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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Excuse Me?

The Town Crier referred me to this article about several schools in Maryland being closed for Yom Kippur. Now, to this girl who went to school first in Oklahoma and then Alabama, and was usually the only Jew in her entire school, the thought of a school being closed for a Jewish holiday is one that is met with amazement. A whole school being closed for a Jewish holiday? Wow. Then I realized that in some of the schools in this area, over half of their student population is Jewish and not much would get done with so many students gone anyway. Then I read the article. It truly is a piece of journalism filled with ridiculous assumptions and basic stupidity. The line that baffles me the most is, "There is clearly an anti-Christian bias when it comes to giving equal opportunities to different faiths." Excuse me? Since when is it Anti-Christian to give equal opportunity to all religions? And since when is giving a week off for both Christmas and Easter and one day for Yom Kippur considered equal treatment anyway? Of course, then I look at who is quoted (the director of the Christian Defense Coalition) and the quote makes a lot more sense. The article rounds off with a quote by Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of the conservative Missouri-based Eagle Forum, who says "she is bothered that schools don't observe Christian holidays as they used to." She said "some school districts in the country have abandoned the Good Friday holiday, and that some schools pretend Christian holidays have nothing to do with Jesus Christ." Hello, have you looked at America these days? Have you noticed that Christmas is more about Santa, presents and trees than it is about religion? I call that a reflection of the times. Not to mention the notion of separation between church and state. Since when is it acceptable to force students, in a public school environment, to celebrate religious occasions that are not part of their tradition? Having been a member of my public high school choir, I know the feeling well of being given the choice to either sing the praises of a "savior" that I didn't believe in or not sing at all. I would never have dared for equality, would never have asked to sing Jewish songs, that would be blasphemous in my "Bible belt" environment. I didn't even object to singing the more secular of Christmas songs, such as "Jingle Bells" or "Frosty the Snowman." But heaven help me when I opposed to singing "O Little Town of Bethlemen" or "Away in a Manger." I was a pariah and outcast for having a problem with these "holy" songs being sung in a public school. So for the people who think that "equality of religion" equals "anti-Christian bias," and that having one day off school for Yom Kippur and two weeks off school for Christian holidays is "equal treatment," I have news for you - you have no idea how good Christians have it in America. Get over yourself.

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