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'War On Easter' 

Hey, whatever happened to the War On Easter? For the past couple of years, conservative commentators and other right-wing nuts have had falling-down fits about secular society dissing the Easter Bunny, but now it seems that they've thrown in the towel. Come on, guys, have mercy on us! Some of us were looking forward to what we had hoped would become an annual form of Easter Week entertainment.

Let's back up a bit. Every year, Bill O'Reilly yammers about the whole country going to hell because some folks say "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," and a few godless communities have banned nativity scenes on public property. In 2007, other conservative blowhards followed O'Reilly's lead and began bewailing the new, supposed War on Easter.

Their evidence? Pretty slim, but hey, who knows, real wars have been started with weaker efforts, I guess. First of all, a secretary at a government agency in St. Paul, Minn., was asked to take down decorations featuring the Easter Bunny. Afterward, Fox News' John Gibson noted with alarm that the city of Walnut Creek, Calif., tried to rename the Easter Bunny the "Spring Bunny." Other towns, just as evil as Walnut Creek, were holding what they called "Spring egg hunts," and some malls even stopped their traditional practice of taking kids' pictures with someone in an Easter Bunny costume. Those spoilsports were declared "neo-atheists" by a variety of conservative pundits, and are presumably now preparing to burn in hell for eternity.

Last year, the war against the War on Easter ratcheted up a bit, led by the Washington Post's Charlotte Allen who, in an article titled "Easter, Anyone?" lambasted modern American society for not shutting down on Easter Sunday like they did when she was a little girl. It horrified Allen that nightclubs were open on the night of Good Friday, magazines weren't filled with articles on how to dye eggs, gay parents wanted to take part in the White House Easter egg roll, and newspapers charge churches to advertise their Easter sunrise services. She finished by warning readers that if they didn't go hog-wild over Easter, they would be "like the soldiers who boozed and gambled at the foot of the cross as salvation unfolded before them."

Not to be topped, Catholic League president Bill Donohue, forever on the lookout for slights and insults, raised hell about a life-size, hollow, milk-chocolate Jesus on display in New York, a complaint for which the statue's creator was no doubt grateful.

It could also be argued that the U.S. government and American companies already wage war against Easter, seeing as how employees in most Western countries get Good Friday or Easter Monday as public holidays and most Americans don't, but I digress.

In any case, this year, the right-wing pundits have been silent on the subject. Maybe they're too worried about Obama's evil socialist ploys, or whether Glenn Beck is losing his mind, but for whatever reason, they seem to have thrown in the towel when it comes to fighting the War On Easter. I miss them.

Now I admit it was a little confusing to hear talk radio hosts and others coming to the defense of Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny. After all, eggs and cotton-tailed animals aren't mentioned at all in the Bible, nor are lilies and lambs and little chickies. And they've certainly never been revered as Christian symbols. In fact, they're pagan symbols of fertility and rebirth that carried over into the days of early Christianity, so why today's Christians would be opposed to getting rid of them is, I suppose, just the latest mystery associated with Easter. And speaking of early Christians, weren't they persecuted out the wazoo? And didn't they think their mistreatment gave them strength and increased their faith? So why does the current crop of fanatics insist that society must admire and adore them? Whatever happened to being "in the world but not of it"?

I guess I just don't get the intricacies of the fundamentalist mind. What I do get is how entertaining these right-wingers can be when they're in a huff about something they don't really understand. So I say let's keep them stirred up by making it look as if there's a real War On Easter. Here are some ideas I hope you'll help me with:

1. Peeps-destroying contests -- sledgehammers and scissors only, please.

2. Chocolate bunny-melting competitions -- bring your own hotplate, sunlamp, flamethrower or whatever. Bunnies will be provided.

3. Do like those guys in the Philippines who have themselves tied (or in some cases, nailed) to crosses, but this time give expensive prizes to the most convincing sufferers.

4. Hold an Easter bondage party, complete with Easter Bunny bondage mask.

You know, if that last one doesn't get them stirred up again, we may as well give up.

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