Wednesday, December 21, 2005

From Slate
Snoop in chief
Has he crossed the Rubicon dividing nominal republic and undisguised empire?

The real war on Christmas
The one waged by Protestants: English (Oliver Cromwell) and early American Congregationalists
...the Americans who succeeded in banning the holiday were the Puritans of 17th-century Massachusetts. Between 1659 and 1681, Christmas celebrations were outlawed in the colony...

...the Rev. Increase Mather lamented in 1687... "...they are consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in Mad Mirth."
Benedicamus Domino. Deo gratias.
The Puritan disdain for the holiday endured: As late as 1869, public-school kids in Boston could be expelled for skipping class on Christmas Day.

New England Congregationalist preacher Henry Ward Beecher remembered decorative greenery as an exotic touch that one could see only in Episcopal churches, "a Romish institution kept up by the Romish church."
(Would that it were!) Not altar crosses or candles, which were unknown to 19th-century Anglicans until the second-generation Anglo-Catholics started cautiously using them mid-century and caught hell for it, but Christmas greenery. (Which is a Christianised Germanic pagan custom.) Scandalously popish, LOL!

Philadelphia’s Quakers didn’t try to force their non-observance of Christmas on everybody else but
As late as 1810, the Philadelphia Democratic Press reported that few Pennsylvanians celebrated the holiday.
I imagine only the tiny-minority RCs, German Lutherans (including some of my ancestors: Beeler is really Bühler) and Anglicans did and the German Mennonites (who ironically came to Pennsylvania for freedoms that no longer exist — no taxes, full stop!) didn’t.

Christmas (including the German tree, unknown in England until the 1800s) spread from being exclusively relatively high-church to mainstream Protestantism thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, good Germans, popularising it. (And shallow imperialist Queen Vic was anything but high-church.)

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