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Old 11-30-2004, 11:11 AM   #61
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
It's pretty sad that the cross - which is supposed to symbolize the crucifixion - could offend so many people. I think it has reason to offend the "Jesus never existed" crowd. Other than that, who does it threaten?

it's not that it offends, but that it excludes.

story: when i was a junior in high school, some guy came to our school to play volleyball. he played against the high school team and won. he then played against the entire senior class, and still won. he was a great volleyball player. he then started to lecture about peer pressure and how we should say no to sex and drugs. the metaphor was that an individual can stand up to the group. ta-da. he then concluded his lecture by saying that he would never bring religon into the public schools, but that it was Jesus Christ who inspires him to play volleyball and to lecture teenagers about drugs and sex. this was a public school.

my Hindu friend (and i only call her that because we're talking about religion) wasn't offended, but she said, "it was just one more thing that made me feel different and isoalted from everyone else." the jewish kids felt the same way. had this happened after school, and the audience had been kids who wanted to hear a christian message and were there voluntarily, it would have been 100% appropriate. however, this was a school-wide assembly, participation was mandatory, and to have it conclude with a Christian message, and the school's endorsement of the message by virtue of paying for the speaker and making the assembly mandatory, was indeed inappropriate.

crosses aren't offensive, but they are exclusionary. to put a cross on something -- classroom, post office, or lecture -- is to turn it into something exclusively christian.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #62
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The all or nothing argument. Doesn't matter what has developed here culturally over the last 200 years......

could you provide an example of what you're talking about?

and over the past 200 years, we've been all about religious tolerance, which has allowed religion to flourish in our society in a way that it hasn't in europe -- and for good reason, as Europeans are rightly suspicous of religion based upon the church's history in Europe.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:17 AM   #63
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Establishment is not based on the subjective feelings of an individual. Should we redefine our culture on the feelings of the most sensative citizen?
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:26 AM   #64
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Establishment is not based on the subjective feelings of an individual. Should we redefine our culture on the feelings of the most sensative citizen?

can you be more specific? you're also leaping to huge, huge conclusions -- redefine our culture? -- on very abstract notions. an example would tie us back to earth.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:40 AM   #65
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Please.

School children sing Christmas carols for decades. Now, we should stop (hence redefine) because some claim to feel excluded? We've been on earth discussing this. I'm confused as to where I lost you.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:47 AM   #66
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firstly, i don't think you can equate stopping something with "redefin[ing] our entire culture." i'm 27, and was singing christmas songs in school over 20 years ago. even then, we never sang "come all ye faithful" or "silent night" because of the overtly religious nature of those songs. the exclusion of specific songs, and the inclusion of others, has been going on for a while, and is hardly a new thing.

secondly, our culture is more diverse than ever, and since the late 1960s we've been accepting immigrants from all over the world in record numbers, many of whom are not Christian. even the 1990s brought vast numbers of immigrants from South Central Asia (and they did rather well in the tech-boom years). America looks differently now than it did 40 years ago. we're more colorful, more diverse, and more interesting. should our culture not change as well? should we not evolve? should we not look back at the mistakes we've made and correct them? why would you knowingly exclude anyone when you don't have to? do non-Christians not pay property taxes that fund public schools and are they not entitled to an inclusive classroom? asking hindu, buddhist, or atheist students to sing "christ the savior is born" is offensive, but what might be worse for an 8 year old would be to have to not sing along and further push her away from her peers.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:04 PM   #67
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Adding to culture is one thing. To deem the existing culture as "exclusionary" is something else.

The thread is based on a change this year. It appears that Christmas carols were acceptable last year.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:28 PM   #68
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according to the article: "A long-standing policy banning the singing of Christmas songs with religious references in the South Orange/Maplewood School District has come under scrutiny after the administration clarified the policy recently, saying that it also includes instrumental concerts."

so the real change is that this long-standing policy has been adapted to instrumental concerts as well. seems a logical extention of an existing policy.

crosses and declarations -- not historical references -- about Jesus as a "savior" are, definitionally, exclusive.

again, i'm baffled at this resistance to change. all anyone wants is to feel safe and comfortable at school, to feel as if they have an equal voice and an equally valued opinion, and that their background is neither any better nor any worse than someone else's.

geez, these are 8 year olds. its tough enough for a jew in december with all the grotesque advertising, why make it worse?
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:35 PM   #69
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Originally posted by Irvine511
crosses and declarations -- not historical references -- about Jesus as a "savior" are, definitionally, exclusive.
If you define it that way, then there is no room for discussion.

It all points to erasing why Christmas is celebrated.


And it is quite a stretch to consider the month of December as oppressive to Jews.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:45 PM   #70
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


If you define it that way, then there is no room for discussion.

It all points to erasing why Christmas is celebrated.


And it is quite a stretch to consider the month of December as oppressive to Jews.

most of my friends are jewish or asian, and many of them do dread december.

how else should i define a cross? what else could it represent other than christianity? i think a good analogy here is the American flag. to Americans, we think the flag represents the Englightenment ideals upon which our government is based. we tend to think it is a universal symbol of liberty and freedom, when the rest of the world doesn't respond in the same way. they think it represents the United States, a physical place, not an abstract idea. to non-Christians, the cross means Christianity, plain and simple.

as i've said before, and you may not agree (and i do understand why you don't agree), but Christmas is a multi-dimensional thing that has long ceased to be solely about religion. everyone is aware of why Christmas is celebrated and what it means to Christians, but i don't see why it can't be celebrated in a secular manner as i've detailed in earlier posts.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:09 PM   #71
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Originally posted by Irvine511



most of my friends are jewish or asian, and many of them do dread december.

how else should i define a cross? what else could it represent other than christianity? i think a good analogy here is the American flag. to Americans, we think the flag represents the Englightenment ideals upon which our government is based. we tend to think it is a universal symbol of liberty and freedom, when the rest of the world doesn't respond in the same way. they think it represents the United States, a physical place, not an abstract idea. to non-Christians, the cross means Christianity, plain and simple.

as i've said before, and you may not agree (and i do understand why you don't agree), but Christmas is a multi-dimensional thing that has long ceased to be solely about religion. everyone is aware of why Christmas is celebrated and what it means to Christians, but i don't see why it can't be celebrated in a secular manner as i've detailed in earlier posts.
So, you want a religious holiday celebrated in a secular manner ?

It's called CHRISTmas for a reason.

If you want another holiday on Dec 25th called "let's all give everyone we care about a present" day, that's fine too, just don't call that particular holiday CHRISTmas
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:11 PM   #72
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Originally posted by Irvine511



go back and read my posts. no, they don't celebrate the birth of christ. but living in American, they celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion -- trees, stockings, reindeer, and santa. jesus has nothing to do with their celebrations. it's a winter carnival to them, and i'm very happy they have a means of celebrating something that literally consumes the entire month of December.

imagine not being Christian for a moment. how would December feel to you?
Well, I guess that if I were willingly living in a primarily Judeo-Christian country, I'd learn to live with it.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:36 PM   #73
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Is making the world "safe and comfortable" for all sensitivities, opinions, religions, beliefs, etc, etc, really the best thing for humanity?

Or more importantly, what will this ideal cost?
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:36 PM   #74
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Originally posted by cardosino


So, you want a religious holiday celebrated in a secular manner ?

It's called CHRISTmas for a reason.

If you want another holiday on Dec 25th called "let's all give everyone we care about a present" day, that's fine too, just don't call that particular holiday CHRISTmas

there's also a reason why we have Xmas. that's where that term comes from, and that's why in the business world, people will refer to the "Xmas holidays" or simply "the holidays."

and, yes, people do celebrate religious holidays in secular manners because these things are social and cultural as well as religious. i was born, baptized and confirmed Catholic, but i've since grown apart from the Church. or, rather, the Church has pushed itself away from me. i celebrate, happily, Christmas and Easter, and i don't give much thought to Christ. trust me, i know where these holidays come from, but the religous aspect is far less important than spending time with my family and taking a small break at the end of the year.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:42 PM   #75
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Is making the world "safe and comfortable" for all sensitivities, opinions, religions, beliefs, etc, etc, really the best thing for humanity?

Or more importantly, what will this ideal cost?

we're not talking about the world, we're talking about the USA. and, yes, for a country that was founded upon religous freedom, the right to worship or not worship as one pleases, it is important that we make room for those who are different from us, just as room was once made for our ancesters (or parents, or whoever) who immigrated to this country once upon a time.

this is what makes our country special. we change and adapt. this land is your land, this land is my land. there will come a day when it is not a predominantly judeo-christian country. there will come a time when english is not the most widely spoken language. and that gets at precisely what makes American culture so dynamic. (indeed, in the 19th century there was a movement to make German the official language due to the huge amount of German immigrants especially in the midwest ... we speak English as custom, but not because it's an official language).
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