Originally posted by trumptman
You declare Dreidle to be secular on your terms. However imagine if I simply declared it religious in my terms and declared that you should remove it to be "inclusive" to my views. Why can't you just take being Jewish out of a Jewish song. That is what you are asking for when asking to take religion out of a Christmas celebration.
There are songs that are objectively secular. Driedle being one of them. The prayers over the Hanukah Candles not being one of them. White Chistmas being one of them Holy Night not being one of them. This allows us (me?) to establish a reasonable definition of secular and nonsecular -- does it mention god (and in the case of a tritheistic religion like Christianity, the holy spirit, jesus/christ?)? If it does then it is not secular and can be sung at non-school sponsored events and not at school sponsored events if the community truly wants to be inclusive. Inclusivity does not imply that all of every culture needs to be included as that would be impossible, what it does mean is that we should seek to avoid stepping on eachother's cultural toes. No Amidah to avoid stepping on non-jewish toes and no singing the praises of christ to avoid stepping on non-christian toes. Get it? Nothing about the pursuit of secularism in such things is exclusionary as it doesn't bias against one group any greater than another.
But the better question is this. If the Jewish community was a minority of one and their request was honored. Why should the request of another minority community (Christian parents) not be honored as well? How tolerant is it to honor some minority views and exclude others?
Hypothetically, what would a Christian parent request?
I suspect that a Christian parent in a Jewish neighborhood would request a secularization of a holiday .... scratch that, look there is nothing like this in American Jewish culture (or I suspect in the Jewish culture of any other place). There are no sing alongs, there are no pagan symbols of Santa Claus or the Nativity scene, it is a much simpler religion overall. So a christian parent in a Jewish community this time of year would be free to send his children carolling all they wanted. My real question is why are we now formalizing the carolling experience? Why are they teaching children of unknown faiths Christian songs, and requesting (if not forcing) them to sing them in front of a group of parents? Why can't the children learn these carolling songs on their own, with their parents? Are we now in need of a school structure to indoctrinate children in the dominant religion?
Interesting that "reasonable" means "total" in your view. No one complained about the event being semi or even mostly secular. The complaint is about ANY religious exposure at all.
I finished the logic gate before you did it seems. If you allow any bit of religious experience into these state sponsored events, you have to allow all relgious experiences into the state sponsored events... that is simply impossible. What if a Christian Child refuses to sign the Amidah that his teacher is trying to teach him for the Holiday sing along? You know what, that doesn't even work. No Christian parent would complain about praying to god. Jewish prayers make up a significant fraction of Christian Prayers, but the converse isn't true. Jews are set up in this system to be the offended party. If I asked your children to pray to god in hebrew, I suspect, as a Christian parent you would have very little problem with that. However, if you asked a Jewish parent's children to pray to Jesus, they would become enraged. The two religioun aren't equal. One is a derivative of the other. Now, this discussion would be more enlightening if I were muslim, but I am not.
You are insane. Their children's lives will not be made easier by becoming even more insolar and intolerant of others. The children felt no harm from singing with their classmates. The feelings were generated entirely by their parents. After the actions by their parents they went from getting along with their classmates to wanting to write hate letters and telling their classmates that Santa was dead. The only way they have "made their children's lives easier" is by showing them that intolerance is fine and that keeping to others exactly like yourself is better than experiencing and appreciating different people.
Here you lambast the fundamental idea that the Christian Right has recently used to get its perspective into public schools... the parent's can't have schools not indoctrinating their children (or more broadly, indoctrinating into a perspective that isn't their own). You see, you can't have it both ways. You can't simulatenously care about the parent's perspective in a child's education and not care about a parent's perspective in a child's education. And I must say, as the son of two educators, your failure to understand the interplay of child/parent futher shocks me into questioning your ability as a teacher. Of course the parent's are going to care about what there children are learning. If a teacher told my children that Santa Claus was coming at the end of December I would be infuriated, because 1) its a lie, and 2) ITS A LIE THAT IS SPECIFIC TO ONE RELIGION. Is it shocking to you that this parent wanted her children to not have to say christian prayers?
I have to say I am surprised by your blaise attitude about this whole thing. I have attended mass several times in my life, and not once was I forced to knell, bow my head, or even state prayers. Yeah, it made me uncomfortable but I was allowed the choice to not say the prayers. These children were not given that option... these children were taught the equivalent of prayers in a school setting, and were made to feel like their culture's dreidle... was equivalent to Holy Night -- which is bad in both directions.
Oh, about that whole santa claus thing. Christian children who know the truth about santa claus also have a schadenfreude when it comes to younger children/their own siblings... its perverse, yes, but it isn't limited to the Jewish set.
I can see her intolerance and hate. I can understand it even if I don't endorse it.
She simply doesn't want her children to praise Jesus. If that is intolerance and hate, then you should drive off a cliff.
Of course the principal is going to be wrong when written from the perspective of this mother. However the reality is that when you consider the views of ALL parents and ALL children, not just this one parent, the views of the principal make sense. You don't tell people to leave parts of themselves home. Nothing indicates that the school was trying to avoid Jewish culture or religious influences. Claiming that the community did not choose the best or most appropriate influences does not mean they were not open to improving in this area. It is clear the school community desired to be inclusive and open. This mother demanded the be exclusionary. The principal when encountering the parties that DID NOT desire to be excluded wisely choose to remain inclusionary.
Really, what did the principle do to include traditional Jewish songs like the Prayer over hanukah candles?
Need I say more?
Nonsense. Nothing about her actions were prompted by feelings from or actions against the children. All of it was prompted by the fears of the parents. The moved their children from a neighborhood where they were the majority and into a neighborhood where they were a minority.
You missed the salient point that that neighborhood where Jews were a majority was Israel and I have to say that the dominant Jewish Culture there behaves very similarly to the dominant Christian culture here, in that they are "open as long as we don't have to change".
This woman, who has no experience with the gentile world soon has a five year old begging for Christmas lights. Their children are singing songs with their classmates and have no problem with it. The parents claim they did not have enough English to understand what they were singing about. However the real fear of the parents is that they did know and didn't care. It is the PARENTS who were horrified and sickened.
Again with the inability to know that the parent's discomfort translates into their children's discomfort. If my children begged for a giant cross of jesus I would refuse... it seems you consider the children's request for christmas lights endearing. Looking at it from the other side, once those children are told that christmas lights/tree are not part of their religious life, those lights burn into their souls every winter. I can't look at a christmas lights set up and not think waste of electricity. The children were getting along fine with the implicit assumption that everything they learned in school was correct... that chirstmas lights should be had by all...
Nick, what of the little boy who told the Jewish child that Christmas is a better holiday than Hanukah, where do you think he got an idea like that from?