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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 09:28 AM

Stony Brook calendar change need not fuel rhetoric on religion

Stony Brook University does not hate Jews, Christians, or Muslims -- or atheists, for that matter. It's just a large, religiously diverse university trying to put together an academic calendar that meets the needs of its 24,000 students. So its calendar for the 2012-13 school year will no longer cancel classes for such holy days as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Cue the fireworks.

This shouldn't be a big deal, but it managed to attract criticism from such odd political bedfellows as conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). No surprise, though. In the America of 2012 -- really, in the America of the past two centuries -- conversations involving religion tend too often to be loud ones. Our history includes such distasteful episodes as an anti-Semitic radio priest; anti-Catholic nativists, so angry that Pope Pius IX had sent a block of marble for the construction of the Washington Monument that they stole it; and a months-long screamathon over a proposed Muslim cultural center blocks from Ground Zero.

More recently, the conversations have included Catholic teaching on contraception, the way new Jets quarterback Tim Tebow publicly kneels on the field in gratitude to God, and the question of how Mitt Romney's Mormon faith will affect his presidential chances. Then, of course, there's the enduringly dopey discussion of whether President Barack Obama -- sharply criticized during the 2008 campaign for the fiery sermons of his Christian pastor -- is really an undercover Muslim.

We're not likely to stop talking about religion anytime soon, but our religious conversations need to be more civil and less strident. The case of the Stony Brook calendar is just the most recent example.

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/stony-brook-calendar-change-need-not-fuel-rhetoric-on-religion-1.3620442

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Reply Stony Brook calendar change need not fuel rhetoric on religion (Original post)
SecularMotion Apr 2012 OP
longship Apr 2012 #1
cbayer Apr 2012 #2
longship Apr 2012 #3
cbayer Apr 2012 #5
longship Apr 2012 #8
cbayer Apr 2012 #9
longship Apr 2012 #10
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #4
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #6
cbayer Apr 2012 #7

Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:32 AM

1. Either that, or just leave your damned religious beliefs at home

or your place of worship.

I'm like George Carlin, I'm sick and fucking tired of these church people.

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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 01:14 PM

2. If you are so sick and tired of these church people,

why do you hang out in this group?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 01:54 PM

3. Because I feel strongly that this dialog is important

You know, cbayer, that I reserve my ire for people who use their religion to impose it on others, many unwilling, many others being victimized. Yes, some are willing.

But when religion crossed over into secular disciplines, I have no choice but to take a strong stand. I am sick and tired of the religious claiming persecution (when they have an overwhelming majority) and simultaneously using it as an excuse to use legislative fiat to impose their beliefs on everybody.

Religion and politics is a toxic mix. It always has been and it always will be. Many religious people believe that also, but for some reason they are afraid to express it.

The church people of whom I -- and George Carlin -- speak are not those people. Not people of faith, like possibly you, who also see the problems of this overt religiosity in political discourse and governance.

Forgive me for my occasional hyperbole. However, I do think this may be the most important political issue today. Possibly we ignore it at our peril.

Let's continue the dialog.

BTW, I think religion is fascinating, in spite of my atheism. But I don't try to convert. My goal is to help people to see that the reasons atheists are angry is that they see some real dangers.

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:13 PM

5. You make so much more sense when you clarify who you are sick and tired of

instead of making such general statements.

I know that you make a distinction, which is why I asked you the question.

I also know that you share my goal of forming alliances to combat those that have used religion to push agendas that are the antithesis of what we as Democrats stand for.

Your statement about this possibly being the most important political issue today is shared by me. We are on the same side here.

Have you seen anyone in this group trying to convert you to their religion?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:48 PM

8. I should have fleshed out my post

And, no, nobody tried to convert me here, nor would I expect that.

Frankly, I'm a bit frightened at the extent to which the Republicans have gone down the theocratic road. It's more than a bit alarming, all the more so this year.

Some religious people have to stand up tall and speak loudly about this. It can't just be atheists. (The latter clearly would not work.)

During the Congressional debates on the First Amendment religion clause it was possibly the religious who, after being persecuted by the laws declaring state religions in the various colonies, stood up and spoke out for the most radical version of the clause which was adopted unanimously in the Senate.

But, where the heck are they now? No where that I can see or hear. We occasionally see one on the news, but usually it's the theocrat vs the atheist, which is never going to work.

The religious have to stand up to the bullies on the right, and that isn't happening enough.

What is it going to take before people see the danger here? Another Republican President and Congress could do it. SCOTUS is balanced on a knife edge. One term of these loonies may be enough and everything we know about governance, freedoms, peace, and just about anything could change for a long time.

The scariest thing the Republicans say (with apparent authority, I might add) is that, This is a Christian country.

Do all religious people actually believe that? If not, than why aren't they screaming from the rooftops. If so, they are giving comfort to some very dangerous people.

I recommend John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience to any and all here who would like to read about the sociology of what's apparently been happening. It's the book which turned me from an atheist to an atheist activist. (Well, that and the lunatic Republicans.)

Sorry about the long post.

Best regards.

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Response to longship (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:58 PM

9. There are many progressive christian individuals and group speaking out

but the media doesn't cover them. Just not sexy enough.

One of the loudest voices is Bill Moyers, who apparently thought this issue important enough to come out of retirement.

Because it is hard to hear their voices, I continue to object to the frontal attacks on those voices on this very site. It is those that level these kinds of attacks that are giving comfort to the religious right, imo. The voices they fear the most are those of the progressive religious leaders who so clearly see the contradictions, bigotry and danger in what they preach.

As always, a pleasure talking to you. Continue to do what you are doing, but don't forget that there are theists on your side.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:08 PM

10. Agreed.

But as I said, I am truly frightened as to where this may end up. It is not just about the USA. Many of these trends are global and even the US issues have profound global consequences.

I think we've let it go too far already. And our opponents have accumulated awesome power.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:07 PM

4. So as a host of this group

are you telling us that admin has changed the SOP of this group to just be back slapping the positives of religion? Because I don't think what you responded fits the current SOP or this group and I find that troubling. But do explain yourself.

And when people's religion stops affecting my life, I will stop talking about it. I promise.

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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:17 PM

6. I'll add #1 and 3# to a list i began on another string.

about respecting religion

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:18 PM

7. I think this is a reflection of increasing diversity and a good thing.

My understanding is that the school will still be flexible and strive to accommodate those who request it.

When I was a kid, we called this time "Easter Break". Since then, it has changed to Spring Break and doesn't necessarily coincide with Easter at all.

Diversity is a good thing. It's an opportunity for people to explore the beliefs or lack of beliefs of others and share their own.

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