Cutting off their noses to spite their faces


BOETableLogo20140715That’s what members of the Montgomery County Board of Education did by a vote of 7-1 when they decided to remove all references to all religious holidays from the school calendar instead of acknowledge two Islamic holiday references on their calendar.

It seems the school system of that county in Maryland allows its schools to be closed on the religious holidays of Jews and Christians because observant students of those faiths as well as faculty members stay home during their holidays and the high absenteeism in schools makes it pointless to have class. Sounds like the school board is giving in to mob rule by closing schools because students aren’t present thereby making it possible for students and their parents to dictate when schools open or close….of course that’s not the case because when Muslims tried to keep their children home from school during the Islamic holidays after the month of fasting or in celebration of Hajj classes continued as usual. Officials say the number of absent students/staff didn’t meet the threshold….not enough in the “mob” stayed home.

The Muslims sensing an inequality in the way they are treated made repeated demands on the Board to at least acknowledge their holidays on the school calendar….simply typing on the calendar “eid al-fitr” or “eid al-adha” would most likely have been enough to ameliorate their concerns……….for now but Montgomery’s school board went whole hog and got rid of any reference to ANY religion on their calendar while will no doubt still continuing to close on days where people other than Muslims celebrate their holidays.

Michael A. Durso District 5 Montgomery County Board of Education

Michael A. Durso
District 5
Montgomery County Board of Education

There’s so much wrong with this story that I don’t know where to begin, but I want to take time to celebrate the Montgomery School Board’s one member of clarity, Michael Durso who voted against that insane proposal to not acknowledge Islamic holidays and instead remove all references to ANY religion.  His was the only voice of reason among a board of “education” when he noted that Montgomery brags about its diversity and its embrace of different cultures but takes actions that come off as insensitive to Muslim families.

This is not the time of year for this type of story.  It won’t be long before the conservative pundits all over will label Muslims as the ‘grinch who stole Christmas’…..their war on Christmas stories are a perennial stable, and that will only increase the already heightened xenophobic racist reaction to Muslims.  Why the School board didn’t make such a simple addition to their calendar is an indication of their close and narrow minded approach to the citizens of that county.  I hope they, with the exception of Mr. Durso are all removed when their time comes up for reelection.  Are you listening citizens of Montgomery county?

To bad this is satire-for some it’s typical news fare


So this video was introduced as “satire”?  It shouldn’t have been.  For far too many people of color this is the reality with which they are perceived but the tragedy is the the foibles that are highlighted in the video are common to all of America’s residents.  Hayes did this piece in response to a piece Bill O’Reilly did, and knowing what we know about O’Reilly, it shouldn’t be difficult to parody anything he says or does, because he’s such an anachronism anything said about him today is relevant to an O’Reilly of two hundred years ago.

The Cooked Up War on Christmas


FoxFireEvery year at this time we get inundated with news stories about the war on Christmas and how some body, most likely foreign, dark or un-Christian, or some institution, such as a state or local government, judges or courts, have joined forces with satan to deny Christians their God given right to celebrate Christmas.  FoxNews is one of many leaders in this false narrative that lawmakers are encroaching upon Christian values with political godlessness….it gets the attention and indignation of a lot of folks and it’s good for ratings/subscriptions, etc even when it is NOT true.  This kind of story is a seasonal one, much like hurricane coverage that takes place every year from late summer to late fall along the eastern seaboard of America, or which school has the number one college football or basketball team that’s debated on the airwaves, ironically enough around Christmas time to the advent of March Madness.

warThe difference however in this type of story is the rather sinister appeal it has to certain segments of society that seize upon this news to demagogue issues of immigration and diversity within the landscape of America.  Is it really worth getting angry, excited over someone who says “happy holidays” instead of Merry Christmas?  Some bemoan the fact that such difference in language takes away from the religious nature of the holidays, as if celebrating Christmas is only religious if it’s done by EVERYBODY instead of an individual and their family and friends.  This time of year Christians feel put upon, denigrated, assaulted by the actions of governments, judiciary, and individuals which most likely contributes to a siege mentality instead of a celebratory one and media pundits with an agenda usually centered around political power and or financial prosperity are too eager to exploit such apprehension at this time of year.  Instead of asking who or what is waging a war on Christmas, Americans should be saying ‘enough’ to divisiveness.  Do Jews think it necessary for people to wish them a Happy Hanukah or are Muslims insisting that non-Muslims wish them Eid Mubarak in order for them to feel as if they have really celebrated their religious holiday?

America has become a country of over 300 million people, many of whom do not celebrate Christmas, who should be, must be able20329437_SS to coexist with their Christian brethren who do celebrate during this time of year, and vice versa. Doing so doesn’t diminish the value of either party to the American fabric nor does it adversely impact  the festiveness of any group’s religious holidays.  Why can’t we get that America?!?!?  Perhaps during this time of year, people should turn off the denizens of the public airwaves who want to incite animus between people of different faiths and backgrounds.  This time of year  is stressful enough, with all the crowded shopping centers and streets and the anxiety that comes with breaking the routine in ways that are reserved for only this time of  year.    Instead of worrying about one’s reply to “Merry Christmas”, maybe we ought to be happy that we are able to go out and about and immerse  ourselves in the spirit of Christmas without the worry of whether we will be  shot  in the  mall of our choice.

It appears to me that people who focus on the differences of their fellow citizens during a time that’s supposed to celebrate the birth of the founder of present day western ethos are the true disbelievers in the message of a loving Christ, choosing to point to the sins of their detractors to the point of inciting public discord.  It’s troubling that there aren’t a lot of people who don’t get that.

A New Day in Egypt


The Egyptian revolution has brought about a change in the attitude of many progressive minded Egyptian Muslims who recognize the importance of the cohesiveness of their society.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called on Egypt’s ruling military ‎council to provide security for Christian churches during Coptic ‎Christmas celebrations on 7 January as it did for polling stations ‎during the first two rounds of parliamentary elections.‎

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the group also promised ‎to draw up “popular committees” to help protect churches ‎against “iniquitous hands” that might attempt to spoil Christmas ‎celebrations as happened more than once under “the corrupt ‎regime” of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.‎

Almost one year ago, on New Year’s Eve, more than twenty Coptic ‎Christians were killed when a bomb exploded outside a church ‎in Alexandria. One year earlier, on 6 January, eight Copts were ‎killed outside a church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga ‎Hammadi.‎

In January of this year, only weeks before the popular uprising ‎that culminated in Mubarak’s ouster, Muslim activists formed ‎human shields around churches on Coptic Christmas in an ‎expression of national unity. ‎

In its Wednesday statement, the Muslim Brotherhood also ‎announced that a delegation headed by leading group member ‎Mahmoud Ezzat would attend Christmas mass.‎

Many have been led to believe the Muslim Brotherhood, or MB, is the next anti-christ and no matter what they do they will always be portrayed as such but this move in an Egypt which is lawless and leaderless is a step in the right direction. It won’t be long before people in the media, and the pundits, return to the rhetoric of hate and racism in an attempt to add lawlessness to the Egyptian society.

It’s that time of year again-time to incite divisiveness and add a little bit of victomhood with it


English: The 2005 White House Christmas Tree, ...

Image via Wikipedia

Every Christmas season, people on the Right of the political spectrum, and especially now with a black President with a funny sounding name or whenever the opposition party is in power, tell America how they are being denied their right to celebrate Christmas, or how the religious significance of the holidays is being taken away from it.  We won’t even talk about how rarely do those same self-righteous right wingers talk about spending time in their houses of worship or how extremely commercial the season of Christmas is and how important it is that people BUY things or SPEND all of their money and then more money that they don’t have to pull the economy out of its year long doldrums in order to keep alive the god of Capitalism.  The Right wants America to feel victimized that the lack of mentioning  the baby Jesus will get in the way of celebrating Christmas; saying Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays is akin to ethnic cleansing, racial bigotry, and makes the holiday season far less rewarding for them. Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com wrote about this phenomenon six years ago.

….the Right’s media has created another world for its followers – where Christians are persecuted for celebrating their faith, where they are repressed by cruel non-Christians and evil secularists.

This perceived persecution exists even as America’s downtowns and shopping malls are bedecked with the red-and-green Christmas colors and Christmas symbols are everywhere, even in cities like New York with large populations of Jews and Muslims.

Somehow, listeners to Fox News and right-wing talk radio are convinced that Christmas is threatened despite the fact that Christmas carols are pumped into nearly all public places, including elevators and grocery stores where both Christians and non-Christians must go.

Another major beef from conservative Christians is that the federal courts have restricted displays of the baby Jesus in the manger on government property and that public schools have replaced “Christmas concerts” with “winter concerts” and the “Christmas vacation” with a “winter vacation.”

Nevertheless, schools are closed for about two weeks to accommodate Americans wishing to celebrate Christmas. Despite the U.S. principle of separation of church and state, Christmas remains an official federal holiday, an exception to the rule that is afforded no other religious observance. Jews, for instance, don’t expect Christians to honor Yom Kippur by taking the day off, nor do Muslims expect the government to show undue deference to Ramadan.

In 2005, led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, some conservative Christians boycotted stores that offered their customers the non-sectarian greeting of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” In some cases, “Merry Christmas” is now spit out as fighting words…

This season is no different.  Among some of the articles lamenting the absence of “Christ” in Christmas is this one from Conservative News Central

The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree’s base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

This very first paragraph speaks to the immaturity of the argument that follows.  Because no one sees an ornament of Christ while standing at the foot of the 63 foot tall tree but did see one for Obama means there is a war against Christian is an insanely absurd notion that in today’s America is too easily believed by far too many people.  It doesn’t matter to the purveyors of such filth that what was done to this tree is the same thing that has been done in years past, where a state theme is selected and citizens of that state determine what it is placed on the tree. For the previous three years, Wyoming, Arizona and Montana have had the honor, or rather distinction of doing the same thing, with the same results but no mention of the heresy of omitting Christ from their ornaments was written about.  Perhaps Terrence Jeffrey, the author of CNC’s article,  didn’t get the memo on how the Capital Christmas tree is decorated or maybe he was confused with it and the White House Christmas tree urban legend, categorically denied, that said the 2011 Christmas tree will be referred to as a “Holiday tree” and will not display religious themed ornaments.  Accuracy or truth is the first casualty in the war being waged by the Right for the soul of America.

Rachel Maddow uncovered another one of the war on Christians during Christmas themes, equally false and easily verified as such, with respect to Sarah Palin. You can read and hear about it here.  Instead of spreading holiday cheer, members of the Right want to spread dissension and discord…hardly the themes worth mentioning when celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace.  So, my question is why are Americans so easily distracted from that fact by such charlatans of faith?  Not everyone in America is a Christian, that’s a fact.  Not everyone believes in Christ as the son of God…that’s a fact but that should not deter those who do from enjoying and celebrating this holiday.  Neither should they make non Christians feel they are any less citizens of this Republic for not joining them in that celebration.  That is the beauty of freedom of religion.  No one is a victim when it is practiced unfettered by each and every one of us.  Christians should tell those who make it a seasonal war of hate and division to get on with the celebration and spend less time with the fighting.

 

Holiday Spirit


Fox News channel store in the airport

Image by ario_ via Flickr

Bill O’Reilly and his minions at FoxNews want Muslims to “refudiate” terrorism, and absent that they are to be suspect.  O’Reilly et.al also waged a very public campaign to out those who didn’t share the “Christmas” spirit in the same way as he did, saying absent their vociferous bellowing of “Merry Christmas” they were surreptitiously sabotaging Christmas.

Muslims on the other hand were taking a much more pro-active stance about the holidays….something you can read and see here.

Early Christmas morning, hundreds of Muslim-Americans turned out to help their Christian friends by doing the volunteer work that they would normally do. Muslims say this is a way to allow Christians to celebrate the Holiday by stepping in to provide meals to seniors and distributing toys to needy children……

Once again putting a lie to the myth generated by the pundits who are on the payroll of today’s racists/fascists media whores. Oh and speaking of myths, did you hear the one about the Justin Bieber endorsement of the Ground Zero/Park51 mosque that really wasn’t an endorsement at all??  The Islamophobes, who constantly prove themselves to be the worse America has to offer, were tricked again into showing their racist colors by falling for another satirical website that claimed Bieber said something about Park51 that he really didn’t say.  Why don’t these people just admit they have nothing but their own animus which drives them towards insanity and stop hanging excuses on things that really don’t exist?!?!

Mosque foes recently started a boycott of Bieber after he made comments in support of the mosque project in an interview with Tiger Beat, a teen fan magazine….

I was able to reach the proprietor of the site, who confirmed that the Bieber item is in fact a hoax. “[T]he fact that some people take it seriously is hilariously depressing,” he said in an e-mail.

 

Depressing indeed, and par for the course.  America, wake up.

 

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