Hitchens on Hanukkah and Holiday Culture Wars

Inspired by the onset of the “annual culture war about the display of cribs, mangers, conifers, and other symbols on public land,” secular ringleader Christopher Hitchens gets all hot-headed in Slate and writes about Hannukah as the celebration of “Maccabean peasants who wanted to destroy Hellenism and restore… ‘oldtime religion.'”

Thus, to celebrate Hanukkah is to celebrate not just the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness but also the accidental birth of Judaism’s bastard child in the shape of Christianity. You might think that masochism could do no more. Except that it always can. Without the precedents of Orthodox Judaism and Roman Christianity, on which it is based and from which it is borrowed, there would be no Islam, either. Every Jew who honors the Hanukkah holiday because it gives his child an excuse to mingle the dreidel with the Christmas tree and the sleigh (neither of these absurd symbols having the least thing to do with Palestine two millenniums past) is celebrating the making of a series of rods for his own back.