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Old 10-23-2005, 09:40 AM   #166
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It is not an issue of specificity, Islam is unexeptional as religious belief in that it is not about race ~ that is one of the main selling points of the religion, its pluralism towards race.

I strongly believe that religious beliefs are ideas, ideas that should be held to scrutiny. Islam seems to be used for more religious minded violence than most other religions in the world today, now this has a lot of factors which have already been discussed ad infinitum on the board, but by putting criticism of the religion under the banner of hate speech and labelling it racism is frankly wrong. I do not think that any beliefs no matter how "sacred" deserve special protection from criticism - I feel that in effect grants impunity to that minority of supremacists in the religion, in effect it is trying to fight bigotry by granting it protection.

Ideas are the foundation of religions, in a free society those ideas should be open to criticsm. Such criticism should not be silenced with charges of "racism". I do not consider the rants from certain quarters to be legitimate criticism (for instance the assertion that the entire religion is a shell of a death cult - although I think that is a very fair assessment of some Salafist terror groups and their ideology).

The free exhange of ideas and thoughts is key for having a cohesive society. There are schools of thought, political movements if you will that have become established in the Islamic world that seem to be offended by this concept and will murder those who excercise their right to free speech in a manner that upsets them. We have seen this at play with the murder of Theo Van Gough ~ the man was an offensive bore to be sure but just because he called Muslims 'Goat Fuckers" (and said nastly things about Jews) and was involved with making 'Submission' is not just cause to be murdered in such a way. Until we reach a stage where religious beliefs can be discussed frankly without fear of violent reprisal, a stage where religious parody and humour can exist then I think we are in a very dangerous place. Putting barriers to free speech will not solve the problems and will only the excacerbate the problem - on all sides.

Judaism is a religion, but there is a Jewish people (and some interesting exceptions to the rule such as the Beta Israel). Islam has an entirely different history, there is no Muslim diaspora and the religion spread around the world in a very different manner.
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Old 10-23-2005, 09:58 AM   #167
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It's amazing how some people on both sides of this debate have been very close-minded in their remarks.

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Old 10-23-2005, 10:03 AM   #168
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It's a simple concept....I as a parent do not want the public school teachers teaching religion.

I as a teacher, do not feel responsible to teach religion or celebrate a religious holiday in my classroom, nor have I received any type of training in that area for the public schools.

I also do not feel it helps me, as the teacher of the classroom to develop a classroom community, if every holiday that comes up, I have to sit down and pull certain students aside and send them to the computer lab.

What a laughable solution. In this day and age, it is time people stopped looking at the computer lab as a place to send a kid to keep them occupied. Also, I would say, that the public school recourses are stretched to such a point, that in most schools at the elementary level, there ARE NO COMPUTER LAB TEACHERS, so who is going to monitor the students in the lab. Are we now supposed to develop a party schedule so that there is coverage in the computer lab, to watch the students.

Again, take a month and walk in the shoes of an educator. It is not all roses.
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Old 10-23-2005, 10:06 AM   #169
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:09 AM   #170
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
It's a simple concept....I as a parent do not want the public school teachers teaching religion.
I agree and I really don't see anyone suggesting that religion be taught in school.

To your earlier point, Christmas has become secularized to the level of Halloween. Different countries have different secular traditions.

I recall in elementary school that we had Christmas parties (no one had to justify using the word Christmas) and we learned about different cultures (for example, how the concept of "Santa Claus" was treated). Jesus Christ was never mentioned.

But, the stumbling block in all of this is the Christ in Christmas. Most kids don't know what the word means. And it is never taught at school.
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:27 AM   #171
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Is it really that difficult to continue to call a Christmas Party a Christmas Party when that is what it had always been refered to for decades or centuries before one or two people decided to go to court to object to it. How far do American traditions and the majority of Americans have to bend in order to please a few dozen people who have their own political agenda's their trying to push on a nation of 300 million people?
Stop thinking about what you're losing, and think about what you'd be gaining if you had a party that celebrated several religious traditions. If you want a hardcore Christmas party, celebrate it with like-minded friends and family at home, or organize one with your church. Again, Christmas is not cancelled when you do not have government acknowledgement of it.

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Old 10-23-2005, 11:28 AM   #172
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To your earlier point, Christmas has become secularized to the level of Halloween. Different countries have different secular traditions.

But, I am not teaching in another country. I am teaching here, where the decorations go up end of August and September.
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:28 AM   #173
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But, the stumbling block in all of this is the Christ in Christmas. Most kids don't know what the word means. And it is never taught at school.
And how many Christians know what Yom Kippur stands for? Or the reasoning behind Ramadan?

If children don't know what Christmas refers to, then their parents have failed, not their schools.

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Old 10-23-2005, 11:51 AM   #174
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Sting, it's not excluding Christmas, it's including other traditions as well. I think deep down some Christians are just afraid of losing their idea of America as a Christian nation.
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Old 10-23-2005, 12:38 PM   #175
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Ah no, I never heard of anyone feeling inferior because of a "Christmas Party". Thats the way its been in this country for centuries. Its part of the culture, why is that so difficult for you to understand. To what degree do we have to go to make every single minority feel "included". This is insane.
Well they do say ignorance is bliss. It's nice being part of the majority all your life, I'm guessing the only place you've ever been a minority is in here being part of the conservative few. Being a minority in real life is much different.

Well for your information there are those that feel their faith isn't respected as much as others because of this practice in our school system. How do I know this, because I've had this conversation many many times. A part of my family is Jewish.
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It was not problem 200 years ago, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, and is really only and issue now because a small minority has decided to whine about it. Anyone can celebrate at a christmas party, you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy it.
200, 100, 50 years ago?! You don't say. Well hell women voting and slavery weren't problems back then either. DAMN THOSE MINORITIES!!!
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Old 10-23-2005, 01:04 PM   #176
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well said, VG. Anyone who argues that the phrase "holiday party" instead of "Christmas party" needs to explain how exatly Christmas fails to fall under the "holiday" umbrella.


A-W, what a terrific post! I could not agree more that beliefs, whether the faith that there is a God or the faith that there is not, is never above scrutiny. I also think you made an important point that disagreeing with someone hardly amounts to bigotry. Maybe this is a good point for me to renew my suggestion that we define exactly what will and will not "count" as persecution. Does it have to be violent? Is calling someone towel-head or Jesus-freak enough?

I would say, however, that you're post doesn't seem to make an important distinction. Perhaps this is because I am focusing on a pretty specific issue (the legality and ethics of a holiday party versus a Christmas party) while you seem to be taking a more broad approach. The struggle of any multicultural, secural democracy is to balance the two freedoms--the freedom you describe to challenge ideas and the freedom to possess minority views and adhere to minority beliefs and traditions. It's admirably and necessary to speak out and challenge in the public "market place of ideas". It's not okay for a public, compulsory institution to in any way exclude minorities.

I would also hope we can agree that many of the comments about Islam and Muslims do not fall into the "challenging and rigorously debating ideas" category but rather fall into the category of bigotry (slurs, attributing group characteristics to every individual, etc). You're correct that it's not okay to cry racism to avoid having to defend your views (which all sides too, including conservative Christians). It's also not okay to use the actions of some punish or villify an entire group.

Dread, I think there is a lot of compassion and humanity in your posts here.
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Old 10-23-2005, 02:44 PM   #177
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Dread, I think there is a lot of compassion and humanity in your posts here.
Don't say that you will ruin my reputation!
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:17 PM   #178
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But, I am not teaching in another country. I am teaching here, where the decorations go up end of August and September.
I think you've missed my point. You certainly teach about other cultures (social studies).
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:19 PM   #179
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This thread could become part of the author's book.
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:39 PM   #180
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I think you've missed my point. You certainly teach about other cultures (social studies).
Still missing your point.....But I am in the midst of a skull crushing headache.....
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