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Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture$
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Sheila Whiteley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748628087

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628087.001.0001

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Religious Controversies over Christmas

Religious Controversies over Christmas

(p.71) Chapter 4 Religious Controversies over Christmas
Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture

Jennifer Rycenga

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter illustrates that the tussle between paganism and Christianity is still very much alive. The analytical case study opens out the religious discourses surrounding Christmas and its relationship to contemporary America in a lively discussion of the controversy between the consumer hegemon, Wal-Mart, and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. It also reveals how the ‘majoritarian outrage at having their common sense challenged leads to a reinvigoration of a Christian compulsion to dominate’. Christmas in America has now become a stage for both commercial excess and majoritarian Christian identity. All sources agree that the celebration of Christmas was not central to the earliest centuries of Christianity. Christmas gained legitimacy in the post-Constantinian church. The ultimate roots of common sense unite the impulses of the Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution.

Keywords:   paganism, Christianity, Christmas, America, Wal-Mart, Bill Donohue, Protestant Reformation, American Revolution

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