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Author Topic: Holiday Tree removed from Seattle airport
Lord Palmerston
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posted 09 December 2006 08:10 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_120906WABxmastreesEL.11b0d0cc.html#
From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 09 December 2006 08:48 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Real War On Christmas
A Lecture by Tom Flynn

Date: December 10, 2006
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: The Secular Freethough Centre, 216 Beverley Street, Toronto

Right wing pundits are sounding the alarm about a “War on Christmas.” They say the holiday is under attack by a secularist conspiracy determined to eject the baby Jesus from public life. Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine and author of The Trouble with Christmas, says they’re crazy. Still, stores and workplaces are saying “Merry Christmas” less and “Happy Holidays” more. Flynn reveals that the year-end holidays have become the newest, hottest battleground for non-Christian minorities, religious and otherwise, determined to wrest fairer treatment from the Christian majority. Yes, Virginia, there is a war (of sorts) on Christmas, and secular humanists have a vital stake in being on the winning side.

Speaking of “Yes, Virginia,” Flynn will conclude the talk with his legendary deconstruction of Francis Church’s famed 1897 “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial...including the parts most newspapers today won’t reprint!

Who is Tom Flynn?

Tom Flynn is Editor of Free Inquiry magazine, Special Projects Director at the Center for Inquiry Transnational, a Senior Director of Inquiry Media Productions, and Director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. In addition, he was founding coeditor of Secular Humanist Bulletin and founded the Council for Secular Humanism’s First Amendment Task Force, chaired by Eddie Tabash.

A journalist, novelist, entertainer, and self-taught folklorist, Flynn is the author of numerous articles for Free Inquiry magazine, many addressing church-state issues, as well as The Trouble With Christmas (Prometheus 1993), and has made hundreds of radio and TV appearances in his role as the curmudgeonly “anti-Claus.” His anti-religious black comedy science fiction novel, Galactic Rapture, was published by Prometheus Books in January 2000.

Sponsored by: Center for Inquiry and Humanist Association of Toronto.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 09 December 2006 08:55 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sounds interesting.

The question I'm curious about is if Christmas trees or "Holiday trees" really count as "religious symbols" or not? Most atheists/agnostics/humanists I know celebrate Christmas (without the Christ of course).

Edited to add: probably should have thought of a better title for the thread.

[ 09 December 2006: Message edited by: Lord Palmerston ]


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Bobolink
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posted 09 December 2006 09:07 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
The "Christmas" Tree is a religious symbol, a Pagan one. It was the symbol of green remaining on some trees in the dead of winter. Almost all northern cultures had a festival of lights around winter solstice. Most of our Christmas traditions were grafted on from Pagan roots.
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M. Spector
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posted 09 December 2006 09:09 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Palmerston:
probably should have thought of a better title for the thread.
It's not too late to amend it, you know.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 09 December 2006 09:19 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've always found it amusing that Christmas is a ripoff of pagan rituals and that Christ was most likely not born on Dec. 25th and yet is still embraced by religious Christians.
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Kevin_Laddle
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posted 09 December 2006 10:28 PM      Profile for Kevin_Laddle   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Regardless of where the tradition came from, holiday trees are widely associated with Christianity, and thus offensive to a great many people. 100 years ago, this might have been okay. However, we're a far more diverse society today, and these uncalled for public displays of Christianity are offensive.
From: ISRAEL IS A TERRORIST STATE. ASK THE FAMILIES OF THE QANA MASSACRE VICTIMS. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 09 December 2006 11:27 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Clearly, people are clamouring against the injustices of the "Holiday Tree" every single day. They recognize the complex sociological constructs that it represents, and resent the oppressive nature of those sociological constructs and demand justice. And justice they should have, a tree with lights on it, is a horrible, horrible thing.
From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
jester
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posted 09 December 2006 11:40 PM      Profile for jester        Edit/Delete Post
I don't see a problem with celebrating Christmas,if one is so inclined.

Santa and most of the vulgarity,conspicuous consumption,greed and envy does not have religious roots and are promoted by the same folks who cheerfully parrot "Happy Holidays".

It is easy to make the debacle inclusive for all the diverse guilt obsessed sheep who succumbe to the commercial extortion while at the same time respecting the religious observance of Christians.

So,have a merry,happy Christmas holiday. ...Or not...Whatevverrrrr


From: Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 09 December 2006 11:43 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So says someone who doesn't recognize the complex and oppressive sociological constructs of a tree with lights on it. JUSTICE. We demand JUSTICE. BTW, I'm kidding.
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unclebenny
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posted 14 December 2006 05:33 AM      Profile for unclebenny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey folks, from my cursory reading, there's a lot more to this story of the Seattle airport tree than has been discussed here. It's apparently a story full of interesting social tensions and ideological conflicts.

From what I read in a Seattle paper, the action was prompted by a Seattle Hassidic rabbi who requested that a giant menorah be placed along side the tree. Someone decided that it would be better to remove the Christmas tree instead. But informed speculation is that that decision was not just blatant anti-Semitism, but rather that it was prompted by other Jewish groups who preferred keeping all religious symbols out of public life. They didn't want the menorah OR the tree.

The latest I read is that the tree was restored to the Seattle airport. But I didn't hear what happened to the giant menorah. The whole story is enormously interesting and instructive. Sort of a modern story of Christmas.

unclebenny


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M. Spector
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posted 14 December 2006 05:39 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't know why we need religious symbols in airports. Airports are public places, and public places should be secular.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
greenie
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posted 14 December 2006 07:59 AM      Profile for greenie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
I don't know why we need religious symbols in airports. Airports are public places, and public places should be secular.

I'm not sure either. Would rational people be offended if religious symbols were not set up in public places?

Personally, I find religious symbols in public places to be offensive.


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Boom Boom
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posted 14 December 2006 08:12 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm re-thinking my stand on outdoor lights. I still don't like extravagant displays, but there's really nothing one can do but grin and bear it or do one's best to ignore it. I doubt many who put up outdoor (or indoor) lights and trees are fanatical Christian worshippers - rather it's in the holiday, as opposed to religious, spirit. Like the Winter Festival in Quebec City and other places, it's simply trying to cheer up in the dead of a dark winter. I don't mind airports setting up a tree with lights at all - I rather like the idea, because some airports are truly dreary places. What I positively don't like is the commercial extortion that takes place every year at this time. I just ignore the plaintive pleas of the marketeers and global holiday pirates dressed in red suits with white beards and black boots. I am a member of our local church, so, if my health allows, I'll likely be at the midnight service on the 24th.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 14 December 2006 09:14 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Personally, I feel that if one religious holiday is decorated for, all should be or none!

Regarding the matter of outdoor lights, I really can't get on board with the waste of hydro.

However, there is one circumstance that I encountered where I thought it was a nice symbol and not a waste of hydro. In a community here in northern BC, a much loved and well respected woman, who worked tirelesssly in volunteer positions within the community passed away at Christams. Now, several years after her death, the subdivision where she lived, all put up Christmas lights criss crossing the streets to honour her memory and her efforts to make the community a better place in which to live. BC Hydro donates the use of their ladder truck to string the lights. But most likely they get the amount outlayed for this back by the elvated hydo bills of the residents participating.


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sidra
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posted 14 December 2006 09:47 AM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Also a judge in Ontario orders a Christmas tree removed:

http://tinyurl.com/y724vb

McGuinty did not agree withh the removal. Tough !!

I also found the Christmas Lights Across Canada and the Official Illumination Ceremony very offensive and alienating to many, myself included of course.

http://tinyurl.com/unura

And did any secular or non-Christian MP or Senator from any political stripe say "boo". Not to my knowledge.

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: sidra ]


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Boom Boom
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posted 14 December 2006 09:53 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You could always celebrate Festivus instead.

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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Michelle
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posted 14 December 2006 10:46 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey! I just walked past the Superior Court on Jarvis just south of Gerrard while going to get my lunch about 10 minutes ago, and I was told by someone at the store across the street that there are apparently Compulsory Christmas protesters there whining because the Christmas tree was taken out of the court building. There were CBC vans there taping the action, and one of the shopkeepers is going to be on the news. I didn't see any protesters outside the building, though, so I guess they're inside.

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 14 December 2006 11:04 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
read about it here!
From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 14 December 2006 11:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know - sidra posted that link above. I hadn't noticed it before I went for my walk at lunch and it was neat to come to the thread all ready to say, "Hey, look what I saw!" and then to find that sidra had posted an article about it already.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
johnpauljones
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posted 14 December 2006 11:17 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am glad to see that the Christmas Tree is back. That being said I really do not understand why government buildings can not also have a Menorah.

If you are going to have one ... have all.


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M. Spector
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posted 14 December 2006 02:46 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The last six weeks on the calendar aren't just for Judeo-Christians anymore, and O'Reilly and his ilk absolutely loathe that. I think they're driven by nostalgia for lost privilege. Once upon an era, wealthy Protestants could bar Jews from their country clubs. In much the same fashion, rank-and-file Christians used to hijack American culture from Thanksgiving to New Year's without worrying about the feelings of anyone disinclined to share their merriment. Times have changed, but O'Reilly, Gibson, Wildmon, and the rest want the bad old days back. It should surprise no one that many Christian conservatives support them.
Source

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 14 December 2006 03:07 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sidra:
McGuinty did not agree with the removal. Tough !!
Nor did his buddies in the Muslim Canadian Congress

They should change their name to Muslims for Jesus. Or the Christian Wannabe Congress.


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Bobolink
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posted 14 December 2006 06:31 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Remember that Jesus Christ is a Muslim saint. In Islam, he is considered a divinely inspired man and not a god or demi-god.

When I lived in Toronto, it was common to see Menorahs on public property. And why not?


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ohara
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posted 14 December 2006 06:38 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
In my view much ado aout nothing. Christmas trees, Creches, menorahs, what's the problem? Dont we live in a plualistic socisety? To me this has always been the beauty of our civil society. Take a deep breath all and Happy holidays!!
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Michelle
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posted 14 December 2006 07:28 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I like the idea of inclusive celebrations rather than getting rid of all of them.

Just got back from a holiday concert tonight at my son's school in Mississauga. It was cute to see them do Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa. (And I learned what Kwanzaa is all about, which is cool - I never did really know before, and kept forgetting to look it up.)

My son was in the Chanukah song and he was one of the five or six kids in the front row wearing a prop - some kind of long, wide scarf. Can anyone tell me what that's called? Just curious.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
sidra
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posted 14 December 2006 07:38 PM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
In my view much ado aout nothing. Christmas trees, Creches, menorahs, what's the problem? Dont we live in a plualistic socisety? To me this has always been the beauty of our civil society. Take a deep breath all and Happy holidays!! -Ohara

Pluratislic society can be expressed in concrete measures, not symbols. Christmas trees, menorahs, crescents and stars and other should not be allowed to camouflage the reality that power is in the hands of almost exclusively white-males, that the public service is almost exclusively white-males (not counting the overnight cleaners of course).

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: sidra ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
sidra
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posted 14 December 2006 07:46 PM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Nor did his buddies in the Muslim Canadian Congress -M. Spector

I have not seen this link before I opened a thread about Tarek Fatah the "secularist" who is now parading amongst "religious groups". But again, I think Mr. Fatah and his group's hypocrisy should be exposed.

http://tinyurl.com/wmef5


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aka Mycroft
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posted 14 December 2006 07:49 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'd be offended by having a crucifix hanging from a courtroom wall but a tree in the hallway is harmless enough (unless you saw the killer Christmas tree in that Doctor Who episode last year), particularly as the trees actually don't have any religious connotation but were co-opted by German Christians from earlier pagan practices.

Good thing the judge doesn't work at the Old City Hall court house or she'd have to take down the giant menorah and nativity scene on the front lawn which is not a Jews for Jesus exhibit but separate displays by Chabad Lubavitch and a Christian group.


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sidra
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posted 14 December 2006 07:55 PM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
My son was in the Chanukah song and he was one of the five or six kids in the front row wearing a prop - some kind of long, wide scarf. Can anyone tell me what that's called? Just curious. -Michelle

I think it is called a Shawl. Actually there are shawls that are worn by men and there are prayer shawls (wider size).


From: Ontario | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Greeny
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posted 14 December 2006 08:20 PM      Profile for West Coast Greeny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
You could always celebrate Festivus instead.

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


We're going to need a 60 foot aluminum pole.


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unionist
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posted 14 December 2006 10:08 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

My son was in the Chanukah song and he was one of the five or six kids in the front row wearing a prop - some kind of long, wide scarf. Can anyone tell me what that's called? Just curious.


Male Jews wear a "tallis" (prayer shawl) during prayers. But Chanukah is not a religious holiday (in the same sense as Passover or Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur), but rather a commemorative one - there are no synagogue or prayer activities associated with it. So it seems strange that the tallis would be worn...


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 14 December 2006 11:16 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Palmerston:
I've always found it amusing that Christmas is a ripoff of pagan rituals and that Christ was most likely not born on Dec. 25th and yet is still embraced by religious Christians.

Why?


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 04:09 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks, sidra and unionist. That is kind of weird, then! I guess they just wanted some visible representation of the religions being represented. Still, that's pretty funny that in their attempt to be inclusive (which is good!) that they'd get the observance wrong!

Maybe the kids should have dressed up as giant latkes instead.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 December 2006 04:46 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Thanks, sidra and unionist. That is kind of weird, then! I guess they just wanted some visible representation of the religions being represented. Still, that's pretty funny that in their attempt to be inclusive (which is good!) that they'd get the observance wrong!

Maybe the kids should have dressed up as giant latkes instead.


Michelle,

You can browse through these pictures of a "tallit" (as it is called in modern Hebrew - the European/Yiddish pronunciation which my family used was "tallis") - and see if they resemble what you say.

And please don't mention latkes again, the very word sets my cholesterol off.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 05:04 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mmmmm...latkes.

I wonder if it's possible to make them without eggs? I know! I'll ask my friend, google!

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 09:21 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Omigodomigodomigod. Latke heaven!
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 15 December 2006 10:07 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
I'd be offended by having a crucifix hanging from a courtroom wall but a tree in the hallway is harmless enough...
According to the Globe and Mail today, the tree is still there, in the hallway:
quote:
Madam Justice Marion Cohen ordered a Christmas tree out of the main lobby of the downtown Toronto building and into a nearby hallway, so as not to offend any non-Christians on their way in.

The move, as opposed to an outright removal, was perhaps a typically Canadian compromise. The new location is still very much public, and the tree remains in full view of countless criminal court attendees who surely can't all be Christians.


Compromise, my aunt fanny! It's still a Christian symbol, and we non-Christians find it offensive, whether in the hallway or the lobby.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 15 December 2006 10:24 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What I find either hilarious or emminently frustrating, is that all the talk of living in a "pluralistic" or "multicultural" society, and the calls to celebrate "everything" only happen at this time of year!

I also agee with what sidra said.

The whole Hanukkah example at your kid's school is a good example, Michelle. As unionist said, it's not a religious holiday, nor is it really a big deal at all, but it gets played up by perhaps well-meaning, and perhaps guilt-ridden Xtians who want to feel that theirs is not the only holiday this time of year.

And what Hanukkah song did your kid sing?

This one???

quote:

Tell your friend Veronica
It's time to celebrate Chanukah
I hope I get a harmonicah
Oh this lovely, lovely Chanukah
So drink your gin and tonicah
And smoke your marijuanikah
If you really, really wannakah
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Chanukah
Happy Chanukah


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 10:29 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh man, I wish it was that one!

No, I think it was some prefab holiday concert package with canned music that you can teach the kids to sing to, like kareoke. You know the kind. All four major songs in it were original.

It was pretty cute.

And yeah, when they start decorating the entire courthouse for the end of Ramadan, or set up those Sukkot huts, or deck the whole place out in Chinese lanterns and dragons in February, etc., then I'll feel more like Christmas trees aren't a public endorsement of Compulsory Christianity.

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
babblerwannabe
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posted 15 December 2006 10:44 AM      Profile for babblerwannabe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The blacklash against this judge’s decision is more telling. You can see all the racism that is displayed on the globeandmail message board. Suddenly, immigrants are no longer Canadians.

Suddenly, it’s about “toleration” , “we” can no longer “tolerate” this.

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: babblerwannabe ]


From: toronto | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Diane Demorney
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posted 15 December 2006 11:18 AM      Profile for Diane Demorney   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

And yeah, when they start decorating the entire courthouse for the end of Ramadan, or set up those Sukkot huts, or deck the whole place out in Chinese lanterns and dragons in February, etc., then I'll feel more like Christmas trees aren't a public endorsement of Compulsory Christianity.


Totally agree, Michelle. This is a courthouse; not your (editorial your) freakin' living room!

From: Calgary | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Drinkmore
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posted 15 December 2006 12:34 PM      Profile for Drinkmore     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Palmerston:
I've always found it amusing that Christmas is a ripoff of pagan rituals and that Christ was most likely not born on Dec. 25th and yet is still embraced by religious Christians.

But isn't the whole Christ motif itself a 'ripoff' of earlier practices?


From: the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sans Tache
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posted 15 December 2006 01:11 PM      Profile for Sans Tache        Edit/Delete Post
Christian Symbols:

Google Images No Christmas Trees.

Christian Symbols & Their Meanings Go to holidays. No Christmas Trees.

Symbols.net All-seeing Eye, Anchor, Cedar Tree, Cross and Anchor, Crucifix, Crown and Cross, Cypress Tree, Flowers, Heart encircled with Thorns, Heart Pierced by a Sword, Lamb, Oak Tree, Olive Tree, Palm, Rock, Rose, Trefoil, Wreath, but no Christmas Trees.

Some may think the Christmas Tree is a religious symbol but I could not find anything even resembling one on any Christian religious websites. The only exception was Wikipedia, which cannot always be trusted. If so, then the Christmas tree is not religious and thus cultural and traditional. At best it is a Pagan religious symbol but the Norse, Germanic and Flemish peoples decorated their trees outside to ask the gods for a good harvest in the upcoming New Year, as the days are getting measurably longer.

Good Friday and Easter are the highest religious holidays in Christendom, so do we ban the Easter Bunny (hmmmm, tell that to the grandchildren, no Easter egg hunt)? So what is next? Ban the Poinsettia in public buildings? Maybe we should ban all religious symbols in public?


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 15 December 2006 01:21 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well this whole thing just prompted this comment from a co-worker:

"The person who wanted the tree down is a Jew"

This is how 'Christians' react. I am in the midst of really hatefulpeople sometimes.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sans Tache
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posted 15 December 2006 01:40 PM      Profile for Sans Tache        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
Well this whole thing just prompted this comment from a co-worker:

"The person who wanted the tree down is a Jew"

This is how 'Christians' react. I am in the midst of really hatefulpeople sometimes.


That is how one Christian reacted, if in fact they are at all.

The Judge your co-worker is referring to has the privilege to remove any or all "things" from the Court Room. That is their prerogative, regardless of their religion.


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 01:46 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
This is how 'Christians' react.

Well, not really.

I've never been the type to freak out about the War On Christmas (tm), even when I was a practising Baptist. And many liberal Christians believe in pluralism.

I'm sure you didn't mean to make a blanket statement, but it might irritate people who consider themselves Christian AND are progressive.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 15 December 2006 01:58 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The judge is completely right in her decision. The tree was removed from a central, you-can't-get-in-without-seeing-it position, to a more periferal, but still eminently visible position.

I represent lots of non-Christians in Ontario criminal courts. They are Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, or Jews.

For them to be visually accosted by Christian religious imagery, or have to listen to hymns, as at Old City Hall, leads them to believe that the court may be biased against them, or may treat their testimony as less valuable than that of Christians.

If any of us were tried in foreign courts, we would probably feel similar if we had to pass through a door with a sign that referred to the supremacy of Allah.

There is a place for religion, but a public court isn't the place.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 December 2006 02:12 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
Well this whole thing just prompted this comment from a co-worker:

"The person who wanted the tree down is a Jew"


Please explain to your co-worker that the Jews are gathering Christmas trees to make a big cross in case the "Saviour" dude is dumb enough to make another reappearance.

You can mention that unionist's assignment is to collect rusty nails.

Oh, and don't forget to say "Merry Christmas!" on my behalf.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
TemporalHominid
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posted 15 December 2006 02:17 PM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
To many people Christmas trees are not religious symbols, as someone mentioned above some Christians appropriated the tree. The tree has as much to do with Christian beliefs or baby Jesus as candy canes do (another symbol that some Christians have appropriated and created an "urban legend" about", and wreaths (which were appropriated from the Romans).

Many people in the Jewish, secular, and Muslim communities have mentioned that taking the trees down or moving them from public venues is going too far, as it doesn't promote inclusiveness, but creates negative backlash against the communities that never asked for the trees to be removed in the first place.

Can we find a silver lining in this controversy?


From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 15 December 2006 04:16 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If Christmas trees are not about Christmas, then why do we only see them during the so-called "holiday season"?

When the court houses and department stores start putting up Christmas trees in May, then I'll believe they have nothing to do with the birthday of Jesus. Till then, they are as much a part of Christian cultural iconography as manger scenes.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 15 December 2006 04:19 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by TemporalHominid:
Many people in the Jewish, secular, and Muslim communities have mentioned that taking the trees down or moving them from public venues is going too far, as it doesn't promote inclusiveness, but creates negative backlash against the communities that never asked for the trees to be removed in the first place.
Why is it incumbent upon us to be sensitive to the feelings of the racist, anti-Semitic backlashers such as those described in the link you posted?

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 15 December 2006 04:58 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I didn't mean to generalize. I should have pointed out I guess that the person who was deeply offended by "the Jew" removing the Christmas tree was a Christian. Of course, all the person heard was that the tree was down, and of course the rest of the story was conveniently ignored. This has caused a huge backlash against minorities in my office (and I am sure this is but a microcosm of what happens in the wider society).

On top of that, the rant continued about how it wasn't 'their country', it was 'ours'. This being said in a room full of minorities, and myself.

Complete backlash against anyone not white.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 15 December 2006 06:38 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Or just a backlash against minorities who came here, presumably for a better life, who now want the majority to dance to their tune.
From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 07:50 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wow. And you called a bunch of other babblers racists in another thread, huh?

Why don't they just go back to where they came from if they don't like the majority religious indoctrination, hey bobolink?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TemporalHominid
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posted 15 December 2006 07:57 PM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Why is it incumbent upon us to be sensitive to the feelings of the racist, anti-Semitic backlashers such as those described in the link you posted?

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


who said that? the Jewish and Muslim communities never asked for people to be sensitive to the feelings of racists. they were concerned that there would be the predictable kneejerk reaction against their communities.


From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 15 December 2006 08:11 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by TemporalHominid:
who said that?
They said it was "going too far" and would create a backlash, according to your post, to remove a Christmas tree. That means, again according to what you were telling us, that they object to anything being done that would upset the racists, anti-semites, and other bigots.

Is it really hard for you to see that that amounts to (them or you?) telling us to be sensitive to the racists and bigots so they don't "backlash"? What part of this picture are you not getting?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 December 2006 09:47 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Bobolink:
Or just a backlash against minorities who came here, presumably for a better life, who now want the majority to dance to their tune.

I would never suggest sending you back where you came from Bobolink. Space shuttle rental is way too expensive.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
TemporalHominid
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posted 15 December 2006 10:39 PM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
They said it was "going too far" and would create a backlash, according to your post, to remove a Christmas tree. That means, again according to what you were telling us, that they object to anything being done that would upset the racists, anti-semites, and other bigots.

Is it really hard for you to see that that amounts to (them or you?) telling us to be sensitive to the racists and bigots so they don't "backlash"? What part of this picture are you not getting?


I see what you are doing. It is the same fucking bullshit that happens over and over again on babble by a small group of posters. Baiting.

Read the Anti Defamation League's editorials and comments on this event, go to the source. I was paraphrasing, probably clumsily (did I miss a petty preposition?), what the op ed piece was concerned about, what they predicted would happen (anti-semitism), and as they rolled their eyes, the inevitable did happen (anti-semitism), because racist reactionaries are predictable.

http://www.adl.org/

"Let's pray together, reflect together, and talk together about the hate that reared its head so prolifically — and sadly, so easily — here in our city. Let's confront it together, and reject it as unworthy of Seattle."

If you want me to be an apologist for the reactionary racists in your little world go fucking ahead if thats what you want. If it serves your agenda and floats your boat, go for it.

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: TemporalHominid ]


From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 16 December 2006 11:36 AM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Interesting how some babblers are now assigning me things I never wrote. I guess they have magical insight into my mind and values.

It is also interesting that no one is denouncing the Menorah in Nathan Phillips Square. Some babblers are very selective about who they discriminate against.

But railing against Pagan symbols adopted by Christianity is also bigotry.


From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 12:10 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're the guy who said that immigrant minority groups want to make the majority "dance to their tune." Presumably this refers to the "minorities" who object to the Christmas trees of the "majority religion."

We don't need any "magical insight into your mind and values" to know that you are a racist bigot.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 16 December 2006 12:12 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Bobolink:

But railing against Pagan symbols adopted by Christianity is also bigotry.

I believe in freedom of religion, except for Christianity.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 16 December 2006 12:22 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I grew up in a home where we all attended church at least once a month, and occasionally at Christmas, not always. In all that time I never heard the tree vested with any religious significance. I think the Christmas tree has gone way beyond any religious meaning, and simply reflects just a generic holiday. Christmas lights and Christmas trees are just means of celebrating a holiday in the dead of winter, a way to brighten up the darkness, that's all. I've known dozens of people with no Christian connections whatsoever who always put up the tree and lights every year.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 12:54 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And I guess none of them ever put an angel on top of the tree, eh?
quote:
I think the Christmas tree has gone way beyond any religious meaning, and simply reflects just a generic holiday.
Which generic holiday would that be, now?

[ 16 December 2006: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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posted 16 December 2006 01:00 PM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You do know how the angel got on the top of the Christmas tree, don't you?
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 16 December 2006 01:03 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. But the question is how many can dance there?
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 16 December 2006 01:07 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is the story of how the angel got on top of the Christmas Tree:

One Christmas things weren't going too well for Santa up there at the North Pole. Mrs. Claus was sick, the elves were on strike and the reindeer all had diarrhea. Santa was totally frazzled. In the midst of all this an angel came in with the tree and asked Santa,

"Where would you like me to put the Christmas Tree?"


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 16 December 2006 02:57 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
And I guess none of them ever put an angel on top of the tree, eh?

Not to my knowledge. We never did. One of our package of decorations included a silver star, and that went on top of the tree.

quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Which generic holiday would that be, now?

I'm saying Christmas itself has become a generic holiday. If folks want to put Christ in Christmas, let 'em. If you don't, that's fine, too.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 03:03 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The silver star - yes, that would be the Star of Bethlehem.

News Flash: Christmas is already a Christian holiday [holiday = "holy day"]. It may have become commercialiszed and secularized to some extent, but it is fundamentally a Christian religious holiday every bit as much as Easter, and as religious as Ramadan or Diwali.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 16 December 2006 03:07 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But it's your choice to observe it as a religious holiday, or not. My point is that many more people other than Christians put up Christmas trees and outdoor lights.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 16 December 2006 03:18 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It is also interesting that no one is denouncing the Menorah in Nathan Phillips Square. Some babblers are very selective about who they discriminate against.


My aren't we quite the disingenuous person. There is GIANT Christmas tree in Nathan Philip's Square. I think the Menorah is a nice touch. I should know. I took pictures of the area yesterday. It is very pretty.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 04:03 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
But it's your choice to observe it as a religious holiday, or not. My point is that many more people other than Christians put up Christmas trees and outdoor lights.
This isn't about people choosing to observe Christian holidays.

It's about having them shoved down our throats for 2 months out of every 12.

You can have all the Christmas trees you want at your home. Just don't go sticking them in our court houses and airports.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 16 December 2006 05:22 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I rather like seeing decorated trees in airports. When I was still working, I'd fly out of the airport in Sept-Iles and sometimes Quebec City - beautiful trees there in December, made the airport less oppressive and less drab. Same thing when I worked in Ottawa - Manpower and Immigration - there was always a nice tree in the foyer and decorations in all the offices and hallways. I think it looked great. If I worked in a courthouse, I'd want to decorate it too, if it wasn't against the rules.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 05:54 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm sure it warms the cockles of your Christian heart, but us heathens would rather not have these constant reminders of the cultural power and dominance of your religion shoved in our faces at every turn.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 16 December 2006 07:34 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

I believe in freedom of religion, except for Christianity.


For that revelation of your bigoted mind set, there is nothing more I could possibly add.

[ 16 December 2006: Message edited by: Bobolink ]


From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 16 December 2006 07:37 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
This isn't about people choosing to observe Christian holidays.

It's about having them shoved down our throats for 2 months out of every 12.

You can have all the Christmas trees you want at your home. Just don't go sticking them in our court houses and airports.


Perhaps you should also avoid India during Diwali.


From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 07:39 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I certainly intend to.

What's your racist point? That Hindus are more aggressively religious than Christians?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 16 December 2006 07:51 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I doubt this is going to get any better.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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