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Continuing a tradition begun by George W. Bush, President Obama celebrated the end of Hanukkah at the White House last evening.

I am sure we will see varying opinions on this in the idiot media...He also had some words of praise for Nelson Mandela, and I guess we will hear about that, too...

Just a few random thoughts-thanks for your patience.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Bring me the head of Geraldo Rivera.

    by old mark on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:43:37 AM PST

  •  As Thomas Jefferson said.... (0+ / 0-)

    paraphrasing.... it is not the job of the President to conduct or endorse or participate in religious ceremonies in his role as President.... especially in government owned buildings.  Why hasn't he celebrated Ramadan yet in the White House?  I wonder.......

    Another mark in the column headed "Obama Doesn't Get Separation of Church and State."

    •  White House Iftar Dinner 2013. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too, Munchkn

      You say you wonder, but apparently, not all that much.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:14:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      "Even as Ramadan holds profound meaning for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it is also a reminder to people of all faiths of our common humanity and the commitment to justice, equality, and compassion shared by all great faiths.  In that spirit, I wish Muslims across America and around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House.  Ramadan Kareem," Obama said.

      Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

      by Hey338Too on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:16:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  See above^ (0+ / 0-)

        By the way, do you think the President should do this?

        •  To me it's a matter of being part of humanity... (0+ / 0-)

          ... Ignoring the major religious holidays (regardless of faith) would promote the idea that the President is dispassionate and aloof - as opposed to indicating that he is objective or impartial.

          I don't necessarily believe that "celebrating the essence and commonality" of major religions at the White House is a tacit Presidential approval of a specific dogma.  Rather, I see it as an acceptance, acknowledgement and celebration of American religious and cultural diversity as opposed to disregarding the concept of the separation of church and state.

          Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

          by Hey338Too on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:57:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So behaving in a secular manner as (0+ / 0-)

            prescribed by the Constitution and as advised by Jefferson and Madison and others is dispassionate and aloof?  You must not be a member of a minority faith or an atheist. 20% of the the populations now considers themselves non-religious and that goes to over 30% for people under 30. Where is their place at this culturally diverse table?

            When Obama was running for senate in IL against Allen West, West said in a debate that Jesus wouldn't vote for Obama.  Obama's reply at that time was that he was not running to be a minister, he was running for a secular governmental office. THAT was the correct response. Unfortunately as his aspirations went higher, he backtracked that response in an editorial in the USA Today and opened the door to allowing himself to express his Christianity in office.  And that was the beginning of his decline in terms of separation of church and state.  I could give you a list a mile long of his offenses in this area. And I am not alone. The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have been terribly disappointed in this President on these matters since he took office  and refused to act on a promise to stop allowing discrimination in hiring in faith based monies recipients.

            By the way, the three major faiths that he celebrated are all Abrahamic based religions that DO NOT worship the same deity.  So this "commonality" line is quite suspect, even though I hear it all the time.  As far as I know, he has not celebrated the cultural diversity of our eastern religion followers either. The whole idea is wrong, and as a former Constitutional law assistant professor, Barack Obama should know this.

            •  First, your assumption about my religion is... (0+ / 0-)

              ... is incorrect.  I am Jewish, and have lived in New Orleans for most of my life, so I think I understand being part of a religious minority.  Furthermore, most of my family lives in the southeastern US.

              Second, as a religious school teacher for almost 15 years, I taught a comparative religion class to my 12 to 15 year old students which focused on not only the differences between the religions of the world but also the similarities.  Of course, we emphasized the Abrahamic religions for the obvious reasons, but also for a less obvious one for people who don't live in New Orleans - Mardi Gras (the main parade route passes directly in front of our Synagogue).  

              Important note - if you want to be questioned for hours by the Education Committee of a Synagogue's Board, invite an Imam to address your comparative religion class AND then take the class to a Catholic Mass two weeks later.  I was allowed to do both, more adults attended those classes than kids (yes, all of the kids were there), and everyone found the experiences rewarding.

              Finding similarities between the world's religions is as simple as finding the differences - even between Abrahamic and Eastern religions.  I urge you to do some research on the matter.

              So, on to lighting Hanukkah candles at the White House.  If Jews, or non-Jews were required to attend the candle lighting (or any other religious celebration), then I would have a problem with it.  I tried to find a list of religious events which were hosted at the White House, but couldn't easily find one.  That doesn't mean that only "Abrahamic" religious holidays were celebrated.  However, if they were invited to any religious event, a secular American could accept the invitation as an opportunity to visit the building without participating in the event or decline the invitation on principle.

              One last point.  I was interested in your take on Jefferson's feelings about secular government so I did some reading.  It appears that during his Presidency, the House chamber was used for church services on Sundays and Presidents Jefferson and Madison attended those services.  I don't believe that this makes these men hypocrites, but I think it does contextualize the comments you ascribe to them.  There is a difference between utilizing a public facility for a religious purpose and codifying a religious preference by the government.

              Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

              by Hey338Too on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:48:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you read the book by Chris Rodda (0+ / 0-)

                (who works for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) titled Liars For Jesus, you will be able to see the real history about those religious services held in the House.  They were social gatherings with a miltary band playing and people chatting while a service was being conducted.  Since DC had very little in the way of entertainment, this gathering was attended by most everyone in town as a way to catch up on news and gossip.

                We have endured so many cuts to the wall of separation over the years that people don't even realize them when they are looking right at them.  It is not the job of an elected civil servant to use government building to address, recognize, celebrate etc. any religion, no matter how benign the appearance of the event.  You may call that radical. I call it the right way to do things.

  •  I see that I neglected to mention (0+ / 0-)

    that my lat4e wife was Jewish, and, although I am not, I really enjoyed celebrating the Jewish holidays along with my secular version of the christian and standard US holidays. I still light the menorah for Hanukkah, and it brings me a sense of tradition...and I fix a good dinner for myself, too, which is an aspect of all holidays that I fully support and endorse. I did not mean to criticize President Obama for having a celebration at the White House, a tradition begun by George Bush, IIRC...

    My thought is that we can all use all the holidays, gatherings, dinners, gifts and time off we can get. We never know how many we have left.

    Bring me the head of Geraldo Rivera.

    by old mark on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:08:01 PM PST

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