Monday, December 31, 2007

Joe's Response to Some Good Christmas Tolerance I

Here is another response to my post, Some Good Christmas Tolerance. As with Tobie, Joe makes some good points and at the end of the day I, for the most part, agree with him. That being said, he is still is unable to think outside of the basic liberal talking points. He just assumes that they are self evidently true.

Your Christmas blog struck me as interesting. You expressed some interesting views that I have heard in very few places. I would quibble with your descriptions of liberals, though. You use a very large brush to paint them and come off to me as missing the mark for a great many of us that call ourselves liberal. Some liberals do think as you suggest, but a great many have a more nuanced and thoughtful view than you portray.

For instance, in many cases, the argument that the majority should be tolerant of minorities has nothing to do with needing a free exchange of ideas. It does have a very great deal to do with the idealized concept of freedom. Our country is founded upon the principle of freedom for all (I realize this concept is rather abstract and not completely held in truth by our founders in that they wanted freedom for themselves and not so much for others oftentimes, but bear with me in the idealized version). To wit, there can be no true freedom for anyone so long as some are not free. Part of that freedom means being able to hold various religious beliefs without the government putting forth its own interpretation of the correct religion. As such, having the government support Christian displays of Christmas without also equally supporting other religious displays is hypocrisy and inhibiting the freedom of all of us.

I am a Christian, yet I do not support government sponsored religious statements as that infringes on the freedoms of all Americans. Now, if a government sponsored an event welcoming input from all religions, I would support that, but thus far, I have yet to see an event that did more than give lip service to tolerance of other faiths in this country by our government and that to me, is against the very principles upon which we as Americans should stand.

My Response: I do not see myself as attacking liberalism. I see myself as a liberal, albeit a 19th century one. As to your statement that "can be no true freedom for anyone so long as some are not free." In ancient Greece and in the ante-bellum south there existed free people and slaves. Are you suggesting that those so called “free people” were not free? I am a Jew. Seeing a Christmas tree on state property does not in any way bother me and in no way gets in the way of my freedom of religion. My father is a rabbi and I grew up studying Jewish law. I have yet to come across a single Jewish practice that is violated by gentile officials of a gentile government putting up a Christmas tree.

We live in a democracy. We vote, either directly or through our elected representatives, on all sorts of things. When Democrats or Republicans lose, the government does things that they do not support but they can still go home and believe what they want. Why can't we vote on holiday decorations? So what if Christians win, I can still go home and live my life as I want.

(To be continued ...)

1 comment:

James Pate said...

I really fail to see how having a nativity scene in a public place inhibits anyone's freedom. Maybe the non-Christian who dislikes it should simply not look at it!