From the Frederick (MD) News-Post:
After Kim Gaines found a small nativity scene in a box of old Christmas decorations, she decided it would look nice on her desk in the main office at Urbana High School.
Almost a week after she placed the figures on her desk, the school’s secretary of eight years said she was called into Principal Kathy Campagnoli’s office, where Campagnoli said staff members had told her the display promotes Christianity and that Gaines should take it down.
Heaven forbid that some high school student should see a small nativity scene on a school secretary’s desk. Why, he might actually convert to (((gasp))) Christianity as a result. We can’t have that, now, can we?
To be honest with you, had I been that secretary, I would have flat out refused to take the nativity scene off of my desk. I would have refused even until they fired me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a private employee at a public school having something religious in there office. To say that there is something wrong with that is simply to discriminate against whatever religion that particular employee is.
This whole political correctness thing doesn’t make sense to me. I have friends who are muslims, atheists and agnostics I can’t think imagine any of them even being slightly offended by a nativity display. Who are we trying not to offend here?
I thought we were supposed to be embracing multi-culturism… wouldn’t this display be a fantastic opportunity to help teach some of the non-christian students about the history behind a holiday that bears great significance to western cultures?
Satanists are a cult that is created as a wicked parody of religion. Satanism is hate speech if there ever was hate speech. Plus they are such a small minority, in a school setting you will probably not come across an adult employee being an open satanist.
But if such a satanist did turn up at her desk beside the lady with the nativity scene, you would be happy to have their hate speech on display? Or is it ok in a workplace to express opposition to satanism, but not support? Do you have a list of acceptable beleifs that can be displayed?
Secular society draws the line on hate speech when you start advocating abuse or violence towards another person or group of people. The problem with satanism, is that the whole thing advocates hatred and abuse towards other people whereas christianity does the opposite.
Really, there’s no legal reason to ever bar a christian display since it can only ever advocate love in it’s purest form (which is the opposite of hate speech).
That’s all untrue. If you took Christianity out of Europe, you’d have tribalism, ancient superstitions, patriarchal societies etc. You’d have NO literature, NO science (check the development of science in non-Western societies), modern music???, visual arts - oh come on give better examples will you, human rights - NONE- all life’s subservient to animal and gaia spirits or whim of chieftain/warlord, equality of women???
You’d basically be an illiterate, barbarian right now, living in a forest somewhere in Germany or UK. There would be no unified Germany or UK. Christianity both led to the development of all the things you mentioned but also influenced them.
Architecture, art, and classical music are all deeply interwonen with Western Christianity. To take Christianity out of any of those is to bankrupt it. Mozart’s, Schubert’s, and Brahms’s masses, Handel’s Messiah, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers are all exanples of the pinnacle of Western music. Even so many of the great operas, like Wagner’s Parcifal, Verdi’s Nabucco, had Christian or biblical themes. Even non-Christians have generally embraced Christian legacy in music; Mendelsohn’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God” from Luther’s hymn, or Rimsky-Korsakov’s Easter Overture. Western art is certainly far better encapsulated by the religious paintings of Reni and Caravaggio than by jackson Pollock. And architecture? The greatest architecture in the Western world is found in its catherdrals (which, though you may choose to ignore it, has theological as well as aesthetic influences) and imperial castles and palaces. As for literature, what do you do with Christian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky? Far more influential than atheists like Chernashevsky and Belinsky. Granted, Goethe was a deist, but what of Heine, Schiller, and von Kleist, Christian with Christian themes prominent in their work? Or for the French, Stenhal and de Balzac? Chesterton and Lewis for the English? Or would you rather confine yourself to George Bernard Shaw, just to avoid Christianity?
The equality of women, human rights, and democracy are all political developments that came to fruition only in the last century of Wester civilzation, and it would be woth noting that all three of them owe more to religion than to any secular ideology (indeed, modern secular humanism is little else but the illegitimate child of Christianity or Judeism). Humanism was originally a Christian idea, developed by Catholic thinkers like Erasmus and Montaigne, as well as some ofthe protestants. It was also Protestants who were the pioneers of equality and individualism; each man equal under under God, the abolition of what they saw as the priveleged class of the clergy and the importance of the individual’s relationship with God, were more important especially to British and American equality and freedom than any other set of ideas; and also to the liberation of the slaves as well. Science, you should note, was not invented by atheists in the 1600s; it thrived under the golden age of Islam in the late Middle Ages, it was financed by the Church (and later by the protestants churches) later, and by states, and its development owes more to increased military and economic competition between European states and the development of colonialism during the 16th century than to anything else. In modern times, we are ever reminded by the progress made during the arms race and by the advances made by pharmaceutical companies that the two things that drive modern science are capitalism and war. The idea of an enlightenment scientific way of thinking having replaced Medieval faith is a convenient fiction for some, but is hardly compatible with history.
Not all beliefs are accorded the same level of tolerance. Consensus holds satanism to be rather hateful and offensive. Now, perhaps you view a nativity scene as offensive as satanic symbols, but you have to make a case for that; you can’t simply expect everyone to hate Christianity just as much; most Jews, Muslims, and probably even atheists would not find the nativity scene comparable to the satanic equivalent.
This is not peculiar to religion, either. It is generally considered a good thing to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints. But there are limits, hence why public schools and universities and mainstream political institutions generally don’t hire neo-Nazis to give speeches or participate in forums, but do regularly have mainstream liberal or conservative figures do so. Free speech is never totally unlimited.