The problem with all religions is never the religion itself. I'm no religious scholar but from what I've gathered, the basic ideas and principles behind most religions is pretty universal. Respect each other, live a good life, etc etc. Where you always run in to problems is with the extremists. In the case of these fuckwads I have would have no problem if they were to sink on a boat and die. I firmly believe in your right to express your views, but these people are taking it to a level that was never intended to be taken to.
Also, December 25th isn't the birthdate of Jesus. Biblical and religious scholars put the birth date on either March 28, November 18 or *GASP* September 11.
What's funny is that there is one sign these people are holding that actually is based in truth. The "Christmas" Tree is actually based on old Pagan worship. Kind of pisses me off that they would use that sign like Paganism is a bad thing. Also, if they really wanted to direct their anger somewhere about Santa Claus, they should be directing it at their own religion and/or The Coca Cola Company. Christianity took a Roman Pagan week long celebration and turned it in to Christmas. The original holiday was December 17 - 25. The Church wanted to convert pagans but had no religious connection to the holiday. So they said the final day of Saturnalia was the birth date of Jesus Christ.
As far as Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus is concerned, that story is even more fucked up. I am just going to copy and paste because I'm too lazy.
In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas.
a. Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra. He died in 345 CE on December 6th. He was only named a saint in the 19th century.
b. Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and created the New Testament. The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.
c. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children's stockings with her gifts. The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult. Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6.
d. The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans. These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw. Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn. When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.
e. In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.
f. In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History. The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.
g. Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…” Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.
h. The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus. From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly. Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world. All Santa was missing was his red outfit.
i. In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.
So, there you have it. Christmas is Pagan and Santa Claus is from the good people @ Coca Cola. If anyone is interested in reading more, go here:http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm