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The Twitter ‘war on Christmas’

Over at Twitter, a controversy was recently stirred concerning Christmas day, when astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s tweets generated a sort-of “war on Christmas” backlash.

On Christmas morning, Neil sent out four tweets related to the holiday. The tweets made reference to, respectively, many people in the world not celebrating Christmas, Isaac Newton’s birth, the Pagan origins of modern Christmas celebrations, and the physics of Rudolph’s nose.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Christmas tweets:twee1twee2twee3In no time at all, Tyson’s rhetorical pokes had been retweeted thousands of times, bringing a sharp backlash. Tyson was accused of trying to spoil the holiday, attacking Christianity, and lying to become famous. He was told he was going to Hell, and called names. The several tweets include:

“Only a small & uncharitable man would take time on Xmas morning 2 take shots but Merry Christmas to you anyway Neil.”

“This is disrespectful to Christians. Jesus created the science you cherish so much. Everyone finds God eventually, you will too.”

“Looking fwd to witty jabs during the spiritual days of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism etc. Or is it reserved for the easiest target?”

Ben Jacobs wrote at The Daily Beast: “The result is likely to further spark conservative anger at Tyson, who has long been reviled by some on the right for what is perceived as a know-it-all attitude towards organized religion. Ironically, this was an attitude not shared by Isaac Newton who devoted much of his later life to theology and trying to interpret biblical prophesies.

On Friday night, when the astrophysicist returned to the internet to respond to the angry and offended responses, he wasn’t offering any apologies. Instead, he stood by his statements, calling them objective truths, and ruminating about a world in which people choose to be enlightened, rather than offended.twee4

It didn’t put an end to the vitriol toward the Cosmos star. If anything, the negative comments intensified.

Neil was called a ‘coward’ and ‘bully,’ told he should pick on religions besides Christianity, and told that he’s clearly not objective, or he’d accept the evidence of near-death experiences. There were numerous references to the changes in science as we gain new information, and what may have been a veiled accusation that Neil is a cult leader.

A sampling follows:twee5twee6twee7twee8

It’s not too likely that Tyson will back down in the face of this backlash, though, given that he didn’t reconsider or offer apologies or explanations to the first round of vitriol.

About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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  1. Christmas WAS NOT a pagan holiday. Emperor Aurelius instituted the Sol Invictus celebration AFTER Christians already put significance on the 25th, possibly as a middle finger. But then a simple Wikipedia search would have told him that. Guess you don’t know everything, you arrogant asswipe!

  2. Whatever. My guy should go back to Twitter and twitterify while billions around the world celebrate Christmas. It won’t stop. Bigger, better and more vicious people than him have tried: emperors, scientists, and bloodthirsty terrorists…and it changes nothing. Merry Christmas, Neil…and whaaatttttevvvveeeeerrrrr!!!!

  3. People are very insistent Christmas is not a Christian celebration yet pick on christians during Christmas.. I don’t get it, why not just have fun and move d fuck on?..


  4. I find his jabs pretty hilarious! He must be a very sad guy! I’d REALLY like to see him pull this kinda stunts on another religion, say…..Islam?! Yep! Now that would really be something and he wouldn’t be flapping off his gums ’bout ‘objective truth’, whatever in the heck that means; by the time those concerned are done ‘disemboweling’ him! I’m Christian alright but I wanna just take a minute to say something not-so-Christian and afterwards; I’d maybe go get my mouth washed inside and out and probably just chant ‘Hail Mary’ a hundred times; so here goes…..in Miguel’s exact words, Neil’s an ASSWIPE! Glad that’s done, phew! Penance beckons, toodles! LMAO!

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