Tony Norman's got some pointed commentary on the subject today. He begins:
Four Jewish subway riders who wished other people Happy Hanukkah werepelted with anti-Semitic remarks before being beaten, New York police and prosecutors said. The incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime.
The four were on a train in Manhattan on Friday night, during the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, when they were approached by a group of 10 people who offered holiday greetings. The victims responded, Happy Hanukkah and were assaulted by the larger group, police said Tuesday.
Police caught up with the train in Brooklyn and arrested eight men and two women, ages 19 and 20. They were arraigned Saturday on charges of assault, menacing, riot, harassment and disorderly conduct, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.
I'll save you the buck-fifty - here's the article from the Post. Turns out that one of the people who tried to stop the assault was Hassan Askari, a Muslim from Pakistan. Here's how Tony describes it:
Usually, I go out of my way to avoid giving rapacious media baron Rupert Murdoch any of my hard-earned cash.
Still, Mr. Murdoch's U.S. tabloid -- the delightfully unhinged New York Post -- remains a guilty pleasure from my days as a working-class New Yorker two decades ago.
It's easier to justify a lingering fascination with the scrappy tabloid by copping to reading it online. It spares me the indignity of paying $1.50 picking it up at newsstands this far west of the Hudson.
I especially liked the guy with the Christ tattoo who linked Hanukkah to the cruxifiction. I'm pretty well read and for a time I usually won playing Trivial Pursuit but I'd never heard that one. Ignorance is everywhere, I guess. And of course the broken nose for saying "Happy Hanukkah." Didn't he know enough to turn the other cheek? No, wait. I guess not.
According to news reports, Mr. Adler, his girlfriend Maria Parsheva, their friend Angelica Krischanovich and an unidentified fourth person boarded the Q train on Canal Street bound for Brooklyn.
Someone from the group that was later arrested shouted "Merry Christmas" to the quartet when they entered. The four returned the greeting with "Happy Hanukkah." The mob, reportedly drunk and hostile, perceived this as yet another salvo in the never-ending war against Christmas.
One guy rolled up his sleeves to show his Christ tattoo. According to Mr. Adler, the tattooed man mocked them and said: "Happy Hanukkah, that's when the Jews killed Jesus."
To prove they were more in tune with the spirit of Kristallnacht than Christmas, the group of abusive men and women surrounded the quartet and shouted "dirty Jews" and "Jew bitches" before breaking Walter Adler's nose, causing him to gush blood like a geyser.
Hassan Askari couldn't bear to watch it anymore. Alone among his fellow passengers, he rushed to the defense of four Jews being assaulted by "defenders" of Christmas. He got beat up for his trouble.
We can be happy, though, that the War on Christmas is over.
And Bill O'Reilly won it.
Though if you want, get a gander at the column, O'Reilly uses to prove his point about "secular progressives." It's by Carol Towarnicky of the Philadelphia Daily News. O'Reilly quotes:
To that, this secularist pleads guilty. No religion should be in the public square, not even when the overwhelming majority of citizens practice it. Besides, the big boxes and malls make it impossible to miss the fact that it's Christmas.But if you take a look at the rest of the column, it's not so much about removing religion from the public square, it's about returning Christmas to what it once was:
But I fear I've digressed.
Old-timers may recall that, back when Christmas was a religious holiday, the four weeks of Advent was the time when many Christians prepared their hearts for the birth of Jesus. Back then, the first Sunday of Advent used to be the official beginning of the Christmas season - before it was replaced by another religious ritual, Black Friday.
Advent was a time of penance and fasting. It's why many traditional ethnic Christmas Eve celebrations - oyster stew for the Irish, "seven fishes" for Italians, pierogis for Eastern Europeans - are meatless. Of course, modern Christmas preparation also includes hardship, not to mention degradation. Shoppers wear themselves out spending that $435 billion we're expected to drop on Christmas this year. And what mortification could compare to the prostrations of desperate parents seeking this year's Big Gift?
Advent was a time of great expectation, anticipation and hope. Kids and grown-ups lit candles on Advent wreaths and counted off the days of an Advent calendar. These days, surveys show that many Americans count down to Christmas not with anticipation but with dread. Google "Christmas" and find scores of warnings - from psychologists about "holiday depression," from financial advisors about the massive debt we'll incur, and from law enforcement with tips to escape the seasonal increase in crime.
During Advent, Christians traditionally read verses from Psalms and the prophets. These days, it can be hard to hear Jesus' message over all the din, much less proclaim it.
Happy Friday everyone!