Jesse Jackson isn't a stranger to gaining attention for uttering bizarre comments and confusing platitudes. The reverend, who has also made two runs for the American presidency, served as President Bill Clinton's spiritual adviser, and made a name for himself as a human rights activist, is gaining attention for some very odd comments he made about Christmas.
On the Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum this weekend, Jackson decided to take on "non-christian" merchants who he says have tried -- in the past -- to "lure" people into "Santa Claus' birthday party." Below, find the full text of his message (via Newsbusters):
This (Christmas) is a holy day for the poor, not a holiday for the merchants. I once heard some people that I know say that when Christmas Eve is over, they have midnight services in the back of their shops. These were non-Christian people I was, they say we, say every December 24th around midnight we have, we close our shops and we're not Christian but we start singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." We use Jesus to lure you into Santa Claus's birthday party and unless you have the holiday spirit, which is his songs, his wine, and his stuff you're not welcome at the party of the man whose party it is. This is, Christmas should be a poor people's holy day.
This portion of his address, aside from being curious, is also hard to decipher. When he talks about the holiday being for the poor, one wonders if he means the "physical" or the "spiritual" poor. But as he continues, it becomes clear that he's referencing the former.
Jackson claims that non-Christian merchants hold "services" in the back of their stores (or, at least, he's been told they've done so in the past). Apparently, this is done in an effort to trick patrons into purchasing items (this is only a theory, of course, as his words aren't coherent enough to derive a definitive meaning).
And the portion about holiday spirit, wine and "his songs" is also curious. So, Santa has wine, songs and "holiday spirit?" Or is it Jesus he's talking about? Again -- unclear.
Perhaps the tone Jackson was attempting to strike was one that stood firmly opposed to greedy businesspeople (but, again, only a theory). As you may recall, the reverend has been very vocal about the Occupy Wall, as he has compared it to the civil rights movement and spoken out in incessant support.
He goes on in his address to say that Jesus was "born under the cloud of who is his Daddy?" This, of course, is in reference to the fact that many people likely didn't believe Mary's story about how her pregnancy came to be.
Overall, Jackson's words are a collective head-scratcher, especially the tail end of the block text seen above: "This is, Christmas should be a poor people's holy day." How the holiday being for the poor meshes with non-Christian merchants holding services in their stores is beyond me, but, in Jackson's mind, these themes somehow connect.
You can listen to his address here.