Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friendly Discussion?

Apparently I irriatated one of my faithful readers this morning with this post.

Sam, a longtime friend decided that he needed to respond and doing so in my comment section wasn't enough so wrote a whole post about it. Here it is in case you don't feel like clicking through:

You want to know what I don’t get, NOW. The National Organization of Women, which supported Bill Clinton because he was a democrat, even though he slept around on Hillary. Think about it. An organization whose mission is to advance women’s rights and speak out in defense of women in need, support a philanderer.While it should be said, I lean right, and do support the W., it should be noted that I support the long-range vision that I feel he has on certain issues. But what that doesn’t mean is that I support him and 100% of his actions, policies and political actions JUST because he is a Republican.I am for an unbiased political and socio-economic discussion of Middle America in the lower-middle class, like I think my friend Ali has as an underlying motive in her blog, but today I think she went a little overboard.She wrote in I am a Hard Line Democrat What Would Jesus Do:My daughter's class sang "Jesus Christ is born" and the second grade sang "Mary did you know?" What the hell? This is a public school! I know this is a community with strong Christian beliefs, but come on, this is a government funded PUBLIC school for EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation. It seems that I 'm always fighting the issue of what kinds of religion my children are being taught behind my back. Am I just making too much of this? Does this happen in other public schools?To which I responded, which I am not posting, but you can go there if you feel the need to read the comment and the next comment by Ali.This is where I struggle as an American with our political system. While one candidate may be too far left, the other candidate may be too far right. The majority of people, or at least electors, picks a candidate, and then the majority of America spends the next 4-years complaining, and posting “Shave the Date – Get Rid of Your Bush” logos on their mommy blogs.Pat Buchanan, ran for the Office of the President in 2000, I believe, and prior to that, when he was bashing Clinton the way today’s democrats bash Bush, he sounded like a right-wing member of a certain socialist group that overtook most of Europe in the 1930’s… While Ali and her “woe is the religious fundamentals being taught my children,” sounds like a certain style of government that swept the majority of Asia, and a cigar making county in the Caribbean.So there you have it. You’re too far right, and you are a WWII German, and too far left, you are a Red Commie. But I am not trying to judge, or intentionally label (except maybe for Ali). Rather, I am trying to live the importance of patience, foresight, and a worldview.When Ali wrote, “I don't have a problem with Christmas, but I do have a problem with a public school telling my children that Jesus died for their sins,” the first thing I thought, ok, she’s an atheist. This is why she hates Christmas programs at her school, that force her kids to sing Christian songs about a man, who, lets be honest here, I believe did die for our sins. [Editors note: her kids got a crap load of presents for the religious holiday of Christmas. Will she return them, as the holiday is religious? She had her children pose with Jolly ol’ Saint Nick (Santa Claus). Will she burn those? Can she have it both ways?]For all you public school parents, will you consider complaining when The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is read aloud to your children, or they see the play? It’s about God you know? Or will you force your children instead to sit in a corner by themselves and read The Golden Compass? It’s about atheism!Sure I don’t have kids, but I was once a kid, and not too long ago. Granted, Ali lives in a town that is dominated by Dutch Reformers, but I grew up less than 5 miles away from where she now lives, so I think I have a basis to talk. I went to school, and with my agnostic (for lack of a better word) friend NRB, and talked about religion in open dialog at school between our friends and us. No one complained. No one got upset. Around Christmas, we sang religious songs at public school, read books with religious themes.It’s children singing – the most beautiful sound in the world. I think Ali missed the point, and let her surroundings tarnish the sight and memory of happy children; of her children happy.I think I have to say it… America was founded on Christian ideals. You like freedom? You like tolerance? You like the federal government share the wealth with people less fortunate (welfare programs, not necessarily welfare)? Lets face it. You like Christian fundamentals. Hell, it’s the same as Jewish fundamentals, and Muslim fundamentals, but that doesn’t sound good in a time of war where Gaza and Israel are fighting.I liked learning those fundamentals AT HOME. And I liked learning fundamentals of various other religions at school. I learned Existentialistic philosophy in Public School; lived it for a while, and to a point still do, but I believe what my parents taught me, what I learned in Bible school, and what was reinforced when I re-found religion in my late 20’s.Public school gave me knowledge. My parents gave me the tools to use that knowledge.So what’s Ali to do? I don’t know. Like most Americans, I am sure she is not 100% happy with the county in the first place, and now, with the economy the way that it is, I am sure some of those feelings are coming to the surface. Obama may correct the economy, but I know he isn’t going to take “Can You See What I See” out of holiday programs.In times of crisis, people seek the basics, and many seek religion and faith to get them through. If Ali believed Jesus did die for our sins, maybe she wouldn’t be as negative toward a side-bar to a good education that her children are receiving despite an economy in the crapper.

My response:

Well Sam,
Thank you for the very public lashing. I write what I feel, and I feel that kindergarten aged children are not able to make such huge life changing decisions like religion, in a public school. I was raised Unitarian (look it up) and believe that all kinds of religous views are valid and very much a personal choice. My kids have in no way been harmed by me expressing how I feel on MY blog.

I can shave my bush on inaguguration day if I want to and you can buy shotgun shells(not implying that you will but that's your right if you so choose.) That's my whole point, the choice.I don't think that singing a couple of Christmas songs will hurt anyone, and yes my kids did get presents on Christmas delivered by Santa himself. That doesn't mean that we can disregard church, state separation. Christmas for my family means something different than the standard. We celebrate the season, family togetherness, giving, and dare I say magic. Thank you for your opinion and what I hope will continue to be a civil discussion.

I didn't think my little mommy rant would cause such a stir. Maybe my language was a bit rough and I probably could have said it differently; but I still feel that a public school is no place to be endorsing a specific religion, whether in song or otherwise. There are plenty of Christmas/ holiday songs that could have been used. I want my children to see that other religions exist and I certainly don't see that happening here.

I respect Sam and his opinions and am thankful for this lively discussion. He also (from reading the same post ) doesn't like the "shave the date" button on my sidebar. Well Sam, this is my mommy blog and if that means talking about my religious decisions for my children or shaving my mommy parts (yes, that's where they come from) in celebration of the departure from office of the one of the worst presidents ever, then that's my choice.


Rachel said...

Wow. I'm always a little shocked by the kind of vehement response like Sam's. Like the folks who get so upset if someone has the audacity to wish them a "Happy Holiday".

I couldn't agree with you more. Religion has no place in a public school, and I'm surprised yours sponsored "A Country Christmas" at all. Our public school's last *winter* program included songs/poems performed about many different winter holidays, including Christmas, Hannuka, Eid, Chinese New Year, etc. You should have seen the look on some of the parents' faces watching their children on stage chanting muslim prayers. Priceless!

E4H said...

I can support Rachel's holiday program.

for clarification, i never said that there should be prayer in school, or that there should be open discussion amongst teacher or student about what makes a religion wrong or right. i think that the history of the worlds religions play a part in the world we live, and from that aspect, i think kids should and do learn about religion.

it's in our lives, it's in the paper, on the nightly news. they should learn why