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How Displaying Holiday, Other Decorations Shouldn't Be Offensive

This is my feeling of how the displaying of holiday and other diverse symbols should not be considered offensive. Also, of how we should see them as celebrating diversity.

Here we are in the Holiday Season again, which is supposed to mean people will be displaying fun and festive decorations. There are different holidays from many diverse backgrounds that will be celebrated around this time of year, such as Christmas, Hanukkah and even Kwanza.

However, as we have seen in the past two years, we also have our opponents that will get upset and would want such decorations removed. This is very upsetting to me.

It is upsetting because I am a firm believer in this thing called DIVERSITY. Part of diversity is that we should be able to display our cultural, religious, and other background symbols and other items without being judged. We should also be able to display these symbols and decorations without being told to remove them by someone who may not share in our background.

When I was younger, I was taught that tolerance and diversity meant that we accept everyone for who they are and what they believe in. I was also taught that people come from various backgrounds and to accept them as human beings.

All of this talk about removing this and removing that because someone may not share the culture of the displayed symbol… If I had my say, the solution would be, "Bring all the symbols and decorations from ALL of the diverse backgrounds in one display." This way we can all can be happy.

Unfortunately, there is the law of "Church vs. State." However, as I have witnessed, this law maybe going too far. I am hearing incidents of people having to remove symbols of their backgrounds from their clothes or others claiming of being "offended" because someone may have a Christmas decoration on their door – I know it happened to one of my neighbors.

Now here's a question: What is offensive about a Christmas tree, or a menorah, or even a wreath? Well, I can answer NOTHING! There is nothing showing anything "insulting" in them. Now, displaying of Swastikas, or displaying of the N-word or even the so-called "cuss-words" are considered offensive.

We may have different beliefs, cultures, religions, and other backgrounds, but we all are Human Beings. This world we live in is a colorful, beautiful place because of all of the differing diverse backgrounds we have.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert E December 10, 2012 at 09:12 PM
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:5–8)
Maya Lincoln December 10, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Publius, You have an excellent point. (BTW, it is okay. I like what you had to say. I think you should post it on the Patch). But yes, many have taken the "freedom of speech" idea to their own liking in both good and bad ways. Lately we have been seeing it in bad ways. Thank you for sharing your point of view.
OldTownie December 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Katherine, Yes, it actually does. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,". Now play along here. If you can't make laws supporting a religion, and you can't make laws prohibiting a religion, then you are seperated from religion. See how that works? No pro, no con, therefore, you are to stay out of it. This is the difference between reading and comprehending. Laws, (including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) are interpreted by the Judicial branch of government. And this matter has been looked at many times sice the 1860's. The Supreme Court has taken a hands off (Government hands) off of religion for the most part. That is the law. End of discussion. Constitutional literalists usually pick and choose the portions of our Constitution that they want taken literally. If you want to take the Constitution as written then you must throw out the Bill of Rights, as it was meant to be changes to the original document.
OldTownie December 10, 2012 at 09:19 PM
It has been allowed by the SCOTUS because they ruled it had historical significance, not because it was accepted by most.
OldTownie December 10, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Our Founding Fathers also owned slaves. What's your point?
Maya Lincoln December 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I also want to point out when it comes to the lighting of Christmas Trees, I also attended the Providence City Christmas tree lighting (as I go ice skating at the rink downtown) and I have noticed that Only the "state house" only calls it holiday tree. I feel that when we display symbols of all backgrounds, we need to use the "proper" names for these symbols. I feel that when we see these displays, we are learning something from all of the cultures. Part of learning about a tradition from a culture is that we need to know the proper name for the symbol. Like for Channukah, it is the "Menorah", Christmas is the "Christmas tree", etc. I may celebrate Christmas, but I love how I am able to know that part of the tradition of Channukah is the lighting of the Menorah (not candle). This allows me to be educated about what their tradition is and if I were to ever be invited to partake in such a beautiful celebration, at least I have the correct understanding about this improtant symbol to their holiday. Part of acceptance and being diverse is not "changing" something to please others. It does not work. If anything this are just making people uneducated about the traditions and symbols of any culture.
OldTownie December 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
There is no such thing as good speech or bad speech. Your thinking intent.
Maya Lincoln December 10, 2012 at 09:31 PM
That is true Old Townie. Personally, I love freedom of speech (which is why I am glad to be able to post my opinions here on the Patch). However, even with freedom of sppech, I have to be careful about what i say because it could be used against me. That is the part of freedom of sppech that i feel is bad, the part where I could be "sued" for having an opinion. That is what i meant to say. BTW, I would never sue anyone for having an opinion. I actually appreciate it.
Ed December 10, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This is why everyone runs scared. Not whether they win or loose the lawsuit, it's all about the money it costs to defend it. It is so bad that people are now challenging these issues to so they can claim victory even if they are wron because of the money it costs to defend. But the ACLU and my buddy Steve will do it for every low life who has a problem with anything.. It's all about the press now and not worth it...
Joe The Plumber December 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM
whew! I hope you're okay.....
Joe The Plumber December 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM
National Christmas Tree Lit by President Obama At President's Park (a National Park) In Washingto DC and he actually called it "THE NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE"
Maya Lincoln December 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM
That is a very excellent point, Joe. Even Obama recognizes it the correct way "Christmas Tree". I even saw how beautiful it was.
Joe The Plumber December 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjtmse_president-obama-lights-the-national-christmas-tree_news
MichelleCharleson December 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM
BRAVO Joyce !!!!! You hit the nail on the head.
MichelleCharleson December 11, 2012 at 12:32 AM
BRAVO!!! Well said Joyce!
Local Bargain Jerk December 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Thus spaketh The Second Publius: -- That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have anonymous bloggers on Patch. Oh, and 'Publius the 2nd' can be looked up in the White Pages?
Leo December 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Celebrate your religious beliefs all you want to, Debbie. NOBODY is stopping you! Just don't do it on government property! It's so simple.
la_mouffette December 11, 2012 at 03:02 AM
When you understand the context, that quote is a non sequitur to this discussion. It has to do with being ostentatiously religious in an empty way, just to try to look impressive. It's not directly related to various kinds of holiday displays and whether or not they belong on public land or in public view, and why or why not (a discussion well worth having. Thank you for the article, Maya!) Also, since you brought it up, you can't take that quote out of context, because several pages later, we get: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:15-16) The message is complex, and is not "don't be religious where anyone can see you!" .
Robert Farebrother December 11, 2012 at 03:47 AM
100 percent agreed!!
Leave RI December 11, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Pound with anonymity..love it..keep it up..your right to do it!
Robert E December 11, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Maya the point that you and most of the Christians are missing is that it is the Christians that change the name. The pagans have been using the tree for thousands of years before the Christians and still do but in the past couple of hundred years that they have been using the tree they incist that those of us that have been using the tree for thousands of years now call it a Christmas tree when in fact it is a Yule Tree. Although to most people the Christmas tree is fondly thought of as a symbol of Christmas, it's no stranger to controversy. In 1851 the pastor of a Cleveland church was condemned for engaging in a pagan practice by decorating a Christmas tree! Puritans actually banned Christmas in New England, and the Roman Catholic Church regarded the Christmas tree as a protestant custom until they realized its spread was beyond their control. Oliver Cromwell preached against decorating Christmas trees on such a "sacred event" as Christmas. And even today some Christian groups, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, are against the use of the Christmas tree. The holiday you celebrate as Christmas has always been pagan and all we are asking is that you respect our religion and be willing to share the holiday and not keep trying to force Christmas on us.
Robert E December 11, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Maya it's not a Channukah Menorah it's just a Menorah. A Menorah is a Temple lamp.
Joe Bremen December 11, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Robert E. I would say if you are celebrating the Pagan way then you do it with a live tree as they have always done for the winter solstice. (cutting a tree down would be sacrilege to them far as I know). The Puritan’s were driven to extinction for their intolerance of (freedom of religion). They refused to Evolve as most religions have from those draconian days. “A protestant custom”; probably some validity to that since Martin Luther who started Protestant Lutheran’s was German. The Germans have a long history of Christmas tree’s. There are many sects of the Christian Religion and “Jehovah's Witnesses” do not celebrate Christmas at all. Least the ones I know do not. I do not remember the Pagan’s calling it Christmas. I see no reason people cannot call December 25 any day they want, no one owns the name of a day or celebration. Bottom line for me is that the Federal Government determined and made it a Religious holiday called Christmas, Therefore it is a Christmas tree until people petition the Government to change it to something else. Why people are offended is beyond me. As is trying to force any religion into the shadows to worship because it offends someone to see a cross, tree, Star of David etc. There are no symbols for Islam as that is considered Blasphemy. It is one day a year the law suits start which for me is a waste of time and my tax money tying up the court system and creating division of the people. My 2 cents as a Non-Christian
b kcaj December 12, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Looks like more sour grapes from Joe "The Loser" Sousa, UNSUCCESFUL candidate for town council. Don't worry Joe, you might be a loser in politics, but you're a winner in getting away with m*&%$#.
Maya Lincoln December 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Robert E, I know many of the Christmas symbols stem from Pagans. I am actually not a Christian. I am actually non-denominational. I actually follow some paganism and some Catholic. I also have many friends and family who are pagans.
Robin Lionheart March 02, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Freedom of religion requires freedom from religion. You can't have the former without the latter.
Kimberly Manchester March 02, 2013 at 02:21 PM
I respectfully disagree, Robin Lionheart. Our entire system of civil rights is built upon tolerance for difference.
Robin Lionheart April 01, 2013 at 07:57 AM
@Kimberly And tolerance for difference is why freedom not to belong to a religion is so fundamental.
Kimberly Manchester April 01, 2013 at 11:43 AM
the Lionheart seeks tolerance for thee but not for me. Her true agenda is showing! Tolerate only that which agrees with her non-beliefs.
Robin Lionheart April 01, 2013 at 05:53 PM
No, I seek equality for everyone.

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