Columnist Susan Paynter facetiously calls on Christians to crusade against the commercialism of St. Valentine’s Day with as much vigor as we did in the “Merry Christmas” battle. While I was not part of the Christmas wars, I understand the distinctions between the two holidays. For her to not grasp the disctinctions, Ms. Paynter must be ignorant of Christianity (which may be the case – she does write for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).
In order to illustrate her ignorance Paynter writes:
When did God’s country lose the war on this holiday, too? When did the forces of commercialism, hedonism and secularism wrench the saintliness of Feb. 14 from Cupid’s warm, fat fist? And where is the evangelical outcry from Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the other Christian soldiers who, only two months ago, fought so valiantly to put the Christ back in Christmas?
1) The first and most obvious difference between “the saint days” (Valentine’s and Patrick’s) and Christmas is the person who is celebrated. Neither St. Valentine or St. Patrick died for the sins of humanity. Neither lived a perfect life. Neither was the Son of God. It should be obvious that the holiday that celebrates such a person would be guarded a little more carefully. Paynter actually makes this point, but then largely ignores it because it doesn’t fit in with her screed against Christians.
2) She must not know that Protestants do not accept the “sainting” of individuals. Most of us outside of Catholic theology hold to the sainthood of all believers. We place no special honor or priviledge on anyone outside of Jesus Himself. Since the majority of those engaged in the battle of Christmas were Evangelicals, they do not hold the same affection for people sainted by the Pope as a devout Catholic would.
3) Those days have long since lost there religious connotation. It would essentially be a waste to re-fight a lost battle. “St.” has been all but eliminated from St. Valentine’s Day. No one knows the history of the holiday. It is about “love” and buying presents, cards, candy, flowers, etc. St. Patrick’s Day still has the “St.,” but that is about it. It has become an excuse to wear horrendous shades of green in public and consume food and beverages in those same wretched shades. Christmas still carries religous overtones if nothing else. Most people still know the Christian reasons behind the celebration of Christmas.
In her poor excuse at a humerous jab at Christians, Paynter displays not just her dislike for Christianity but her unfamiliarity with the faith of millions of people. While she attempts to raise the question of why Christians are more concerned about Christmas than St. Valentine’s Day, the question actually raised by the column is – what are the qualifications and requirments for being a Seattle PI columnist?