Four thousand years ago or so, ancient Egyptians celebrated the rebirth of the sun in the twelfth month of each year. Devoted to the holiest of numbers, twelve, the Egyptians (like other people) reckoned most “happenings” in groups of twelve. To this send, the Egyptians set the length of the festival at 12 days, to reflect the 12 divisions in their sun calendar. To celebrate the rebirth of the sun, they used every possible existence of rebirth, and decorated with greenery that was common among them: using palms with 12 shoots as a symbol of the completed year, since a palm was thought to put forth a shoot each month. Sun-worshipping Egyptians had the idea, and having their sun-god ride a “beast” beneath waving palm branches, bearing on his head a laurel crown and even sleeping on a tree and resting and praying in a garden with a young boy to indicate the perpetual youthfulness of their savior sun-god.
The Saturnalia, of course, celebrated Saturn—the fire god (represented, as expected, by fire—an element sacred to all gods and thus the source of heat and cooking—a source that the god Prometheus would steal to take to mortal kind), while his son would become in time represented by the sun when he took his place to the right hand of the Father (and ultimately replace him). Saturn’s primary duties, for which he was worshipped universally, was being the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. He was also worshipped in this dead-of-winter festival so that he would come back (he was the “sun”) and warm the earth again so that spring planting could occur. The planet Saturn was later named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire.
Virtually every civilization has a fire/sun god. The Egyptians (and sometimes Romans) called him Vulcan. The Greeks named him Kronos, as did the Phoenicians—but they also called him Saturn. The Babylonians called him Tammuz (as Nimrod, resurrected in the person of his son and the two were known as Father and Sacred Son), Molech or Baal (as did the Druids).
These were all simply the various names for Nimrod. Nimrod was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods (who, by legend, dined on the flesh of newborn babies–but records suggest that it was a baptism similar to that experienced by Achilles). This horrible practice was associated with the worship of all fire gods, including Saturn, Kronos, Molech and Baal) and is the subject of the still-valid The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, page 231:
Now, this is in exact accordance with the character of the Great Head of the system of fire-worship. Nimrod, as the representative of the devouring fire to which human victims, and especially children, were offered in sacrifice, was regarded as the great child-devourer…he was, of course, the actual father of all the Babylonian gods; and, therefore, in that character he was afterwards universally regarded. As the Father of the gods, he was, as we have seen, called Kronos; and every one knows that the classical story of Kronos was just this, that, ‘he devoured his sons as soon as they were born.’ (cp. Lempriere, John (1833). Bibliotheca classica: or, A classical dictionary; containing a copious account of the principal proper names mentioned in ancient authors; with the value of coins, weights, and measures, used among the Greeks and Romans; and a chronological table. New York, G. & C. & H. Carvill [etc.], ‘Saturn.’)…This legend has a further and deeper meaning; but, as applied to Nimrod, or ‘The Horned One,’ (which found its ultimate fruition in the bad translation of the Bible in the sixteenth century
as seen in Michelangelo’s portrayal of the mythological Moses with horns) it just refers to the fact, that, as the representative of Moloch or Baal, infants were the most acceptable offerings at his altar. We have ample and melancholy evidence on this subject from the records of antiquity. ‘The Phoenicians,’ says Eusebius, ‘every year sacrificed their beloved and only-begotten children to Kronos or Saturn.’
We find this same reference in both the Torah and the Christian Bible. For example, in Genesis 10:9 we read of Nimrod, “He was a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord.” He actually tried to replace God. The Jewish historian, Josephus, records in Josephus Antiquities important evidence of Nimrod’s role in the post-flood world: “He also gradually changed the government into tyranny…He [Nimrod] also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach…Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God” (Bk. I, Ch. IV, sec. 2, 3).
Under many names, mankind’s earliest and perhaps greatest rebel has been worshipped throughout what rival theologies would libel as a “false religion.” Interestingly, ancient Israel repeatedly regressed backward in time into serving the many false gods that Nimrod represented. For example, in Ezekiel 8:13-14 we find the prophet verbally painting a picture
of the women of Israel “weeping for Tammuz.” This Tammuz (the god of fire) was considered to be Nimrod and the etymology of the word itself is fascinating. Tam means “to make perfect” and muz “fire.” The meaning is clear in light of what we have already learned.
Another inconvenient truth about the pagan origin of Christmas springs from the modern word cannibal. This practice has its roots in a prime function of all priests of Baal as well as all other pastoral religions up to the point where the Jesus of the New Testament repeats the words of ancient Egyptian priests when he declared during the supper on his “Last Night”: “Take you all and eat of this bread, for it is my body. Take you all and drink from this cup as it is my blood”. It should be noted that the Hebrew word for priest is Cahn (כֹּהֵן) but prior to refinement it was Qedesha (קדשה) or “dog-priest” being those who engaged in fertility and cannibalistic (sexual) rites who were to serve between the real of history (below) and redemption (above): הכהנים והלוים .
Consider the following quote from The Two Babylons [n.p.], 1858 (2d ed), by Alexander Hislop, page 232: “And it was a principle of the Mosaic law, a principle no doubt derived from the patriarchal faith, that the priest must partake of whatever was offered as a sin-offering (Numbers xviii. 9, 10). Hence, the priests of Nimrod or Baal were necessarily required to eat of the human sacrifices; and thus it has come to pass that ‘Cahna-Bal,’ the ‘Priest of Baal,’ is the established word in our own tongue for a devourer of human flesh.”
Most civilizations have a tradition that has involved cannibalism. We read in The New York Times, “What Is the Meaning of Cannibalism?” by Erik Eckholm, December 9, 1986, The New York Times: “Cannibalism has once fascinated and repelled virtually every known society, including those said to have practiced it. … Cannibalism ”is never just about eating,” concludes a new book on the ritual consumption of human flesh in one of the few statements that students of the topic can agree upon. (See: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/09/science/what-is-the-meaning-of-cannibalism.html?sec=health)
Why was human sacrifice such a key to the worship of this terrible god? What possible good could human beings think they saw in slaughtering their own children? Continuing: “…he who approached the fire would receive a light from divinity” and “through divine fire all the stains produced by generations could be purged away.” Therefore, “children were made to pass through the fire unto Molech” (Jer. 32:35).
The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” Further, “Pagan customs centring round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted, “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world” (Cp. Origen, Homilies on Genesis and Exodus, Fathers of the Church, Vol. 71, trans. Ronald E. Heine. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1982). Unlike the “non-believers” of his day, and totally opposite the evangelical fundamentalist literalists of today, Origen believed that the Bible “…contains three levels of meaning, corresponding to the threefold Pauline (and Platonic) division of a person into body, soul and spirit. The bodily level of Scripture, the bare letter, is normally helpful as it stands to meet the needs of the more simple. The psychic level, corresponding to the soul, is for making progress in perfection.… [The] spiritual interpretation deals with ‘unspeakable mysteries’ so as to make humanity a “partaker of all the doctrines of the Spirit’s counsel”; see: Trigg, Joseph (1998), Origen. London: Routledge, pp. 120-121, 126).
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds, “Christmas…was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the 4th century. In the 5th century the Western church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”
At first all sun gods [known as Son(s) of god(s); cp. Job 2:1] were agricultural gods—demanding constant “natural worship” activities that included cultivating, irrigating, and harvesting (but not as many would suspect; see Arthur Frederick Ide, Yahweh’s Wife, Las Colinas: Monument, 1991). These minor gods, including an “Allah” that was the totem agricultural god for Bedouins, were merged into the mythology of a major god of Egypt: Osiris and his female counterpart Isis.
The Sun-god Osiris and his consort sister-wife/partner, Isis, together with Re-Atum, the “Father of the Gods” whose generation is still subject to debate, were regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the supreme rulers of a Golden Age of plenty called Zep Tepi or the “First Time.” The role of Osiris is equal to that of the later invention of Yahweh and Jesus–but more erotic. Not only is Osiris considered to be the center of the universe around which the sun spins (antedating Ptolemy), but his penis is considered the source of all truth and the instrument of justice and righteousness.
Like the Babylonian myth of a Gan Eden (or great garden), these gods, like the Elohim ((אֱלהִים) is a plural formation of eloah) had difficulty governing and controlling their agricultural laborers who stole fruit from their trees. The kingdom of Osiris, Isis and Re-Atum (who eventually evolves into the god Re) ended abruptly when Osiris was murdered by his evil brother, Seth.
Seth “coveted” the sister-wife of his brother (who was also his sister)—but Isis would have nothing to do with Seth. To escape this “evil one” [a king who slew babies] Isis rode an ass out of the town where she had lived morning that she had no baby to flee with her, and traveled to Egypt.
The childless Isis initiated a prolonged searched for the dismembered body of Osiris, which she then reassembled (minus the full penis that Seth had thrown to a crocodile who ate it) and resuscitated what was left of the severed penis long enough to conceive a son named Horus. While the most ancient records argue that this son (Horus) was believed to be the reincarnation of Osiris, and the new husband of Isis, whose destiny it was to repossess the Kingdom of Osiris from the control of Seth he was not fully comfortable with his defined duties.
To convince Horus (known by the masses as KRST [the anointed one] who later in time among early Christians considered to be reincarnated into the Jesus of the New Testament since he was hailed as the “capstone” (top of a pyramid and known as the third part of the ancient Egyptian Trinity [Osiris, Isis, and Horus; cf. Draper, John William (1876). History of the Intellectual Development of Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876, vol. 1, p. 191; cp. Draper, John William (1876). History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, p. 48]; cf. King, Charles William (1887), The Gnostics and their remains, ancient and mediaeval, New York: Putnam, 1887, first self-published in 1864) to be agreeable to continuing the work of his father/himself (cf. Horus, Book of the Dead, Chap. 173: “Osiris, I am your son, come to glorify your soul, and to give you even more power”; cp. The plagiarism of John 13:31-32), he was given a green palm tree on December 25, symbolically portraying the death and reincarnation of Osiris in his son, Horus (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons; or, The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and his Wife. With 61 woodcut illus. from Ninevah, Babylon, Egypt, Pompeii, etc., New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1916; reissued 1953, and 1999 by A&B Publishers). The tree and the concept of a god coming to life on a select day (December 25) excited the known, literate world. In Rome it was the fir; the palm-tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as ‘Man the Branch.’ From the stretch of fantasy, it was but a short leaf further to define, especially in the Middle East the concept of “a [divine] Son from the House of Jacob,” who was a “rod of Jesse” and a branch of the house of a general (the original word is David which most literalists without a philological background mistranslate as “Beloved” but actually has various different meanings, including “house” and even “sun god” as “BDB Theological Dictionary too lists the name David under the derivations of the root dod, but also makes mention of A.H. Sayce’s note of a sun-god named Dodo — — which was worshipped in East-Jordan Israel” (http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/David.html) and war leader). What is unique in the stories is that all Sun-Gods have trees celebrating their birth and when they die or are reincarnated their trees are burnt so that they can “rise again” after three days to become “risen saviours” who ascend to a heaven, lifted up by a cloud. This accounts for the Christmas story of putting the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas Eve and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning as the old Sun God is replaced by a new Sun God (or Sun of God). As Zero-Ashta, ‘The seed of the woman,’ …he has to enter the fire on ‘Mother night,’ that he may be born the next day out of it, as the ‘Branch of God,’ or the Tree that brings divine gifts to men. Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira/Astarte cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning “Christmas Trees”. (See: Clement Miles, Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance, New York: Dover Publications, 1976, pp. 178, 263-271.) Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.
Most aspects of Christmas are not referred to in the Bible. Of course, the reason is that they are “not from God”—they are not part of the way He wants people to worship Him. The Christmas tree, however, is directly mentioned in the Bible. Jeremiah 10:2-5 reads: “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (KJV).
A simple description of the modern Christmas tree is clear. God directly refers to it as “the way of the heathen.” Just as directly, He commands His people to “learn not the way of the heathen,” calling these customs “vain.” Verse 23 adds a remarkable and powerful statement: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his [own] steps.” God must teach people how to live. Man simply cannot figure out God’s ways for himself. There is no room in Jeremiah 10 to believe, as some have tried to suggest, that because these trees are powerless of themselves, it is not really forbidden to have a Christmas tree. God condemns the putting up of pagan (Christmas) trees with this plain Bible command.
In non-Christian sources, we find what the Babylonians believed about the origin of the Christmas tree: “An old Babylonish fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!” (Walsh, William Shepherd, Curiosities of popular customs and of rites, ceremonies, observances, and miscellaneous antiquities. London: Gibbings, 1898, p. 242).
Saturnalia was common for and anticipated by early Christian communities who had never known a Jesus of Nazareth as no Nazareth existed until after the fifth century CE, was the recognition of a god other than Jesus of the New Testament. To these people their Christ was a great Egyptian magician who was a savior god that they turned to especially during the December festival as he was the senior god: Saturn. The Christian community celebrated his godhood and grace, claiming “by grace alone is any man saved from his sins by our lord Saturn” in an “orgy” of “praise, prayer, and thanksgiving.” Because of their total abandonment to the cult, their ceremonies (phallic in worship) was transmogrified from the Saturnalia word orgy coming from the original Greek word Orgia [Ωργιάς] that translates as Secret Worship [μυστική λατρεία].
Since most secret worship involved sexual rituals to reposition the faithful to be “reborn” or “born again” and generate the irrigation fluids to create life, later Christians were opposed to anything sexual and refused to participate in the celebrations as being “pagan” (country or farm founded) and eschewed customary celebrations. In their negativity against “customary celebrations, the early priests of the emerging church ruled against Christmas in favor of Easter (that actually is far more sexual in nature and heritage than is Christmas).
After the Emperor Constantine established the Christian church when he called his warrior bishops to Nicaea to set out his creed to be adopted by all communions so as to settle internal fighting and get the bishops to support the empire, the emperor permitted, tacitly, the clergy to mistranslate and misuse the word “orgy.” The word orgy came to have the debased meaning it has today, rather than the noble, spiritual meaning of the original word because of politics and the fear that the Christian clergy had concerning the potential loss of faithful to the more natural religions of the ancient gods who glorified the human and found in human interaction a divine grace.
In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine designated December 25, the birthday of the Roman Sun-God Mithra, as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the true Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome, which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire.
Many words that are used to describe extreme religious fervor are also used to describe great sex, such as passion (such as the Passion of Christ), bliss (as defined by St. Teresa of Avila), and ecstasy (which was to be a union between god(s) and man (generic for people) as found in the account in Genesis 6:4).
There were many orgies throughout the year as celebrations in the religion of the Goddess. Many of these celebrations have been taken over by the Christians who removed their sexual nature. The best known is undoubtedly Christmas taken from the pagan festival of Saturnalia. Ancient writers noted:
In Roman times, Bacchus, the god of wine, became the lord of these festivals. During the Bacchanalian festivals the everyday rules were turned topsy-turvy. The masters waited on the servants. All sexual prohibitions were lifted. It was a time of true good will towards all men. Even dresses were exchanged with men dressing as women. Erotic dances were performed with a large erect phallus being carried around in the dancing processionals–to be known as the “May Pole” centuries later.
While Bacchus gave pleasure to the body, Saturn gave pleasure to all the senses of mortals. The Roman festival of Saturnalia, which span a full week (and sometimes, by imperial decree lasted longer), from December 17th to the 24th, moved citizens to decorate their homes with greens and lights and give gifts to children and the poor. Christmas gifts were common. They, too, are pre-Christian (pagan). The Bibliotheca Sacra states, “The interchange of presents between friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows” (PG, Vol. 12, pp. 153-155). Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs.]Christmas gift giving was banned by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages due to its suspected pagan origins (see: http://www.bsu.edu/web/01bkswartz/xmaspub.html).
The invention of the Christmas Christian mass also came out of pagan sources. On the twenty-fifth day of December the festival of natalis solis invicti, (the birth of the unconquered sun) was decreed by the Emperor Aurelian in 274 CE as a Winter Solstice celebration, and sometime later was Christianized as a date to celebrate the birth of the Son of Light to appease the Emperor and Imperial Court. Most of these “Christmas” celebrations were identical to those of pagan Sun Gods—in fact, even the word Christmas is of pagan origin. Christmas is two words: Christ (meaning a senior magician) and mas (meaning a table on which magical rights and mysteries were performed to delight and “make merry” to the celebrants of the festival; cp. βωμό ή μάζα). The word, as a plural (Cristes mæsse) does not appear in the Christian world until 1038 CE where the maesse is transmogrified into mass (cp. Χριστούγεννα μάζα).
The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” Further, “Pagan customs centring round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted, “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world” (Origen, De Principiis III.i; cf. Shaul Magid, “Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart: Cruel and Unusual Punishment and Covenantal Ethic,” Journal of Scriptural Reasoning Vol.2, No.2 (September 2002); http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/ssr/issues/volume2/number2/ssr02-02-e01.html).
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds, “Christmas…was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the 4th century. In the 5th century the Western church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”
By the beginning of December, writes Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (4 CE – c. 70 CE), the farmer should have finished his autumn planting (he authored the 12 volumes De Re Rustica that still exist in Latin is on-line at http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/columella.html). Now, at the time of the winter solstice (December 25 on the Julian calendar), Saturnus, the god of seed and sowing, was honored with a festival. The Saturnalia officially was celebrated on December 17 (XVI Kal. January) and in Cicero’s time, lasted seven days, from December 17-23. Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (395 – 423 CE) says that the Saturnalia (a work that containing an account of the discussions held at the house of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus during the holiday of the Saturnalia) occurred on “the fourteenth before the Kalends of January” in the Republican calendar. In a month that then had only twenty-nine days, a.d.XIV.Kal.Jan. was December 17. [Macrobius’ Saturnalia (Bk. I, Chs. 7, 8, 10, 11) and Scullard’s Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (pp. 205-7).] This also is its “day” in the Julian calendar, with its thirty-one day month, although its “date” now is a.d.XVI.Kal.Jan.—just as Caesar had intended in his reform of the calendar on January 1, 45 BCE.
Augustus limited the holiday to three days, so the civil courts would not have to be closed any longer than necessary, and Caligula, who loved sex and the parties it promised, extended it to five (Suetonius, XVII; Cassius Dio, LIX.6), which Claudius restored after it had been abolished (Dio, LX.25). Still, everyone seems to have continued to celebrate for a full week, extended, says Macrobius (I.10.24), by celebration of the Sigillaria, which actually was known for as evergreen tree (http://www.xs4all.nl/~steurh/engsig/esigilla.html; one has existed for 308 million years in Boone County, West Virginia; see: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/SigInSitu1.html) because of its phallic appearance that became the source for the Christmas tree (basically the Yule log to be burned to hail the impending Second Coming [Advent, a pagan term] of the Sun God) and when it was consumed in the fire, a new tree was erected and decorated with ornaments (balls) symbolic of regeneration (http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/noel/angl/cultes.htm), but was named in ancient Rome for the small earthenware figurines that were sold as party favors.
In the Roman calendar, the Saturnalia was designated a holy day (or holiday), on which religious rites were performed. Saturn, himself, was identified with Kronos, and to whom sacrifices were made according to Greek ritual, with the head and hair of both priests and priestesses uncovered. The Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple recorded by the pontiffs (originally an Etruscan word that meant pons (“bridge”) + faciō (“build, make”) and became a military general whose primary mission was to head a select college of priests to pray to the gods [building a bridge of prayers to the gods] for victories in the fields of battle and grain), had been dedicated on the Saturnalia, and the woolen bonds which fettered the feet of the ivory cult statue within were loosened on that day to symbolize the liberation of the god.
While the actual Saturnalia was also a festival day celebrating the birth of the god Saturn on December 25, it was preceded by a “period of anticipation” or Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”) being a novel idea to Christianity and is nowhere mentioned in the original scrolls of what became the New Testament, being borrow from the Greek word Παρουσία (parousia), commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of the Christ (not the “Christ” of the New Testament): a senior Magician or also the god Saturn and his reincarnation (in antiquity it meant: presence, arrival, or official visit or άφιξη, η παρουσία, επίσημη επίσκεψη). After sacrifice at the temple, there was a public banquet, which Livy says was introduced in 217 BCE (there also may have been a lectisternium, a banquet for the god in which its image is placed in attendance, as if a guest) which lead to the evolutionary concept of the faithful feasting on the body and drinking the blood of the god but in transubstantiational format, usually in the form of bread and wine. Afterwards, according to Macrobius (I.10.18), the celebrants shouted “Io, Saturnalia!” at a riotous feast in the temple.
The Saturnalia was the most popular holiday of the Roman year. Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BCE – ca. 54 BCE) (XIV) describes it as “the best of days” (available at: http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/ClassicalStudies/ClassicalLiteratureinTranslation/?view=usa&sf=toc&ci=9780199203543) and Seneca complains that the “whole mob has let itself go in pleasures” (Epistles, XVIII.3). Pliny the Younger writes that he retired to his room while the rest of the household celebrated (Epistles, II.17.24). It was an occasion for celebration, visits to friends, and the presentation of gifts, particularly wax candles (cerei), perhaps to signify the returning light after the solstice, and sigillaria. Martial wrote Xenia (presents that were sent to the homes of the recipients) and Apophoreta (dinner favors that the guest took home with them after the meal) for the Saturnalia. Both were published in December and intended to accompany the “guest gifts” which were given at that time of year. It should be noted that Martial disapproved of giving expensive gifts, as is noted here: Dente timetur aper, defendant cornua cervum: imbelles dammae quid nisi praeda sumus? Martial, Dammae (13.94). Aulus Gellius relates in his Attic Nights (XVIII.2) that he and his Roman compatriots would gather at the baths in Athens, where they were studying, and pose difficult questions to one another on the ancient poets, a crown of laurel being dedicated to Saturn if no-one could answer them. (cf. Lucian of Samosata: Saturnalia, Book IV; cp. Cassius Dio LX.19.3 The actual ritual of Saturnalia can is, in part, here:
The ritual of Saturnalia
Welcome to the Saturnalia!
The Circle of the Year is cut in fourths [the equinox of seasons],
and in the ancient lands of Greece and Rome
the darkening time from autumn equinox
to winter solstice was the time to plow
and plant the ground, to store away the seeds.
When this was done the people rested through
the winter months, until the Sun returned.
Three ancient Gods are honored at this time:
Saturnus, Ops [Rhea] and Cônsus [Kronos] are Their names.
Now listen to the Myth of Saturn’s reign:
Before the mighty Gods that rule the world
from high Olympus’ snowy peak were born,
Saturnus was the king of all the Gods
and Ops, His sister, was His wife and queen.
But when the time had come to yield His throne
in favor of a younger God, His son,
then Father Saturn would not step aside.
A fight ensued between the old and new,
Till Jove had thrown Saturnus from the sky.
He tumbled down to Earth, and with His wife
He made a ship and sailed to this, our land.
He taught the people many useful arts,
to save the seeds and sow them in the ground,
so we need never have to search for food.
He showed us how to breed our animals
so we might always have their meat and fur,
so they would help to plow the fertile Earth.
Saturnus first taught folk to strike bright coins
from shining silver, glittering gold and bronze.
He showed how money might be put away,
and saved, and put to use another day.
In these and other ways Saturnus made
our lives much easier and free.
His happy reign was called the Golden Age,
when there was food enough for everyone,
and people shared the bounty that they had,
and no one ever stole or fought or lied.
But when the end had come to Saturn’s reign,
He wisely chose to set aside His crown.
He sailed away beyond the Northern Wind,
to Hyperborea, where He now sleeps,
upon a hidden island at the Pole,
where He awaits another Golden Age.
But till that happy time is come again,
in this, the coldest season of the year,
we go in thought to Saturn’s snowy realm
to wake from sleep the ancient kindly king,
and ask Him once again to walk with us,
and let us live for this short time with Him,
enjoying blessings of His Golden Age.
I wish you, “Bona Saturnalia!”
Then we have the record of “The exchange of gifts and children” on what was considered the festival of the green tree [Christmas tree—delivered by a Christ and his magi(cians)]:
Soon one of you will be the chosen one,
the Saturnalia Ruler, picked by Chance,
to be the Lord or Lady of Misrule!
Before you leave the temple, will you please
accept a candle, take it with you too;
this way you’ll take a little of the light,
the blessings of the Saturnalia.
The children too should take with them a gift,
a little earthen image, if they want;
the rest will be donated to the Earth.
The rite is ended, now all join with me,
and raise the sacred cry of Saturnalia:
http:// omphalos.org/BA/Saturnalia.html; cp. http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Saturnalia#_ref-1
In the Saturnalia, Lucian relates that “During My week the serious is barred; no business allowed. Drinking, noise and games and dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping of frenzied hands, an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water—such are the functions over which I preside.” (Lucian of Samosata: Saturnalia, Book IV)
Sacaea was the Persian version (and was a festival to celebrate the harvesting of barley—and subsequent making of beer and debauchery which lasted twelve days during which priests begged their gods for long life, prosperity, wanton sexuality, and fecundity with Marduk being the god who would suffer and die on a stake [later mistranslated as a cross] and rise on the third day (cf. Heinrich Zimmern, Zum babylonischen Neujahrhfest, BVSGW, vol. 58 (1906), pp. 126–56; vol. 70 (1918), pt. 3, 52 pp. closely paralleling the Christian account; cp. K. van der Toorn, ‘Het Babylonische Nieuwjaarsfeest’ in Phoenix. Bulletin van het Vooraziatisch-Egyptisch genootschap Ex Oriente Lux 36/1 (1990) 10-29.).
The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians. One of the themes of these festivals was the temporary subversion of order. Masters and slaves exchanged places. A mock king was crowned. Masquerades spilled into the streets. As the old year died, rules of ordinary living were relaxed.
At the end of the first century CE, Publius Papinius Statius (ca. 45 CE – ca. 96 CE) still could proclaim: “For how many years shall this festival abide! Never shall age destroy so holy a day! While the hills of Latium remain and father Tiber, while thy Rome stands and the Capitol thou hast restored to the world, it shall continue” (Silvae, I.6.98ff; these were “hasty” poems drafted in heat of the moment or passion, as Statius defined in the preface to Book 1, saying mihi subito calore et quadam festinandi voluptate fluxerant cum singulti de sino meo prodiderint ([they] streamed from my pen in the heat of the moment, a sort of pleasurable haste, emerging from my bosom one by one; ref. Hardie, A. Statius and the Silvae: Poets, Patrons and Epideixis in the Graeco-Roman World (Liverpool, 1983). The Saturnalia continued to be celebrated as Brumalia (from bruma, “the shortest day,” winter solstice) down to the Christian era, when, by the middle of the fourth century CE, its festivities had become absorbed in the celebration of Christmas. What did change was the name of the gods and goddesses, with Saturn becoming The Father, Ops (Rhea) becoming Mary the Mother of God (a title given to Isis in ancient Egypt), and the Sol Invictus or Sun God becoming Jesus. A quick look at each of these deities is essential.
Saturn – equivalent to Greek Kronos the son of Uranus (Heaven or Sky-
Father) and Gaea (Ops or Earth-Mother) and the youngest of the Twelve Titans was known as the God of Agriculture (in ancient India he was identified with Brahama, who became the Abraham of the Old Testament. Saturn was identified with a scythe and sickle as an indicator of time as well as death—which was seen as a castration of the individual (man) from the earth by having to rise into the heavens—a curse, and not a blessing. He was promiscuous, sold his wife no less than three times to a king for wealth (compare with the Genesis account of Abraham), and had favored sons who married women who worshipped numerous goddesses.
Ops – (Rhea) Mother Earth, Goddess of Plenty; wife-sister/partner to Saturn and Consus. In the syncretic Roman polytheistic view, associated with their other great mother deities, Cybele and Juno. The followers of Ops paid their vows sitting and touching the earth of which she was goddess.
Sol Invictus – Sun God; Feast of Sol Invicta, the Unconquered Sun, had his birthday officially set by the Empire in 274 CE on December 25. He became the dominate cult among Rome’s elite during the rise of Christianity. A sophisticated use of archetypal symbols and rites of initiation to effect high moral standards including an occasional renunciation of sex and passion but this was rare; “temperance, self-control, and compassion — even in victory”.
This deity became an early model of Masonry that also has roots in the Egyptian temple system, architecture, and building crafts. He is pictured as riding in a chariot (merkabah [מרכבה]: throne-chariot of the gods) in the heavens, similar to that of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:4-26 to chap. 3), who saw a chariot made of many angels (חיות, literally “living creatures”), which was tantamount to divinity.
Modern scholars have argued that the festival was placed on the date of the solstice because this was on this day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be “unconquered”. Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus, but this is a leap of faith as it has no foundation in history or historiography. Yet, to buttress this we find in the writing of Cyprian: “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born”. (Cf. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. At http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Home). It was the emerging Christian church’s desire for uniqueness that its leaders allowed pagan
holidays to enter and incorporated them into its rituals and rites. Far worse that Cyprian was the nefarious bishop John Chrysogonus who came boldly to the front of the attack on freedom of thought and declared Sol Invictus was actually the prototype of Jesus of the New Testament and the ultimate “Unconquered God”—but Chrysogonus was never a great scholar, and extraordinarily weak in the history of his own church and time. For example, Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. “Christmas.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York). An Armenian scholar called Ananias of Shirak, circa 600 A.D., wrote:
The Festival of the holy Birth of Christ, on the 12th day before the feast of the Baptism, was not appointed by the holy apostles, nor by their successors either, as is clear from the canons of the holy apostles…which is 6th of January, according to the Romans.
But many years after their fixing the canons, this festival was invented, as some say, by the disciples of the heretic Cerinthus; and was accepted by the Greeks, because they were truly fond of festivals and most fervent in piety; and by them it was spread and diffused all over the world.
But in the days of the holy Constantine, in the holy Council of Nice, this festival was not received by the holy fathers .
(See: Ananias of Shirak, On Christmas, The Expositor, 5th series vol. 4 (1896) Translation. pp.323-337, as reported by CCEL).
Contemporary Christians (those before the Diocletian-established Christian church initially embraced enthusiastically the Saturnalia or later rejected it as being pagan and developed by the heretic Cerintus—who selected December 25th as it was commonly accepted that that day was the birthday of the sun-god Mithra (See: Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, pp. 185; Cerinthus was a heretic who the Apostle John publicly denounced towards the end of the first century. Irenaeus wrote that John detested Cerinthus so much that he would not even take a bath in the same building as him:
There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.”
The problem with the text is that it is conjecture and apologia for what the authorities wanted. It neglects popular thought and common concensus and shows a disregard for history and empirical investigation.
(Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4; cp. Arendzen J.P. Transcribed by William D. Neville. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York, where we also read:
“A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century…Helios Mithras is one god…Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator”) and that demanded “communion of his body and blood by all faithful—a novelty that became a part of both the Roman and
Orthodox churches later.”
According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, article on Constantine the Great:
“Besides, the Sol Invictus had been adopted by the Christians in a Christian sense, as demonstrated in the Christ as Apollo-Helios in a mausoleum (c. 250) discovered beneath St. Peter’s in the Vatican.”
Dr. William Gutsch, chairman of the American Museum of Natural History—Hayden Planetarium, further confirmed the original name of Christmas with this quote on December 18, 1989, in a Westchester, New York, newspaper, The Reporter Dispatch:
“The early Romans were not celebrating Christmas but rather a pagan feast called the Saturnalia. It occurred each year around the beginning of winter, or the winter solstice. This was the time when the sun had taken its lowest path across the sky and the days were beginning to lengthen, thus assuring another season of growth.
“If many of the trappings of the Saturnalia, however, seem to parallel what so many of us do today, we can see where we borrowed…our holiday traditions. And indeed, it has been suggested that while Christ was most likely not born in late December, the early Christians—then still an outlawed sect—moved Christmas to the time of the Saturnalia to draw as little attention as possible to themselves while they celebrated their own holiday.”
A sun connection with Jesus of the New Testament is more than “possible” as early Christians consider Jesus to be the “sun of righteousness” prophesied in Malachi 4:2. (cf. Roll, Susan K., Toward the Origins of Christmas, (Peeters Publishers, 1995), p.130.) As we read in an article in The Washington Times:
Italian archaeologists last month revealed an underground grotto that they believe ancient Romans revered as the place where a wolf nursed Rome’s legendary founder, Romulus, and his twin brother, Remus. A few feet from the grotto, or “Lupercale,” the Emperor Constantine built the Basilica of St. Anastasia, where some believe Christmas was first celebrated on Dec. 25…
It opted to mark Christmas, then celebrated at varying dates, on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god, Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome’s La Sapienza University, told reporters Friday. The Basilica of St. Anastasia was built as soon as a year after the Nicaean Council. It probably was where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25, part of broader efforts to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations in the early days of the new religion, Mr. Carandini said. “The church was built to Christianize these pagan places of worship,” he said. “It was normal to put a church near these places to try to ‘save’ them.” Rome’s archaeological superintendent, Angelo Bottini, who did not take part in Mr. Carandini’s research, said that hypothesis was “evocative and coherent” and “helps us understand the mechanisms of the passage from paganism to Christianity.”
(See: Scholars link 1st yule church to pagan shrine. Washington Times – Dec 23, 2007 ROME (AP) on-line at http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071223/FOREIGN/924350661/1001 viewed 12/24/07).
The December 25 date may have been selected by the church in Rome in the early 4th century as there is no record of such a celebration before that time—and then the adoption of December 25th as a special day in the calendar of the Church was politically motivated; the church fathers knew that their own survival and lives depended on catering to the whim of the Emperor Constantine who created the Christian church—and it was universally known that the pagan emperor (he never converted to Roman Catholicism—that is a myth) was extraordinarily dedicated to the god Mithra who was the god of the military. At this time, a church calendar was created and other holidays were also placed on solar dates: “It is cosmic symbolism…which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the winter solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the summer solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. While they were aware that pagans called this day the ‘birthday’ of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas,” according to modern scholar S.E. Hijmans. (StevenE. Hijmans, Sol, the sun in the art and religions of Rome, (Unpublished doctoral dissertation (Proefschr. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen): [Groningen : University Library Groningen] [Host], 2009, pp. 587–588.
Some question, when was Jesus (misnamed the Christ) born? According to the New Testament, Jesus was born in the fall of the year. We read in Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 370, New York edition: “It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.” The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. We further read in the same source: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of March-esvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”
Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.
The Biblical Wise men were not men of great intelligence, nor were they “kings” or sovereigns—but instead were novices studying magic. The scripture describing this is Matthew 2:1-11: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews?…And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
It is commonly supposed that these were birthday presents for “baby Jesus.” This is not what the Bible actually says. While it is important to note that they did give the gifts to Jesus, there is no record that they stood in the presence of the baby of his unwed mother and exchanged gifts among themselves or gave them to others. The gifts were “presented unto Him.” Also, they arrived well after His “birthday.” This is another reason these could not have been “birthday presents.” This is in keeping with a long-standing, ancient custom of the East which required all people to present gifts when coming before a king. These men understood they were in the presence of the “King of the Jews.” The Bible carries many examples of people sending gifts to kings or presenting them upon arrival into their presence. This custom is common today when ambassadors or others come into the presence of a world leader.
When reading the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 46, the scholar notes that what is printed about what really happened on this occasion: “Verse 11. They presented unto him gifts. The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. This custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Seas Islands.” Gifts were customarily presented to kings.
Popular myth puts the birth of Jesus (a Christian god who never claimed to be a god) on December 25th in the year 1 C.E. However, the New Testament gives no date or year for Jesus’ birth. The earliest gospel – St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus. This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birth date which many now see as a mythology created by Dionysius Exiguus (470 – 544 CE), a Scythian monk (De divinis Lectionibus, c. xxiii), abbot of a Roman monastery who calculated the original dating of Easter (“Trecerea în rândul sfinţilor a domnitorului Neagoe Basarab, a lui Dionisie cel Smerit si a mitropolitului Iachint de Vicina”. Basilica (Romanian Orthodox Church news agency). 2008-07-08. http://www.basilica.ro/ro/stiri/trecerea_in_randul_sfintilor_a_domnitorului_neagoe_basarab_a_lui_dionisie_cel_smerit_si_a_mitropolitului_iachint_de_vicina.html).
Dionysius argued that in the Roman, pre-Christian era, years were counted from ab urbe condita (“the founding of the City” [Rome]; Georges Declercq, Anno Domini: The origins of the Christian era (Turnhout, 2000); idem, “Dionysius Exiguus and the introduction of the Christian era”, Sacris Erudiri 41 (2002): 165-246). Thus 1 AUC signifies the year Rome was founded, 5 AUC signifies the 5th year of Rome’s reign, etc. To this he added the tradition that the Roman emperor Augustus reigned 43 years, and was followed by the emperor Tiberius.
Since Luke 3:1,23 indicates that when Jesus turned 30 years old, that would have been the fifteenth year of Tiberius reign. If Jesus was 30 years old in Tiberius’ reign, then he lived 15 years under Augustus (placing Jesus birth in Augustus’ 28th year of reign). At that point, since Augustus took power in 727 AUC, Dionysius put Jesus birth in 754 AUC. However, Luke 1:5 places Jesus’ birth in the days of Herod, and Herod died in 750 AUC – four years before the year in which Dionysius places Jesus birth led to many scholars questioning the reliability and accuracy of Dionysius. For example, Joseph A. Fitzmyer a Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association – writing in the Catholic Church’s official commentary on the New Testament (Addison G. Wright, Roland E. Murphy, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “A History of Israel” in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, (Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1990), p. 1247.), writes about the date of Jesus’ birth, “Though the year [of Jesus birth is not reckoned with certainty, the birth did not occur in AD 1. The Christian era, supposed to have its starting point in the year of Jesus birth, is based on a miscalculation introduced ca. 533 by Dionysius Exiguus.” Of course, Fitzmyer was neither first nor unique in questioning the date of Christmas, as the DePascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around 243 CE, placed Jesus birth on March 28.
Clement, a bishop of Alexandria (d. ca. 215 CE), thought Jesus was born on November 18, but based on historical records, Fitzmyer guesses that Jesus birth occurred on September 11, 3 BCE. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones” (See: Increase Mather, A Testimony against Several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, Now Practiced by Some in New England (London, 1687), p. 35). Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.
Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has written, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc. (See: Nissenbaum, Stephen (1997). The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday, New York: Vintage Books, 1997, pp. 3-4).
Some of the most depraved and barbaric customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”
The attack upon Jews, and after the seventh century upon Muslims and other “non-believers, heretics, and apostates,” as part of the Christianized Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles from Warsaw to Berlin to Rome. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a
petition in 1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation” (See: Kertzer, David I. (2001), The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 74).
On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed. Much of the nineteenth century frenzy against Jews was revitalized by the Germans during the Third Reich, with little equal until the Aryan nation, American Family Association, Focus on the Family and a myriad of rabid religious rightists within the extreme evangelical movement in the USA that have come to the front in the waves surrounding Sarah Palin of Alaska, airwaves tyrants Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, to Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa to claim a new anti-Semitism (hatred and/or fear of any Semitic group of people: Jews, Middle Easterners—including Egyptians/Gypsies—especially Muslims, and so forth) and orchestrated hatred for those that do not share their myopic viewpoint on human rights that would make any NAZI proud.