I am originally from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, home to Bunker Hill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickenson and Mary Baker Eddy. I am proud son of Massachusetts, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I am anti-Christmas.
No, I am not anti-Jesus, anti-Christian, anti-capitalism or anti-shopping. I am simply pro-Massachusetts, and the great Christian values it brought to this country.
In 1645 Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan brethren took over jolly old England. Deciding that anything jolly was probably of the devil, they vowed to rid England of such decadent conceits as Christmas. Cromwell and Company banned Christmas and any festivities having to do with it.
Not to be bested by their colleagues across the pond, Massachusetts Puritans criminalized Christmas (take that, Bill O’Reilly!), and, in 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts passed the Five-Shilling Anti-Christmas Law:
“Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas, or the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way upon such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for each offense five shillings as a fine to the country.”
The law was repealed in 1681, but I would like to reinstate it. Why? First of all it reflects the true Christian values on which our nation was founded. Second it isn’t limited to Christmas; the phrase “or the like” would spell the end of Hanukkah and Kwanza as well, so it isn’t in anyway discriminatory. Third, it would take the madness and meanness out of the last two months of the year.
There is nothing so hateful as a Christian mob whipped into frenzy by some sales scam linked to the birth of a Jew (unless, of course, it is a Christian mob whipped up into an even greater frenzy over the murder of said Jew). The only thing remotely religious about watching shoppers trample one another to get into a store in order to buy to one sanely priced item on the store’s shelves is that it reminds us of Joseph and the very pregnant Mary trying (unsuccessfully) to elbow their way into a Jerusalem inn at the same of year.
Even though the Five-Shilling Anti-Christmas Law was repealed in 1681, our founders must have seen some value in banishing Christmas seeing as Congress was in session on Dec. 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution, and Christmas didn’t become a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
Anyway, I think a country whose original illegal aliens were Puritans who hated Christmas, and whose descendents believe that a return to Christian values would be a good thing, cannot but benefit from outlawing Christmas once again.
It will take us a while to get the country back on its Christian track, but in the meantime, if you insist upon celebrating Christmas and thus disrespecting this great country, you should fine yourself five shillings (which in today’s fallen dollar is equal to about 89 cents).
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is director of the One River Foundation in Murfreesboro, Tenn. This column appeared originally on his blog.