Monday, December 16, 2013

But isn't Christmas a government holiday?




This seems so crazy to me. Am I missing something? Atheist "freedom from religion" groups have been systematically bullying towns, schools, and even the military* into removing Nativity scenes from public spaces.

For various reasons (no funds to litigate, lack of nerve, misunderstanding of the law), the public entities usually cave and remove Baby Jesus from the scene.

The atheists base their case on bogus "separation of church and state" arguments, which make no sense because of something crazy obvious:

CHRISTMAS = COMMEMORATION OF CHRIST'S BIRTH
CHRISTMAS = FEDERAL (GOVERNMENT) HOLIDAY

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure that means the commemoration of Christ's birth is a federal (government) holiday.

Therefore, a depiction of Christ's birthday is a perfectly acceptable way to commemorate Christ's birthday. (That's, like, a no-brainer, right kids?)

Sooooooo…in redundant other words...

As long as there is a GOVERNMENT, FEDERAL holiday for Christmas, then representations of Christmas (a government holiday) surely must be allowable, no?

I mean, can you imagine the state declaring Presidents Day and then saying it's illegal to display images of Washington and Lincoln? Or what if the nation celebrated the federal holiday called Veterans Day, while criminalizing the memorials of said veterans?

It's nuts! Makes no logical sense.

I'm not sure how the atheists can legally get away with what they do as long as Christmas is on the government calendar. How are they winning any cases?

If they had integrity (or a lick of sense) they would be challenging the federal holiday itself, which is the root of the "problem".

So, why don't they go that route? My guess is that either they are having too much success this way and will gain nothing by switching to legitimate tactics (except the wrath of the American people), or they really like having Christmas Day off so they can skip work.

It's all so very high-minded, isn't it?


As in days of old, this scene causes some modern folks grave emotional distress.



*An update from a military wife on the base is included in the comments.




226 comments:

  1. I think people just want their secular celebration and wish that that pesky Jesus guy would quit interfering. Ridiculous! If they only knew of the love they are rejecting....

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  2. Well. I guess they should start with fighting the very name of the holiday - though I think I've already heard of a "Winter Holiday" instead of Christmas. But your post provokes me to ask whether we - Catholics - pray for those who reject Jesus.

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  3. "It's nuts! Makes no logical sense."

    This is precisely the point. This is where we've been led i.e. where nothing makes sense anymore and what was once considered good is now seen as evil, and evil as good. This is what is known as sowing chaos in a world that refuses to anchor itself in morality and truth. Yes, we do live in dark times and it is getting darker still but that only means that our Hope is coming ever closer. In the meantime it is a scarey ride!

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  4. There was apparently just another illogical uproar in the news regarding the removal of a cross (an empty cross, mind you, not a crucifix) from a war vet site that's been there for decades.

    Soon, we'll be needing to remove anything constructed out of two intersecting beams. For that matter, the letter, "t", from the alphabet. Oh, the offense to the eyes!

    People need to moss.

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  5. From what I understand, the day has more to do with the winter solstice than the actual birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, which, of course, is unknown. The pagan holiday was Christianized along with everything else pagan. So, it was a holiday before it was a Christian holy day. Non-Christians celebrate it as well. Christianity is not a state religion (which is specifically prohibited by the First Amendment). So it is unlawful to display Christian symbols on government property.

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  6. Having said that, I do remember singing carols at my state job including religious ones. It was a time honored tradition.

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  7. Pretty soon we will all have off Dec 21sf for winter solstice and work on Christmas Day!

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  8. Lots of people have holidays around this time of year, but December 25th is specifically Christmas to most people in our part of the world. Talking about pagan solstice celebrations always seems a little silly to me because I'm guessing more Americans celebrate, say Kwanzaa (which of course was scheduled to compete with Christmas) than Saturnalia or whatever. So the argument here is definitely over whether we're celebrating Christmas and not over what the holiday actually is.

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  9. Leila- well I sorta see your logic but....my parents who are retired federal workers. Yes you can take Christmas but as an employee you could take a day off for Hanukkah instead and work on Christmas. Or any other day. They close their offices mostly because that's when private banks do. Doesn't really have anything to do with endorsing Christmas. If it did than i imagine there would be lawsuits.

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  10. From the Christian History website:

    The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273, reflects a convergence of Origen's concern about pagan gods and the church's identification of God's son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

    We will always celebrate something on that day.

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  11. You can blame the sometimes non- sensical application of the "Lemon Test". Using the three pronged analysis, courts have come up with various results. For instance, a Nativity display is an endorsement of religion, but a Christmas tree and a Menorah together is not. Having an opening prayer at a congressional session is not an endorsement of religion, but a cross on war memorial is.

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  12. That's untrue, Bill. Christians did not want anything to do with paganism. To claim that Christians hopped on the festival bandwagon and pulled Dec 25th out of mid air is not historically accurate.

    Hyppolytus of Rome explains in his writings how the date was calculated, evidence pre-dates any festivals you mentioned from that website.

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  13. I'm an observant, believing Catholic Christian and an American citizen. Because I really think it is unkind to beat non-Christians over the head with Christian stuff such as sponsored prayer in public school, I also think that Christmas should not be a federal holiday. We'd probably turn all kinds of somersaults to make sure that most people would not work on Christmas anyway, but I don't think that the federal government should foster one religion (even the dominant one) over others.

    Having said that, I have to say that I'm amused at how one of these nativity scene battles played out. In Vienna, Virginia, there used to be a nativity scene on the Town Hall lawn. The ACLU sued and won, so the town had to take the creche down. I thought that was a good idea, as federal/state/county/municipal employees shouldn't use their taxpayer-sponsored time to put the thing up, and I didn't want taxpayers to pay for the electricity it used, either.

    The next Christmas, the same nativity scene magically sprouted next door at a privately-owned medical building. It was just as obvious, but nobody could object to it as a government-sponsored religious display. I love it!!!

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  14. It's all very fascinating why the Church picked December 25 as the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas), but the fact remains that she did, many centuries ago. In fact, the Feast was designated long, long before America existed at all. Long before the federal government existed. So for the purpose of this post, the federal American government made "Christmas" (Christian Feast Day) a holiday. Let's go from there.

    "I also think that Christmas should not be a federal holiday."

    Great, that is my point. Start by abolishing the holiday. After that, the depictions of that holiday cannot be on public land. Before that happens? Nonsense. The depictions can stay.

    Deltaflute, yes, but that is true of any necessary or emergency workers, public or private, no? They can choose to work on federal holidays if needed/wanted. But most will not choose to work on the Christmas holiday. I always thought how wonderful it is that Jewish hospital workers, for example, work for Christians on Christmas day. Generosity of spirit!

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  15. Priscilla, non-sensical indeed. It doesn't answer the question in my main post (Christmas is the commemoration of Christ's birth, depicted in the Nativity scene). It's just confirmation that it's all non-sensical, and the atheists need to start lobbying for removal of the holiday.

    The whole "freedom from religion" things is so antithetical to the Founders of this nation anyway. Check the monuments, the speeches of presidents from the beginning, etc. Heck, most Americans don't know that just above the Speaker's podium in the House Rotunda the words, "In God We Trust" are etched in the marble on the wall! Even the walls of Congress bespeak our nation's foundations in God. Of course we allow atheists to be atheists, but there was never a thought that God would be eradicated from the public square ("He whose name we dare not speak!"). That is utter nonsense, as evidenced by, well, aaaaallllllll the historical evidence.

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  16. Leila- emergency workers are run by local municipalities. The only emergency agency run by the government is FEMA and to a lesser extent the military as usually governors call on the militia (national guard). We havent had to mobilize the military quickly in a long time.

    What I'm talking about are non essential personnel. The IRS, SBA, SSA, and whatnot come to mind. TSA and homeland security natually dont stop working but they choose another day if necessary. They all get the same number of holidays. IRS and so forth are closed because they work with financial institutions which arent open. People still work on those days just aren't opened. New York for example will close Hanukkah but often not Christmas. It's the branches and managers choice. Trust me on a federal level it has nothing to do with a religious holiday. For years my parents could not even say what their religious beliefs were to co workers. They softened that stance becausr it looked like a 1st Admin restriction on individual workers. But you cant evangelize or talk about anything faith related if a co workers tells you not to. Again feds are overly cautious.

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  17. But Deltaflute, to get to the point of it, are you saying that "Christmas" is not a federal holiday?

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  18. This might help explain it better. http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/pay-administration/fact-sheets/holidays-work-schedules-and-pay

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  19. Leila- I'm saying its not a religious holiday which was your point. It's just a day in which workers get extra pay or time off. You could call it winter break or festivus. Wouldnt matter. The feds take extra pains to not make it remotely religious including accomodating workers who dont celebrate it.

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  20. Deltaflute, from your link:

    Holidays for Federal Employees

    New Year's Day (January 1).
    Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
    Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February).
    Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
    Independence Day (July 4).
    Labor Day (First Monday in September).
    Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).
    Veterans Day (November 11).
    Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
    Christmas Day (December 25).


    Christmas (thus Nativity) is a federal holiday. It is a no-brainer that Nativity scenes, which depict the holiday, should be legal. Or else get rid of the federal holiday. That is my point. Nativities should be allowed, since Christmas is a state-sanctioned holiday.

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  21. In other words calling it Christmas makes it no more religious than New Years Day to the Feds.

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  22. "You could call it winter break or festivus."

    Except that the state calls it "Christmas" and everyone knows what Christmas is: The commemoration of Christ's birth. Sorry, that's just a basic fact. When they change the holiday to "festivus", then the lawsuits would have merit. But as of now, they do not.

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  23. SMH. Just because they call it Christmas doesnt make it any different than Thanksgiving. They dont treat the holiday any different. They close that day largely because of banks. If they wanted to they could change it and some offices do allow workers to shift to Hanukkah instead. Gotta keep reading about how different workers can holiday shift.

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  24. Deltaflute, why was the holiday established as "Christmas" and why was it placed on Dec. 25? Are we to believe it was coincidence, and that the name and date were completely accidental? That is a very bizarre proposition. Now, of course I understand that some folks (and the government) want it to be white-washed of any religious meaning/origin, etc., but that is a silly after-the-fact demand. I hope you get my point, but maybe I am not being clear.

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  25. And here in Ontario they have publically funded Catholic schools because its traditional. Christmas is the traditional name. But you cant have Christmas parties. And they may change the name if someone sues but it doesnt mean much. Things carry on much the same regardless of name. Because as I said other than the traditional use of the name they are picky about religion at work.

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  26. There's religion in the NAME of the holiday -- CHRISTmas...how do you just ignore that??

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  27. "Christianity is not a state religion (which is specifically prohibited by the First Amendment). So it is unlawful to display Christian symbols on government property."

    Bill, this doesn't logically follow. It's a non sequitur. Where is it written that the government can only display Christian symbols if Christianity is the state religion?

    The Constitution states that the government cannot establish a state religion, but displaying religious symbols (of ANY religion) is not establishing a state religion. If the government erected a nativity scene and forced its employees or citizens to worship it or bow down before it, that would absolutely be an unconstitutional act. Nothing of the sort has happened, however.

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  28. "They dont treat the holiday any different."

    That's true, except for one thing: The allowance of the depiction of the holiday. Other of those holidays are allowed to be depicted (look at the list of holidays from your link). You can imagine pictures of MLK on state property, of veterans, of flags, etc. But Christmas -- they clearly DO treat it differently. Don't want depictions of Christmas? Then change the name of the holiday, and even the date. But there was a reason the holiday was declared in the first place, and it was not simply a generic "festivus" that was the intent. It was called "Christmas" and put on Dec. 25, because that is the day of Christmas. If they want a new holiday, then eradicate the old. That is my point. But until that day comes, it should be legal to show a depiction of the holiday on public land. This was not controversial until very recently in our history. If our nation has changed, then jettison the holiday. But until that day….

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  29. In other words, you are talking about the culture that has evolved in the federal government (increased secularization), but I am talking about the fact that the holiday of Christmas, on Dec. 25, remains. As long as it remains, it should be legal to depict the even that it's commemorating.

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    1. ...it should be legal to depict the event that it's commemorating.

      sorry!

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  30. I'm sure its origins were religious. But it isnt an endorsement now. You argue that atheists should sue. I argue why? Its already been sanitized that its not even remotely a celebration of anything partcularly since fed workers do work that day. If you can prove that somehow the feds are endorsing some sort of religiousity to the day than okay. But so far the only thing you've got is a name. As I've said it can be transferred and because financial institutions are closed.

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    1. I think we are talking at cross purposes, but I will try again. I actually do not believe that atheists should sue at all. I think the whole thing is ridiculous. But obviously the holiday has NOT been completely sanitized of religion, since atheists are still frantically suing all over the place, when they see Nativity scenes. If it had been completely sanitized of religious sentiment (or thoughts of the Nativity) then why would they be suing and trying to remove things right and left?

      Again, you are arguing what the federal gov't culture is, and I am saying that the word is CHRISTMAS, which commemorates the Nativity. Until that name and date is wiped out, it should be legal to depict the scene that "Christmas" commemorates, just like any of the other holidays. Why is Christmas being treated differently?

      Perhaps it's me and I am not being clear.

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  31. Leila-have you ever been inside of a fed building? They typically dont put anything up regardless of holiday. The only exceptions are maybe public ones like the White House but they have up all sorts of Christmas stuff. My parents building was never decorated. Individuals decorated their cubicles but even then they were picky about what you could display (clutter and whatnot).

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  32. I guess my issue is that you're conflating workers' holiday schedule with nativity scenes. Holidays are based on contracts. Nativity scenes are decorations. They are separate issues. While the federal government appears to be public a lot about its workers is run more like a business. Atheists sue over stuff that is public. Workers sue over holiday naming is a private affair. If you read the link individual agencies can change what holidays the workers get. Make sense?

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  33. Deltaflute, it's irrelevant if there are nothing but white walls in a federal building. What does that have to do with my point in the OP? The atheists are suing to remove something, right? What are they suing to remove? Whether it's local/state/federal (military is federal, right?), the name of the holiday is Christmas and Christmas is a commemoration of the Nativity. Nativity scenes should be as legal as pictures of MLK, until the day that they eradicate the holiday.


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    1. Sorry, I am being so unclear because I am in a rush to make an appt. I should have said:

      "Deltaflute, even if there are nothing but bare white walls in a federal building, that is irrelevant to the OP."

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  34. How is it irrelevant? You are arguing that nativity scenes should remain because other holidays have decor yes? But they dont. That's my point. My other point is that federal holidays are to benefit workers. Why else would the Feds have holidays? Its not like businesses or even states are required to follow suit.

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  35. Deltaflute, Leila isn't arguing that the purpose of federal holidays is not to benefit workers.

    She's saying that since the federal government has chosen to call this holiday CHRISTMAS, then it shouldn't be a problem to allow traditional Christmas decorations on federal property. If they don't want traditional Christmas decorations on federal property, then they should not call the holiday Christmas (regardless of what benefits workers receive on that day).

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  36. JoAnna- Two points. 1) What they call is based on tradition and its contractual with workers. If the workers wish to change the name then they can. Non workers really have no say over what employment websites say. I have no idea if there's ever been any formal declaration like MLK day. So I'm not sure if its a strawman or not on that end.

    2) Having experienced religious persecution myself allowed by a public school. I can assure nothing will convince me that its okay to mix religion with the public. I believe in protecting individuals rights but public institutions arent the same thing. If a manger scene were errected without allowing room for other expressions I would become gravely concerned. But as Ive said I'm a moderate. I know yoi and Leila are conservatives.

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  37. Official word from my dad about decor. Nativity scenes allowed in vacinity of work station. Public areas are general decor and for collections. I assume he means food donations for poor and that sort of thing. I assume its the same for all holidays. I dont recall any giant turkeys in the building but I think they had fall decor.

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  38. If you have a question I can put you in contact with him. Rules arent easy to find. They are usually meant for employee handbooks.

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  39. Backing up a little bit....I find it bizarre that people get offended by the birth of Christ. It kinda reminds me of Herod's reaction, the fear of Jesus usurping his royal status. Jesus was born out of love and for love of all humans...and that's offensive? Do atheists even fully understand why they're offended by the Nativity scene?

    I personally want to understand what it is exactly that offends people. And I'm not buying the "religious" complaint, which seems slightly like a cop out. It's people's choice to accept or deny Christ. If they want to refuse to believe in Christ, that's their choice, but they should respect those of us who do accept Christ and desire to celebrate His birth.

    So, what is it about Christ's birth? Why the controversy?

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  40. Deltaflute, like Leila said earlier, I think you're conflating culture with what logic dictates. Leila isn't trying to claim anything about the culture of government workplaces -- for example, if the manager of a post office disallows religious Christmas decorations, that may be the culture but it's an illogical mandate given that the religious festival Christmas is given recognition as a federal holiday.

    So, the existing culture is very illogical. That's the entire point. Whether it is right or wrong is a different discussion.

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  41. Did some digging...Christmas was officially a holiday back in 1870 when they started them. Under title 5 it doesnt apply to states ect. Basically just for workers. Arizona does not have a Christmas as an official holiday although state workers do get the day off (confused about that one). So I suppose state building have no decor? I asked my dad some follow up questions. I'll let you know his remarks.

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  42. But see my point isnt about culture at all. These are federal regulations on employees similar to a code for appropriate work attire. The feds regulate what appropriate decor in both public and private work space. Leila is claiming its atheists. But that isnt the whole of it. Atheists are only a part of it. Sure they sue over mangers but the feds are regulating stuff too. You couldnt even TELL your coworkers where you went to church. Forget what you told the public.

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  43. In other words its an unfair mischaracterization. If you want to get angry talk to your congressmen. They are the ones who dictate most of this. I'm sure there are suits but mostly what I see is state and local level these days from public court houses to parks. And not all states have Christmas.

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  44. And why in the world should the government have to follow the schedule of banks? Or are banks following the schedule of the government?

    The point of the post is that the federal government recognizes Christmas as a paid holiday for every business. While an employee can request to take another paid day off instead of December 25th, if an employee has to work on that day then the law stipulates that they get paid time and half for working on what has been designated a special day.

    In general the government doesn't just choose random days to designate holidays. Each holiday is celebrated for a specific purpose, to commemorate an event or person. Christmas is a holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, whether all of the people who celebrate believe in Jesus or not.

    There are other religious holidays that businesses that can choose to recognize and close down for. (For instance, many businesses in the Chicago suburbs close down for Eastern Orthodox Good Friday.) However, the federal government has decided that all businesses must recognize Christmas under penalty of law and a business must or chooses to be open on Christmas they have to provide extra compensation or an equivalent paid day off.

    Now if atheists don't like the fact that the federal government forces all businesses to recognized a religious holiday with a paid day off or pay and a half, then by logic they should stop complaining about decorations and demand that the federal government stop recognizing a religious holy day.

    Although if they want to have a holiday to celebrate the Winter Solstice, a scientific fact, that just seems kind of silly unless one is also going to have paid holidays for Summer Solstice and the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes. (Yay, let's celebrate that the earth orbits the sun!)

    The only logical atheistic argument is to abolish the paid winter holiday that comes before New Year's Day. Suing over creches is just pettiness and ignoring the elephant in the room.

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  45. Leila I think you should be a lawyer! It makes perfect logical sense to me that if it's a gov. holiday we should be able to display what it's about.

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  46. Now in my village (a suburb of Chicago), the government center puts up a multi-faith and multi-cultural display with decorations for Hannukkah, Ramadan, Diwali, Christmas, and Kwanzaa all together. When the atheists complained, the mayor told them they could come up with their own tasteful holiday display to be added to the collection or they could shut up.

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    1. lol lol lol Sour grapes, even when there is an all-inclusive display.

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  47. Barbara- The feds cant force a business to recognize any holiday under title 5. Banks are private institutions. They can close whenever they wish. The feds work with such institutions. Think garnishing for back taxes and loans. If the bank is closed a worker may not be able to complete paperwork. At this point who choose what day to close is irrelevant. Sometimes the fed closes down and banks stay open. Its just how the business of government works at least on a non political level.

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  48. The feds regulate what appropriate decor in both public and private work space.

    Right. And any regulation against religious-themed Christmas decorations is illogical, since the holiday of Christmas is federally recognized.

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  49. Deltaflute:

    Government, whether local, state, or federal, chose to designate a holiday on the Feast of Christmas (and the gov't calls it "Christmas", even on the list from your link).

    As long as this is a government-sanctioned holiday, the representation of that holiday cannot logically be illegal.

    It really is just that simple.

    Get rid of the government holiday called "Christmas", which is celebrated on Dec. 25 (a Church feast day), and then there would be a legal case for getting rid of scenes that depict … Christmas.

    This has nothing at all to do with "conservative" vs. "moderate".



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  50. The feds regulate what appropriate decor in both public and private work space. Leila is claiming its atheists. But that isnt the whole of it. Atheists are only a part of it. Sure they sue over mangers but the feds are regulating stuff too.

    Then, to Leila's original point, unless or until the holiday is done away with, people have freedom of religious expression.

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  51. Totally off-topic, but in about ten minutes, I will be interviewed on Immaculate Heart Radio in Phx (it's been taped). You can listen to it (I think), here (you have to click "Phoenix feed"):

    http://ihradio.com/listen/

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  52. "If a manger scene were errected without allowing room for other expressions I would become gravely concerned."

    But a manger represents the government holiday of Christmas. Are the "other expressions" also government holidays? If so, let them be depicted, legally, too. If not, then we have a whole other discussion, beyond the scope of this post.

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  53. I can't find you and I'm listening to Phx live feed! : ( All I hear is the grating voice of a "Dr. Guerendi" Ooooh, ugh, what a voice for radio.

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  54. And my point is the feds dont view it the way we do and more to point they regulate everything. You are targetting atheists specifically in the OP. If you read the linked article they even say the nativity scene violated federal regs of the air force. really you should talk to your congressmen or the head of that specific agency and have them change the regs. It does no good to target an atheist group if its on the books as being a violator.

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  55. Miss G, drat, me too! I don't know what is going on. The show I am on ("The Catholic Conversation") is brand new, so maybe they messed up. I will try to figure it out. Sigh….

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    1. Ha ha, even the hosts of the show (the Greenes) are confused, as they were told it would run at 11:00! (Even the diocese and other entities put out a tweet that it would be at 11:00.) Someone messed up the times. Bummer. I will let you know when I get word.

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    2. Yes, please keep us updated!

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  56. Deltaflute, I only linked one thing because I am lazy. The incidents of especially small towns and schools, etc., being bullied into removing the nativity scenes are all over the place. They often target towns far away (not even in the atheists' community or state), knowing that they do not have the money to pay lawyers to litigate these scrooges.

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  57. sad! I was looking forward to the experience of hearing you voice-after all this time, I imagine it to be a transcendent experience

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  58. Yes they are government holidays in as much as bureaus can substitute them and individual workers can as well. People could celebrate Robert E. Lee day if they want to. Official holidays dont carry any real weight and as I've argued are largely for secular purposes. If it will make you feel better, I'll petition congress to change the name. But I've got the distinct feeling that you'd rather more religiousness in public places not less. Particularly Christian ones. So I guess my question is do you want the holiday be eradicated or changed? Why exactly do we need nativity scenes in government buildings? That is a political question.

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  59. Miss G, ha!! I have had folks wonder what I sound like, so this is a fun chance to let that happen. I fear I have a voice for blogging. ;)

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  60. Leila- you talking local recognition versus federal which are different. Sure you can get upset with atheists about lawsuits but its pointless. If the feds have their own regs then target those. If Arizona doesnt recognize Christmas than target that. Atheists can challenge. It may be annoying but its their right. You can challenge too. Personally Idont like public religious displays. I tend to side with atheists on that one.

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  61. "So I guess my question is do you want the holiday be eradicated or changed? Why exactly do we need nativity scenes in government buildings? That is a political question."

    You are way over-thinking this. I am bothered by the lack of logic. If a government holiday is "Christmas", it is illogical that the representations of "Christmas" are deemed to be "illegal". So, so simple. Atheists who wish to eradicate Christmas scenes on public property should be working to eradicate Christmas as a government holiday, not the displays depicting it.

    We don't "need" nativity scenes anywhere, so I am not sure what the question means? We don't "need" water coolers" or even "pants", frankly. We don't "need" family photos, music, or even artwork. Does that mean we must make those things illegal?

    Now, you are asking me something personal, so let's get away from the point of the post for a minute and open a new subject: I do so love the tradition of Christmas in our nation (you should investigate what happens to families/societies/cultures that cut off all traditional expressions), and it would be a shame to have it leave the public square. It's not a matter of "need", it's a matter of tradition and connection.

    But as relates to this post, it's strictly a matter of logic. Either cut the holiday out, or don't let the nativity be ILLEGAL. Makes.no.sense.

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    1. I didn't know they taped the first part as their own introductions! I will be on soonish, I am sure. :)

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  63. Sure maybe they should. But its equally illogically to blame atheists on regulations mandated by the feds. If you want there to be creches why blame atheists for pointing regulation violations? Thats a fed issue and has nothing to do with atheists. Local levels are case by case as I said. But in Arizona since there is no recognition the idea that there should be a creche in a state building falls flat. Unless you want to make Christmas a state recognized holiday.

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    1. Isn't it the atheists who are going out seeking nativities displayed on government property so they can sue them? That is the point. Just leave it be...regardless of who mandated the regulations...unless their fight is to change the name of Christmas. The nativity depicts the reason Christmas is Christmas.

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  64. Drat, I guess my comment got lost...I'm still wondering why atheists find Nativity scenes offensive (beyond the cop out "religious" reason). I mean, it's two parents (Joseph & Mary) with the baby Jesus, some animals, wise men, and shepherds. Jesus is an historical figure, so what is wrong with acknowledging/recognizing His birth (even if it's not the exact day)?

    What did Jesus do that offends people to the point of controversy? Again, atheists choose not to believe in Him, which is their choice, but they shouldn't complain when Christians want to acknowledge Jesus, which is our choice. What am I missing?

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  65. "But its equally illogically to blame atheists on regulations mandated by the feds."

    Wait… who do you think was behind the mandated regulations? Who demanded the regulations?

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  66. Wow-I enjoyed hearing you on-air.

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  67. Thanks, Gwen! It was a bit weird hearing it on my end, ha ha! Did my voice meet your expectations of transcendence? ;)

    I'm actually honored that you took the time to listen to it!

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  68. Ha ha ha! yes, you have a very nice voice : ) I like the sounds of the baby in the background too. I hope you get more air time in the future.

    Just for the record though, I come here to read things I don't agree with which strengthens my own convictions and opinions.

    Margo-I don't find the nativity scenes offensive....when they're in front of private businesses, homes, Churches or amongst other celebratory/religious symbols in public spaces-such as the place Barbara describes.

    I actually really like the aesthetic of the plastic lighted nativity figurines and would like to buy several camels, donkeys, sheep and wise men and re-arrange them on our lawn into a different visual narrative. Maybe one of these days...

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  69. Leila- which ones? I'm not sure why an atheist group cares about what fed employees talk about amonst themselves. Or are you talking about decorations? To me its all symptomatic of the feds deliberately and severly quashing anything remotely religious. Who starting getting uptight about it matters little at this point. Atheists cant dictate what employees say to one another. Only the Feds can. If the Feds wanted to they could all any and all religious displays in public but typically they dont. They purposely avoid any confrontation and secularize everything.

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  70. I'm glad you can appreciate the aesthetic appeal, Miss G!

    I still want to pinpoint what exactly it is about Jesus that makes a visual representation of His birth offensive? Is it just that for whatever reason, you cannot believe in Him as God? Even without belief in His Divinity, can there at least be agreement that Jesus was a historical figure worth celebrating?

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  71. "They purposely avoid any confrontation and secularize everything."

    Deltaflute, why? Who makes them?

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  72. C- as groups it depends. In the article Leila mentioned it was individual airmen who contacted the group. I get the impression that its individuals who contact groups. I dont think they can patrol all areas particularly ones with restricted acess like air force bases. You only see part of anything federally operated as a public individual. My parents worked as feds (not FBI) so I got to see their offices sometimes. I think this whole patrolling atheist groups thing is media sensationalism given that its so restricted.

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  73. Yes, I can agree Jesus is a historical figure central to celebrating Christmas for Christians. I also enjoy the Christmas carols and some of the children's books telling the story of the three wise men.

    That said, when I say "Happy Winter Solstice" to someone, it's because I legitimately find it worth celebrating and at least, meaningful to me

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  74. Thanks, Gwen! They did say that they would have me back as a guest sometime. :)

    "Just for the record though, I come here to read things I don't agree with which strengthens my own convictions and opinions."

    Got it. And yet, you are still just a youngster, and God is not done pursuing you… ;)
    I just heard about a book called Deathbed Conversions. They are not the most common thing, but they are very real of course. I like Oscar Wilde's conversion. But I don't want God to wait till you are on your deathbed! He will likely surprise you. :)

    As for the nativity, will you comment on the points I make in the original post? Isn't it logical? If not, show me where.

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  75. Leila- who makes them? Do you mean the worker? Because that would be burocratic pressure. Why the burocratcs (ack my spelling)? That depends. Could be political pressure or individual hatred. When it comes to different agencies its not so black and white. My mom was the regional president for the union. That's another line of pressure. You could aldo argue the public or the President. Depends really. Atheist groups are only a small drop in the bucket. Lobbyists are pretty powerful. There is equally Christian lobby groups. Hence relaxing the policy of bringing up your religion among co workers.

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  76. No one complained up the chain of command, no one contacted the chaplain's office, this is per the article. It was a militant atheist group that made the complaint.

    And all were offered a chance to erect a display:
    "The Air Force base released a statement explaining that all faith-based and secular groups were offered an opportunity to put up holiday displays. The only group to take advantage of the offer was the one that erected the Nativity."

    So the Christians take up the offer and get shouted down, not thru the chain of command, but from outside pressure groups who had the same opportunity to make their own display. But no, it's not about making a display and joining the party. It's about crying that there's even a party going on.

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  77. Yes, there is pressure brought to bear, to secularize. I oppose those attempts. Most of America likes the Christmas holiday (of course!). Individuals can be very powerful. Have you read about Mikey Weinstein and how much sway he has (in the military alone; that is only one area of government)?

    The point is, if we are becoming godless, then let's remove the holiday. You still miss the point of the OP.

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  78. Nubby- perhaps they were worried about retribution from their commander? No idea really. It just says people complained to the group. It doesnt say the group stalked the base.

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  79. My question is merely a logical: Why would they complain since they were given the exact same opportunity to be included in erecting a display?

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  80. Do you oppose those attempts on a public scale and to what degree? I dont know anything about Weinstein. I dont keep up with the military. Okay let's remove it then. Fine by me. What point am I missing? The part about creches can violate federal regulations? Or back in 1870 Christmas was one of 3 fed holidays? Or atheists dont like Christmas decor( okay some of them. My husband the confused likes them)? I'm just trying to figure out if you want government and religion to cross paths more often or if you really believe that atheists are the problem?

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  81. Nubby- because it violates federal regulations. My mom got into it over her shoes. Yes shoes. She argued they were professional enough for work. Coworker thought they were to casual. Some people are sticklers for rules. Point isnt to ignorr them. Point is to question why they are there in the first place.

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  82. Shoes and that type of protocol were in place before she was hired. Nativity scene and other displays were offered.

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  83. Nubby- the article states that the creche was not in a proper location. I think there were some other regs involved too. If you read up thread my dad said in his agency indivdual work stations can have creches but not in public areas. Just general decor. The feds have numerous regs in place and change them periodically. Workers have unions. But burocrats can and do have regs for each agency. And all workers and agencies have to abide by them too. Its not simply a public thing. Its a policy thing. Does that make sense? If you want creches at the IRS you have to lobby to change the policy. Just like people lobbied to be able to talk about faith to coworkers at all. The public seems to think this is atheists suing. Its more complicated.

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    1. Yes, I totally get the protocol/policy issue.
      That's apart from the article's points, though. That was my argument.

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  84. "What point am I missing? The part about creches can violate federal regulations?"

    The point you are missing is the silliness of having lawsuits (or federal regulations) against displays that commemorate a holiday that is recognized by the government! You don't see the lunacy of that? See, my brain just twists at it. It's like the other examples I gave: "We, the government, declare a holiday honoring the presidents! But if you put any likenesses of the presidents on government property to commemorate said holiday that we declared, you will be afoul of the law!"

    Seriously, it's laughable!

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  85. Deltaflute, I guess if you are saying that the feds regulate the displays because of "clutter" issues (we like bare hallways, foyers, for safety reasons), then that's one thing. But I believe the reason given for the nativity takedowns all around the nation (schools, city halls, courtrooms included) is that they are religious in nature and that, somehow (for the first time in our history!), is not allowed.

    Here's my solution. If they say that the nativity is celebrating a religious holiday, we respond, "Oh no, it's actually celebrating the government holiday!" Bam, we get to keep our creches, ha ha.

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  86. I see. I just view it differently maybe because I live in Canada now. But the word Christmas holds very little religious value on a fed level anymore. Its just tradition. Like Thanksgiving is less about giving and more about eating. Or Prez day is just a day off. Do people even hold parades or anything?

    Even Christians tend to forget hence the whole three gifts phenomenon and people attempts to deliniate Advent from the true Christmas season. We've all lost a bit about all holidays. Most have such secular trappings now. I see this as just symptomatic of the whole culture not just atheists against Christians.

    Frankly that's fine with me. I dont want a secular institution trying to tell me how or what to celebrate. They try to do enough of that already. Just remove it all together. I'll keep my creche at home.

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  87. There's the tiny paragraph above the location describing "an undisclosed number of Airmen who said they were emotionally troubled by the sight of the plastic Jewish family."

    Undisclosed number, could be 2, could be 100. The location wasn't the crux of the complaint.

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  88. Btw policy is different than law. Its not illegal to display a creche. Its policy and sometimes creche displays violate policies. Individual agency heads can and do change what is allowed. Big difference. Sure law affects policy but policy doesnt affect law.

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    1. Again, I get the heavy protocol, believe me. But that's not the crux of the complaint nor of the article.

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    2. I made the distinction because of the many "illegal"s thrown about. Some people dont get theres a difference. Just making sure we're on the same page with terms. Not directed to anyone in particular.

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  89. Nubby- No it wasnt. But I thought you wrre asking why the group cared. The head was informed of both the complaints and the violations. Violations along warrant the change. But the larger question is why didnt it simply get moved? Or fixed? Thats on the head guy.

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  90. "But the word Christmas holds very little religious value on a fed level anymore. Its just tradition. Like Thanksgiving is less about giving and more about eating. Or Prez day is just a day off. Do people even hold parades or anything?

    Even Christians tend to forget hence the whole three gifts phenomenon and people attempts to deliniate Advent from the true Christmas season. We've all lost a bit about all holidays. Most have such secular trappings now. I see this as just symptomatic of the whole culture not just atheists against Christians.

    Frankly that's fine with me."


    And see, that's where we differ, because it's not fine with me. I find your description in those two paragraphs to be accurate and tragic, and that is not fine with me. It's lamentable.

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  91. Why? Why do you want a secular institution dictating Christmas to you? Isn't that the Church's job? Maybe you misunderstood. I'm glad that the feds are backing off. Individuals are a different story. Its lamentable that people have lost the meaning. But yes frankly I'm glad the government is more secular not less. If the whole contraceptive mandate has taught us anything its that we should run to the church and not seek refuge in the secular institution of government.

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  92. They already are dictating it, as far as our freedom to express it goes. The Church's job is to pass along faith and morals. The govt's job is to allow citizens to express their religion while not establishing one.

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  93. I don't even understand the comment, Deltaflute. I have never thought of the Christmas holiday as "a secular institution dictating Christmas to me". I don't even know what that means. What do you mean "the feds are backing off"? You mean they are wiping out Christmas decorations and symbols in the public square even though their is government holiday commemorating Christmas? I think that is very sad. I really have no understanding of what you mean, or your perspective, and I promise, I am trying.

    The culture I grew up in (not so long ago) was a really nice place at Christmas time. I had no beef with it. Even my Jewish husband never thought a thing about Christmas decorations or celebrations being "offensive". He loved all the Christmas shows, even the religious ones (and remember how Charlie Brown shows had Linus reading Scripture?). It was not a cause for offense, because people like my Jewish husband and his relatives were not trained to be offended. They actually enjoyed the holiday trappings, too.

    "If the whole contraceptive mandate has taught us anything its that we should run to the church and not seek refuge in the secular institution of government."

    Maybe I am having a fuzzy-headed day, but what does this mean? I have no idea. How does this apply? We want refuge from the increasingly secular government in this case. The government has overstepped the Constitution and God's law and infringed on our God-given rights of conscience and religious liberty.

    Again, sorry, but I totally confused by your points.

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  94. A little off-topic, but I love what this Jew learned about Christmas (and how much he loved it) when he was among Muslims. :)

    http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2012/12/25/a-yeshiva-boy-and-christmas-n1473695/page/full

    And, sorry for cringe-worthy typos in my last comment!

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  95. Nubby- The Church's job also is to establish a means to express faith and morals as well. Liturgical codes come to mind. Methods of worship even down to kneeling and bowing. The government has no place in that. So far the government hasn't encroached on those means of expression only those of moral conscience. The more the government takes a neutral or apathetic stance the better. I dont want my children learning about Christmas from a secular institution. Just dont even bring it up at all as it confuses. I'd rather it the Church taught them.

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  96. Leila- They teach religion in public schools and Christmas no? Why do we want a sanitized version of the Truth? Why not just go to the source? Why rely on the government for that? Do you really want other children to hear about Christmas as the government sees it? Because that is the only exposure some get. The Church is our teacher. So why look to the government? It messes up all the time saying stuff is accommodating when it isnt. Why so much faith in a secular institute? That's what I'm saying. I dont want to fix the government. I want to eradicate its role. It shouldn't have one to begin with other than to remain neutral.

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  97. I'm talking about public expressions as a citizen.

    My take away here is that you see the fed govt backing out of (or forcibly making others back out off) religious displays as a good thing.
    I see it as: their responsibility should be to the citizen, in protecting our right to express that.

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  98. In other words WE are called to evangelize. Why is the government heavily relied on for that? What does it matter if there is a creche or not if there's noone to explain it to you?

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  99. A nativity scene on display is an expression of faith for those who celebrate the Incarnation of Christ. It's not simply an evangelizing tool.

    I do not rely on the government at all to evangelize. I rely on them to allow me to. To protect my expression of my religion. To not force me to take down a nativity scene because a person who doesn't know the meaning of it is, "troubled emotionally" while glancing at it, and calls on a group to pressure me to remove that expression which I, myself, completely understand and am within my rights to express and celebrate.

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  100. Nubby- I'm confused by what you mean by public expressions. As a citizen you display what you want on your own property. You can pray on street corners which is somewhat restricted in Canada btw. A creche on federal property is different. Are you saying there should be no restrictions? So flying speghetti monsters are fine?

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  101. I'm certain it must be me, because I don't get anything you are saying, Deltaflute. For example, you said:

    "Do you really want other children to hear about Christmas as the government sees it? Because that is the only exposure some get."

    What does this mean? What would that look like (please give an example)?

    I went to public schools K-12 and nothing was amiss about the way I was "exposed" to Christmas. So….?

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  102. By the way, symbols and images and collective memory are powerful ways that we experience culture, and they connect us to our past, shared experiences, who we are as a nation, etc. Did you read the Prager article I linked? It's not long.

    We have never been a godless, secular, white-washed culture before. Why would we go in that direction and how would it serve us as Americans?

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  103. It's this kind of lunacy that makes me laugh. It's like parody, or an SNL skit:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/17/schools-slams-door-on-santa/

    But despite the entertainment value of listening to the principal's attempts at answers, the main question is ignored: Isn't Christmas a government holiday? I bet dollars to donuts that this same school puts up pictures of MKL on MLK Day.

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  104. Leila- I went to andworked at public schools. Christmas is about Santa Claus and elves. In the 4th grade I was the tissue elf. They leave out Christmas's true meaning or avoid it altogether. Not sure if your school spoke of Virgin births. Mine didnt.

    In fact we werent allowed anything Christmasy. I played a medley of the Jingle Bells and the Grinch stole Christmas. Thats about it. No Handles Messiah or Bach cantatas.

    As you mention these are the images. Do you really think thats Christmas? Is that the experience you want?

    I'm not sure what you mean by never being godless and secular? Isnt government a secular institution? And if not what is it and what in your view should it look like? Should we include the flying spaghetti monster? I'm trying to figure out what scope you think government should take over religion.

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  105. Deltaflute,

    Tucson Unified School District, '70s and '80s. We always sang the religious Christmas songs along with the Santa songs. Always. It's Christmas music, on the Christmas holiday. We even called it Christmas break, etc. No big whoop.

    My kids' public charter school, classical curriculum, the choirs, which included my son, sang all the classical, Western Civ Christmas songs, including Handel's Messiah, which was SO glorious and received a STANDING ovation, even by the Jewish parents and secular parents in the room. It was incredible.

    That is our patrimony in the West. Classics. Truly awesome, and everyone loved it.

    I have no problem at all with the Santa/Elf stuff at the schools at Christmas time. How fun is that? We also used to do Dreidel stuff and sing the Dreidel song. I, as a Christian, was in no way offended.

    What religion is associated with a Flying Spaghetti Monster? And if there were a federal holiday (even perhaps for over a century) in America honoring Flying Spaghetti Monster with his own Day, then yes, I would expect that his image could be displayed. Obviously.

    I have no concept of what you are talking about when you say:

    "I'm trying to figure out what scope you think government should take over religion."

    This is like Greek to me. I can't make it out or make sense of what you are asking as whatever you are getting at is not on my radar screen. Sorry.

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    1. Clarifying, that charter public school concert took place just a couple of weeks ago. Probably twenty songs were religious Christmas songs, and it was so, so, so good. Even the Jewish and atheist kids were singing their hearts out about the newborn King, virgin birth, and how the devil had been defeated, etc. (whatever the lyrics to some of the classic songs are…)

      Why is it that no one was offended before? Why is this an issue only recently in our nation? Why weren't the kids in my elementary school and high school offended? We all got along just fine, and we would have known if our non-Christian friends were appalled or put out. I never heard a peep, and we all loved the Christmas season in school. I think perhaps people have to be taught to be "offended" by Christmas.

      Did you read the article by Dennis Prager?

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  106. Leila- I didnt grow up i n Tucson. I grew up in MS. Very different. Not every American is exposed to the same thingz. Question did you learn about the Virgin birth at school? And isnt that what Christmas is about? Charter schools are different. They have more leeway.

    The flying spaghetti monster is a joke. Atheists argue it but there are also displays. Google it if your interested.

    I'm trying to figure out where the line is to be drawn. Do we have dwala or ramadan in schools? Is that acceptable? Does the government have a right to teach my religion and should they? Should they teach anyone else's? As I said its sanitized. I learned facts about Islam. It didnt make me understand it better nor explains the spirituality of it. I can see dreidls but doesnt explain significance. In my mind its better to experience faith and you wont get that in a public classroom. Otherwise symbols mean nothing. Handles messaih is meaningless if you dont understand the words.

    Yes there's a federal holiday called Christmas. But what does that even mean to a secular institution? Facts? Santa? The Church holds the keys not government.

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  107. No I havent. Not sure why its relevent. I'm only interested in your thoughts. I seriously doubt we will come to a consensus because we dont share the same backgrounds. You didnt grow up in the Bible belt south. I didnt grow up in the predominately catholic southwest. Ones perceptions are often driven by ones own experiences.

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  108. Wow, I just don't know what to say. Handel's Messiah moves everyone who hears it. It's called "beauty". Same with visions of the Nativity, even if one does not know what it means. Things do operate at the level of the soul. We are not automatons, or pod people. I have a feeling that my experience in AZ a few decades back was not unusual. My husband did not grow up in AZ, but in GA and CA and NV, and he sang Christmas songs and enjoyed Christmas programs as a Jewish kid. It cannot be that we are the only two who experience this with no issue.

    Did you read the Prager article?

    PS: Charter schools have more leeway (to be like public schools used to be!), but they are still charter schools. The concert was not illegal. And it was transcendent. In a public school, imagine that!

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  109. Wait, you grew up in the Bible belt and had no Christmas expression in the public schools? You must be way younger than I am, because I would expect more there, not less.

    As for the Prager article, it expresses for me what I am trying to convey to you, about culture (since you are okay with making it increasingly secular). If you won't read it, I highly encourage my other readers to do so. It is excellent.

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  110. I asked dad some follow up questions. He said Congress called it Christmas. As I said any religious meaning associated with has long been gone. The government is a secular institution and behaves that way. I dont understand why people want it to be religious. Because thats the only alternative that I can see.

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  111. I'm probably gonna give up here in a minute, Deltaflute, and let others engage you if they want, but this:

    Congress called it Christmas. As I said any religious meaning associated with has long been gone.

    Why did Congress call it Christmas and not something else? Why did they place this holiday called Christmas on December 25 (i.e., Christmas Day)? Who says that the religious meaning associate with it is "long gone" and if it is "long gone", why?

    But back to the BASIC point: There is a government holiday called "Christmas", which commemorates the birth of a person called Christ. The depiction of that historical event is the Nativity scene, as recorded in history via Scripture (which records the history of the man named Christ). If we have a government holiday called "Christmas" it is ludicrous that a depiction of Christmas could be illegal.

    And really, if it's still not clear what I'm saying, then I will bow out of this particular conversation.

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  112. And honestly, I'm still trying to get over this:

    "Handles messaih is meaningless if you dont understand the words."

    So, so, so untrue.

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  113. Culture or religion? Those are different. Sure we study culture but as I said it means little as understanding faith. Music can be beautiful without any religious association. So can art. You can learn the words of the song. As a musician I struggle to explain the difference between a performance meant for worship and one meant for performance purposes only. To me it makes a difference. I just havent the right words.

    Yes I grew up in the Bible Belt but they have restrictions and curriculum. You cant just say whatever. Although it didnt stop the public prayers by Protestant ministers that I was subjected to. Let's just say Catholics were not welcome. Neither Rabbis or Imams. So no it wasnt great. And no I dont want to get the weird Prot version about Jesus birth including nasty remarks about Mary. I'm glad it never came up.

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  114. Leila, you are thinking about it too logically. (Ha ha) The courts only answer the questions posed to it. So since people complain that the displays of Christmas violate Church and State the courts state they can't display them. (Deltaflute, that is why we have the regulations. Because the government doesn't want to get sued.) No one has ever made the argument that the day shouldn't be called Christmas. The courts aren't going to stretch themselves to address that issue on their own because most think these types of lawsuits are as stupid as we do.

    Deltaflute- it isn't about the government being religious it is about people being free. The government is made up of people (as you know better than everyone else.) The government workers should have the right to display holiday decorations if they wish. Many offices in this country aren't in New York or DC they are in smaller towns across America. They are in communities who are primarily Christian and while they may not all agree on one brand of Christianity, they can typically agree on a holiday display. Telling the federal (or state) office in Hays, KS they can't display the Nativity because they will offend the non-existent atheist is kinda silly.

    My government uses my tax dollars on all sorts of stupid modern art displays. I would much rather they make an effort to spend them on a nice Christmas display which will spread hope and cheer. And maybe remind everyone to be nice to each other. After all the Nativity is universally understood in this country......modern art sure isn't.

    - Kathleen

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  115. Sorry. But a lot of religious stuff has been secularized. People forget MLK was a preacher. I wasnt taught that fact in school. But I was taught about 95 thesis being nailed to a church door as fact when its not.

    I'm sorry you have a different understanding of music than I do. To me its disjointed to not know the meaning behind words or to sing the sounds without knowing the translations. I get that not everyone cares about music to that degree. It just isnt so meaningful in my opinion. Its like looking at a poem and not getting the hidden meaning or structure of it. You miss something.

    If Christmas is still religious to the government than prove it is so. You yourself are arguing that to a degree its not because there are no images. Why? I've already explained that its the culture.

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  116. I have said it before and I will say it again. Hearing nasty things about your religion is not religious persecution. Being hanged from trees because you dared to attend Mass- THAT is religious persecution. (We are spoiled in this Country (including Canada) and in this time.)

    Telling us we all have to be silent because you don't like what the Baptists have to say is just wrong. I would argue that is closer to religious persecution because you could be potentially stopping worship (prayer).

    -Kathleen

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  117. Kathleen- my parents offices were in MS. They could have nativity sets at their cubical. So thats a moot point. As for public areas....yes atheists go to public buildings. So not exactly sure what you mean than. Because even in the most homogeneous areas in the states there are different faiths. And within the same office.

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  118. Kathleen- it is wrong to give a child a grade for something religious they disagree with. You cannot force a child to show up for football games and be graded on your attendence which includes listening to ministers pray (which sound a bit like sermons). Theres a difference between free exposure and if you graduate or not.

    And no where did I say religious persecution. Discrimination yes. And in the case of grades one could argue a violation of ones indivdual freedom.

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  119. "2) Having experienced religious persecution myself allowed by a public school. I can assure nothing will convince me that its okay to mix religion with the public." 9:27 AM.

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  120. Why would it be wrong? You are grading the child on attendance not on prayer. So they listen to a prayer or a sermon they don't agree with, so what? I listened to hours of nonsense from my teachers growing up and got graded on it to boot.

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  121. Okay maybe way up the thread i said persecuted. Poor wording I guess. Dont remember what I was up to at the time. Certainly felt awful and was confusing in childhood. But was I threatened. No. More like required.

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  122. "I get that not everyone cares about music to that degree. It just isnt so meaningful in my opinion. Its like looking at a poem and not getting the hidden meaning or structure of it. You miss something."

    You totally lost me there, Deltaflute. Are you saying that unless a catechumen can read and write, unless he understands the stitching behind the tapestry, unless he understands the Latin in the chant, then it is not meaningful to him? That only the "elite" and "educated" can understand truth, goodness, beauty? I am so firmly opposed to that idea.

    I guarantee you that there are children and pagans who find deeper meaning and goodness and truth and beauty in Handel's Messiah or in the Pieta than the most learned "scholars" on the subject who look only through the eyes of academia. It's like the Jesus Seminar "scholars" who know the Bible in the same way that a coroner knows one's late Aunt Martha.

    Gosh, if our faith teaches us anything, it's that truth, goodness and beauty are universal, and the soul (of any education level, any age) responds to it naturally.

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  123. So since you felt as a child you were required to participate (which was wrong and should not have happened) I am required to be silent. Don't you see how that's the other side of the same coin?

    I have no right to force you to pray. You have no right to stop me.

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  124. When I was in elementary school (1987-1992, or thereabouts) we did a religious Christmas play every other year (so, one year it'd be about Jesus, the next year it'd be about Santa). Plus we did the Hallelujah Chorus when I was in high school, as well as many religious songs in choir (when I was a senior, I sang "Beautiful Savior" with a group of other girls at the stateusic competition.

    Amazingly, nobody died from being exposed to so much religion.

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  125. Who cares if someone is forced to attend a football game? Gosh, we were "forced" to attend concerts, as are my kids today. They are required to do a lot of things they don't want to. That's called "life", and I can't imagine what I would say to them if they started crying about that as if they were being put upon. No wonder we are so sue happy and lack any respect for authority.

    Kids have to hear a prayer? Um, I guess they had better not show C-span in schools when they open a congressional session. Or they had better not take a school trip to the Rotunda and see the word "God" on the walls.

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  126. Leila
    Is your radio interview available to listen to? I only just now saw your post and I'd like to hear it.

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    1. Johanne, yes, in a few days it should be available to hear online and I will be sure to let you know! Thanks so much!

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  127. Kat- really? You equate public worship with teaching? I was required to be there at attention. Its not like I could leave. Isnt that part of attendence? So listening to an Imams call to worship is fine? Or worse requiring it? What's next make a Jehovah's witness say the pledge? At some point you are sacrificing the individuals rights if you think being graded is fine. Isnt that what governments role is? To protect the individual. Sorry but I draw the line. If you want that there are private schools.

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  128. There is a difference between having to sit passively by while a group of people pray and forcing a child to say a pledge which is against his religion. YES the government must protect the individuals but we all must live together. You're right to "not hear" are prayer ends with my right to say it.

    I am sorry you are so bitter about having to listen to someone else pray or preach. I'm sure it was very annoying. But I don't think silencing people is the answer.

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    1. Bah Your right not you're.....it is getting late

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  129. Deltaflute, there is a huge difference between having a JW recite the pledge or merely hear the pledge being recited by others. One of my best friends in grade school was a JW, and she stood silently but respectfully while the rest of us said the pledge. No one required her to say the pledge. Same with a prayer at a football game. Just "hearing" a prayer (even at an event you are required to be at) is not a violation of rights. If I hear Muslims pray, my rights are in no way violated. It's hard to wrap my mind around how hearing something could be a violation of rights.

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    1. Would I be out of line to suggest earplugs to some people? :-)

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  130. "We don't "need" water coolers" or even "pants", frankly."

    You can be very funny, Leila. :-)

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  131. It would be more like the JW forced everyone else to stop saying the pledge because they didn't want to hear it. I think we could all agree that would be wrong.

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  132. Smh . My husband told me it was pointless. Ill leave you with two thoughts. 1) Yes I feel you do miss out. Its my opinion about understanding music. Its art. It has layers. 2) its not about dying. Its about protecting individual rights. If you dont want your child exposed to the governments take on sexuality than why isnt it applicable to faith. Neither do I wish my children exposed to because its the government. Nor do I wish to remove that right from other parents. They have a right to be there. Its public not private.

    Night!

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  133. "My husband told me it was pointless."

    Yes, we are a terribly unreasonable and illogical group. ;)

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  134. At this rate the public square is going to be pretty dull. We won't be able to talk about sex, religion or probably politics. Don't want to offend anyone! I guess that leaves the weather.

    When did it become the government's job to protect us from everything?

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  135. What is most puzzling to me is this idea that the public square is to be scrubbed of all religion, of God, of any Judeo-Christian patrimony whatsoever. This concept has never before been considered, and it was not the intent of the Founders, since they peppered the public square with more religion than any of us moderns ever did. So, why are we treating this new and untried (unknown) concept as if it were the natural choice? It's just so odd to me. So disconnected from anything that has come before.

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  136. Leila
    I concede that your argument is logical. But I think Christmas has become so secularized that it is truly a secular holiday for most, even though it's roots are not. And depictions of the secular holiday (Santa, lights, etc) are ALL OVER.

    I'm not a Christian but I warm to Nativity scenes because they are part of the culture I grew up in. I have Jewish friends, however, who have a hard time at Christmas and I can see how they would. It makes sense to me that government-sponsored Christmas displays be limited to secular images, out of respect for non-Christians. Though, you're right, it's a bit illogical.

    The Methodist church I grew up in has a live Nativity scene every year--there's a real baby Jesus (always a baby in the congregation--though he never lasts very long before he needs his "real" mom!), REAL camels, real sheep, and Mary, Joseph, shepherds, etc, depicted by members of the church. I sing Christmas carols there every year with church members I grew up with (we have gone caroling together for the last 43 years). All Christian songs. Don't know why I'm babbling about this, but I love the religious depictions and take no offense. But I respect that other people do take offense.

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  137. I don't respect poeple who take offence. I think they are narcissistic babies. All the idealism about tolerance and acceptance yet this is ok? A freaking nativity scene makes you upset. My 6 year will get upset when her brother gets to do what he wants. Yeah same thing!
    I spent Saturday morning with my son at a "Wreaths across America" ceromony at Ft Rosecrans national cemetery. Speakers were all federal employees, speaking on federal land, from a federally owned PA system. They spoke about families missing their loved and sacraficial giving and many prayed openly as part of the program. It's funny how a religious Jew can stand next to a 32 yr old widow with her little kids and not have slightest inclination to be offended over a religious prayer or symbol. Guess it would seem really small and self centered. Same goes for bitching about Christmas this and that. If I have the right to be offended by things my fellow Americans do, say, cherish and believe, then I'll need about a week off to come up with a list. But that would be intolerant, selfish and stupid of me.

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  138. @Chris
    Would be intolerant?

    "I don't respect....narcissistic babies....bitching about Christmas....small and self-centered?"

    What would someone sound like who was being disrespectful, narcissistic, bitchy, small and self-centered?

    Hmmmmm.....

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  139. Johanne, I love your memories and that you do not take offense. What would be the cause, do you think, of others' offense?

    I can think of no other cause, honestly, than that they have been trained to feel "victimized" or "offended", simply because that's how we categorize things today: Victim vs. oppressor.

    But I'm open to hearing why something that did not previously cause offense (at least very, very little), suddenly is the cause of great offense and lawsuits, etc.

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  140. So, I was going to go back and click on the link to the article and see if I could add my two cents and then the article that appeared is from Fox News and I just can't even waste a second of this precious life reading the garbage that spews forth from Fox News. If you provide a link to an article from a real news agency, I'll read it though.

    All this talk about the nativity scene really has fueled me to do better with the lawn decor next year. I'll be hunting around craigslist for a dozen of those awesome lighted camel figures and a herd of the sheep too.

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  141. But Miss Gwen, I read the NYTimes and HuffPo!

    Personally, I don't care where a story comes from, as long as the story is factual. Sometimes, just sometimes, that even happens with a leftist news source. ;)

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  142. Do you have a Christmas tree, Gwen? Did you have one growing up?

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  143. @Miss G. Very funny! And I'm totally with you regarding Fox news. Don't get me started...

    @Leila
    I"m mostly thinking about some Jewish friends who struggle with the Christmas season, how it makes them feel outside of the dominant culture and that it gets tiring.

    I think it's true, to some extent, that people are trained to feel victimized (and I think conservatives rate higher on that scale), but I disagree that people weren't bothered before. I think many Jews have always felt uncomfortable during the Christmas season but they weren't vocal about it. One of my best friends growing up was Jewish and it really bothered him but he didn't feel he could say anything without suffering repercussions. We have evolved into a culture where people feel free (a little too free sometimes) to voice their opposition--but it's not always because they're trained, but that they finally can say something and not get persecuted for it (e.g. In the past, Blacks were killed if they objected to the status quo).

    In regards to religion, I think what's different, what makes people object to religion so vehemently is the religious right--the evangelicals who have taken over the Republican party--with their conservative social views. Gay people, feminists, progressives of all types see the dogma of the religious right as idiotic, backward, and oppressive. The conservatives didn't used to be so focused on social issues and were not associated with religion. But now Christianity is seen as the enemy of what progressives see as "right." Ironically it used to be the other way around--religious people were more likely to be liberal. So symbols of Christianity can't be separated from the religious right.

    Not sure if I'm correct but that's what makes the most sense to me.

    I personally don't know anyone who gets worked up about Christmas symbols.

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  144. I get what you are saying, but that almost sounds like the secular left has decided to ruin Christmas for everyone because they are mad that people aren't going along with the sexual revolution after they (the left!) changed their minds on things that we all used to agree on (practically everyone was on the same page re: the concept of gay "marriage", left, right, black, white, religion, no religion).

    You are right that the actual Civil Rights movement was a religious one, as it had to do with the dignity of man, and natural law/God's law (read MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail). Once the "rights" turned to free sex, destruction of family, destruction of human life, redefining marriage…. then of course no orthodox religious folks would ever turn from the law of God and go with such "progression". It was a different animal altogether, a deviation from God, not a conformity to Him and His Law.

    I'm sorry about your Jewish friend. That was not my husband's experience. It's sad when people feel left out of things, but if I lived in Israel, for example, I would not feel like tearing down their culture's holidays simply because Christmas is not dominant. It just would not even occur to me.

    I think the left thrives on victim status in order to push the agenda. Race, class and gender is their lens (which always divides) as opposed to truth, goodness, and beauty (which always unites and transcends).

    Anyway, it's late and I may be full of baloney! So, off to get some sleep.

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  145. "if I lived in Israel, for example" But Israel was created specifically to be a Jewish state.

    "everyone because they are mad that people aren't going along with the sexual revolution after they (the left!) changed their minds on things that we all used to agree on (practically everyone was on the same page re: the concept of gay "marriage", left, right, black, white, religion, no religion). "

    I'm sorry, as I know you mean well, but this is so simplistic and over-dramatized I just don't know what to say.

    "I think the left thrives on victim status in order to push the agenda. Race, class and gender is their lens (which always divides) as opposed to truth, goodness, and beauty (which always unites and transcends)."

    And the same to this. Really, no similarity at all to my experience on the left. You are speaking in distorted caricatures. These kinds of comments make me want to give up, forget the idea that people can understand each other at all.

    Sigh. I am off to bed as well.

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  146. First, Santa is not a secular concept. He is a version of St. Nick (although a cartoon one.) If you tell St. Nick he's not religious......ummm I think Nubby can fill you in on what will happen.

    Second, I agree with Chris it is mean-spirited and petty to throw a tantrum about Christmas displays. Why are you ruining someone else's joy? It would be like going to a child's birthday party and popping all the balloons because it isn't your birthday and you feel left out. That's called being a brat.

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  147. Kat, I woke up with a similar thought…. I am sorry that a Jewish kid would feel "left out" of Christmas fun (although not at school, if we left that stuff intact!), because kids in his neighborhood had lights and Santa, etc. But then it's the job of the parents (the grown-ups!!) to teach that sometimes we do have sad feelings when we are not exactly like the predominant culture and THAT'S OKAY. We deal with it and move on in life. I cannot imagine as a parent fostering that jealousy or "victimhood" in a child. "Oh, honey, you are SO RIGHT to feel slighted! You are not being considered! Your feelings are being trampled on! You are a target, we are being persecuted!"

    I can understand a child acting his emotional age, but then it's time to grow up. What I see the atheists doing is hanging on to the immature feelings and taking it to the next level: "I'm gonna SUE if we don't get all those Christmas decorations down! No one is going to have Christmas if I am unhappy!"

    As a parent who has seen emotional development come along in age appropriate ways, this whole subject really comes clear to me know. It's no more than a big grown-up temper tantrum, honestly.

    "It would be like going to a child's birthday party and popping all the balloons because it isn't your birthday and you feel left out. That's called being a brat."

    Kat, yes, exactly.

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  148. I'm sorry but I'm just intolerant of intolerance. They will not tolerate Christmas being so Christo. I truly believe in tolerance and wish others could as well. If I were to protest the Jewishness of an menorah display to the point of intolerance (filing suit) wouldn't that be considered intolerance. Now that I think about, why should I have to view a Jewish symbol that represents the tyranny that oppresses my Arab brothers? (I feel so much more important just saying that) How about if I were to file suit against my city for allowing public land to display a 55ft flag pole that displays a 4x6 gay pride flag 24/7. Not an American or state of California with it, just the rainbow flag. Wouldn't it be considered intolerant? Yes? I would loose my job, be publicly mocked and probably have hate crime charges brought. Oh and what about the kids being raised by such a man?
    I would never do that because I'm not intolerant , narcissistic, etc.
    And nobody at that cemetary on Saturday would consider such action very tolerant or grown-up or important or helpful in any way.

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  149. "But Israel was created specifically to be a Jewish state."

    How does that change the point of how I would react if I were there? I think it's lovely that Jews celebrate their holidays. Why would I get all huffy and offended and demand that they stop?

    Did you read the Dennis Prager piece? Truly, it is so good. It deserves a read (and fb postings, guys!), and it's not from FoxNews!! (Which by the way, is another very immature thing…. this idea that "hmf! I will not read a one-minute article by Todd Starnes at FoxNews, because FoxNews makes me mad!" Oh.my. Like I said, I read The New York Times which is a reliable propaganda machine for the left. I can still learn something from them (even if it makes my eyes roll out of my head), and I would never be one of those who only reads "my side" of things. I know that since you read this blog, you aren't that kind of person, either, Johanne, which is why it seems so silly and unlike you to "boycott" perhaps the only non-leftie major news org out there. (And for the record, I don't like Fox much anymore, either, as they have really inappropriate sex advice, porn talk, some Francis bashing, etc. -- but I don't "refuse" to read article on the site. It's a mixed bag.)

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  150. "Which by the way, is another very immature thing…. this idea that "hmf! I will not read a one-minute article by Todd Starnes at FoxNews, because FoxNews makes me mad!" Oh.my. Like I said, I read The New York Times which is a reliable propaganda machine for the left. I can still learn something from them (even if it makes my eyes roll out of my head), and I would never be one of those who only reads "my side" of things. "

    Absolutely. And for the sake of blog discussion, it helps to actually, you know, read what is referenced in the OP. It can at least foster some thinking instead of blanking out entirely.

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  151. Johanne, one more thing before I get some much-needed food in my tummy (it may be obvious that I am operating on fumes!). The left most certainly does look at the world with a race/class/gender paradigm. It's everywhere, even in the Little Mermaid, apparently:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/08/unpacking-liberalism-interview-with-my.html

    (Believe me, this is one of a million examples.)

    And of course, my friend who spent many years in radical feminist circles tells the story of her (as Ms. Magazine calls it) her "click" moment:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/01/from-radical-feminist-to-devout-catholic.html

    I know you may discount all this as untrue, but I want other readers to have the chance to evaluate and investigate.

    Heck, even this post is about oppressed/oppressor. Along the lines of: "Non-Christians have been oppressed for centuries in this nation, and now it's time to end the oppression and throw off the oppressors." It's always about victim/victimizer, when the people claiming victim status are actually capable grown-ups who are not actually being victimized at all. (This is NOT to say that there are not real victims in the world, and that there is not actual oppression. Of course there is! But to see it everywhere, by pitting women against men, unborn children against their mothers, blacks against whites, poor against rich [or simply middle class!], is divisive, not unifying or helpful.)

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  152. Regarding the whole feeling excluded part...to some extent, people are choosing to be excluded. The door to Christianity and even Catholicism is never shut, but is wide open to all people. Heck, the birth of Christ could be celebrated by non-Christians, if they recognized at the very least, the historical person of Christ.

    Just like I don't get upset about Islamic decorations or Jewish decorations because to some extent, I'm choosing Catholicism over those religions and am mature enough to understand that there are limits to inclusion.

    Maybe they should consider why they are feeling excluded or uncomfortable by the Nativity scene. If our culture could just move past knee-jerk reactions and think through their feelings, maybe we'd actually get somewhere.

    Christ was born for ALL people - no exclusion, except for those who choose to exclude themselves.

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  153. @Kat "Santa is not a secular concept. He is a version of St. Nick " I do know the story of St Nick. But it has become so secularized I don't think Santa Claus is a religious concept.

    @Chris: "I'm sorry but I'm just intolerant of intolerance."
    That is exactly what a lot of people on the left would say. I don't think we can move forward as I society unless someone starts tolerating the other side's intolerance. For Christians, I assume this would mean praying for the people you see as intolerant (any trying to understand them rather than bashing them). I am on this blog to try to understand your way of thinking. It has made a difference.

    @Leila--"How does that change the point of how I would react if I were there? I think it's lovely that Jews celebrate their holidays. " Because our country was not created to be a specifically Christian state. It's different. (please remember that I am not advocating getting hysterical about Nativity scenes. I'm trying to throw light on the argument).

    "I cannot imagine as a parent fostering that jealousy or "victimhood" in a child." If you're referring to Jewish parents (this was back in the 60s) the holocaust was only twenty years past. I can only imagine the fear Jews would have felt about their culture sticking out as different. Sometimes people respond the way they do because they actually are, or have been victims.

    "which is why it seems so silly and unlike you to "boycott" perhaps the only non-leftie major news org out there. " I was unclear. I was agreeing with Gwen's characterization of Fox News, not with the boycott. Yes, I listen to Fox "News" sometimes--I used to more often. But it's very hard to tolerate as there is such little actual news.

    Leila--would you consider it "silly" not to read the Joe My God blog? I assume not, because you would consider it not worth your time. That is how I feel about Fox news--it isn't about principle--it's about only being able to stand it anymore.

    @Nubby
    What is OP?

    Leila "I know you may discount all this as untrue, " I would never discount specific examples from someone I trust as untrue. It's the gross, dismissive generalizations that are not true.

    I also want to comment that I see a lot of victim talk on this blog. Catholics being persecuted by the government, but the culture, by whomever. But you would probably the persecution is actually real?

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  154. "Maybe they should consider why they are feeling excluded or uncomfortable by the Nativity scene."

    Yes I think that would help. Some dialog rather then simple protest.

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  155. Yes! Dialog! Beneficial in so many ways!

    OP = original post (to bring things back to the original point if things have gotten sidetracked in the comments)

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  156. Johanne
    "OP" stands for original post.

    I personally agree with you regarding Fox News. I have a hard time buying into any one particular news source, but that opinion aside, this particular blog post of Leila's includes an article which is a main part of the discussion, no matter what news source its from. Can there by any truth to the article? Can there be any discussion about its main points, even though it's from Fox News?

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    1. * Can there be any truth to the article?

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  157. Johanne,
    The "victim" talk you see from Catholics includes victimization of their livelihoods or even their very lives.

    In the starkest contrast possible, it's a stretch to say that an onlooker is being "victimized" by a plastic lighted nativity figure.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I need to learn this kind of brevity and clarity! Thanks, Nubby.

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    2. lol thx but I see that my grammar has been drinking again...

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    3. Reletively, my grammar is a heroine junky....in a Santa suit...taking hay-maker swings at heretics.

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  158. Johanne, understood (although my own husband was a Jew born in the 1960s and he never felt victimized by Christmas, nor did his family -- his mom even occasionally put up a Christmas tree, which is sort of odd!! She really liked the "bling". Also, please read the Prager article… he was born in the 50s, orthodox Jew, liberal at the time… never took offense at Christmas. The article is SO worth a read, and it's not on FoxNews!).

    "I also want to comment that I see a lot of victim talk on this blog. Catholics being persecuted by the government, but the culture, by whomever. But you would probably the persecution is actually real?"

    Johanne: When the government begins telling Catholic business owners (after years of peaceably being good citizens) that they must now violate their consciences and faith or be afoul of the law -- fined, ruined, loss of business, potential jail, then yes, it starts to approach what we call persecution. (Governments are more able to persecute than any other types of entities, as they have all the power, from armies to taxation to legal recourse to fines to ruin to prison to execution.)

    I hope that helps as to why you hear us talking about persecution. We see what is coming, if the trend continues. Especially if the trend of previously unheard of "sexual rights" trump the Constitutional protection of our God-given rights to freedom of religion and conscience.

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  159. I think Nubby has hit the real issue on the head. We really haven't address how scary those plastic statutes can be. Especially, when lit up! Has there been a study? I really think the CDC needs to investigate this issue.

    The children! People, think of the poor children! We MUST act NOW.

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    1. lol yes yes! Plan of action: Immediately increase spending in education so the children can be aware of these atrocities and can fight against them in the future. We shall call it The Nativity Awareness Program. It's all about the children!

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    2. Oooooh... a NAP initiative.... That sounds heavenly right now! Oh wait! Wrong kind of nap. drat.

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  160. "But Miss Gwen, I read the NYTimes and HuffPo! Personally, I don't care where a story comes from, as long as the story is factual. Sometimes, just sometimes, that even happens with a leftist news source. ;) "

    I would be more than happy to read an article about the topic from a Leila-approved Catholic news source (sorry, I forget if the Register is bad or good in your opinion), or any other conservative news agency just not Fox News. : )

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  161. As for x-mas trees: Yes, I grew up with x-mas trees and my mother would decorate the house with winter greenery. Right now, we have a tree in the living room. On a random note too, I have a tin retablo of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in the bathroom.

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  162. Here Miss G, is this site ritually pure enough? http://www.wltx.com/news/article/258142/2/Shaw-AFB-Removes-Nativity-Scene-After-Complaints

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  163. BTW: Narional Catholic Register = good; National Catholic Reporter = abominable

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  164. One last thing-the diverse people who comment and read on this blog also have their own preferences/opinions about news sources. I can't spend hours scrolling through past posts here, but once a long time ago in the midst of a discussion on whether or not 'family' has always been a married man and woman and resulting children, I posted a link for an article that featured an interview with a postdoc from the well respected Omidyar Foundation in Santa Fe. The postdoc's research concerned genetic and historical data on our ancestor's family structure. I believe it was JoAnna, who took one look at the fist sentence of the article, decided it was wrong and refused to read the rest of it.

    I don't boycott Fox News, I just don't read it.

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  165. http://www.wltx.com/news/article/258142/2/Shaw-AFB-Removes-Nativity-Scene-After-Complaints

    Thanks, I'll take a look at this while I work on dinner prep. Also, it's not a matter of being "ritually pure" and more a matter of providing insightful, critical, factual reporting

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  166. Okay, Miss G, why don't you take a look at the Fox article and tell me what is not factual, critical, or insightful about it?

    See, if the Fox news article contained a factual error in the very first line, then I would wholeheartedly support and applaud your decision not to read the rest of it. However, it does not.

    Also, you should take a look at the Pew research study which revealed that MSNBC is actually less reliable than FOXNews. I would hope you find MSNBC equally repugnant and refuse to read it as well.

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  167. A reader whose husband is on that Air Force base emailed me an update:


    Leila,

    Hi, I read your blog regularly and my husband is assigned to Shaw AFB. We got our nativity back! The main problem seems to be that the nativity was set on the river next to the huge base Christmas tree, instead of by the chapel where it was forever before this most recent priest was assigned here. The priest took it down until we found out what the base commander had to say about it (the man in the story jumped the chain big time, big no-no for the military) while everyone on base called him to find out what happened. 4 or 5 days later I got a text from a woman at church saying they were putting it back up at the chapel, in the yard and having a prayer service. Sure enough when I went to the "Confessional service" that week, it was up. They didn't light it like they used to, but it was up, front and center, fully visible to the base's main street.
    I can't jump into the discussion on the blog, but I'd thought I'd let you know the outcome. If it happens that the airmen is again distressed because now it is in his face (on the main road) instead of hidden obscurely where no one could ever see it (on the river) I'll be sure to email you back.
    -Kat W

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  168. We are approaching 200 comments and you know what that means! Either subscribe to comments, or you'll have to hit "load more" each time you visit.

    Thanks again to Kat W for the update!

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  169. Well, reading Leila's reader's comment above, it looks like the problem is cleared up.

    JoAnna, nope, not going to waste time reading Fox News and writing a critique of it for you.

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  170. Mmm,k.
    So:
    #1) The "undisclosed number of airmen" was, actually...one guy.
    #2) The complaint back fired on him, because the nativity scene was originally put up in a rather hidden location, and now it's fully visible.
    #3) The article was apparently reliable

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  171. Maybe Kat W could be a journalist! Her reporting seems far more detailed.

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  172. How would you know the level of detail if you didn't bother reading the Fox article?

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  173. Right, my observation was made based on your #1 point and reading the link to the article JoAnna provided.

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  174. There was even more detail in the Fox news article, so I don't think it would've wasted your time.

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