The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Notes from the Bible Belt

For Xmas Christmas, Bunny gave me a subscription to the Transylvania Times, the newspaper of Brevard, NC (and not a taboid following the exploits of Vlad Ţepeş).

I like Brevard; it has that small town, “Mayberry” feeling. The downtown is easily walkable and has some excellent restaurants despite its small size. And every time I'm there I take the time to buy the local newspaper (published twice weekly) as it's more entertaining than any local newspaper here in Lower Sheol.

For instance, this letter to the Editor:

Who are they? Are you one of them?

Why are they taking God out of our country, out of our schools, off our highways and anywhere else they can?

They took prayer out of our schools. Now our children are being killed.

They stopped parents from correcting our children. They call it abuse.

Yes, I have to remind myself that North Carolina is part of the Bible Belt, so there's some level of craziness to contend with. And except for the highway bit (odd—I don't recall God ever being involved with the US road system) this type of letter is something one would expect from the Bible Belt.

Then we get to the real craziness—

They took Christ out of Christmas by putting Xmas and crossing him out.

On our highways, I see signs, “Deer Xing.” It's taking the cross out of crossing, the cross where Jesus shed his blood to forgive our sins.

The star that shone brightly in the sky, showing where Jesus was born, is not on the top of our Christmas trees. In its place is a ribbon or something else.

Um … what?

Wow. Just wow.

First off, the use of “Xmas” for “Christmas” isn't a recent phenomenon, nor is it part of a conspiracy to secularize Christmas. Xmas has a long history going back to 1755; further if you accept “Xp̄es mæsse” as a precedent (circa 1100). And using “X” as shorthand for “Christ” goes back to 1485.

And that's exactly what it was used for—shorthand. “They” took the “Christ” out of Christ a long time ago.

And that bit about deer crossings—funny, I don't recall Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of ungulates. As far as I can tell, the FHWA requires a picture of a deer for a “Deer Xing” sign, but North Carolina might use alternative signage, so blame North Carolina for Jesus' inability to save ungulates.

And then we have the next letter to the editor …

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