I love Jesus because_____________________________________________
An employee of the school sent an email to a friend. The friend forwarded the email to everyone in his contact list. Can you see where this is going? Yes, the recipients and bloggers lit up the Internet with discussions about First Admendment rights. Of course the word eventually got to the members of the school board and the principal sent out an automated voice message to all parents. He indicated that the project was undertaken to give the students an opportunity to experience the joy of giving. He said that he did not receive a single complaint about the Jesus question from any parent. He did, however apologize and said the school will look more closely at documents to make certain they do not include any religious matter.
We had some First Ammendment problems here in Transylvania County two or three years ago. It seems the school board and the County Commisioners both included an opening prayer in their meetings. A concerned parent went to the school and county leaders stating that invoking the name of Jesus Christ to look upon the public meeting was not only offensive to non-Christians; it was also against the law. The man was "blown off" by both boards so he called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). An ACLU attorney called the boards and explained that the practice of Christian prayer could not be part of a public meeting and indicated that the ACLU was prepared to bring legal action if necessary. So the boards reluctantly agreed to eliminate the prayers as part of the meetings. The Chairman of the school board made a statement to the press. She said that the prayers were not limited to one religion but that all religions were represented, including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians. [Does that send a message to all us Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Agnostics, etc.?] One of the other members said something to the effect that if the ACLU was not going to permit the liberty of bringing Jesus Christ to the meetings then it did not support Americans or their liberties.
BTW: Generally speaking, the reason many folks in western NC do not always recognize Catholics among the Christians is their mistaken belief that we "worship Mary." My daughter was the only Catholic in her first grade class. Upon learning that we were Catholic, her teacher asked me if it was all right for her to join the other children in praying just before going to lunch. I told her that was fine with us and then bit my tongue to prevent me from adding, "But it's not all right with the Supreme Court." Until we moved to Wisconsin, my children participated in Christmas programs at public school, including Christmas carols and the Nativity. In Wisconsin, the program was "Winter Sing" and did not include any religious songs.
For the record, we do celebrate Advent and the religious meaning of Christmas. We do have several Nativity sets around our house. But our secular decorations far outweigh the religious ones. Because this is my house, we can do what we please. And I, for one, am glad that no public school first-grade child should feel uncomfortable because his or her parents are not of a particular religious (or non-religious) belief.
One of my favorite Santas, cradling some dolls he just made for the good little boys and girls.
There are folks who are surprised to find that I am Roman Catholic. It's especially hard for those who knew me in my younger years to be Southern Baptist. I think their surprise comes with the fact that I am vehemently pro-choice, I support birth control of all kinds, I strongly support marriage of same sex persons and I respect people of all faiths and non-believers as well. I am just as furious as you are that the Bishops of the Church who turned a blind eye to child molestation by some priests were never held accountable. I am definitely a cafeteria Catholic and pick and choose what I wish to believe. Is this being hypocritical? I think not. The only religious dogma I could support without question would be the Church of NCMountainwoman. Otherwise I can choose which parts of the church I will support and which parts I will cast aside. I did the same when I was a Southern Baptist.