• Holiday Atheist Commercialism

    If you visit your local retail store like Target, K-Mart, Walmart, and others, you will notice that they are all Christmased up. Most of these stores however do have at least a half an aisle dedicated to Hanukah. This is interesting because Jews only make up a whopping 1.7% of the American population. Committed atheists make up 5% of the population and we have zero space dedicated to secular winter celebrations.

    Yes, atheists celebrate the winter season too. We have Winter Solstice celebrations, Human Light celebrations, Festivus celebrations, Pastafarian Holiday celebrations, etc. But we have no merchandise, no commercialism, and no visibility. If we want to let people know that atheists exist, then we have to speak the language of America – capitalism. We need stuff.

    Think about how awesome it would be if Walmart sold Festivus poles and had an aisle dedicated to atheist/secular winter celebrations smashed between Christmas and Hanukah decorations. The religious right would go out of their minds. Atheists would celebrate some of these other winter holidays more either in addition to or instead of Christmas. It would be much harder for local governments to kick us out of the public square during the holiday season without kicking out the Jesus Crèche and the Menorah. The news would start covering atheist celebrations and closeted atheists would start coming out more.

    We need to make atheist celebrations more commercially viable. This is a multilayered problem. First, we need to design stuff for these holidays and second, we need to get atheists and secular minded individuals to express interest in buying that stuff. Finally, we have to convince stores that it would be profitable for them to sell that secular stuff.

    Winter Solstice products could include star themed merchandise. For Human Light, we could design a special candle holder similar to a Menorah. We could also sell ornaments for the Tree of Knowledge such as laminated book-covers and ornaments featuring famous thinkers and freethinkers. Stores could sell a Festivus Pole for Festivus and pirate merchandise for Pastafarian Holiday. Oh, and FSM tree toppers would be a huge hit too.

    If enough people are start to be serious about this, stores will start to carry this stuff because at the end of the day, America only really has one religion and that religion is Capitalism. In the religion of Capitalism, every day is a holiday and the only god that is worshiped is money. If we want a seat at the table, we have to pray at the altar of retail stores and tithe appropriately.

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    Category: AtheismfeaturedHolidaysHumanLightTree of Knowledge

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    3 comments

    1. I think you are on to something here. This idea is one that never occurred to me, but it makes lots of sense that having stuff (i.e., capitalism) could be helpful in the long run. While I’d personally prefer to stay as far away from Wal-Mart as possible, it does seem like this could be part of our strategy.

    2. This is nuts. Atheists have NO celebrations or ritual days, etc. Festivus is NOT an atheist celebration, it is a made-up comedic theme for a sitcom (Seinfeld). The winter solstice is simply a scientific definition of an annual moment in time when the least amount of sunlight falls on a given area of earth with religious import to paganism. Commercializing atheism is fine as far as selling various atheism-related products goes, but to lay claim to celebrations and holidays in the name of atheism is to imply a religious element to atheism much like the new fad of “atheist churches.” Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Period.

    3. I love the lights and decorations, and the closest we come to that in my community is a Winter Solstice party at the local Center for Inquiry. The decorations are awfully similar to Xmas decorations – in fact, short of a tree, they probably are Xmas related. All that Xmas stuff was borrowed from other traditions anyway – there’s no harm in taking it back. We mark time and share celebrations with our atheist friends on a couple of days – Carl Sagan Day, Darwin Day – why not Winter Solstice?

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