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“A Persecuted American Christian” Goes to Heaven December 4, 2009

Posted by Bill in Christianity, Religion, Religious Right.
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The members of Martyrs Anonymous turned and smiled in a friendly manner at the newcomer to their group. Edmund, the group’s greeter, made room for her on his cloud and showed her where to stow her harp.

Peter stood up to the podium and called the meeting to order. “I’m Peter and I am a Martyr,” he began.

“Hi Pete!” the group responded.

“After my Lord was risen, I traveled to spread the word. Those pesky Romans tried to stop me but couldn’t until finally they arrested me. They hung me upside down on a cross until I was dead.” Peter stretched his arms and showed the holes on his hands where the nails had been. He then nodded at the next person.

“I’m Joan and I’m a Martyr,” the woman in armor said. “I was accused of heresy and was burned at the stake. When I died, I had a small cross in the front of my dress. Even though I was dead, they burned my body twice more to make sure I stayed dead.”

“Hi Joan!”

“I’m Stephen and I’m a Martyr. I was buried to my waist so I couldn’t move and then stones were thrown at me till I died. Yet I never gave up speaking out against the church leaders who were perverting the word of Jesus Christ.”

“Hi Steve!”

“I’m Blandina and I’m a Martyr. I was scourged with a multi-thong whip. Skin was torn from my body and then I was thrown across a red hot iron grate that scalded lines across my body. Finally I was bound in a net and thrown to a wild bull that tossed me upon its horns until my captors killed me with a knife. No matter what they did to me, I told them, “I am a Christian, and we commit no wrongdoing.”

One by one the members of the group told their story of persecution, each more horrid than the last until finally there was only one person left to speak. After an encouraging nod, the newcomer stood up. “I’m Phyllis,” she said. “And I am a Martyr.”

“Hi Phyllis!”

She drew a deep breath and let it out. “I had to listen to a clerk in a store telling me to have a Happy Holiday instead of a Merry Christmas!”

Crickets chirping.

Lots of crickets. Lots of chirping.

Peter leaned over to Edmund. “Did the schedule get us mixed up with Histrionics Anonymous again?”


What Are We Teaching Kids Anyway? September 13, 2009

Posted by Bill in Church and State, Religion, Schools.
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In Texas, a proposal being reviewed by the State Board of Education would drop the mention of Christmas from the 6th Grade Social Studies curriculum, replacing it with information about Diwali, a Hindu religious festival. Not surprisingly, conservative Christians are up in arms and revisiting their Continuous “War on Christmas” battle cry.

Actually, to be precise, the standards being considered are a requirement that sixth graders be able to explain the significance of religious holidays such as Yom Kippur, Diwali, Ramadan and Easter. Christmas is not included in that list although it is included in the CURRENT standards and Diwali is not.

Personally, I’d include them both, however, it’s possible that the committee recommending the changes thinks that sixth graders are probably already very familiar with the significance of Christmas and don’t need the school to spell it out for them. Let’s face it, it is not possible to live in the United States and NOT be aware of the religious significance of Christmas. It’s kind of like expecting the schools to teach kids in Texas about the importance of football– oh, wait a minute, schools in Texas– Arlington, Texas– are already expected to teach students about the importance of football. That’s why the district is busing 500 fifth graders to the new Cowboys Stadium in September.

No! No! No! It’s not to teach them the importance of football! It’s so they can hear the former president, George Dubya Bush, explain the importance of a volunteer initiative that will happen during the 2011 SuperBowl.

Volunteering is important, and no one should have a problem with their kids hearing about it. After all, it’s an important value, kind of like staying in school and studying hard- but wait! This is the same school district that completely boycotted Obama’s speech to school children about staying in school and studying hard because it took 18 minutes of class time away from IMPORTANT things, presumably like teaching the significance of Christmas!