Yep, Christians are under attack in this country. Uh huh, sure. Boo hoody hoo. They're so-o-o forced underground with their beliefs. To be "forced" to wish 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas' because all good Christians know that there are no other holidays, religious or secular, happening at that time of year... scandalous!
It's not enough that all the stores in the country set up decorations and special sales even before Halloween half clears the shelves. Not enough that lamp posts are festooned and cables high over streets are decorated in greens and lights, not enough that every mall has a Santa and elves for photo ops. Not enough that houses up and down the streets hang lights and inflate snowmen and Santas and reindeer, poke candy canes and stars and blond angels and fake packages in holes in their lawns, competing with every other house in the city for the most garish display and the biggest waste of power ever ever, as if any of that makes them holier than their neighbor because we all know it's a competition and the richest, most ostentatious one wins.
Hey, if a church wants to put a creche on their lawn to illustrate the story of their particular belief, goody for them. That's the proper place for it. I'm not about to haul them aside to quote the forgotten commandment about no graven images. Not my place. And after all, how many of the trappings of Christianity actually follow the principles of Christianity anyway? Was there a decorated tree in the manger in Bethlehem? Did Santa squirm his was down the chimney, not to mention the advisability of even having a chimney for a fire in a building full of straw? Did the shepherds make candy canes? Were the gifts of the wise men wrapped in pretty papers with curly bows? Did the angels smite unto death all who didn't believe the exactly proper way about what happened and what all it meant?
So despite the ubiquity of silly celebrations of Christmas, down here in Phoenix land there is yet another attack on Christmas. Or at least that's one interpretation of what's happening. It's not mine.
First, keep in mind two immutable things about this part of the world. 1: There are mountains scattered about within our metropolitan area. Used to be they pretty much enclosed the area, but we've grown. 2: This is a desert. It's made of rocks and tinder. If you want to argue with that last term, consider the amount of rainfall it takes to first, grow a tree or suchlike, and second, the amount of water it takes to decompose a tree or suchlike. See the first sentence of this section. We don't have it.
As a result, any trash you drop, stays. Wind may relocate it, but until the sun degrades it, years on, it's still here, somewhere. All our city parks, generally designated to be on mountaintops where it's just too damn difficult to haul construction materials up that high, and also too damn high to pump water that far, but not too high to keep an endless supply of athletically endowed but often intellectually challenged people from heading to the top, have their own unique set of rules. By unique, I mean something beyond the usual ones of tell somebody else where you plan to go and when you plan to return, take plenty of water, stay on the trails. You know, the seemingly obvious. We've had to add that you will pay for your own rescue off the mountain.
At least we don't make you prove solvency first!
Unique rules, for example, say dogs are not allowed on the trails, or what passes for trails, once the temperatures reach 100 degrees. Yes, there are folks both stupid and cruel enough to ignore those signs. And no, you can't leave them in your car while you head out, either. I'm not sure if not playing with the local wildlife, like the Africanized bees, scorpions, gila monsters or rattlesnakes are rules, but they should be. And we're fussy about whatever you take in, you pack out.
Which brings us back to Christmas "persecution". For over a dozen years, hikers have been carrying a decorated X-mas tree up to the top of Camelback mountain, to leave there for weeks, and then haul down again. Well, mostly, anyway. Winter winds do blow. Ornaments get fastened loosely, as if the tree were inside somebody's home with the breezes limited to what emerges from the HVAC system.
I bet you can guess how much of what goes up actually comes down. You might even have an idea of just how dangerous it might be to retrieve something that's blown just... over.... Oops! So the city is working to prevent the placement of another X-mas tree on top of Camelback. I bet you can also guess just how many folks who believe themselves to be well-meaning are fighting that prohibition.
Me? I'm with the city. Put that damn tree in your own yard! Better yet, in your own window, letting your personal message shine out into the neighborhood without your personal mess joining it! And let the mountain stay a mountain. You know, just the way whichever deity you believe in, or don't, intended it!