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November 19, 2004

Local Blogger Makes Good

Dawn Eden, Petite Powerhouse, has just gotten her first editorial published in the New York Post. "The Grinch Who Stole Messiah" is about a New Jersey school district's wrong-headed decision to ban all music of any religious import whatsoever from holiday concerts.

You know you've screwed up big-time when even Ron Kuby tells you so:

Even First Amendment lawyer Ron Kuby, an avowed atheist, is on the side of the angels. "Unfortunately, it's always easier to stifle the speech than to risk a lawsuit," he says. "But this serves no one's interest. It infuriates the religious community without any corresponding benefit to maintaining the separation between church and state."

Let's assume we're all pretty much four-square behind the notion that we should all be tolerant and respectful of eachother's differing beliefs, especially as regards religion. It seems there are two different ways to get there:

1) We could all actually simply strive to be tolerant and respectful, and treat instances of witnessing divergent faiths with interest-- genuine interest, ideally, those times when we are eager to learn about other people in our world; or politely feigned interest, the rest of the time, say, 95% of the time. In no case should someone run in horror because they heard the Hallelujah Chorus or the Four Questions.

2) We can simply admit we're not nearly mature and enlightened enough for option #1, and rather than simply accepting each other's differences and appreciating them, we can forcibly remove all such differences from the public square. As differences turn out to be too "contentious" (i.e., we all hate anything that's different, although we claim otherwise), we can simply drain the public square of anything cherished or sacred or in any way too darn interesting for polite company. Outside our homes, we will witness nothing except the anodyne, the mediocre, the lame, the corporate-safe, and the focus-group tested. Then we can all spend the next hundred years singing the theme from Barney the Dinosaur and wishing each other "Have a Coke and a smile" when we sneeze.

It seems America is pretty hellbent on Option #2, and I think that's a pity.

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posted by Ace at 06:11 AM

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