Sun 24 Nov, 2002 10:17 pm
On the news tonight I heard about a town in New Jersey which has a law banning any religious symbols from public property.
Now, it seems that on December 7th they will light up a huge evergreen tree which sits next to the gazebo in a town park. But, you see, this is NOT a Christmas tree -- it's a 'memorial tree' which is lit on the 7th in honor of Pearl Harbor and will stay lit until early January because???
And, since this is NOT a religious symbol, then the Jewish citizens can not have a mennorah (sp?) placed in the same park.
Seems like something is wrong here.
Well, yes. What happens is, you start something that's kind of silly to begin with. Instead of changing it when the news comes in, start defending the silliness.
I've been known to defend silliness myself from time to time, but the first rule has to be use a reasonable defense.
As always, there will be some that choose to "skirt" the spirit of the law. They've just found an alternative way to skin their cat here.
In Toronto, the city hall staff decided this year that we couldn't have a Christmas tree - they called it a memorial tree. The mayor (who is Jewish) said that is silly. He plans to light the Christmas tree this week.
It really saddens me to read the small-minded view that some people take regarding one of the world's greatest and perhaps last freedoms,
ie religious freedom.
We don't seem to have progressed one inch in the 75 years I have
observed this phenomenon.
The most memorable moment occurred in 1980 when one of the teachers at a local school made a large and quite artistic "nativity scene" which was displayed in the school lobby.
One of our neighbors little girl, named Ziba Milani, a really beautiful child with luminous eyes and a most engaging smile was chosen by the
TV crew who were covering the event. Ziba wanted to know who the
people were in the nativity scene and when it was explained to her that
the wise men had come from different parts of the world she produced
from her pocket a small statue of Ayatollah Khomeini which she placed along side the others. In doing so Ziba said " my daddy says Khomeini is the wisest man he knows so he should be there with the other wise men"
When the principal of the school snatched the Iranian leaders image off
the scene, the TV camera recorded the whole thing and made it a big issue in the newspaper.
Zita's father, who worked for the UN spoke quite elegantly, saying that
there were more than 300 different religious beliefs and that each one
was held just as holy as any other.
So the struggle goes on and we seem to be stepping backward instead of forward in our understanding. This year must be the worst in history.
Joe Ratinger,with approval of the Pope announced that NONE but the Roman Catholic could be called a "church". All others could only be
called "religious communities". ( see Dominus Iesus).
So, Virginia, there may be a Santa Claus but there is certainly not
Here's another one I don't get:
New York City schools allow the Menorah and the Muslim Crescent and Star (they are supposedly 'secular') but won't allow a nativity scene. They are now being sued.