The new leader of the Liberal Democrats, the furthest left of England's three major political parties, recently told the BBC that he is an atheist. Nick Clegg told the BBC: "I myself am not an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind." (Clegg also brilliantly signed on Brian Eno as one of his political advisors.) To help Mr. Clegg celebrate the holiday season, the BBC's Sunday morning programme, "Broadcasting House," ran a series of "atheist carols," such as:
La rest ye, merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay!
Remember la la la la la
Was born on la la day!
It was also reported recently in the British press that Britain's most prominent and vocal atheist, Richard Dawkins, enjoys Christmas carols and considers himself "a cultural Christian."
Meanwhile, NPR ran a story about the atheist chaplain at Harvard, who helps atheist students cope with the Christian holiday. The Harvard students, being American college students, were incredibly earnest about making it through the holidays without violating the tenets of their atheism. But at least one student hadn't completely lost his sense of humor at Harvard. Talking about the problem of whether an atheist can listen to Christmas music, he said: "You can listen to the song 'My Sharona' without believing in the existence of Sharona.'"
To help get yourself into the proper holiday spirit, relax, lighten up, and listen to Dar Williams singing "The Christians and the Pagans."
Merry Christmas! Blessed be! May Sharona make your motor run! Whether you are celebrating Christmas, the winter solstice, or simply La La Day, may your holiday be joyful, hopeful, and full of light!
My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .
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