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RELIGION > Christmas, New Year is pagan and capitalist, says Turkey's top cleric

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency

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Christmas and New Year celebrations are events where both pagan rituals and capitalist drives are intertwined, the head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez said in a statement released Dec.26.

Görmez warned people against what he called the “cultural and identity erosion” that the “Christmas economy” can inspire in children through movies, marketing and products.

“What I will most object to as the religious affairs head is the Christmas consumer economy that causes cultural and identity-related erosion in children,” Görmez said. “Universities, scientists, teachers and intellectuals should think about this.”

Drinking and gambling frowned on

Drinking and gambling is “impossible to approve of,” he said.

Christmas and New Year’s should be separated and not seen as “a form of revenge on the time phenomenon,” according to Görmez's statement.

“I see mass parties and celebrations similar to a form of revenge people take on the time phenomenon,” Görmez said. “Especially [celebrating] with drinking, gambling and lotteries… it is impossible to approve of such things.”

“One wishes that such time would be cause for people to evaluate what happened in the past year, and to thank God for the coming one,” Görmez said.

December/26/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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suat yildirim

1/19/2013 12:51:35 PM

We should never talk about other peoples religions . We should just considerate our own religion. What is wright for you it doesn't mean wright for the other believers. That is why you get all the nasty comments. I am Turkish living in UK. Up to me to decide to celebrate to Christmas or new year. And I do because I like to see children and parents enjoyment it is a good fun.

john albay

1/12/2013 2:00:39 PM

This is the type of fool who cause trouble between people! He is just as bad as the crazy greek cypriot priests. He should keep his crazy ideas to himself.

Tomas Giovanni

12/30/2012 4:35:13 AM

Why does this cleric condemn another man's belief? Mehmet should look to the devine heavens for better judgement of other's beliefs. In Christianity does not allow judgement by a man.

Haytham Alashoory

12/29/2012 8:50:10 AM

Mr. Mehmet Görmez, are you aware that we are in 2012 A. D., not B.C. Please check your calnendar and focus on the bloodshed Muslims are doing to Muslims instead of picking on Santa Clause and New Year'a festivities. Or is it a sin to celberate, be happy, and wish everyone around a happy new year? Ho Ho Ho.

Tekion Particle

12/29/2012 8:15:31 AM

I agree with "mind your own business" statement. Who does he think he is criticizing other people's beliefs? Why is he not prosecuted for insulting religion? At least the animals don’t get massacred at Christmas and all the kids are happy. Although my son thinks it is Santa who brought him all the presents. It is difficult understand why tax payer pays his wages, he has no practical function and he is in no way productive or contributes to the society. You do not see a bishop on a pay roll.

Tomas Giovanni

12/29/2012 7:46:26 AM

So when Ramadan calls for the march around the black stome or when Shites beat their backs with whips and chains are ok, sacrificing of animals is ok, sakir holiday is ok but Christmas the celebration of Jesus Christ son of God is barbaric I'm concerned with the Turkish cleric being far right Islamic in beliefs!!!

david coors

12/29/2012 6:30:50 AM

I agree with illawarrior hill. After all those centuries and enlightenment throughout the world, the masses are still ignorant and follow paganism. When will we learn? Paganism in Islam (Islamism) is still a very powerful weapon to unite ignorant, poor masses against the innocent. Of course "the world would be a much better place if all religions were eliminated." Only education to free world's citizens from greed, jealousy and hatred can achieve that.

Ken Alden

12/29/2012 6:19:50 AM

As far as I'm concerned it is "To each his/her own" when it comes to celebrating the New Year. Old Germanic Tribes celebrated the "Sonenwende" i.e. the present day, the 21st. of December, that is the shortes day of the year, the winter Solstice! In many parts, specially in Pre-Alpine hills of Germany, large Bonfires ar lightet on Hilltops, to"Chase away the Hexes as a Tradition and simply as an occasion for merymrnt, without any religeous connatations or symbolism, the efigy is flung into fire

Thessalonian

12/27/2012 10:30:06 PM

So sorry about the dreaded foot in mouth disease Mr. Görmez. May the spirit of Christmas help you get over whatever it is that ails you... Regards

mara mcglothin

12/27/2012 5:25:35 PM

Spot on DAVID COORS! That is what I have read as well as what I know about my own religion and the celebration of Christ's birthday. Not all Christians celebrate in this manner. This man should keep his mouth shut because every time he opens it he sticks his foot in there. Very embarrassing for the country and devout Muslims.
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