There are a few issues I think we must address. These came up from reading Osgiliath's and BlackLabelAxe's comments.
The first issue is the alleged "War on Christmas", or how Osgiliath put it, "battles fought against Christmas". Many conservative pundits have used the "happy holidays" phrase as evidence corroborating their argument of forced secularization in the Christmas season. As for the phrase itself, I will agree with Jon Stewart when he asked whether it ever occurred to people that Christmas and New Year's are two holidays close together. Therefore, the phrase "happy holidays" makes sense. It's significantly easier to say the phrase rather than "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". I guess my larger point is that many people, mostly Evangelical Christians, have begun to take notice of these petty things, thus making a huge commotion, which makes them forget why they love Christmas in the first place. I think it's hardly the left trying to remove the Christmas label from American public discourse, but indeed the fundamentalist right making sure the label remains there and making a strong effort to expand it. In a season where Christ should be the focus, Christians are engaging in a bitter feud with America's values. On Christmas Day, I will pray for those troubled Christian souls who, rather than celebrate the birth of Christ, mudsling America and pick fights with the public. BLA said it best:
I think that a lot of Christians are waging a war against their own holiday. The season has nothing to do with Wal-Mart, lawn decorations, or harvesting pet evergreen trees. It's hardly a religious holiday anymore.In other words, Christians are also responsible for the secularization of Christmas as they fill the aisles at Walmart, Target, Nieman Marcus, or wherever you purchase goods.
The second issue we must address is relationship, or lack thereof, between heavy metal discourse and religion. Heavy metal music is, at its purest, a form of expression with roots in liberalism. Conservatives haven't been nice to heavy metal throughout history. And I know the PMRC was created by Tipper Gore, but she is far from being liberal. Black Sabbath, the originators of heavy metal, praised the darker side of things, or the alternative to the status quo. They bashed war in their lyrics and created a sound deemed to be that of the devil himself.
Heavy metal has been kind to a homosexual legend, Rob Halford. Would country music be as kind to a gay Tim McGraw? There is more leftist activism in heavy metal while conservative activism is nonexistent. My greater point, however, is that the majority of heavy metal fans are not religious. How can a religious person enjoy heavy metal when the lyrics and images projected are non-religious or anti-religious? I'm not saying I stopped practicing religion because of my love for metal. But I find it hypocritical to attend mass weekly while I listen to Slayer during the week.
Yet another question, is music to be taken as seriously as I suggest above? Or am I confusing the line between reality and the musical/art world? You guys make the call...
First of all, we have heard Bill O'Reilly attempt to make a case against liberals and non-Christians being anti-Christmas. While such allegations are complete bullshit, I think the subject of religion and its role in heavy metal cultural discourse is worth discussing. I'll begin by offering my views on the subject.
I was raised Mexican Catholic. I say Mexican Catholic because being Mexican is almost equated to being Catholic, and Mexican Catholics tend to be ultra-faithful and not-as-conservative as the Evangelical cabal. Therefore, my parents had me attending mass every Sunday and participating in traditional Mexican events such as the Posadas and Homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe. As I grew older and became educated, I realized that many self-proclaimed faithful people are only so for the sake of it. In other words, this is similar to a driver getting car insurance just because the law requires it. I became detached from religion, that is, the organized aspect. I no longer care for most priests, churches, or the rest of the holy plutocracy. Nevertheless, I still firmly believe in the teachings of Christ, despite my profound admiration of Norwegian black metal. Nowadays, I loathe the fact that religion has been hijacked by the radical right for political gain, making me more skeptical of organized religion.
Religion has never been kind to heavy metal. The conservative nature of relgious people has placed hurdles in the progression of metal music from a subterranean powerhouse to a mainstream juggernaut (although this isn't bad at all!). Nevertheless, metalheads are typically scrutinized and wrongfully profiled as treacherous vagabonds. Of course, not only religious people do this, but a large portion of them do. At this point, I will open up the discussion to everyone else. Share your thoughts on religion, Christmas, and heavy metal. I'll add more thoughts tomorrow as I read everyone else's. Cheers!