The War on Easter

… is real! The atheist filmmaker Brian Flemming has recruited volunteer activists, Rational Responders, to distribute copies of his documentary and flyers that compare Jesus to the Easter Bunny.

Declaring War on Easter, Beyond Belief Media has launched a preemptive attack on the Christian holiday, the company announced today. “Operation Easter Sanity” has already begun.

Using its documentary THE GOD WHO WASN’T THERE as the chief weapon, Beyond Belief Media is covertly planting DVDs of the film in churches throughout the United States. The popular movie, currently ranked #1 on’s independent documentaries list, is critical of the irrational beliefs of Christians and asserts that Jesus Christ did not exist.

A total of 666 DVDs will be hidden like “Easter eggs” in sanctuaries, church yards and other holy areas by Beyond Belief Media’s national team of volunteers. The DVDs will be slipped into hymnals and other locations where they are likely to be discovered by unsuspecting worshippers.

Apparently, Easter has provoked a host of controversies throughout history. In the Quartodecimanism controversy in the 2nd century AD the churches of the East in Asia Minor and the Church of Rome fought over whether Easter should be on the 14th day of Nisan, the Jewish Passover, or on the Sunday after Passover.

These days, another controversy (besides the “War on Easter”) rages – over the authenticity of the pagan roots of Easter:

In his ‘De Temporum Ratione’ the Venerable Bede wrote that the month Eostremonat (April) was so named because of a goddess, Eostre, who had formerly been worshipped in that month. In recent years some scholars (Ronald Hutton, P.D. Chantepie de la Saussaye, Elizabeth Freeman) have suggested that a lack of supporting documentation for this goddess might indicate that Bede assumed her existence based on the name of the month.

Jakob Grimm took up the question of Eostre in his Deutsche Mythologie of 1835, noting that Ostaramanoth was etymologically related to Eostremonat and writing of various landmarks and customs related to the goddess Ostara in Germany. Again, because of a lack of written documentation, critics suggest that Grimm took Bede’s mention of a goddess Eostre at face value and constructed the goddess Ostara around existing Germanic customs which may have arisen independently.
Etymology and Pagan origins of Easter traditions, Wikipedia

As the Wikipedia article points out, both Bede and Grimm were noted historians, and involved in recording oral traditions that were quickly disappearing. So the fact that there are no other records of these traditions would have been the reason they were interested in them.

Another interesting point about the colored-egg tradition is that Catholics were (are?) prohibited from eating eggs during Lent. In the “olden days” when everyone had a bunch of chickens, they boiled them and saved them. So on Easter, everyone had piles of eggs, and they had to get eaten ASAP.

Well, anyway happy Spring Equinox, happy Passover, and yeah – happy Easter!

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