December 6th, 2010
01:56 PM ET

Nativity scenes sent to all 50 governors

The nativity scene that was sent to governors.

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

This supposedly peaceful time of year has the capacity to create tension - Christmas light rivalries and fights over whether religious decorations should adorn government spaces.

But the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights says it is just trying to spread holiday cheer by sending nativity scenes to governors in all 50 states.

In a letter last month, the Catholic League told governors and their chiefs of staff that the nativities were on their way and suggested they be displayed in capitol rotundas.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue says he has heard back from about half of the nation’s governors on his group’s gift and that he hasn’t received any negative reactions.

“We have received the nativity scene, and the Governor appreciates the gift,” a spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said in an email message to CNN. “As a practicing Catholic, he always displays a nativity scene in his home during the Christmas holiday. The Governor will display this nativity scene in the Executive Mansion.”

“We are also aware that other major religions with holidays during this same period may also request appropriate displays,” said the spokeswoman, Stacey A. Johnson, “and the Mansion staff will consider those requests as they are received.”

The 15 and half inch crèches cost $80 each, with funding coming from an appeal to Catholic League members.

The League, which Donohue admits gets involved in the so-called Christmas wars every year, has in the past sent out Christmas decals and pressed department stores to refer to merry Christmases - not just happy holidays.

Doug Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in religious liberty issues, says that the Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s ability to display religious symbols like nativity scenes depends on the setting.

"The government can't display a nativity scene all by itself, even if it's donated and paid for by a private group," Laycock said in an e-mail message. "Under Supreme Court precedent, the government can display a nativity scene if it is accompanied by some (not precisely defined) number of ‘secular’ symbols of Christmas, such as Santa Claus, reindeer, candy canes, and the like."

“I don't know that anyone is very happy with this compromise,” he continued, “but to the Justices, it seemed better than either alternative - that the government can take no note of Christmas, or that it can display ‘secular’ symbols without religious symbols, or that it can engage in a purely religious celebration of the holiday.”

The Catholic League says its campaign is meant to counter what it calls “militant atheists.” The group is erecting a life-sized nativity scene in Central Park on December 16. The world’s largest menorah is currently on display there.

“We're taking the moral high road,” says a statement on the group’s website. “The atheists are out in force this year trying to neuter Christmas. While a few of their efforts are benign… most are predictably hostile.”

After an atheist group posted a billboard near the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that called the Christmas story a myth, the Catholic League put up a billboard on the New York side of the tunnel: “You Know It’s Real: This Season, Celebrate Jesus.”

“It's not a war on Christmas, rather it's a war on intolerance and ignorance,” American Atheists, the group behind the New Jersey billboard, says on its website. “It's a war on false gods, false prophets, and false promises.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Christmas • Church and state • Holidays

soundoff (634 Responses)
  1. Pam Miller

    I am an Agnostic and I have friends who are Christian and Atheist and none of care what the other displays or doesn't display during the holidays. Seeing a nativity scene doesn't make one religious just as not seeing one doesn't deter one's beliefs.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • jdubbs

      But you do understand the obvious difference between a state governor and your friends, right? I don't care if my dopey friends have a nativity up or not, but I do care if an elected official in charge of my tax dollars does.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  2. oaksavanna

    Religion is getting too political. It is time to start taxing them. I love how suddenly we are called 'militant' athiests just because we finally started to speak up. News flash, we have no army, just are all finally fed up with the christians trying to take over the govt.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • jayson

      This is also true of agnostics, and even some Christians...

      December 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Eggnostic

      You have hit the nail on the head!
      Everyone needs to be taxed if we are all to be equal under the law. Special privileges are not equal and special deductions for religious businesses is a clear subsidy by the government. It needs to stop NOW.
      Tax the churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, etc.! Tax them for the corrupt businesses they are. Our nearly bankrupt gov't needs the money NOW.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Sumerian Dude

      It is long, long past the time when we should have started taxing religious businesses!

      Tax 'em all and let the IRS sort 'em out!

      December 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  3. Nakachunkoff

    actually, jesus is NOT the reason for the season. the reason for the season is a celebratiion of the return of the sUn during winter solstice and NOT the celebration of a baby being born (which didn't even happen at this time of the year). greens, trees, candles, holly, cinnamon, candy, and carols are all pagan in nature... christians just usurped them in an attempt to trick non-believers into celebrating their new [soon to be overly commercialized] holiday.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • jdubbs

      "Sol Invictus" – look it up, people! The Roman Sun god's holiday was turned into Jesus' birthday by the Roman Empire as a way of getting the plebians to adopt christianity. You're all sheeeeeeeep. Bahhhhhhhh bah bah

      December 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • jayson

      You and your silly truth...

      December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nikki

      I applaud you! That is not sarcasm! I am not Pagan...but I am a believer of facts, and you hit the nail on the head! The only reason we have Xmas today is because Christians used ceremonies from old religions to entice non-christians. Roman winter solstice to celebrate the return of Bacchus was celebrated December 25th. Christians have nothing good to say about themselves. They are thieves and have never had the good of human kind in their thoughts.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  4. Will

    I thought being atheist mean't you didn't care about religion.

    Happy Holidays!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Kenny_b

      While that may be likely...it is not necessarily a trait of an atheist. It means you don't believe in any deity.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      As an atheist, I tend to care about what my government supports and what my tax dollars pay for. I also tend to take an interest when someone else tries to shove their fairy tales down my throat.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Tommy D

      Being an athiest means ya dont give a sh_t one way or another....

      December 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • ybs

      Atheists don't give a fakk about religions. But when they are forced to recite, "in dog we trust," "so help me dog," etc., it's offensive - they are forced to lie! Perhaps religious mental midgets would have a better understanding when they are forced to recite, "in Atheism we trust," "one nation under Atheism," etc.

      Keep in mind, you beat off like the rest of us regardless of whether you believe in fables or not!

      December 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Albie

    I'm taking up a collection to send a menorah, some Kwanzaa items, a few Buddhist statues and a few Korans to governors, asking that they display them in the rotunda as well. Anyone want to contribute to help me out?

    December 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • Meps


      December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Keith Rose

      Don't forget to send a cynical coffee house worker or Bill Maher representing atheism. I think that would be grand. I'd go, but I'm only an aspiring coffee house worker as I just applied today.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • jdubbs

      Yes. Also, a poster promoting atheism.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Dont forget the festivus pole.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  6. GSA

    I'm not Christian and only celebrate Christmas as a holiday to spend time with family, eat great food and buy all the gadgets I can and don't really equate it to anything to do with religion or God. That being said these nativity scenes look great and I see no problem with them. My neighbors have them up and the street looks great, lights everywhere, with the snow on the ground it looks beautiful.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • Nan

      finally a response I completely agree with and couldn't have said it any better.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • StormChaser

      Well put!!

      December 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tommy D

      Ya hit da nail on de head...pretty well sums up how I feel.......you dont gots ta be one to have fun......

      December 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  7. John

    None of these scenes should be put up, unless every religion is allowed to put something up. Keep your Church at Church. I'm not an atheist either, I just think church should stay at church.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I partially agree. EACH AND EVERY faith should be free to have a celebratory display for their major holidays placed at the public spaces of their government building.
      Not just one or two faiths.
      Although, at SOME holidays, it'll get REALLY crowded in the rotunda...

      December 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • ybs

      and we should get rid of "in god we trust," "one nation under god," etc. crap. (nothing is no less valid than fairytale) and replace it ('god') with something like 'humanity.'

      Remember, religions are man-made and there is nothing humbling about religions. In fact, religions are the subjugation of self AND others. No more; no less.


      December 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  8. Pastor Evans

    If you don't believe, just don't believe, but that's not enough for non-believers!!! While they want to think they can keep believers silent and make us keep our belief to ourselves and private, while they make sure they let everyone know all the time they don't believe, loud and clear!!! Double standard and of course its a Satanic attack. You non-believers are exposed and God's righteous judgement/ justice applies here!!! See what you don't understand is that you are not persecuting us, but God himself!!! Remember that!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • Kenny_b

      I'm actually not attacking God since there isn't one. The atheists didn't send anything to the Govenor's mansion. Christians did. I am atheist and there is nothing militant about me whatsoever. I am a secular humanist and I believe firmly in making this world a better place without any thought whatsoever towards an afterlife. I try and treat all folks with compassion.

      I don't believe you should keep your beliefs silent and private. I believe you should share those beliefs with like minded folks in a large public place, like a church. Please feel free to live your life the way you wish and I shall live mine the way I wish.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • what

      sounds like a scare tactic to me...Keep your unrealistic stuff to your self please...

      December 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • NL

      Pastor Evans-
      "If you don't believe, just don't believe, but that's not enough for non-believers!!!"

      Works the same way in reverse. If believers don't accept a rational thought, say evolution, then just don't. Why fight against it in the public forum and lobby against it politically? Personally, I have no trouble with what people believe in private, but when they use unproven beliefs as justification to do things that are not reasonable, then someone has to speak up.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Nikki

      I highly doubt you are a real pastor. Your comment screams obsessive overly religious civillian. Those who settled this country wanted church seperated from state. What better way to do that then ban religious symbols from anything governmental. Atheists ( I am not one) only make such a fuss becuase Christians try to force their beliefs on others that are non-Christian. If anyone shames God, it is the Christians.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • jayson

      Deep down, you know we're all agnostic anyway, right?? 🙂

      December 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • ksm13

      @Pastor Evans: I think you meant to say this...

      If you believe, just believe, but that's not enough for believers!!! While they want to think they can keep non-believers silent and make us keep our non-belief to ourselves and private, while they make sure they let everyone know all the time they believe, loud and clear!!! Double standard and of course its a Satanic attack. You believers are exposed His Noodly Appendage applies here!!! See what you don't understand is that you are not persecuting us, but The Flying Spaghetti Monster himself!!! Remember that!!

      There, that's more accurate.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Melissa

      Isn't presuming to speak for God a sin? Why don't you leave all of that hellfire and brimstone act to God, and focus on being kind people. If Christians of your ilk, Pastor, would live by example rather than preaching hatred and judgment (i.e. acting as if you are God), you'd probably be more respected. Little things, such as being inclusive with "Happy Holidays" (which cover both secular AND religious holidays between Thanksgiving and New Years) and being kind to your neighbors regardless of faith – that goes much further than frothing posts such as yours.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • StormChaser

      @Kenny_b Agreed! We Atheists aren't psycho. We don't go around forcing our beliefs on others like the Christians do! They don't get that.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • StormChaser

      @ksm13 Love it!!

      December 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • Truth

      God bless you, Pastor!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!! =)

      December 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • ang

      It is not we atheists who are telling you to keep your prayers private. It is your god.

      – Matthew 6:5-8
      5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

      December 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Pastor Evans
      You said: "If you don't believe, just don't believe, but that's not enough for non-believers!!! While they want to think they can keep believers silent and make us keep our belief to ourselves and private, while they make sure they let everyone know all the time they don't believe, loud and clear!!! Double standard and of course its a Satanic attack."

      But Pastor, you want the right to proselytize. Should I not have the right to dispute your extraordinary claims?

      You are free to tell people of talking snakes; Trees that bore fruits of knowledge and eternal life; People living hundreds of years; People being turned into pillars of salt; Global floods, requiring the collection of at least 2 of every animal; A tower that god was afraid would reach all the way to Heaven; Flat earth; Virgin birth; Zombie Messiah; A man living in the belly of a whale and living etc.

      I am free to dispute your claims. Show proof that there is a god. All you have is a crazy book you claim is inspired by god and a feeling in your heart.

      As far as it being a Satanic attack, get real Pastor! Save it for your choir.

      I also do not believe in Allah, or Krishna or any other god. Would these also be Satanic attacks?

      If I told you I had fairies living in my right shoe would you not ask for proof, before accepting it as fact?
      Would that not be prudent of you? Not a bit Satanic, even if I swore to you how holy my fairies were.

      You said: " You non-believers are exposed and God's righteous judgement/ justice applies here!!! See what you don't understand is that you are not persecuting us, but God himself!!! Remember that!!!

      Dude! Are you simple? No one is persecuting you. Even though you LOVE to think so! Aren't you more blessed when you are persecuted? It is all part of your deluded belief. The Muslims also feel persecuted. LOL
      Matthew 5:10-12

      You provide proof that your god, any god, exists and I promise not to claim He doesn't exist anymore.

      Love and Prayers Pastor Evans

      December 7, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  9. MJ

    Keep your nativities to yourselves. Religo\ious symbols have no right to be on public fov't property WHy should we celebrate Chrst's birth at christmas any way – he was born in spring!

    December 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • nailed

      Everybody knows that Christ wasn't born on December 25th. It is THE day we celebrate it and it should be our right to do so in this country. If you don't like it, don't celebrate it, but I would venture out and say that your home is full of the Christmas spirit too; especially if you have children.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • jdubbs

      @ Nailed – you realize you're not actually celebrating christ's birthday? You're celebrating the day of honor for "Sol Invictus," the roman god of the sun. When the roman government decided to adopt the christian agenda and force it on the plebians, they decided to change the day honoring Sol Invictus to the day honoring their new god. Might as well worship a volcano god.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  10. NL

    As far as nativity scenes go doesn't anybody think that the holy family here are just a little too white for pre-diaspora Jews, and doesn't Mary look about 20 years too old for this to be historically accurate? Just chalk it up to the harmful influence that art has upon religious truth, I suppose?

    December 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Kristin

      I am absolutely not religious, and certainly not a believer, but given the times, Mary was probably 15 years old when some random man knocked her up.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Smite Me

      It looks like Mary is fixin' to slap that poor child in this scene. And I want to see a closer view of the logo on that sippy cup that Joseph is holding...

      December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      Kristin, 15 at MOST.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • talon10

      I've had this idea for a book in my mind recently, I'm going to call it "Nine Months BC" or "Joseph Will Believe Anything!".

      December 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Dave Schwartz

      Mary was not known to have had her bat mitzvah yet, that would make her pretty damn young. They drew lots to see who would have the duty of marrying her and it fell to Joseph who complained that he was way, way too old for such a young wife.
      (according to the apocrypha considered supplemental by the CC but not included in the NT)

      December 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • Truth

      Any imagery such as the nativity scene is not necessarily what every Christian has in their home during this season...true Christ followers will not possess any imagery such as the nativity scene....

      December 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • NL

      I just find it interesting that, on the heels of all this hoopla over the atheist "myth" billboard, Christians would be distributing imagery that few consider even possibly historically accurate, thus adding to the entire myth of the nativity.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Woody

      Good point, NL. After reviewing the photo, the baby looks rather large for a newborn. Giving birth to a kid that size must have really hurt. And it's the end of December, for Christ's sake, put some clothes on that kid.

      December 7, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  11. Kristin


    December 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Kenny_b

    The militant atheists sent "nothing" to the govenor's offices. It is being displayed along the nativity scenes.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Do the Governors need nativity scenes, or Christmas gifts at all? I suspect not.
      Do the poor need food and clothing? I suspect so.

      It seems to me that the only reason this was done was to influence the government, which is not in keeping with one of the purported meanings of Christmas, giving to those in need.
      So if Atheists sent food to the poor instead of some superficially gift to a government official, good for them.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • DK

      How much do you want to bet those nativity scenes were made in China?

      December 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  13. taylor

    Personally I think the Nativity scenes are lovely at this time of year. However, instead of spending a lot of cash on creating holiday season controversy, it would have been much more christian if the Catholic League spent the money on feeding poor families during these terrible economic times. This is a great example of what's wrong in todays world.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • nailed

      "much more Christian"? I love how you throw this in as if you know what Christianity is about. I am not Catholic, but most food banks and soup kitchens, along with many other "good deeds" are ran by the Catholics. Faulty thinking is what is wrong with the world today, not a display of the nativity scene, or the thought or action to send one to someone else. It is better to give than it is to receive.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      Sorry, you mean it is better to convert through giving.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • AngieS

      @taylor: now *that* would have been a truly "Christian" way to spend the money and the season they purport to honor. What a pity they didn't think of those in need, instead. No matter what your faith or lack thereof this should always be a time of loving and giving, helping each other out, magic and kindness. Please stop the fighting and come together in humanity!!

      December 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  14. Jesus

    True Christian faith is about love. Turning the other cheek. Loving thy neighbor. Doing good deeds without seeking recognition. And so many others. For those who equate Christianity with the power mongering, controlling, diabolical scheming of those that seem to find the media spotlight in the name of Christ, I am sorry. You haven't been exposed to the real world of Christ.

    Love to you all. All year long.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      True humanity is about empathy and respecting others. All hail... nobody!!

      December 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Nikki

      Well siad nOT Trash!

      December 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • cindy


      December 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • Truth

      Amen – love, love, love!! It's a beautiful thing!!!!

      December 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Euorgos

      Isn't it obvious by now that the real reason for the season is all about the shopping and sales? That is the reason we celebrate. So let's just forget about all this talk about nativity scenes and Jesus, and just head on over to the nearest Walmart and buy ourselves lots of new things!

      December 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Sumerian Dude

      @nOT Trash

      Very well said!

      December 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  15. 2badsoSad

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day...teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime...give man religion and he will starve to death praying for fish

    December 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Codepwned

      That was hilarious.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • dave

      lol hilarious

      December 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • jayson

      That's about right I'd say.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • talon10

      LOL. Thanks. That was the best laugh I've had in a long time.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • oc


      December 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Geoz

      That is great. Love it.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • Greg

      Actually, he's more likely to share his fish with the people around him, if you're honest about the stats. He may still end up starving, but he won't end up alone.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      You got that wrong in the last part.
      It should read: If you give a man religion, he will starve while praying for a fish, then raise a holy army and war against those WITH fish and eat the fish of the heathen dead.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • bspurloc


      December 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Actually Wzrd1 it will end up with the Codalics fighting the Southern Halibutists as to which one is the real holy fish.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Pam

      Obviously, the christians here all believe that if you don't believe in their religion, then you must be an atheist. I'm not an atheist or a christian. And, guess what, NO ONE KNOWS! Not the old weird pope, the bum in the street or bill o'reilly! No one knows if there's a god or if there isn't. I find it impossible to believe that jesus died and came back to life. There's a book called "the Passover Plot" that shows how easily Jesus could have conjured up this "resurrection". Just think how ignorant and gullible people are now! I can't even imagine how ignorant they were in bible times (also written by MEN, not god!) Must be nice to be so blind and brainwashed. Us smart people don't have that advantage.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • AngieS

      ROFLMAO!! Now *that* was funny!! 🙂

      December 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Tommy D

      That was funny I dont care who you are......

      December 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • PAGANGRL69

      Why?...Cse' C- "My Cat Ate Your Fish"...lolololol!!!
      Have A Very Merry Winter Solstice...
      Blessed Be!!!..."The Law of Three"...Karma'

      December 8, 2010 at 6:27 am |
    • ryan

      give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a night...light a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

      December 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  16. Eric Gray


    December 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Ruth

      Actually, the shortest day of the year is the reason for the season. The Catholics co-opted the pagan celebration of the winter solstice to gain more converts, and told people it had to do with the birth of Christ. In fact, Christ was likely born sometime in August, so if you're really celebrating his birth, you should do it then. Most of the fun parts of Christmas are pagan anyway–the tree, the gift-giving, "Santa Claus" (used to be Odin)–the Catholics weren't particularly creative.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • William

      As per the instructions of the Emporer Constantine, who created the holiday and put it into the place of the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice. I view this time of year as Santa's Season.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • FedUp

      Nope sorry the 'Season' was around long before Jesus...at least do some research before blindly defending something that was stole from non-Christians to begin with.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • thies

      When Jesus died he rose from the grave as Santa Claus (all praise be the Coca Cola company) with his holy symbol being an evergreen tree.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • bspurloc

      yeah jesus is the reason for the season to be dashed onto young boys for priests to feast upon.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Matt

      Sorry, Winter Solstice and the equinox are the reason for the season. What you celebrate as Christmas was celebrated long before Christ as a pagan holiday celebrating the beginning of Winter with a fattening feast and lots of ale. Only after Constantine signed the Christian Doctrine was this holiday canonized, and spread by means of conversion to neighboring countries. I bet you don't know this, but in Russia, they don't celebrate Christmas on the 25th. In Iceland/Norway they still honor the Yuletide (Jultide), and in Germany, Santa has an evil opposite named Krumple (basically the devil). You honestly should at least do a Wikipdeia search and read before you post something like this, or the internet will eat you.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Tony

      I agree with most of the responders to this post: the "reason for the season" is NOT Jesus Christ. It is Mithra's, Horus', Attis of Phrygia's, Krishna's, Buddha's, Heracles', Dionysus' Tammuz's, Adonis', and Hermes' birthdays. ALL of which were born of virgin mothers on December 25.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Just an observer

      The reason for the season is the SUN not the SON. It's the winter solstice, the birthday of the sun, as it starts it's next yearly cycle. A day observed or celebrated by pagans, astrologers, farmers, nomads, etc... and recorded in hundreds of other stories, thousands of years before someone made up the Jesus one.

      If a god did give us a brain, shouldn't we use it?

      December 18, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  17. Patrick

    First! and I expected some elderly lady sending them but nope....catholic league

    December 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  18. BK Beach 4X4

    What a great holiday gift.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • jesus

      I sent cards showing God and Mary doing the deed. You open the card and Mary yelps, "Oh God...do it"

      December 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  19. Jake

    Satan would like to thank the Catholic league for invoking anger and resentment against Christians and turning many who would consider Christ this season away from him instead just so they can get their point accross. The best Satanists are Christians.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • WWJD

      And the athiest league isn't??? Really this is a ridiculous statement.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • nailed

      Christianity is NOT based on man, or the actions of men, but on Christ and Him alone. I agree with WWJD!

      December 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      All religion is based on mans words. Period.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • NL

      Wouldn't you have to actually believe in Satan in order to be a Satanist?

      December 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • JeffG

      The most accurate response I have read so far. The Catholic League deliberatley set out to antagonize, and then publish that position far and wide. Being divisive has nothing to do with the teaching of Christ or the spirit of God, but sadly many will be turned away from both because of their actions. I have often said, and it is proven again and again, that the most productive minions of Satan are those who try to manipulate others under the guise of Christianity.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • oc

      @nailed: seriously," WWJD?" Considering he wasn't Christian, I doubt he'd actually do very little of what many of his followers do (in his name)

      December 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • sockeyerama

      Jake, you nailed it right on the head. You'd think this big and old of an organization would have run this action through PR department first.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • Roboin

      Of course the best Satanists are Christian. Christians invented Satan, he's the other side of their deity. If you're not Christian, you don't believe in Satan.

      December 6, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • TBera

      Good post, Jake–that is true.

      December 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      Thanks for a post that makes about as much sense as does the bible.

      December 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Peace2All


      You have GOT to be kidding... right...? 😯


      December 8, 2010 at 2:45 am |
    • Bill

      Excellent point. I am a Christian and I also celebrate Pagan holidays. But I WILL NOT bow before the Pope in Rome and his Catholic dominion. He is just an opinionated guy with a funny hat. Nothing more.

      December 22, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  20. Merry Christmas not Xmas


    Now ask Hallmark to start adding more selection to its religious cards because they are offering very little choice these days. Quite disappointing to this loyal HM customer.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Codepwned

      Christmas is the celebration of Jesus's Birth... however, it has evolved into something far more important "the season of sharing". While that is exploited to no end by companies trying to sell you things... it is something people of all religions can embrace. Noone is taking "The christ out of christmas". Instead, they are opening this time to invite all people much like how our country was formed... for everyone.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • what


      December 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • Pandora

      It’s not all about you....Christians have a hard time understanding that.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • talon10

      It's not about things like that. It's about the GOVERNMENT promoting one religion over another. As long as the government isn't involved, Christians or believers in any other faith are perfectly free to do or say whatever they like. I really don't understand why people don't get that.

      December 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Normon

      Keep your Christ out of my Satrunalia and Winter Solstice!
      Thank you.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Gorilla Guerilla

      And I suppose Christians invented Christmas... They may have created the word, but the celebration and the symbolism is far older. Simply said, Christmas should be banned and Winter Solstice Festival used te replace it. Oh, and to those athiests out there... I hope you don't get any presents on the 25th, otherwise you are nothing but hypocrites. The tradition of gift giving on that day is deeply rooted in religion, and unless you are hypocrites you must deny ALL religious aspects of that particular day. But of course that wouldn't be fair to you, so you pick piece-meal the bits and pieces you like and then chuck out the rest...

      December 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • oc

      gotta love it when so-called Christians are so hell-bent on "protecting" their religious holiday that they insist on disrespecting it via over-commercialization. Yep, nothing shows how holy this holiday is more than selling stuff in in Jesus' name.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • MikeofLA

      Learn about the REAL origin of your precious CHRISTmas. Christ is though to have actually been born in or around September, not on Christmas. Christmas was the Catholic churches way of absorbing pagans and getting more 'souls' on board. The The solstice holiday was punctuated by decorating trees and celebrating the first day of winter. It was also the day that the Sun God was reborn, not the son of God, as the days start getting longer on this day.

      Read this http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm

      December 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kam

      I'm not an atheist, but I am seriously concerned with the lack of education among Christians and a growing irrationalism that is being promoted. For example, every Christian should know that the X in X-mas comes from the Greek letter "chi". It was commonly used together with the Greek letter "rho" as an abbreviation for Christ (or Christos) in Greek. So X-mas is not some sinister way of removing Christ from Christmas.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Jake

      You do know, of course, that the Christians stole "Christmas" from the pagans. So, efforts to remove Christ from Christmas are actually efforts to bring it back to its roots.

      December 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jeff

      My Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • bspurloc

      why dont u do your christian duty and FORCE them to do as u wish or threaten them.... I mean the taliban do as the christians have done for several thousand years..... yet the taliban are bad people.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Matt

      Keep CHRISTIANS in CHURCHES and off my lawn.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Greg

      Nobody's saying YOUR Christmas can't be, Jeff. Just stop bothering everyone else with it.

      December 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • TheRationalAtheist

      Paganism-The REAL reason for the season.

      Io Saturnalia!

      December 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • Tony

      When are people going to learn (and accept) the truth? You say "keep" Christ in Christmas, as if he's always been a part of it. That which we now know as "Christmas" is pagan in origin. People were celebrating at this time of year (for various reasons) long before anyone ever heard of Jesus Christ. Thus, if you want to "keep" anything in the season, keep what the season was ORIGINALLY about, not what it got spun into.
      Also, many people believe Christmas to be the celebration of Christ's birth. The concept of celebrating birthdays is ALSO pagan. Thus, any time you celebrate ANYONE's birth, you are engaging in a pagan practice. Therefore, the entire "Christmas" season is all about PAGAN practices. So, yes, I agree with you. Let's "keep" the "reason for the season": paganism.

      December 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Spijder

      Xmas does not 'take Christ out of Christmas' but believing that it does seperates the Christians who know Christian history from those who do not. Xmas, Xtian, Xtianity – look em up they are historically relevant and appropriate to classical languages and the Christian religion.

      December 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • RLS

      I'm confused. Wasn't "Jesus" King of the Jews' at one time?

      December 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • Tony

      @Spijder: "...Christians who know Christian history..."

      Now THERE's an oxymoron!

      December 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Pamela Armstrong

      If there is no God, Jesus or resurrection, then I have lost nothing by believing, but........If there is, you have lost all eternity by not believing.

      December 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • 21k

      merry xmas? , to the 6 million souls who were NOT helped by the all-powerful creator of the universe during WWII.

      December 6, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
    • k

      Christmas is just the stolen holiday of Winter Solstice

      When the Christians went around killing the Pagans and forcing them to convert to Christianity, they figured it would be easier to have them convert if they kept their Winter Solstice holiday and called it Christmas

      Christians are evil, I hope Bill Donohue dies

      December 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • SDScott

      @Pamela Armstrong said:
      "If there is no God, Jesus or resurrection, then I have lost nothing by believing, but........If there is, you have lost all eternity by not believing."

      Unless Thor is real and then you're screwed (or any other deity that has a worse hell than Yahweh/Allah/Jehovah). Look up "Pascal's Wager" and the rebuttals to it for why atheists don't take that argument seriously.

      December 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • John Dockum

      Xmass has the Christ in it. The X is the greek letter Chi which was used to denote Christ in some of the most original of bibles, not the revamped King James version you are used to.

      December 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • John Dockum

      I wish people coming here with Pagan aspirations were willing to admit that their paganism is just a brand new counter culture movement that has no living connection to any of the people who created the various belief systems they are stealing it from. They are allowed to reinvent some ancient stick shaking and Earth worship but Christians are wrong for adopting and adapting their beliefs as times and places change. Hypocrisy.

      December 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tony

      @ John Dockum: I'm not sure anyone is "coming here with Pagan aspirations". We simply know what Christians CLAIM to know: the truth. And the truth is, like it or not, that the entire Jesus story is virtually identical to those of earlier Pagan deities. There is NOTHING in the Christ mythology that cannot be attributed to at least one "older" god. If asked "who was born of a virgin mother on December 25, was visited by wise men or maji bearing gifts shortly thereafter,traveled with 12 followers, is called by many names including "the light", "the way", "the savior", etc., was resurrected three days after his death (and many other things), the common answer would be "Jesus Christ". But those traits are shared by many other deities that predate Christ. Simply put, Christ and his legend are nothing more than reworkings of Pagan stories and gods. Viewed in this light, what makes this story any more "right" than any of the others?
      As for paganism being a "brand new" counter culture: Brand new? Paganism predates Christ by millenia and you call it "brand new"?
      Also, Christians have NOT adapted their beliefs as times and places change. Christianity is still stuck in the dark ages. It still, for example, teaches the story of Noah and the flood as if were actually possible, when we KNOW for a fact it is not.

      December 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • Harry Kuheim

      Exactly....the Ignorance and Intolerance of Atheists is pathetic. They can beleive whatever they choose but you can't.

      December 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Harry Kuheim: I suppose you would be ok if a someone said Christians were intolerant, ignorant and pathetic. No? From your post I thought you like blanket statements.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • TBera

      If we get right down to it, there never was any danger of taking Christ out of Christmas. The Christians just like playing the martyr card, so they trump up these fantasies to keep their persecution-complex happy.

      Get over it–the world is a diverse place, and you are only a part of it, not the whole thing. You ARE going to have to move over and make room for equality on our very diverse planet. Having to move over to make room does not mean you are being persecuted. No one wants anything you've got, trust me.

      December 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Gorilla Guerilla

      Hi Gorilla...

      You Said: "Oh, and to those athiests out there... I hope you don't get any presents on the 25th, otherwise you are nothing but hypocrites. The tradition of gift giving on that day is deeply rooted in religion"

      Actually, a bit of research will tell you also that 'gift giving' also pre-dated 'christmas.' It was part of Saturnalia/winter solstice festivities. See below:

      "Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place on December 25 and may have influenced Christmas customs.[49] Christmas gift giving was banned by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages due to its suspected pagan origins.[49"

      This is just from 1 source of history. So, I like your post over-all... trying to go after both sides, but on this you are wrong. I would not necessarily argue that gift giving was not 'deeply rooted' in some kind of religious traditions, but it certainly wasn't about the Christians-Christmas. It well pre-dates it.


      December 8, 2010 at 2:39 am |
    • NL

      Pamela Armstrong-
      "If there is no God, Jesus or resurrection, then I have lost nothing by believing, but........If there is, you have lost all eternity by not believing."

      Well, since giving up on God I count all the friendships I've made with so-called gay 'sinners', all the money I've saved not supporting clergy, all the time and headaches I've spared myself from trying to make sense of theology well worth getting out of the long shot eternity lottery. The biggest benefit of all, however, has to be giving up on the selfishness of letting a potential heavenly reward dictate what I did. Now I can do charity without worrying if I'm just in it for the afterlife, and I can stop being irrationally judgmental altogether. See, Pascal's Wager fails to account for the actual 'cost' of believing.

      December 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Aaron

      Just an FYI: "X" is an abbreviation for "Jesus" in latin, so next time, learn what your own holiday means.

      Signed, Knowledgeable Jew

      December 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.