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ACLJ Files Federal Suit Against Oregon School Dist. After Student Prohibited From Distributing Christmas Card

February 9, 2004

(Portland, Oregon) – The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, today filed suit in federal court on behalf of a 6-year-old kindergarten student in Oregon who was prohibited from handing out a Christmas card to fellow students because the card was too religious and contained the name “Jesus.”

I read the above first through another article and I went to the law firm site to actually get more details because I thought it was so absurd that this should be true, that the first news article was just probably some distorted overblown piece. But it is not.

You read this and it does make you wonder about the state of things for this to actually have taken place. Please note, we are talking about six-year olds here. Six-year olds handing out little Christmas cards. And the Christmas card that was banned, was banned because it was too religious? Because it had the word “Jesus” on it? Hello? What is a Christmas card supposed to say, “Let us Praise Athena, Zeus, Apollo and Mohammad?” Or, if it had said, “Let´s celebrate Christmas by buying a bigger and extremely expensive entertainment center, a notebook with all the paraphernalia they have invented, 30 useless pairs of shoes, stuff ourselves with fast food at our nearest **** drive-through, eat candy until we are sick, because it is the season not to mind any religion very much, let´s be jolly,” then it would be OK?

More info (emphasis by me):

The lawsuit stems from a school Christmas party held December 19th where students were permitted to bring in cards or gifts and exchange them with students.

No restrictions were given to the students regarding what type of cards or gifts could be given out. Justin selected a card that had a candy cane ornament attached to the front. The card also included the following story: “The Meaning of the Candy Cane: Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy that symbolized the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus. The hard candy was shaped like a “J” to represent Jesus’ name. The color white stands for the pureness of Jesus. The color red represents the blood Jesus sheds for us.” The teacher saw the card, noticed the word Jesus, and forwarded the card to the principal who sent it to the superintendent’s office.

School officials said Justin could not distribute the card because it would violate several policies that prohibit school officials from promoting one religion over another and advocating a particular religious position.

Has is it gotten to an insane point yet or not? And to think this is a teacher and these are school officials. Put a theoretically coherent idea into the hands (and minds) of idiotic officials and this is the result. They succeed in turning it into one of the most insane and equally problematic exercises one could conjure.

And for Christ´s sake (indeed), what a crime it is to leave any child in the hands of such people. What is scary, is to note that teacher takes card to principal. Does it stop there? Does principal think teacher is a tad fanatical and has lost what little judgement she seemed to have? No, principal takes card to superintendent! Thinking is absent all along the way, teacher, principal, superintendent. (I suppose superintendent would have taken card to the San Francisco mayor if he could get the chance. I am not going to write here what kind of a card this mayor would shove on six-year olds if he could).

I personally do not have a religious Jesus belief, but if somebody said I could not hand out a Christmas card with some Jesus story on it, because it is too religious, that is exactly the card I would buy for all Christmasses to come. In fact, I would love to flood the school with such Christmas cards. 🙂

Separation of church and state, this is how it is. I need to find this article, lovely for this subject, questioning if the US was still One Nation Under God.

Only when convenient.

🙂 To my surprise, a comment from Cecile (DuBois, that is), kindly explaining to me how to figure out how to see all the comments and links to her blog and pointing me to this thing called Technorati . Makes me feel like I had been living in a cave, for never even hearing about such a thing. How things change at the speed of light in an Internet world… I go to Technorati and find out, from their What is Technorati page, the following:

“Technorati is a conversation engine. It tells you what’s being said, right now, about every blog or site that has something to say — and says it so well that others point to them.”

I find the last sentence specially worrisome, since my thoughts have never made it into the “mass kind of thinking” category. And as for saying it well, well, it is on my list of self-improvements an English composition or essay writing course, I need a distance online one, and although I have found several sites, one wonders about if they are just another money making scheme to take way hard won dollars from ingenues out there.

Now, after reading the extensive one paragraph explanation of what is Technorati, my mind is still fuzzy about it, I do a few searches, and kind of understand what it is for, but am still clueless.

I fear, sadly, my blog is doomed and the picture/thought of Anne Frank keeps coming to mind, writing her diary. An audience or conversation partner was not needed then, but to me, that is one of the greatest things that could come out of a blog. Connections. Good ones.

I am also flustered with a feeling of too much freedom. (It´s only an illusion of too much freedom, mind you, life continues to be in some deep mire).

Before, there was no space to write in (something on the spot, spontaneous, commentary), and it was so frustrating not to have this space! Now, here is the space. Arrgghh! What a responsibility! It´s as if millions of people are waiting for me to make a speech but my mind is blank. Totally. Vocabulary regresses to 5th grade. I stare out into the bright lights, blinding me on the stage, and say,


This is a very sad day, because of the news of homosexuals marrying in San Francisco.

Washington Post article on subject

It pinpoints to me a very profound conceptual problem with the ideological structure of the United States and its purported division between Church and State. The minute that religion is deemed only a matter of the private sphere (which it has never been, or it couldn´t be properly categorized as a “religion”), something else will take over to dictate how life should or shouldn´t be, in this case the religion of the State (or “secularism”). This something else (secularism) is nothing but another religion with another name, and without a base formed around some divine entity.

What I find particularly fascinating is that secular religion is spreading not through fire and sword, but through social conditioning and by indocrination by the mass media and the entertainment industry. It does not surprise me, therefore, to see how upset and outraged that people with various religions around the country have become to see their religions being cornered into something unacceptable, evil even, as the secular religion comes to dominate the ideological mantle of society.

Secular religion is not catholic, it does not admit any other thought aside from its dogmas (pro-homosexuality, for example). Every type of dissent must be maligned and discredited. It´s the same mechanism that other orthodox religions have used in the past.

The interesting thing is that people who follow this new religion don´t like to recognize it is a religion. It is obvious that this is partly because it would undermine the legitimacy of their dogmas, since they posit what they believe as the absolute truth, and anyone who disagrees as a (kooky) believer in some superstition or outdated and obsolete religion or understanding of society.

I find the topic of how false this separation of church and state is in the United States extremely fascinating, and it comes with an even more fascinating twist to it, most Americans hate to face that the separation doesn´t really exist on so many levels, it is an empty claim in very interesting ways. Yours truly would like to write a book on the subject, but, ahem, several issues with resources are at play.

I never thought I would miss grad school, and yet, how I wish I was living close to the library, oh geez… 🙂

one more thing figured out…

We progress, but slowly. I read with utter enchantment to Cecile DuBois´ blogtale, mom´s article on the National Review and the “thousands” of support comments that were supposedly sent to Cecile following her class episode. I say supposedly, because due to my still very limited understanding of the blog world, I cannot find the thousands of support comments and am only able to locate a few links on other blogs. Frustration ensues. I wonder about this Title setting that I saw, should I turn it on? Does it matter?

We have comments installed!

So it is Saturday morning and what do I jump out of bed to do? After trying (as I thought yesterday) to unsuccessfully install the little code to allow visitors to comment on blogs, I awake this morning thinking that unless I understand better how the blogging world works, my blog is doomed. And with a mix of reluctance, like when you buy the new toy (such as TV, DVD, VCR) and you reach home and you do not want to spend the next hour reading the stupid manual, but plug the toy in and press all the buttons on the remote hoping you will figure it all out intuitively, but realize that half of the things you wanted to do, you cannot devine where in the world they put the button for it, I got out of bed and thought, “this (“this” referring to blogging) will take more work.”

My number one priority was to figure out how the little comments appear on the page. What is a blog without those countless wonderful useless comments by blog peers?

As I prepare myself to spend the next few hours wading through endless tutorials and pages explaining how to do the basics of blogging and possible features, I turn on computer and bring up the blog page, and to my joy, I realize that comment capability had been successfully installed yesterday, however, due to IE´s absolutely crass functioning in (not) refreshing pages and caching everything to the next millenium, I had mistakenly thought all my efforts in installing the comment thing had come to naught. Well, a nice surprise for all my learn about blogging efforts.

Don´t laugh, I have just discovered that I can edit previous posts. :-))) I think I will try to improve my Jacko post…

Alessandra muses on the perils of stream of conscience type of blogging

It also occurs to me, as I re-read my masterpiece on Michael Jackson, that several little edits could have made it a (much, snif) better piece of writing, so that I have to consider this impulsive, just “comment on something” kind of blogging, like when you say to a friend, ” Did you see this? Oh my God, bla bla bla” and then you put the same thing in writing and it falls reasonably apart, not like those smart, clean op-eds pieces floating about the world of journalism… To re-write or not re-write your blog before posting? At least, I have located the spellchecker button on the Write your Post window.

And so, how do I feel now? After my first blog experience? It feels like when you try to call a friend with some very important news and friend is not home. And damn it, where is friend, when you need friend. You leave message at friend´s answering machine, Hello friend, need to talk to you, important news, please call back. And 5 minutes later, that long eternity, friend has not called back. Damn it, where is friend? Perhaps friend has just arrived home in these five minutes and friend has not checked answering machine, that´s why friend has not called yet, you wishfully think and try calling friend again, already thinking what sentence you are going to say as friend answers phone. “Hi, I am not at home, please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.” Argghh. Oh Suffer the Little Bloggers.

As I write my little comment/vent on Michael Jackson et al, I am discouraged to see how much work it takes to write even a measly, informal, somewhat sloppy comment on a bit of news that bothers me… And a horrible thought looms in my mind.. will I go through all this trouble to have no one ever read any of it? Oh Jesus…

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