Title

Religious Controversies over Christmas

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Department

Humanities

Publication Title

Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture

Editor

Sheila Whiteley

DOI

10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628087.003.0005

First Page

71

Last Page

87

Abstract

This chapter illustrates that the tussle between paganism and Christianity is still very much alive. The analytical case study opens out the religious discourses surrounding Christmas and its relationship to contemporary America in a lively discussion of the controversy between the consumer hegemon, Wal-Mart, and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. It also reveals how the ‘majoritarian outrage at having their common sense challenged leads to a reinvigoration of a Christian compulsion to dominate’. Christmas in America has now become a stage for both commercial excess and majoritarian Christian identity. All sources agree that the celebration of Christmas was not central to the earliest centuries of Christianity. Christmas gained legitimacy in the post-Constantinian church. The ultimate roots of common sense unite the impulses of the Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution.

Keywords

paganism, Christianity, Christmas, America, Wal-Mart, Bill Donohue, Protestant Reformation, American Revolution

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