a) agree with, or
b) don't necessarily agree with, but believe bring up valid issues for centrists to contemplate.
My first feature falls under the first category. Redstate has an interesting and somewhat amusing take on the nativity scene debacle at the Washington Capitol:
I was sitting browsing sites and stumbled over an Associated Press item quoted in NewsMax.com. This little ditty follows on the heels of the SeaTac Airport kerfuffle over Christmas trees in the terminal. You may recall the flap over a request, later withdrawn, to include a menorah at the airport. The powers that be did what bureaucrats usually do, the wrong thing, removed all the Christmas trees. In any event after the threat of a lawsuit went away, and the public had responded 'vigorously', the trees were replaced.
Read on . . .
So imagine my surprise to find that Governor Christine Gegoire recently began the Hanukkah holiday by lighting the first candle of a menorah in the state capitol building. Seeing the menorah in the capitol a gentlemen of the Christian persuasion requested that a nativity scene be included in the holiday display; his mistake appears to have been in assuming that there was some actual Christian connection to Christmas. He was turned down on the grounds that including a nativity scene might appear to endorse a particular religion. The refusal was ostensibly because the state's legal department had not had an opportunity to consider the matter.
So as I was sitting here chuckling over more stupidity by government, something fairly serious occurred to me. Now I am not Jewish but throughout my life several of my closest friends have been and remain so to this day. It has always been my impression that Hanukkah, while not as important as Yom Kippur, was still like an actual Jewish religious holiday, dude. And that the menorah, as an apparatus of that holiday, was therefore a religious symbol; I know this because it isn't used as a centerpiece when I drop by my Jewish friends' for franks and burgers on Tuesday. The state saw no problem in having a menorah in the capitol and having the governor participate in the lighting ceremony on the first night of Hanukkah; and I don't either. But the incorporation of a nativity scene smacked too much of religion.
So here's where we get to the problem. If the nativity scene is prohibited because it is religious, but the menorah and the Hanukkah ceremony were included then they are clearly not religious. If I were Jewish I think I'd be upset; my holiday doesn't count as religious?
But what do I know, I'm not a government bureaucrat.
Aside from the humor, the article brings up a point - any and all peaceful expressions of religion on public grounds should be welcomed. I have argued before that just because a public entity allows a religious-themed presentation on its grounds, it is not endorsing a particular religion, so long as:
1) it extends the same invitation to set something up to all other religious groups;
2) no person is forced to recognize as truth, pay homage to, etc., the display; and
3) taxpayer dollars do not go toward erecting the display.
Now, if government and not private funds went toward those displays in Washington, then we have a problem, and if anyone knows for sure, please clarify.
In the end, when government officials begin atempting to sort out what constitutes a religious display and what does not, they run into the trouble that Washington did. This holiday season, let's accept, not exclude.