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Cancel religious holidays in schools?

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With many religions in American public life it is getting increasingly difficult for public schools to manage their calendars around days off linked to religious holidays. One school district raised eyebrows by including a Muslim holiday. One school district has decided to scrap them altogether. In some ways it does appear to be all or nothing. Either include all religions or none at all. What's a school district to do?

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119 Comments

Anon ONE:

Ok, I can agree that "The christian nation thing is a very self serving belief system and is practiced by SOME groups who believe THEIR way is the ONLY way". I have a tendency to lump, you've caught me at this before. Thanks for keeping me honest!

WT? wrote: the Christian nation thing is a very self-serving belief system

--------------------

I agree (almost). Would you object if I changed it to : "The christian nation thing is a very self serving belief system and is practiced by SOME groups who believe THEIR way is the ONLY way?" In the U.S. the Christian faith is a majority like the Muslim and Buddhist faiths are in other countries. I would venture to say that in other areas of the world the majority believe that (insert religion) is also a self serving belief system.

I believe that ONE of the reasons people came to the U.S. was the ability to worship how they wished without government telling them who and how to worship. I also believe that other groups, like my Swedish relatives, came to the U.S. because of a famine and were simply looking to survive. The fact that religious freedom was afforded them was simply an added benefit to their ulterior motive of survival.

Not trying to parse any words, or change the discussion. I realize you are commenting on specific posts, but I want to simply give the view that not ALL groups, whether evangelicals, mormons, bears fans, etc. can be easily lumped into one category.

Anonymous | January 27, 2011:

Mormons vs. the Southern Baptists! What a show that would be. Vegas AND Wall Street would get in on the action. Heck, even I would get in on it.

I'm not a state history buff either, but aside from the Civil War, I can't think of an instance where one state had a armed conflict with another, tho it could have happened before the Union was formed. I know that before the states became a Union, individual states did start wars with the Indians, the violence of which would then spill over into neighboring states. This was one of the Founders' arguments for forming a union, so states couldn't individually start wars. Maybe someone here who knows their history well--JQP?--could weigh in.

But declaring the U.S. a Christian nation would definitely set the stage for serious religious conflict here. Given the animosity Evangelicals feel towards the Mormons, I seriously doubt they would feel comfortable with having Utah (and maybe even Idaho) officially declared a Mormon state, especially since they don't consider Mormonism a Christian religion anyway, tho I think the Mormons still consider themselves an offshoot of Christianity (?). The Evangelicals would strive to have the Mormons officially disenfranchised as a cult, and if unsuccessful, a cultural war of persecution of Mormons would become institutionalized, along with every other religion Evangelicals consider non-Christian or not Christian enough. As you can see, the Christian nation thing is a very self-serving belief system, which is why Evangelicals like it so much.

"Can you imagine what the southern Baptists would do to the state of Utah?"

Now that would be interesting and probably more fun to watch than the Super Bowl... the Southern Baptists vs the Mormons... sort of like a modern day version of the crusades. Even Vegas would be taking odds on the outcome.

I'm not that much of "states" history buff... anyone know if one state has ever attacked another one or tried to overtake another? Would be interesting to see how two states located so far apart would defend or attack each other considering how many other states they would have to travel through... whether any neighboring states would come to their aid... plus then how to deal with whichever state was victorious would create a single state in two distant locations... or would the federal government intervene or do the feds even have a legal right to intervene in internal matters between states?

Anonymous ONE wrote:

The bottom line is that regardless of your beliefs, crimes, etc. (at least in Christianity) if you truly repent of your sins you will get in to heaven.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is what I refer to as the Christian "Get out of Jail Free Card".

Anon ONE:

"I don't think a reference to God automatically makes it Christian in foundation. It probaly does in the U.S. but there are plenty of religions that use the term God to reference their "supreme being". Just google "god" and you will see."

Exactly! Alex is referring to the earlier posts on this thread. Look back and you'll see--when posters cite references to God ("In God we Trust", "So help me God", etc.), these posters are doing so in defense of America as a Christian nation. Many Christians don't consider the fact that a reference to God can apply to other religions besides Judeo-Christian ones.

The Founding Fathers recognized the existence of a "creator" in the Declaration of Independence, but did not define this creator as a Christian one tho they easily could have done so if it had been their intent to create a Christian nation. Instead, the Founding Fathers left the definition of creator undefined, leaving this to each man and his conscience. The Constitution is a secular document that makes no mention of God, creator, or Christianity. If the Founding Fathers had been the prophets that Evangelicals claim they were, then this would have been reflected in their greatest work--the Constitution of the United States.

Here is how the revisionist Evangelicals, who consider the separation of church and state to be a myth, explain the absence of Christianity in the Constitution:

"If they meant for this to be a Christian nation, why isn't Jesus mentioned in the constitution?

The short answer is that it wasn't necessary to. The majority of the founding fathers and American's in general were Christians. As we have seen from the above link to the Mayflower Compact, the main reason this country was founded was so that those Christians could spread the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. They viewed the constitution, Bill of Rights and all laws that were passed as a having come from Biblical principles, and that these documents were all subordinate to the Bible. There wasn't a need to specifically restate these God given mandates because they were already addressed in the more authoritative Bible, and were common knowledge."

http://www.creationists.org/myth-of-the-seperation-of-church-and-state.html

It's a hoot. David Barton's "proof" that the Founding Fathers intended America to be a Christian nation is the absence of such "proof". Literally, he's saying that everyone was some sort of Christian, so this didn't need to be clarified. In the revisionist Evangelical view, the Puritans didn't come to America to escape persecution in Europe, they came here to "spread the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ". He claims all the Founding Fathers understood that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and all subsequent laws were SUBORDINATE to the Bible, so they didn't need to clarify it in the Constitution--again, absence of proof is, in his view, proof.

However, one of the assertions that Barton makes above is directly dispelled by the Founders' own words in the Constitution. Barton claims that "They [the Founders] were well aware of the fact that God had given them and all of mankind very specific litmus tests in the Bible that they needed to apply to all government officials before putting them into positions of power." But the Founders specifically prohibited such a religious litmus test in Article IV: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." This directly contradicts Barton's and his followers assertions, but only those who have actually bothered to read their country's Constitution are aware of it. Fortunately for Barton, most of his target audience hasn't.

Alex Trebek | January 25, 2011 5:20 PM |
which of these founding fathers were there to greet him in heaven; keep in mind that Rev Falwell believed ONLY people who believed in the salvation through Jesus Christ could go to heaven path to heaven.

--------------------------------------

Ok Alex I'll bite. I suspect you are going to respond that none of those founding fathers will meet Falwell's criteria for getting in to heaven. One of Jesus' teachings are that salvation is granted through faith and grace from God. This principle is given in the story of the two criminals who were crucified on either side of Jesus. One of the criminals repented and was granted salvation as Jesus told him that "today, you shall be with me in paradise". The bottom line is that regardless of your beliefs, crimes, etc. (at least in Christianity) if you truly repent of your sins you will get in to heaven.

So unless you are prepared to tell us what each of those 5 founding fathers truly believed at the time they died I don't think your play on Jeopardy will fly.


I don't think a reference to God automatically makes it Christian in foundation. It probaly does in the U.S. but there are plenty of religions that use the term God to reference their "supreme being". Just google "god" and you will see.

Who the?

Well, well, looks like I hit a nerve! Truth hurts, doesn't it?

I know this truth because I've heard Evangelicals say it. I've heard it preached from the pulpit and discussed by their members.

And it looks like you've got your Christian purity test all ready to go! One can't be a Christian AND talk honestly of our country's history? Does one have to buy into the revisionist history garbage to the point of delusion in order to be considered "your kind" of Christian?

Speaking of delusional Christians, this is amazing to watch. Chris Matthews went ballistic at Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express tonight over Michelle Bachmann's revisionist history claim that the Founding Fathers eradicated slavery:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#41261376

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're going to say. Bachmann is a Christian and a patriot; Matthews is just another narcissist attacking the foundations of our country.

Anonymous | January 25, 2011

True enough. But can you imagine how much worse it would get if the revisionist Evangelicals got their way and the U.S. officially became a Christian nation? States would declare their own state churches and in no time would be fighting with each other. Can you imagine what the southern Baptists would do to the state of Utah?

Alex:

None of the above?

who the? wrote:

....and you, sir, are unbelievably incorrect. Sorry I gave you more credit.

Unbelievably incorrect about the concept of separation of church and state being in the Constitution? Unfortunately for you, the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly and consistently upheld my unbelievable incorrectness for 130 years.

Why is it that Christians believe any reference to "God" automatically implies means Christianity? All of the founding fathers believed in God, hence, In God We Trust. However, many of them did not believe in salvation through Jesus which, if I recall my Sunday school classes, is what Christianity is kinda all about.

Hands buzzers, please frame your responses in the form of a question. US Constitution for $100:

When the Reverend Jerry Falwell died in 2007, which of these founding fathers were there to greet him in heaven; keep in mind that Rev Falwell believed ONLY people who believed in the salvation through Jesus Christ could go to heaven path to heaven.

Ben Franklin
George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison

What the?,

You're right --- you ARE silly (and pretentious)

Your never-dying belief that you, and you alone, understand the internal motivations of others is indeed, the true markings of a narcissist.

It IS ironic that progressives like yourself, without even a single foot based in reality, seem motivated to attack the foundations of their own country while it is struggling under it’s own weight of ineffectiveness and a morass of apathy. Why not spend some of your efforts correcting that which is wrong? Why not invent something? Or volunteer for a food bank or to deliver aid to the elderly? Of course, we all know the answer for a progressive: “That is what the government is for!”

I get it --- you claim to be a Christian, but that is a description you use at your cocktail parties between bites of brie. In reality you are a secular looking for more ways top transfer power from people and to the government. I get it.

who the? ---out.

to:what the? | January 24, 2011 6:51 PM | Reply

Mao, is that really you?

JQP,

....and you, sir, are unbelievably incorrect. Sorry I gave you more credit.
:)

What the?,

"and Christian denominations would fight for dominance over which would hold the most power and influence"

Even with separation of church and state that is still happening today and has been happening ever since our nation was founded. I expect it will most likely continue to happen for most of the foreseeable future. Anyone who argues otherwise is choosing to ignore what is really happening all across this country.

It may vary from city to city and region to region which religion is most dominant or influential but it is a still a huge factor in politics and government and the fact that it does exist can not be ignored no matter what is written on a piece of historic paper.

Who the?

Ignore my previous post linking you to historical data. That was silly.

Like most people I have encountered with your viewpoint, you couldn't care less about history or historical precedents, or what the founding fathers actually thought or wrote or said, or that our judicial system was designed to be the final word on these matters and has done just that for over two centuries.

Your point of view is based entirely in self-interest, and that's all you're interested in.

It is ironic that Evangelicals, who suffered persecution in Europe and feared the same in the new country, insisted on the wording in the First Amendment to protect their interests. Now, over two hundred years later, Evangelicals are disputing that very wording in order to protect their interests again, this time not from fear of persecution, but from fear of becoming irrelevant. The melting pot they once lauded has become a boiling cauldron of too much foreignness, and Evangelicals fear that Christianity will soon not be the majority religion in America; that the mangers will ultimately disappear from out front of City Hall. Thus the new self-serving revisionist belief system of what the founding fathers were and what the Constitution means.

I'm okay with it either way, because I'm a Christian. I suppose it could happen, the U.S. being declared a Christian nation. Pack the Congress and SCOTUS with Evangelical zealots (like the Tea Party) and those willing to cater to them (like the GOP), elect someone like Joel Osteen president, repeal the First Amendment, Article IV and parts of the 14th Amendment that get in the way and declare the U.S. an officially Christian nation. And not long after that, purity tests would appear to determine who's Christian enough, and Christian denominations would fight for dominance over which would hold the most power and influence, and it wouldn't be long before we're right back to an updated version of the holy wars and religious campaigns of the past. We'd be Europe all over again.

But I'm not worried about it. Americans would have to go totally off the religious deep end before this would happen, and I think in the end wiser minds would prevail. I like what Sandra Day O'Connor said about muddying the separation of church and state:

"Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?"

What the? out.

Who the?

Christine, is that really you?

I agree that the concept of separation of church and state IS in the Constitution.

Who the?

You and Christine O'Donnell would save yourselves a lot of time (and, in O'Donnell's case, subsequent embarrassment) if you all would simply preview our country's history of decisions on the separation of church and state. O'Donnell didn't know her own country's history on this subject, which is why she was laughed at by an audience of professors and law students when she made her "where is the separation of church of state in the First Amendment?" statement during her debate with Chris Coons. She was so clueless, in fact, she didn't know the audience was laughing AT HER until she saw the next day's headlines.

Here's some basics:

Jefferson's metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In its 1879 Reynolds v. United States decision, the court allowed that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment." In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote, "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state." [2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

Public debates about the proper extent of church/state separation in the U.S. remain vigorous and impassioned. Politically active evangelical Christians . . . emphasize the religiosity of the nation's founders and assert that "separation of church and state," as widely understood by modern historians and jurists, is a "myth" and that the U.S. was founded as a religious, Christian nation.[7]

However, as early as 1797, the United States Senate ratified a treaty with Tripoli that stated in Article 11:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.[47]

To repeat, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;" is as direct as it can possibly be. This was in 1797, just 21 years after the Declaration of Independence, and 8 years after the Constitution was implemented. Trying to make an argument that the U.S. was founded as a "religious, Christian nation" when our government, so early in our history, specifically recognized and stated it was not, ignores not only this statement but over 200 years of similar historical and legal precedents.

Here's a list of 13 more decisions ranging from 1948 to 1993:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/church-state/decisions.html

Here's some from 1995 to 2005:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sep_c_s2.htm

The separation of church and state issue has been tested and clarified and re-clarified multiple times during our nation's history. And it still stands as originally written and intended whether you like it or not.

So you do agree it is not in the Constitution?

Correction to my most recent post:

You aren't disagreeing with one 5-4 decision by one incarnation of the Supreme Court; you are disagreeing with a long history of decisions, some of them unanimous, by numerous courts involving, in total, dozens of Supreme Court justices.

Who the? wrote:

Your dependence on SCOTUS legislating from the bench is apparent.

What is apparent is your lack of appreciation for how our judicial system is designed to work. You aren't disagreeing with one 50-4 decision by one incarnation of the Supreme Court; you are disagreeing with a long history of decisions, some of them unanimous, by numerous courts involving, in total, dozens of Supreme Court justices.

And:

As you say, there have been SCOTUS decisions that are interpreted as "separation" being a COnstitutional thing, but not outright saying it.

That is NOT what I said! The SCOTUS decisions haven't been "interpreted as 'separation' being a Constitutional thing"; the decisions explicitly and outright contain Jefferson's exact wording.

Your dependence on SCOTUS legislating from the bench is apparent.

What are your thoughts on things like, say, the Kelo decision? I would assume you think it is correct since it came from the SUpremes?

Again, no separation comment in the Constituion, or anywhere near it. As you say, there have been SCOTUS decisions that are interpreted as "separation" being a COnstitutional thing, but not outright saying it.

whothe? wrote:

Excellent! So you agree with me that the Constitution does NOT contain anything in it about the separation of church and state! Great.


You apparently did not understand my post. The exact phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution. I've said as much in several posts now. But this is not the same as saying that the concept is not contained therein.


And:

Of course you than go further and try to insinuated something that is not there (some mystical subtext or coda?).


Nope. Not mystical subtext or quota. I'm referring to the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"; and Article VI ("no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"). These, together with the Fourteenth Amendment have been interpreted in subsequent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States over the last century and a half to mean that government and religion are to be kept separate. The phrase "separation between church and state" does appear in some of these decisions.

Now, it may still make all the difference to you that the exact phrase is not in the Constitution, and that this is evidence enough for you that the concept is not there. But the only interpretations of the Constitution that are legally binding are those of the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court does not agree with you.

BTW, if you are going to get so hung up on the absence from the Constitution of one particular exact phrase, why is it that you don't seem to be similarly troubled by the absence of the phrases "freedom of religion", "freedom of worship" and "freedom of conscience"?

-JQP

I knew it was coming. Looks like Who the? is having a Christine O'Donnell moment!

Anonymous | January 18, 2011 10:28 AM:

Awesome post! It answers some questions while raising many more.

Yes, I did consider Muhammed a Jesus-like figure in Islam. Like Moses, he received the word of God--tho not directly, and not chiseled in stone--but like Jesus, he publicly preached his message and spread the word. I don't consider Muhammed the equivalent of Jesus, but they were both prophets. Nor do I necessarily BELIEVE Muhammed was the founder of Islam, I don't have a belief about this one way or the other. But this is how he is described in our common culture, even Merriam Webster defines him as a "prophet and founder of Islam". So for the sake of simplicity, and because I have no interest in disputing Britannica or Webster, I'll stick with that. But I will definitely keep what you have said in mind from now on.


jqp,

Excellent! So you agree with me that the Constitution does NOT contain anything in it about the separation of church and state! Great.

Of course you than go further and try to insinuated something that is not there (some mystical subtext or coda?).

whothe? wrote:

Importantly, concerning the Constitution I want to reemphasize the sublime: There is nothing in the Constitution about the separation of church and State!

Not true. The Constitution does not contain the exact phrase "separation of church and state", but this not mean that the concept is not contained therein, and has been made explicit by subsequent Supreme Court rulings.

what the?,

You might want to research both Abraham and Islam a little better before you compare Jesus with Muhammad.

Islam recognizes Adam, Abraham, Noah, moses, and Jesus among others as prophets. Muhammad is recognized as by Islam as the final and most perfect prophet.

Bahai Faith, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all trace their roots to Abraham and all three have been intertwined throughout history ever since. One theme in common among all of these monotheistic religions is that they conceive Got to be the source of moral law. Muslims see Judaism and Christianity as earlier versions of Islam, revelations given within the same tradition by Allah but misunderstood over time by their followers. Muslims see Islam as the final and correct revelation in the monotheistic tradition of the these three faiths.

What is a surprise to most non-Muslims is that Islam teaches that God, as referenced in the Quran, is the only God and the same God worshipped by members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism. Jews and Christians are specifically protected in the Quran, reinforcing their spiritual connection to Islam by virtue of having been given revelations from God. The Islamic legal tradition has upheld the rights of Jews and Christians to maintain their beliefs and practices within their communities in Islamic lands, and this policy of tolerance has generally been allowed.

The role of the prophets was to be the messengers of God and to deliver to mankind whatever God sent each of them to do. Many non-Muslims mistakenly believe Muhammad is the equivalent of Jesus in Islam; when, in fact, it is the Quran that fills the same central position in Islam that Jesus holds in Christianity.

This is where the theological and intellectual arguments begin in terms of who was or was not a "founder" of the monotheistic religions. For those who are Christians there is even some scholarly "debate" in terms of who "founded" Christianity and when.

If you want to believe Muhammad founded Islam that is fine with me... after all religion IS based on what we believe.

P.S. to whothe?

Regarding my relatives in MO, of course I told them Obama used a Bible, but they got a chain email claiming otherwise, so they chose to go with that. They will believe ANYTHING that supports their biases. What can you do?

What the? out.

Who the?

Re: "Whatthe? wrote that the phrases, bible, etc. are …NOT CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS, they are TRADITIONS”. Thank you for agreeing with me (though in an oblique way), though I used the phrase “de facto”."

Dude, I've been agreeing with you on this point for DAYS, as did JQP, you just weren't getting it.

Judeo-Christianity was the belief system of the majority of immigrants who first came to this country, so naturally it became the common culture of the American majority. But tradition is not law, nor are traditions constitutionally protected.

Keep in mind also that common culture reflects the beliefs of a population and will change if the population does. Europeans with Judeo-Christian belief systems are no longer immigrating to the U.S. as in the beginning; our largest number of immigrants now come from the Asian continent, and these immigrants are bringing other religions and traditions with them. This is changing our common culture in non-Judeo-Christian ways. This too is a natural process.

But that does not mean that Christian holidays and traditions enjoy some sort of Constitutional protection because Christianity was here first, they simply do not. You said you wanted the manger to be displayed by city hall as usual, without change, but you can't be guaranteed this. Everything changes eventually.

Concerning LBJ, Coolidge, et al., you can believe your source, I'll stick with mine. Coolidge put in print the fact that he did not use a Bible when he took the oath of office, and this too is part of historical record. I have no idea why the Architect of the Capitol doesn't acknowledge this, or LBJs goof (at least LBJ intended to use a Bible, it just didn't work out that way). I don't see why Coolidge would lie about this. If he says he didn't use one, I'll believe him.

You know nothing about me or my ideas and mores, either, but that didn't stop you from making your own assumptions earlier about me. That was just as out of line. And I'm not touching the separation of church and state thing. That's been rehashed to death since I can remember, not interested.

Lastly, re: "Finally, we cannot afford space and time to every “religion” or religion “subcategory”". Therein lies the problem! You may recognize 5 "major" religions, but not everyone does (and certainly not our laws or Constitution), so theoretically, things could easily get out of hand with every religion or religious subcategory wanting representation in the public arena. And they would have the right to sue for discrimination if representation of their religion was refused while others were accepted. So unless you want city hall spending our tax dollars fighting religious discrimination lawsuits, the best course would be to display no religions symbols at all if it comes to this. See my previous post about how Stapleton Airport handled this exact situation when it happened to them. It only takes one person with a lawsuit to ruin it for everyone.

First, I must start by thank whatthe? for making my argument for me!

Whatthe? wrote that the phrases, bible, etc. are …NOT CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS, they are TRADITIONS”. Thank you for agreeing with me (though in an oblique way), though I used the phrase “de facto”
As I wrote earlier (and often), the Constitution contains absolutely no requirements on religion. We DO, however, have a country that is politically and socially based in Christian-Judeo roots. The proof is deep and obvious and has been listed ad nauseum in this thread, so there is no need to rehash it.

Importantly, concerning the Constitution I want to reemphasize the sublime: There is nothing in the Constitution about the separation of church and State!
Concerning LBJ, Coolidge, et.al. I can only fall back on the recorded and official data I have already offered ------ According to official records kept by the Architect of the Capitol, Teddy Roosevelt is the only president who wasn't sworn in using a Bible (and that oversight is attributed to teh rush over the death of the President he was quickly replacing)

Second, as R2 was fond of saying, “Well, there you go again!” Your comments on discomfort, etc. are out of line as you don’t know me or my ideas and mores. The issue is not comfort, it is the appointment of facts concerning what was NOT in the Constitution (ie nothing on the separation of church & State, no official State religion, etc), and the idea that the Founders’ concerns had to do with the State abusing religion (ie assuring the freedom of religions).

Regardless of immigration status and volumes (an apparent concern of yours?), we have an OUTSTANDING system in the U.S. that is, and always should be, based on our Constitution. In other words, it does not matter who now comes into the country or where they come from, the Constitution and our system of rules and laws will/should continue to guide U.S. policy.

After all, just because folks are now coming from Asia and the Middle East does NOT mean we should switch to sharia law, does it?

Third, tell your relatives Obama not only used a bible, he used the original Lincoln bible!

Finally, we cannot afford sopace and time to every “religion” or religion “subcategory”. It is clear that there are, arguably, 5 major religions. I have no problem when I see symbols from the other non-Christian ones. I hope they feel the same on mine (in fact, EVERY person of the Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist faith I know not only have no issues with mangers in public places at Christmas (not winter holiday) time, they tell me they enjoy them?

who the? out.

Anonymous | January 16, 2011 4:24:

If you say so. But I went to a couple of online sources, like Encyclopedia Britannica, and it said the following:

Muhammad, in full Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (b. 570, Mecca, Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia]—d. June 8, 632, Medina), founder of the religion of Islam, accepted by Muslims throughout the world as the last of the prophets of God.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/396226/Muhammad

Muhammed did go around extensively preaching the message of his revelation, like Jesus did, so I think he has elements of both Moses and Jesus.

You're obviously much deeper into this than I care to be, and that's great. But for the sake of simplicity I'll stick with the common definition of Muhammad as the founder of Islam. :)


what the?

Sorry, you are wrong again!

Islam is a God religion and thus was founded by God (Allah). Abraham was a God prophet and the founder of Islam as it is practiced today. The last and final prophet, Muhammed's sole mission was to deliver the Quran through the Angel Gabriel Muhammed's role as a prophet is closer to the role Moses played than to Jesus.

But, then this is not about the history of religion it is about the history of the legal system. And yes, in the early days religion and law were intertwined... in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among others.

Anonymous | January 14, 2011 6:32:

You are right; however, I said there was no JESUS depicted, and there isn't. And Muhammed was also the founder of the religion of Islam--de facto evidence for whothe? (more like a tweak). Moses isn't depicted exclusively; the other figures acknowledged there were philosophers, rulers, historians, etc., from cultures and religions that influenced our system of law, just not Judeo-Christian ones.

Anonymous | January 14, 2011 5:49:

"So help me God" can be used whether the book one is swearing on is a Bible or a Quran, maybe even some others as well; this isn't specifically Christian. And someone could say "so help me Napoleon", if that's who they worshipped!

Whothe?

Lyndon Johnson didn't use a Bible either. As you recall, his swearing in wasn't planned. He used a book that was on Air Force One at the time, which he thought was a Bible but turned out to be a prayer book (oops!). At least this is what I learned, unless this is an urban legend of some sort. And Calvin Coolidge didn't put his hand on a Bible during his oath, but there was one in the room with him. In his autobiography, Coolidge said he did not use the Bible in his oath as "it is not the practice in Vermont or Massachusetts to use a Bible in connection with the administration of an oath." http://www.historicvermont.org/coolidge/oathrm.html
And we have relatives in Missouri who insist Obama used a Quran instead of a Bible for his oath of office (sigh).

All the same, the use of a Bible, the phrase "so help me God", the prayers, etc. all the "tidbits" you offered are NOT CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS, they are TRADITIONS. Our country is steeped in Judeo-Christian traditions because this was the background of the founding fathers and the European immigrants that settled here, thus it became the common culture of the American majority. Immigration patterns have changed over the decades and Europeans are no longer flocking here. More people from Asia and the Middle East are.

So you're saying you're uncomfortable with this change and want things to stay the same as always? Good luck with that. The U.S. has become so diverse that the manger now has to share space with other religious symbols, and if these eventually become so numerous that we can't reasonably accommodate all of them, we may well see the day when there will be NONE of them in public areas, it will become too much to deal with.

Herbert Hoover did not say "so help me G-d". He never repeated the oath. He merely said "I do" after the Chief Justice finished reading the oath. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctAKm9G8ji8

Of course the words so help me G-d do not apper in the Constitution. I guess after the first day when the new Congress demonstrated that they will uphold the Constitution exactly as written, the words will no longer be used, right?

"... the Supreme Court Building, which was built in the 1930's, is decorated with images of Confucius, Muhammed, Solon, Hammurabi, Menes, Augustus and Napoleon, among others, but not Jesus. This is de facto evidence of the acknowledgment of different religious beliefs in America."

Nope! Sorry, you blew this one big time.

Did you miss the fact that all of these allegorical figures are on either side of the pediment and who is depicted in the exact center of the pediment, below the apex?

Moses, carrying two tablets...

Before your mind races off and comes up with the wrong conclusion... the real context of all of these figures has absolutely nothing to do with religion, rather each of these figures serve only to represent the historic systems of laws that were attributed to each of them.

Yes, Moses and the 10 commandments are depicted elsewhere in the Supreme Court building, but never exclusively nor prominently. Other symbols of law are also used throughout the building which serve only to give a historical nod to the overall influence ancient laws and lawmakers had on our legal system.

"I, XXX, do solemnly swear.... .... So help me God."

Note the oath of office does not say:

So help me Confucius, nor

So help me Muhammed, nor

So help me Solon, nor

So help me Hammurabi, nor

So help me Menes nor

So help me Augustus, nor

So help me Napoleon.

Nope, just "So help me God."

Just one example. There are others.

Ah, our young friend what the?,

Actually, what others have posted over the past 1-2 years on your reading/comprehension abilities are true: they are severely lacking at times!

Where, oh where, have I said. inferred, even intimated that we should have ANY national religion? Oh, I know ----- I never did!

Now, as to your reference to “preferential” treatment in the public realm --- All I ever wanted was to have the same treatment we have always afforded religions over the past +200 years, nothing more and nothing less. It is a matter of documented fact that the U.S. has a Christian-Judeo based culture (including our political realm). As they say, SAME AS IT EVER WAS!

A few noteful tidbits for you to peruse:

> According to official records kept by the Architect of the Capitol, Teddy Roosevelt is the only president who wasn't sworn in using a Bible (and that oversight is attributed to teh rush over the death of the President he was quickly replacing)

>Since 1937, the ceremony has incorporated two or more prayers

>first inauguration President Washington added the words "so help me God" after accepting the oath (Franklin D. Roosevelt, and all Presidents after him, included "so help me God" in the oath.)

>A tradition of a national prayer service, usually the day after the inauguration, dates back to George Washington, and since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the prayer service has been held at the Washington National Cathedral

>lawsuit seeking to ban "so help me God" and other references to God, including prayer, at the inaugural ceremonies, was dismissed January 15 in U.S. District Court on Constitution Avenue in Washington


As I said ----- we are steeped in Christian-Judeo culture, even at the political level!

If we elect a Jewish president, he would be allowed to take his oath on a Torah.
If we elected a Muslim president, he would be able to use a Quran.

The book is an individual choice.

whothe?

No one is arguing the fact that Christianity has been the dominant religion in the U.S. since it's beginning. EVERYONE knows this; it explains your "de facto evidence" points. Our disagreement centers on the fact that you seem to think this means that Christianity should be declared our "national" religion, or get preferential treatment in the public realm, or that only Christian values should be reflected in our country's laws, holidays, etc.

First, even if most people wanted this, it could not be done. The founding fathers made this explicitly against our Constitution. Christianity is not mentioned in ANY of our founding documents.

Second, not all Presidents have been sworn in on a Bible. Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Lyndon Johnson did not place their hand on a Bible while taking the oath of office. The Constitution does not require that a President place a hand upon the Bible when taking the oath. This was started by G. Washington--founding father, Judeo-Christian background, etc.-and became a tradition, but it's not a requirement.

Third, as JQP mentioned in an earlier post, the Supreme Court Building, which was built in the 1930's, is decorated with images of Confucius, Muhammed, Solon, Hammurabi, Menes, Augustus and Napoleon, among others, but not Jesus. This is de facto evidence of the acknowledgment of different religious beliefs in America.

Again, no one is against your manger. But this country has changed over the past 200 years, and religious groups that were once a small minority are now much larger and want their religious symbols to receive equal recognition in the public realm. This does not diminish your manger (even tho it sounds like you feel it does).

A couple of simple facts:

First, for over 200 years mangers were set-up in public places and properties (town halls, State buildings, etc.). This is de facto evidenceof a Christian-Judeo culture.

Second, as I said ---- the Presdient gets sworn in with his hand on a Christian bible (as have the Supremes, Senate, House, etc). Again, de facto evidence.

Third, have you guys visited the nation's capital? Your State capital? If you have, you will find easy evidence of C-J culture built right into the buildings themselves! De facto
.
Now, unfortunalty some (yes, I mean you, whatthe?) are so hung up on the "far right" that it is really tough to have a discussion with you. Try leaving that crap at home and talk to the issues we are actually discussing. Evidence (de facto, circumstantial, etc.) puts people in jail and on death row ---- it is certainly good enough to create a basic understanding of "what is"!

Anonymous | January 12, 2011 4:30 PM:

I think there have been many instances where the government has interfered in a particular religion's PRACTICES, not the religion itself.

The federal government made statehood for Utah dependent on the condition that they give up the practice of polygamy. The legislature agreed (if not all the residents) and Utah officially became a state in 1847, if I remember correctly. The government gave Utah a CHOICE, they were not forced to give up polygamy, they made the decision that statehood was more important and gave it up voluntarily, at least officially.

But polygamy is still practiced in Utah and other Mormon enclaves to this day, the state and federal government just turn a blind eye to it for the most part. Colorado City, on the border of Utah and Arizona, is a totally polygamist town where outsiders are not welcome. Polygamy still exists, it just exists under a different structure. Note: the TV series "Big Love", the reality show "Sister Wives", for example, have brought the polygamist lifestyle to mainstream audiences. Polygamy is much like the current debate about same sex marriage: conservatives (many of them Morman, by the way) say that marriage should be between A man and A woman. Not a man and a man, nor a man and multiple women.

Here's a hypothetical for you: should a religion that practices, say, child sacrifice, be allowed to operate freely under the auspices of freedom of religion? Or do you think the federal government has the right to trump this religion's "laws" to stop the killing of children?

what the,

You wrote: "Specifically, religion is left to the individual, government is to stay out of the workings of religion..."

If that was true, as one example, then how was the government interference with the Mormon's and t heir practice of polygamy justified? One could certainly argue that a very Christian biased government discriminated against the Mormon's and their beliefs.

There are other examples.

Hundreds and thousands of years ago the religious laws were what governed peoples lives and conduct. Today, laws of government want to trump all other laws and, in effect, place themselves higher than all religions. And there is no shortage of government laws that openly conflict with religious laws and religious practices. While it might sound nice to say that government is to stay out of the workings of religion the net result of how successful that might actually be on an individual basis is highly dependent upon what religion a person practices.

whothe?

What revisionist history are you talking about? Can you give an example?

I think most people would agree that the founders were highly influenced by Judeo-Christian values (JQP has already agreed with you on this point, as do I) as were many of the immigrants who originally settled this country.

However, Christian dominance in this country cannot be defended by the Constitution, it simply isn't in there. The only place the founders referred to a God and a Creator was in the Declaration of Independence, and these terms are not specifically Christian, they can refer to ANYONE'S idea of God, ANYONE's idea of a Creator, however individuals choose to define that for themselves. The founders recognized the existence of a Divine Being but that was all, the definition of which being left to each man and his conscience.

The only revisionist history I'm aware of is that coming from the far right which regards Christianity as the "official" religion of the U.S. They claim, like you do, that since the founders' beliefs were based in Judeo-Christian values, that they intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation. But if the founders had wanted Christianity to be dominant, they easily could have made it so, and they did not. It was not their intent to create a theocracy, it was their intent to create a government that would not interfere with the free practice of religion nor be unduly influenced by it. Specifically, religion is left to the individual, government is to stay out of the workings of religion, and religion out of the workings of government.

To try to make an argument that the founders intended otherwise more than 200 years after this nation's birth is to me revisionist in itself.

No one is interested in taking away your manger, even if you had one. You are free to display this to your heart's content on your own private property. But once in the public realm, the manger has to share space with symbols of other religions as well.

whothe? wrote:

like it or not,the country IS based in Christian-Judeo roots.

Our culture is predominantly Judeo-Christian; our country is influenced by Judeo-Christian principles; but our government is not based on Judeo-Christianity. If it were, you would think the Founding Fathers would have made it explicit in the Constitution; they did not. In fact, the Constitution contains no mention of Christianity, Jesus, or God---not even obliquely.

You can have your manger (I've got a few, BTW). Set it up in your home, or on your front lawn, if you prefer. But if you insist on setting it up at your local public school, city hall, a courthouse, etc., you're entering very murky constitutional waters.

-JQP

jqp,

The key word is "practical", as opposed to a constitutional zero-tolerance!

Yes, they do have a right to attack religion ----- however, as I posted, I do not feel they have a right to revisionist history ( like it or not,the country IS based in Christian-Judeo roots). In short, stay away from my manger! (is I had one)

whothe?

Yes, there are myriad examples of private groups attacking religions. It is actually their constitutional right to do so, as long as their "attacks" are limited to words. But how examples do you have of people or groups trying to use the government to prohibit the free exercise of religion?

And:

No, the original intent was to prevent abuse BY the state (read your history, not the revised crap being forced on us now).

The Founding Fathers recognized that neither religion nor government comes out the better when the two are mixed, and it was their intention to keep them apart as much as practicable.

All the government is supposed to do is not pass laws respecting establishment of religion or laws prohibiting people from freely exercising their religious freedom.

If we think back on all of the time, effort, and money that our government has expended in the last 4 decades on racism it is ironic the same government has failed so miserably in terms of theism.

Instead of saying yes to all what we have are a bunch of spineless bureaucrats led around by amoral lawyers who find peace and comfort in saying no to all because they don't have the intellectual capacity to find any other solution.

Just another reason why we need to rethink government, elected officials, bureaucrats, and civil servants. The fathers of our country never envisioned legions of bureaucrats and civil servants working their entire career for the government. Rather they envisioned part-time and short term service that would rotate among the citizens.

The fathers of our country had it right and all of these entrenched bureaucrats and civil servants have steered the entire working of the federal government off on a liberal tangent for way too long... and all without answering to the people in terms of the actions, policies, and programs they keep spawning... and mostly for their own personal benefit in terms of job security and their little kingdoms of power.

The older I get the sicker I get of how badly our government has screwed up America. Year-by-year America keeps changing and much of it not for the better. The question to all of is how long are we going to watch what we had slip out of our hands and be lost forever before we say enough is enough?

JQP and whothe?:

Here's one: Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, really dislikes Methodists and would like to see all Methodist churches cease to exist.

Yesterday the Muslims, today the Methodists, tomorrow--YOU?

http://www.tngovwatch.org/2010/12/my-dream-no-more-methodist-church/

whothe? | January 8, 2011 11:42 AM | wrote:

What is so freaking wrong after over 200 years of a manger scene by a city hall?
------------------------------------
Nothing so long as no one complains when another group wants to put up a display next to it; e.g., a Atheist sign, a Diwali lamp, a Chanukiah (Menorah), a crescent and moon, a Kinara, etc.

If you visit the Daley Center during the holidays, you can witness all of these symbols of the season side by side without anyone objecting.

No, the original intent was to prevent abuse BY the state (read your history, not the revised crap being forced on us now).

If I needc to point out the myriad of private (I wrote probate,meant private) groups attacking religions, then we really don't have the time or space for this discussion. Easiset point? What is so freaking wrong after over 200 years of a manger scene by a city hall?

Whothe?,

The original intent was to prevent both state and church from abusing each other.

And please be more specific about the "abuses of religion" you mentioned. Are there groups seeking to close down churches?

-JQP

Again, JQP, remember that the original intent was to prevent the state from abusing religion, not three other way around.

It is my observation that the current state (in reality, probate groups manipulating the state via the courts) seeks to abuse religion under the guise of "separation".


JOMO

JQP:

Off topic but right on target. Love it!

Fine, Experienced. I probably was a bit outspoken about what you were trying to convey, but in my business I see all too often people who think they are legislators and are taking up a cause that costs others too much $$$ to address their individual passion. Example, what if we were talking about puppies, which some people can lose their minds over? I don't expect puppy protection to cost me $XXX annually because someone like you is really loud and relentless. I like puppies too, but it's not my crusade and NOT MY FAULT. My dogs sacks are empty!

You got me. I have not read the Illinois Constitution. I imagine it quite boring, but based largely on common sense that we all should possess without having read it in its entirety. Kudos for you for taking the time, but please for all of us, don't apply your self-education to regulate us more. Please? Please don't require more handicapped spaces in a parking lot that has 50 of them that are rarely used. Please don't cook up some environmental reason why we shouldn't improve a roadway or build a building of five stories or greater. Please don't spend taxpayers money on your issues. Use your own. Then I'm fine with your approach. Please respect us too. We thank you.

It's slightly off topic, but I think most people here will appreciate this:

Steve Martin: Atheists Don't Have No Songs

whothe?

Students have always had the right to pray in public schools---privately, to themselves (as an unknown wag once commented, "As long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in schools"). Where it becomes an issue is when class time is set aside for formal prayer---especially if teachers lead the class in prayer; this just is not right, even if students are allowed to opt out.

As for "separation of church and state", it is true that this exact phrase does not appear in the Constitution, but so what? The phrases "freedom of religion", "freedom of worship", and "freedom of conscience" also do not appear in the Constitution. Does this mean that it was not the intention of the Founding Fathers that we should be free to practice whatever faith tradition we choose, or even none at all? Of course not! But it was certainly also their intention---or, at least, their ideal---that the government should be neutral on the subject of religion.

-JQP

Oh, come now. What did I cost anyone? I voiced an objection to the people in charge. They listened to my objection and corrected the situation. That's the way it's supposed to work. There were kids in the schools being wronged. I went to the people in charge, and those people showed the responsibility for which we hire them and corrected the situation.

Then someone, like you and your buddy, who have always been part of the majority and never had to live in a situation where your life style was being underplayed, and you mouth off. I quoted the constitution to underscore for your buddy the protections accorded to people in our state. Obviously, you have never read the state constitution to understand that the protections accorded to people in Illinois are vastly superior to those guaranteed under the federal law. In Illinois we don't have to argue whether there is a constitutional separation between religion and government. We are fortunate that there are specific protections in our state constitution which are apropos to the question at hand. However, unlike you and your buddy, I didn't have to spell out those protections to the schools. They corrected the situation because they understood that the way they were operating was unfair.

FBH,
Seriously, you've got to love people like Experienced, don't you? They're going to make the world right for all of us. It's just great. Everytime I see someone quoting the law or some other federal act, a specialist if you will, it scares the #$@%&* out of me. As a nation you sometimes appreciate people like this, the time, the passion they put into issues, but the vast majority of the time they just cost us more time and money. Expeienced should get back to tending the Geek counter now. Thanks for delivering your return off of Experienced's forehand.

Glockster:

I'm baaaaaaack!!!

Returned just in time to get the youngest to school and watch the swearing in of the new tea party congress members. The next four years is going to be an absolute hoot!

If your history lessons come not from Fox News but "Elmwood, Lincoln, NCHS and finally WIU and your own native interests in the subject", then I suggest you cite THOSE sources instead of Glenn Beck. Repeating such drivel as "Then the leftists and atheists inserted the commercialization of Christmas because the religious focus was not tolerable to them" does you no favors, especially when anyone with a speck of info of the last 100 or so years of economic history knows this to be hooey. Capitalism commercialized Christmas, pure and simple, and continues to do so to this day. I hope you spent some of your Christmas vacation days indulging your native interests in the subject and now know better. So let's move on.

Gotta run; I'm missing the show!

"one way" refers tot he national attacks, efforts, all the talking heads, etc., that predominately appear to be on the side of always crying "Separation of church and State! Separation of cgurch and State!".

Most don't seem to realize there is no such statement in the constitution. They also seem to spend their efforts on items/issues that are deep in our national history (ie In God We Trust, see the front of the D.C. puvlic buildings, etc).

Are there those out there trying to put prayers back into schools? Probably. Are they trying to make it mandatory? Usually not ----- most seem to be pushing for the right, along with the right to do the pledge. However, this side seems to be GREATLY outnumbered by the other side's efforts.

JOMO.

Why don't they celebrate other holidays? the White House celebrates a lot of other holidays, President George W. Bush inaugurated the practice of White House iftar dinners for Ramadan.

whothe?,

Which one way are you talking about? On the one hand, you have people trying to put prayer back in public schools, on the other you have people trying to to get "In God We Trust" struck from our currency.

-JQP

And, what makes you think that the kids who do not share the majority traditions don't want their traditions recognized also? Why shouldn't our kids have a song or two out of a 2 hour program? For example, in a school that is 11% Hispanic, why shouldn't at least one song be of Hispanic origin (there were 2 Italian songs and 1 French song that year).

We hear a lot about how the majority bemoans the loss of its exclusivity over the holiday season. Get used to it. As everyone else you are entitled to have your holiday. No one wants to take your holiday away. But, in the governmental milieu you must share the season with the rest of us. It's our constitutional right. Sharing the season does not in any what take away the importance of your holiday.

Wow, you really are in love with yourself. And you are a lawyer, so that explains a lot.
Maybe someone should ask the kids what they want, since it's their concert and their school. I think the adults have a tendency to forget that the school is about the students, not the parents, administration, teachers, etc.

JQP,

Agreed ----- it just seems that in toda's America we only get concenred about the one--way view.

whothe? wrote:

For those of you who have read the accompanying docs (Federalist papers, Jeferson's writings. etc), you will understand that the founders wanted to protect religions FROM the government, not the other way around.

This may be true, but the founders also understood that you pretty much can't have the one without the other. If the government is not free from the undue influence of any particular religious faction or denomination, then the freedom of worship of all other factions and denominations is compromised.

Furstenau's Backhand wrote:

Are the magic words, "I'm a whiny taxpayer, and I'm going to complain about everything"?

---------------------------------------------------------------------
First, I have a constitutional right to complain to governmental bodies:

ARTICLE I, SECTION 5. RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AND PETITION
The people have the right .... to make known their opinions to their representatives and to apply for redress of grievances.

Especially on the topic at hand:

ARTICLE I, SECTION 3. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
..... nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or
mode of worship.

Second, when the words "I am a taxpayer" don't work (especially when your stationary includes the initials JD after your name), the next magic words are "The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights".

I haven't had to use the second magic words yet in dealing with this topic with either NUSD 203 or IPSD 204. Both seemed to understand my position and make the minor change necessary. Believe me, adding one song to a two hour program is much easier than the alternative.

Are the magic words, "I'm a whiny taxpayer, and I'm going to complain about everything"?

Video of White House Diwali celebration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsJUy_ZMYuY

Ya, after I posted it, I thought of them celebrating Jewish Holiday but do they celebrate any others????

Protection...well quite frankly Religion is full of politics and they are both getting screwed up! They both have tons of corruption.

Furstenau's Backhand replied to comment from Experienced | December 29, 2010 4:41 PM | wrote:

Wow, you must be really important for a big school to change their concert just because you called. You are awesome. What else have you called and complained about?

---------------------------------------------
You just have to use the magic words that schools understand. Let me know and I'll teach them to you.

For those of you who have read the accompanying docs (Federalist papers, Jeferson's writings. etc), you will understand that the founders wanted to protect religions FROM the government, not the other way around.

We have managed to completely screw it up!

Wow, you must be really important for a big school to change their concert just because you called. You are awesome. What else have you called and complained about?

One Who Values You | December 28, 2010 4:03 PM | wrote:

Why does the White House decorate and get a Christmas Tree? Have they always? Why don't they celebrate other holidays? Wouldn't they have to separate Church & State like a school? Can schools have Christmas Trees? We have one! Do we celebrate other holidays on campus??? NO!

--------------------------------------------------------------------

If you go to the Channel 5 website, they have pictures of the White House Chanukah Party and Menorah.

I don't know where you teach, but it doesn't surprise me that there is no recognition of other traditions. I grew up within a few miles of Naperville as did my wife. The schools refused to include other traditions in December when requested. Even within the last few years, Waubonsie Prism didn't include other traditions until I called them on it. I guess in some schools, things haven't changed.

Why does the White House decorate and get a Christmas Tree? Have they always? Why don't they celebrate other holidays? Wouldn't they have to separate Church & State like a school? Can schools have Christmas Trees? We have one! Do we celebrate other holidays on campus??? NO!

Glock 22 RTF 2 wrote:

If the preamble to the constitution written years earlier by others including the protection of religion from the government is ammendment #1.

The preamble to the Constitution makes absolutely no mention of Christianity, God, or religion:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

As for the First Amendment, it guarantees freedom of religion, but it also prevents the establishment of religion.

-JQP

PonderingDog,

The Supreme Court Building, which wasn't built until the 1930's, also is decorated with images of Confucius, Muhammed, Solon, Hammurabi, Menes, Augustus and Napoleon, among others (but not Jesus!), so if you want to use the depiction of Moses and the tablets of the Ten Commandments as a government endorsement of Christianity, you've got some 'splainin' to do.   And while it is true that the phrase separation of church and state does not appear in the Constitution, neither does the phrase freedom of religion, or freedom of worship.  Does this mean that freedom of religion was not an ideal of the founding fathers? The only thing the Constitution says about religion is this:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Now, if your argument is that the world view of the founding fathers was profoundly influenced by Judeo-Christian values, you will get no argument from me. I also believe that the United Statues is, predominantly, a culturally Christian nation, which is why Christmas is a national holiday and will be for the foreseeable future. That is also why the President traditionally takes the Oath of Office with his left hand on the Bible, though this is not mandated by the Constitution (and not all Presidents have done this). But we are not an officially Christian nation, and it was certainly not the intent of the founding fathers that we become one.

-JQP

"People want to hold other people responsible and accountable, yet these same people scurry like rats off a sinking ship when they themselves should be held responsible or accountable for something they have done... or hide behind a lawyer if they can......"

YES! I have the same thing with my students. They all think the policies of a professor's syllabus is fair until they are the one that gets hurt by the policy, then it is not fair. You are right. They would want others held to the policies but if it came to them then they want an "exception." Now I will say there are wonderful students who do take responsibility and do not complain, but others who do not the question is why? It first starts when they are little. You can see this with parents behavior. They want their child to be the exception, no detention, complain to the board or whatever. Then yes, as you said lawyers are threatened etc. Next, it is those who then allow this to make the exceptions bending to parents or students threats. Dr. Jerome Kagan is one who researches Moral Emotions. He states we know the difference from right and wrong but what people lack is the moral emotion of it. They say, "Ya, I know it is wrong, but I don't care" or some other excuse of why it is ok for them to do wrong. To drive in a crazy manner, to cheat on a spouse, to lie at work etc. I agree, we need to do something about this or it will get worse...and there it is! I'm officially "getting old" saying it is just getting worse and worse & the old days were better! :-)

We do need to find more common ground and at the same time appreciate the differences. We need to take the time to explore them rather than right away say they are wrong rather than just different. I find your idea of whatever "I" do is right or normal interesting. I see a lot of the opposite and why some are jealous. People like to have well defined "norms" and if someone does not fit in, they are abnormal and not "ok." We are now getting better at appreciating uniqueness but then that can become a problem also. Funny, I was just watching a goofy movie but it does apply here. Sandra Bullock's "All About Steve." In the movie a little girl asks, "why do you want to be normal?" :-) Another good one is Martian Child where the boy asks something similar of John Cusak. It has happened in every generation, this breaking from social norms and defining one's own "normal." It is not entirely a bad thing but as I tell my students, usually when you go to one extreme or the other that is when it becomes problematic. They learn the 4 Ds to define Abnormal Behavior: Is it Dysfunctional, Distressful, Dangerous, AND Deviant? Clearly the driving example would apply here. This is why I love asking questions so much! It is amazing what you find out! HA! Asking someone why they felt it was ok to drive in that manner and why they felt they may not get harmed or harm someone else. It also requires Hypothetical Thinking and research shows only about 25% of high school students at graduation time can fully hypothetically think. Some adults never are capable of doing so. Then you get into the "Why not?" :-)

Part of the answer to getting them to develop moral emotions and to hypothetically think is to hold them responsible and accountable, but this would include ALL! Not calling a judge "Heartless" when it is the person who did the crime who obviously was not fully hypothetically thinking "What if I got caught" and all the consequences it would have to not only himself, but to his family, people hopefully he loved dearly & loved him dearly. Holding students accountable for breaking school policies and priests who harm children. Children learn from the adults in their lives and yes including Charles Barkley! We are all role models and it is US who will shape the future, so we are the ones who have to change in order to change the future for the better!

Glock 22 R/WTF 2,

Again, clean your glasses. I never referenced Kwanza. 'Experienced' did.

Sorry Joe, I never wrote Lincoln was a founder of our country, rather you atributed that line to me. I merely referenced the photo of the newspaper post Civil War and nothing was written other than I found the headline remarkable because in todays age, you would not see such a thing. Secondly, you referenced Kwanza and I referenced Poncho Claus referring to the fellow in Texas who is trying to push the character for Mexican kids in the southwest because they cannot identify with Santa Claus. But as Lincoln said Joe, "that the nation, under God, shall have a new birth of free men-and a government of the people, for the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. If the preamble to the constitution written years earlier by others including the protection of religion from the government is ammendment #1. If you want to argue this country was not founded in Christian values, you will have to push that rock up the hill.

OWVY,

What this really means is that big, big problems are coming for our children and their children to deal with in the future.

We, as a country, have less common ground to unite upon than we once did in the past. This is going to cause more and more problems in the future with everyone clamoring... no demanding... that whatever they want to do based upon whatever has got to be ok with everyone else.

Apathy has played a big role in the downfall of American values. The whole concept of anything you want to do is ok if it doesn't bother anyone else was the first deadly step down that slippery slope. Now everyone wants to do whatever they darn well please and everyone else can be damned.... and we don't even have to look at a serious issue to see the results first hand... just look at something as simple and common as driving a car and the current situation on the roads is just out of control. People ignore literally every driving law on the books and do it as if impunity was their birthright.

People want to hold other people responsible and accountable, yet these same people scurry like rats off a sinking ship when they themselves should be held responsible or accountable for something they have done... or hide behind a lawyer if they can.

People expect and even demand that EVERYTHING they do be tolerated by others yet they want to pick and choose what they tolerate in others.

This isn't so much about definitions or interpretations. This isn't so much about fairly, objectively, or consistently using terms. Or even about the change in the use of terms over time.

What this really is about is huge chucks of our population have grown more and more self-centered and ego centric. And don't discount jealousy either! It is all about them and they could really care less what anyone else wants... heck they don't even think about what other people need or want until what someone else wants conflicts with what they want. Then it is their way or else and then a really ugly side shows itself.

And these people are our family, our friends, our neighbors. Yes, we live with them, work with them, play with them, and pray with them. God help us. And them.

First sorry...didn't put my name in!

"So what? People "attempt" to change definitions all the time to suit their needs. That doesn't change the real definition OR make what they are doing correct."

No! I'm not saying they are "changing" definitions but that what is "Fair" "Objective" is defined by society differently over time and at any one time. What a Catholic believe is fair & objective a Muslim may not. What is right? It has also changed over time even within a particular religion! No I'm not saying ONE person's interpretation. I'm saying for example, lets take one particular sect of the Baptist just made a formal statement the last year or two saying it was a wife DUTY to have sex with her husband whenever he wanted to. Now that is not one person's interpretation. Now other religions may not find this to be fair or objective currently, although in the past many more did. Women Tolerated it though now we would label it Rape! Society as a whole changes over time and not all agree. Take Don't Ask, Don't Tell or Gays getting married. There are some that are ok with these stating it is only fair and it is objective but really many religions are against them. Also shows how those within a religion may even disagree with this part of their religious beliefs. The point is we can not all agree on what is fair & objective. What would be fair & objective about releasing George Ryan from prison? Many say it is fair to release him and many others disagree saying it is not fair. There is no agreement. Defining what is fair and objective is influenced by everyone's religous beliefs, their culture, historical time period, their age, gender ETC! I really don't care when the word Tolerance came to be and I know it changes also but my point is this is a real problem with using it.

Glock 22 RTF 2,

In case you forgot what you wrote:

"I was reading Levins (the Sr.) book Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Illustrated and noted a picutre from the front page of one of the newsapapers of the era that proclaimed: "Lee Surrenders. Glory to God in the Highest: Peace on Earth, Good Will Amongst Men". Can you imagine a headline in a paper like that today? It would never happen. You can argue about where faith belongs in society but make no mistake about it, the country has its roots in Christian faith. "

{After you just referenced Abraham Lincoln to illustrate your point}

Also clean your classes and tell me where I said anything about Kwanza or Poncho Claus.

In the spirit of the season, please be honest with people; including yourself.

Glock 22 RTF 2 | December 25, 2010 8:47 PM | wrote:

I was reading Levins (the Sr.) book Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Illustrated and noted a picutre from the front page of one of the newsapapers of the era that proclaimed: "Lee Surrenders. Glory to God in the Highest: Peace on Earth, Good Will Amongst Men". Can you imagine a headline in a paper like that today? It would never happen.
----------------------------------------------------------

Did you see the editorials in the Trib and Sun-Times on Saturday?

Joe: Wear your glasses son or tell me where it is I wrote Lincoln was a founder of our country. While you are at it, explain what you mean by my slant of history. By the way, Kwanza and if you have not heard, Poncho Claus are among those you cited who are not the reason for my season. But you go ahead and enjoy yourself anyway and have a merry old time.

Anonymous @ Dec 26, 2:36PM,

You wrote: "People define tolerance different. "Fair, Objective and allowing" is personally defined. What one believes is fair and objective is not what another feels."

So what? People "attempt" to change definitions all the time to suit their needs. That doesn't change the real definition OR make what they are doing correct. Despite your own dislike of the word tolerant the words fair and objective are frequently used in definitions of tolerance. More importantly, you have confused how a person might subjectively interpret another persons actions in terms of being fair or objective is being the same as the objective definition of those same words... and nothing could be further from the truth.

What that means in practice is that we can all agree on what the words fair or objective or tolerance actually mean.... and then we could find ourselves in disagree with each other in terms of whether or not another persons actions were really fair, objective, or tolerant.

Also worthy of note is the origin of the word "tolerance" can be traced back to the period of time immediately following the Protestant Reformation.

Glock 22 RTF 2: "This is why those who are faithful are tolerant of others faith be it Hindu, Muslim, or other. Those not faithful are obviously intolerant."

Hmmm...when I read this I don't totally agree. There are many who claim to be "faithful" but to what? I've met some people who claim to be faithful, preach lines from the bible and skew the meaning where they are very intolerant of other people. Perhaps it is just the choice of words. I believe I understand what you mean though.

Then again, it may just be me, but I'm not a fan of the word "tolerant"/"tolerance. People define tolerance different. "Fair, Objective and allowing" is personally defined. What one believes is fair and objective is not what another feels. It depends on the standard one uses. It is also used as one having a limit to their tolerance. People tolerate a lot....abuse etc, but it doesn't mean it is right/correct. I don't tolerate people in my own faith who use our faith to hate others. For example those who take the abortion issue to hate others and call them names or bomb abortion clinics. Should they tolerate those who get abortions? See it is not as easy as one saying I tolerate or they should tolerate.

You people scare me.

Glock 22 RTF 2 | December 25, 2010 8:47 PM |wrote:

And finally, remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jesus is the reason for your season. Judah Maccabee is the reason for my season. Lord Rama is the reason for the Hindu season (Diwali). Muhammed is the reason for the Muslim season (Eid Al-Adha). Maulana Karenga is one of the reasons for the season for African Americans (Kwanzaa). Etc.

Glock 22 RTF 2,

I didn't know that Abraham Lincoln was a 'founder' of our country. I was under the impression he was born after the founding of our country. Thanks for sharing us your interesting slant on history. I had no idea he was older than normal American History classes had been teaching us.

Ken: Agreed Merry Christmas to everyone. WTF? can bash me all she wants. Actually, I like difference of opinion. But actually WTF?, my history lessons came from not Fox News but Elmwood, Lincoln, NCHS and finally WIU. But probably the most important source of my lessons, like most people originate from my own native interests in the subject. I was reading Levins (the Sr.) book Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Illustrated and noted a picutre from the front page of one of the newsapapers of the era that proclaimed: "Lee Surrenders. Glory to God in the Highest: Peace on Earth, Good Will Amongst Men". Can you imagine a headline in a paper like that today? It would never happen. You can argue about where faith belongs in society but make no mistake about it, the country has its roots in Christian faith. But the key word is faith. This is why those who are faithful are tolerant of others faith be it Hindu, Muslim, or other. Those not faithful are obviously intolerant. And finally, remember Jesus is the reason for the season.

I don't know where all your kids go to school, but the public school my children attend does not list any religious holidays as days off.

Glock, you have to love wt calling you mean right before she bashes you. Good old wt, always ready to show the true definition of the word 'hypocrite'. She proceeds to give you credit for "admitting" that you "get history lessons from Glenn Beck" only to cover up her lie about what "Faux News" airs. Nice to see that the leftist line never changes, even when proven wrong.

Merry Christmas to all, no matter what your religious beliefs are, or how you celebrate them.

I guess that book that a President puts his hand on when he is sworn into the job is an Archie comic book?

I guess all thelaws out there that prevent working on Sundays are accidental?

I guess the doors to the SC with tablets labeled 1-5, and 6-10, represent an earl;y form of aspirin?

Get over it, guys. There are enough references to Judeo-Christianity in our founding that one does not have to take an Aquinian leap to see it.

Were the founders in unision on it? Nope. If you take the stance that the separation of church and state is an ideal of the founders, which also is not in the constitution, than you must be accepting outside writings to enhab=nce your understanding of tehintent of the founders (Jefferson, Madison, Federalist Papers, etc). In reading much of this, you will easily see the references to the J/C tilt.


By the way, I am not sayin it is right or wrong, only that it exists.

Agree on the Vets Day issue,

Our students have off Veteran's Day & President's Day! We also have MLK off but some states don't.

Why don't we just redo the calendar totally! Change the terms with say 2 weeks periods off inbetween but don't have whole summer off. Have a Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring Break! Have all the holidays you want off as well. And give students still something to work on a bit over those breaks. Maybe it is some book they have to read or community service or something. Maybe they have to visit some cultural place just something which gives them some time and also takes up some time that they don't just spend time watching tv or playing Playstation.

Anonymous | December 22, 2010 9:59 AM wrote:

I attended a public high school with about 1/3 Jewish students and this was over 40 years ago. They served kosher food in the cafeteria during certain times of year. Jewish kids proudly wore their star of david .....
--------------------------------------------

If they do that today, they get suspended:

Students may not wear or display items that are considered to be gang identifiers by our school and community. These identifiers forward, reversed, inverted, converted, defaced or by any other means, include, but are not limited to: .....6-pointed stars......

Perhaps we should get into a discussion of St. Nicholaus? Ha!

I've only scanned the statements prior to mine, but I seem to be missing something important in the messages above. The schools have so many days off for teacher needs and union whatever, we're discussing more religious days off, and what's more important than all this is that they don't get VETERANS DAY off! They take Casimir Poplawski day off, but not Veterans Day. This discussion point "irritates" me off more than City Council's lack of understanding of finances or business management. Veteran's Day should be second only to July 4th and they already have that off. What's that tell ya? I don't give a plunk what ethnic group or religion I'm speaking to. You ain't selling your papers or driving your cabs without them. None of you have greater rights! STAND DOWN!

P.S. The Declaration of Independence also contains the words Divine Providence---again, nothing explicitly Christian.

PonderingDog wrote:

I guess all of those references to Christianity in our original documents, our national buildings, etc., were all put there by the far right.

The words God, Christ and Jesus do not appear in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The words God and Creator do appear in the Declaration of Independence, but there are no references to Christianity.

PonderingDog:

What you are missing is that history shows that Christmas and Christianity are two separate constructs. Christmas did not arise out of Christianity, it arose out of early European winter solstice celebrations. Christians fabricated a December birthday for Christ to rid themselves of an annoying pagan tradition. Many of this country's founders were Christians, but many Christians did not observe a Christmas at the time of our nation's founding, this came along much later.

So Christmas certainly was not "written into the founding of this country", whatever you and your Faux News buddies think that means.

Anonymous | December 22, 2010 9:59 AM

I know what you're saying, but I think you're putting too much emphasis on atheists for the downgrading of Christmas from a religious holiday to a generic one. I don't think this is a result of secular values so much as a result of our country's melting pot and acceptance of different religions. It also has to do with changing sensibilities--everyone wants their beliefs to receive equal time--and our willingness to use litigation to get our way.

What comes to mind is what happened at Stapleton Airport in Denver some time ago. Airports normally display Christmas trees and lights. A Jewish rabbi or cantor, can't remember which, thought Jewish beliefs should get equal exposure and asked the airport to put up a Star of David next to the Christmas trees. The airport refused on the grounds that they can't possibly accommodate every single religion, so they were going with the dominant one, which was Christian. The Jewish guy filed a discrimination lawsuit. The airport responded by taking down all the Christmas decorations, thereby rendering the lawsuit mute. They made the decision to celebrate nothing rather than be sued by every religion they didn't accommodate.

School districts face the same challenges, and not just with Christmas. Remember the parents in 204 recently who considered the celebration of Halloween as honoring Satan and wanted the Halloween parties and costume parade taken out of the schools? We have such a varied culture it seems we can't do anything without offending someone, so the schools take the path of least resistance and, like Stapleton Airport, just don't observe anything at all. Like this blog asks, What's a school district to do?

Really gotta run now. Some of you will have to hold your name calling for next year!

Another thought is to remember you do have the perfect right to go to a religious school of your faith and have all your faith's holidays off. Right? Why don't people do that if it is so important? HMMM!

Well just something to see what you all think...

Some of you were stating "majority" should be honored but then I thought Spring Break was moved away from Easter to avoid favoring one particular religion for many schools. We are now saying it is "Winter Break" so...???? It makes sense for colleges at the end of their 16 week terms but hey they can start earlier or later if they wanted and the end of the term would land differently.

Next, is to consider Govt holidays. Do the govt workers have off if Christmas lands on a weekday? :-) Well not all, but lets take the post office, is it open? They have shortened hours on Christmas Eve and then off on Christmas Day...why? Interesting!

Do I want kids in school on Christmas Day? NO! But it is interesting to think about how much time they have off and why. Some schools had off all this week. Some are going to the 22nd & 23rd. Some go back on the 2nd, others not until the 10th. When I was in college the first few years we did not go back until the week after that even.

This of course leads into the whole idea of summers off but we can discuss that later! :-)

Glockster is back! And sounding just as mean and small in spirit as usual. Merry Christmas to you too. Or should I say bah humbug!?

Dude, I gotta give you credit for publicly admitting that you get history lessons from Glenn Beck. Most people here will repeat the statements of Fox opinionists verbatim but get offended if it's suggested that they actually watch or listen to them. There's a reason for that, you know.

"Then the leftists and atheists inserted the commercialization of Christmas because the religious focus was not tolerable to them"?

Seriously? This is about as hysterical as that $200/mil a day state visit by Obama to Asia, you know, the one that required 34 naval vessels in attendance? Suffice it to say you really need to look into the history of the commercialization of Christmas. It had everything to do with the 19th century manufacturing boom. The Ladies Home Journal, which has been around since dirt, printed an article complaining about the commercialization of the holiday sometime in the 1890s.

Google the Industrial Revolution, both in England and the U.S., and it's creation of a consumer class. Not coincidentally, the commercialization of Christmas directly coincides with the Industrial Revolution, the glut of manufactured goods, and the rising incomes of middle class workers who, for the first time in history, could afford to buy these goods. Not atheists and leftists but manufacturers and retailers pushed commercialization, you know, business, capitalism, the free market and all that good stuff?

Using Santa Claus to market to children was the brain child of a retailer by the name of James Edgar who first did this in his Brockton, MA department store in 1890. It was picked up by the entire retail industry and continues to this day.

You undoubtedly have some time off over the next week or so. I suggest you read up before the next Glenn Beck segment.

I'll leave you with this tidbit of fun from the Christian Reader entitled "Let's Keep Christmas Commercialized". It does appear that your far right brethren like the commercialization of Christmas just as much as those atheists and leftists do!

http://christianreader.typepad.com/christian_reader/2009/11/lets-keep-christmas-commercialized.html

Now I'm off to a warmer climate for awhile. See you next year!

Glock 22 wrote:

Then the leftists and atheists inserted the commercialization of Christmas because the religous focus was not tolerable to them.

I'm pretty sure Wall Street had much more to do with this than "atheists and leftists."

hi mark,

Sorry if you misinterpreted what I wrote as "muslim based hate". The use of muslim was only an example, there are others. Though I've got to say the low level of tolerance demonstrated by muslims towards non-muslims puts them in a class all by themselves. Maybe the truth may be painful, but credit should be given where credit is deserved.

There is no "generic" Christmas. Period. All this "happy holidays" and "seasons greetings" garbage is just that. Too many people are standing around sucking air because the atheists don't want to hear the word Christmas. None of what is going on this time of year would be happening if we did not have Christmas and the traditions surrounding it.

If you are a religious person stand up and be proud of your beliefs and traditions whatever they may be. I'm not ashamed to say Merry Christmas. If a non-christian is "offended" because of my joy or over exuberance during seasons of religious importance to me then they can deal with that. If a Jewish person sends me a card or voices an expression during one of the Jewish holy days it doesn't offend me and I'm just happy the person is religious and practicing their faith.

I attended a public high school with about 1/3 Jewish students and this was over 40 years ago. They served kosher food in the cafeteria during certain times of year. Jewish kids proudly wore their star of david and many of the boys would wear a yamaka to school. During Jewish holy days there were a lot of kids absent. Everyone knew why and where they were. Teachers weren't stupid. They planned tests, assignment, etc. around these periods of time and the jewish kids knew they would have to make up the work. Fact of the matter was many of the Christian kids were kind of jealous of the Jewish kids because they got days off from school for both Christian and Jewish holy days.

The problem these days is our community leaders find more reasons why they can't do something than reasons why they can. They take the easy and often lazy way out. And the results of their laziness show all around us.

I guess all of those references to Christianity in our original documents, our national buildings, etc., were all put there by the far right.

SES and WT? are absolute idiots.

mark | December 21, 2010 10:20 PM wrote:

Let's look at it another way: I grew up in West Rogers Park, a section of Chicago with a heavy Jewish population. Most of my classmates were Jewish. Should the schools in that neighborhood have given holidays for Passover?

------------------------------------------------------------------

Again the question must be answered in regards to fiscal responsibility. Are the cost of substitute teachers and the loss of daily student fees more than the schools should shoulder, or would it be better to give the day off and not spend/lose the funds? My parents grew up on the westside in the 30's and the schools closed for Jewish holidays because it would cost a fortune to pay for substitutes for the few students who would attend.

Hey, Anonymous at 9:44:

Why focus so closely on Muslims? Jewish people, Hindus, Buddhists, you name it: They all come here because they embrace the religious tolerance that we have supported for nearly two centuries. Why drag "muslim based hate" into this conversation?

At this point in history, public schools may recognize Christmas, but it is the kind of generic "Christmas" that means absolutely nothing in terms of a religious nature. I think most students just think of it as time off after final exams.

Let's look at it another way: I grew up in West Rogers Park, a section of Chicago with a heavy Jewish population. Most of my classmates were Jewish. Should the schools in that neighborhood have given holidays for Passover?

Anonymous | December 21, 2010 9:44 AM:

"Muslims want to enjoy all of the religious freedom embraced by the United States when they are in this country yet they don't extend the same respect or tolerance to non-muslim religions back home in their native country nor are they actively doing anything to promote tolerance and understanding in their native countries."

I can't disagree with this statement. However, many of the Muslims you complain about don't come from countries that have a constitution guaranteeing individual freedom of religion and forbidding a state sponsored religion or church. In fact, some, like Iran, are thinly veiled theocracies. Freedom from religious persecution and tyranny was written into the founding document of this country (not Christmas!); not so with many of the countries these Muslims come from. So it's unreasonable to expect the same degree of religious tolerance in Muslim countries that we have here.

To Southeastside and What the ? Bravo, that is just too hilarious. I love it when two lefties compliment each other in group think. And about what, the origin of Christmas and not even on topic. The fact is if you watched Glenn Beck last week, you will note during one of his shows and I forget which one, he gave a run down about the history of Christmas. In it he mentioned as a key point that Christmas (The birth of Christ, you remember him) was not celebrated in this country in any large measure until after 1850. Then the leftists and atheists inserted the commercialization of Christmas because the religous focus was not tolerable to them. But you go ahead and bash Fox News and those of us who watch Fox News over other failed and failing dinosaur news outlets that promote group lunacy over objective thought. In closing, Merry Christmas to everyone one and if you don't like Christmas, go to the back of the class and you can sit with that incredible and silly Nina Totenberg. Liberalism is most indeed a mental disease.

Southeast Side wrote:

The founders of this country were decidedly non-religious - generally Deists - the closest today would be Unitarian.

Thank you for the information on the history of Christmas in this country. However, this statement about the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers is not accurate. There were some Deists among them, Jefferson being the most prominent, but the great bulk of them were members of one Christian denomination or another. That's not to say that they were all devout in their observance of their faith. Some were very devout, while others were decidedly less so.

We still can't deny we have at least 140 years of Christian Christmas tradition in this country (despite all of the generic, watered down "holiday" expressions spouted by faceless corporations and spineless bureaucrats.

To a large extent though most of us have stood by idly (or gotten sucked along for the ride) and have allowed the true spirit of Christmas to be destroyed by the merchants and the relentless exploitation of material goods... despite the fact that money is the only God merchants worship.

I consider myself a religiously tolerant person. However, tolerance is neither absolute nor is it a one-way street. When it comes to tolerance Muslims don't play by an equal set of rules. Muslims want to enjoy all of the religious freedom embraced by the United States when they are in this country yet they don't extend the same respect or tolerance to non-muslim religions back home in their native country nor are they actively doing anything to promote tolerance and understanding in their native countries. In fact the exact opposite is happening and we see the violent consequence of muslim based hate and bigotry on a world wide scale.

If I was the only Christian student in Iraq I would not expect much less demand that Christian holy days be respected or celebrated. There is no possible way to even reasonably accommodate every single religious group that possibly exists unless we all want to have a heck of a lot more days off from school which will probably result in a year round schedule to get the minimum number of days.

Right or wrong all societies have to organize education system calendars around the needs of the majority. If religious minorities want to take additional days off here and there, so be it. A day off for sickness, doctor appointment, etc is permitted and students just have to make up what they have missed. Other religious days should be treated the same.

And don't get me started on Kwanzaa or any of the other mind-numbing "Hallmark Holidays"...

Southeast Side:

Bravo!! Thanks for the actual history recap. Faux News viewers know very little about the history of their own country, which is why they're so susceptible to Faux's revisionist versions.

Pondering Dogs statement raised my eyebrows too. Christmas is "based in the founding of our nation"? What?? Thanks for saving me the trouble.

Another fun Christmas factoid that drives many Faux followers nuts--Dec. 25th is not the actual birth date of Jesus. Biblical scholars think Jesus was actually born sometime in the spring, around April. What does occur every year around this time is the winter solstice.

Your link mentioned that Christmas was originally a "raucous carnival holiday", which is why many new world Puritans did not observe it . The observance of Christmas was originally more like a Mardi Gras. That's because Christmas has its origins in the early European celebrations of the winter solstice. Christian leaders tried suppressing the winter solstice celebrations because they saw it as a pagan practice, but were unsuccessful since the peasants liked it so much. So they simply changed the celebration of the winter solstice to a celebration of Christ's birth. The Christians were happy because the pagan practice was replaced with something more to their liking, and the peasants were happy because they could still have their yearly bash. Problem solved.

http://www.history.com/topics/christmas

But this is history; one actually has to take the time to learn it. Propaganda is effortless; all one has to do is turn on Fox!

I think there is a valid argument for keeping holidays that are religious AND based in the founding of the nation. I specifically am referring to Christmas on this one.

WRONG! Christmas was definitely NOT based in the "founding of the nation" ( What is that even supposed to mean? ) This Fox "News" based garbage is incredible. The founders of this country were decidedly non-religious - generally Deists - the closest today would be Unitarian.

http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

An outlaw ChristmasAfter the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.


I forgot one thing. Even though school might still be in session for the schools, they should keep in mind the holidays of the remainder of their staff and students in scheduling major school functions such as homecoming, prom, etc. Just shift them a week one way or the other.

All they have to do is follow Illinois state law while keeping fiscal responsibility in mind, and they will be fine. Illinois law allows public employees to take days off for religious purposes. It also allows students to do the same without penalty. The only thing that the schools have to keep in mind is that they have to be fiscally able to operate on the holiday if a substantial portion of its workforce and student body will be out observing the holiday. Therefore, it would be fiscally irresponsible in Naperville, for example, to hold school on Christmas when a majority of its staff and students will be out. But it would not be fiscally irresponsible for the schools to remain open on Jewish and Muslim holidays while still allowing affected staff and students to be absent as provided by law.

I think there is a valid argument for keeping holidays that are religious AND based in the founding of the nation. I specifically am referring to Christmas on this one.

The rest? I would scrap them in public schools, and let the various religion-based schools, whether they be Christian, muslim, hindu, etc., handle tham as they see fit.

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