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Material Excesses of Christmas are a Moral Problem

Objecting to the Extreme Spending, Borrowing, Materialism


Material Excess of Christmas is a Moral Problem: Objecting to the Extreme Spending, Materialism

Material Excesses of Christmas are a Moral Problem: Objecting to the Extreme Spending, Borrowing, Materialism

Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: Library of Congress

Elsewhere I point out that the materialistic extremes of the modern Christmas season is contrary to the religious values which Christian Nationalists profess to want to restore to the holiday. Yet, for some reason, they say little about this; instead of objecting to the materialism and spending, they object when retailers fail to pander to them enough in their attempts to separate them from their Christmas spending budgets.

Encouraging the commercialization of Christmas may be a good way to fight Christian Nationalists' efforts to appropriate both the holiday and the entire holiday season. Because they fail to recognize how a commercialized holiday is incompatible with their religious ideals for Christmas, it also might also be argued that objecting to this commercialization is better. If people perceive Christmas as an immoral waste and a corporate tactic to take their money, they may decide to chuck it entirely.

Why do conservatives fail to see how they could gain more for their agenda if they directed their efforts towards commercialization rather than secularization? This is an example inherent tension between the evangelical right and the corporate right, both of whom try to live together within the GOP. Pure market capitalism does not respect traditions or religion. Capitalism doesn't care. The market doesn't care. All that matters is how to make the best profit possible from selling to the public.

In a society where religious pluralism is always on the increase, your long-term prospects of selling products is reduced if you are perceived as favoring one religion over others. Wal-Mart wouldn't have gotten to where it is today if it were called Christ-Mart. It's understandable for Christian Nationalists to be upset over how capitalism seems to be undermining their Christmas traditions; it's not reasonable for them to blame everyone but capitalism and corporate interests in their own political party. Because Christian Nationalists have linked their fate with the corporate right, attacking the latter may affect the former as well.

The above image is based on a World War I poster imploring people to buy more Liberty Bonds in order to help fund -- and therefore speed -- the war because women and children are dying in Europe. I chose this image because some of the money spent on Christmas wrapping paper, decorations, and unwanted gifts might do some good feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and tending the sick.

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