm not in the mood to write the whole "History of Halloween" post right now, but just trust me on this.  In addition to not being all that old, Halloween is a combination of customs from All Hallow's Eve, Guy Fawkes Day, and Christmas.  (Apparently the "Holiday Season" has always blended together.)

Yes Halloween is a creepy time of year, death is just in the air.  It's hard to escape dying plants, hibernating animals, frosty nights, falling leaves, and yes the ancients used to slaughter a lot of animals around November 1st.  All of those trappings are natural things, and they can't be escaped.  They all fit nicely into a cosmological Pagan worldview, but they are a part of everyone's experience, they aren't necessarily Pagan things.

One of the founders of "Jesus Ween," a Pastor Paul, said "Halloween is not consistent with the Christian faith. Many people say they feel uncomfortable on that day. We think people should choose an alternative activity."  How is getting candy not consistent with Christian faith?  Most Christians aren't consistent on a daily basis, I can't imagine how Halloween is all that different.  A bunch of middle school children dressed up as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Disney Princesses is somehow an opening for the Prince of Darkness?  How is it all that different from most Saturday mornings in front of the TV?  Just ridiculous Christian over-reaction.

(You could argue that Halloween teaches gluttony and greed, allegedly two behaviors that are at odds with traditional Christianity.  However, it's hard to look at the Tea Party and not see greed.  If Christianity was truly "anti-greed" there would be more Evangelicals taking part in the current "Occupy" movement, but I digress.)

At its heart Halloween is a harvest celebration, that's why people decorate with scarecrows and bob for apples.  Yes, there are classical looking witches on Halloween, and kids dressed up as vampires, but those things are not necessarily Pagan or even anti-Christian, they are simply literary creations.  People enjoy dressing up as things that scare them, they aren't honoring them.  If you are going to take those things away, or argue that they are anti-Christian, you have to get rid of every fairy tale, with the exception of those in the Bible.

One of the most ridiculous things about Jesus Ween is that passing out Bibles to children instead of candy can only lead to ill will.  What kid is going to be excited about getting a King James Bible instead of a Snickers bar?  "Look Mommy, a Bible!"  I'd rather have the rock from the Charlie Brown Halloween Special so I could throw it at the guy's house who gave me the Bible so I could add it to my Father's rock garden, he always likes new rocks.  Pissing off converts is no way to attract new followers.

None of the attacks on Halloween this year are especially new.  "Hell Houses," haunted houses featuring immoral behavior and people ending up in hell, have been popular for two decades now.  I'd hate for anyone to have any fun!  Let's just focus on negative shit and ruin some childhoods.  "My parents took me out for candy."  "My parents took me to a hell house where I had to listen to some Slayer."  Tell me which kid is going to have more emotional scarring when we are done?  The one who had to listen to Reign in Blood or the one who got candy?

Happy Halloween to Everyone.  Wake me up for the next round of the culture wars when that most Pagan of all holidays rolls around-Christmas.


  1. I miss you guys, but don't worry, my kids will have plenty of candy by the end of it. :)

  2. I've seen commentary about "Jesus Ween" around the 'tubes and even took a look at the website, but I really can't tell if it's for real or a parody. I'm inclined to the latter view, if only to salve my battered faith in the general intelligence level of my species.