thread: 2007-02-13 : Exorcism

On 2007-02-26, NinJ wrote:

Yeah, Mike, no one has ever said that public prayer should be forbidden; it's the state sponsorship of it that gets peoples' knickers in a twist.

E.g., last winter, there was an airport - Newark, I think? - that had Christmas decorations up. Airports are state-sponsored, but a rabbi asked why there couldn't also be Chanukah decorations. The airport responded by taking down all the Christmas decorations, which got the poor Rav a lot of hate mail. Real, anti-semitic, war-on-Christmas stuff.

This is because the Rabbi, as a self-appointed representative of his people, didn't like being made to celebrate someone else's religious rituals, preferring to remind the other members of his society that Christianity is not, in fact, the law of the land. Some people think it is, and anyone on the outside can see how that's critically dangerous.

To me, this episode highlights a couple of things:

1: When a rabbi asks you a question, the proper thing to do is to ask an insightful question in response.

2: When speaking with a bureaucrat, assume that they've done the least amount of work possible to get the minimally acceptable result. If you require them to do something else, they will once again do the minimum amount of work to satisfy those requirements.

3: Winter is depressing here in the Northeast. We put up sparkly lights because they're beautiful and they remind us both of the stars in the long nights and the light that will return. Jesus and Saint Nicholas aren't really central to that issue. To say otherwise as a state is to take a stance on religion contrary to the First Amendment. That gets people upset.


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