I'm not offended by anyone's beliefs either. I will, in fact, go to the mat defending the rights of everyone to believe what they will. This means I will defend the Christian with equal ferocity as I would an obscure faith with only a single family making up the order. I cherish the rights of people in our country to practice their faith. What I don't value is the insistence on the use of public, i.e. shared property to try to stake religious flags. This has nothing, at least as far as I'm concerned, to do with political correctness or offending anyone. Offend all the people you want on your own time and on your own dime. That is what makes our country great. You don't get to do it on "neutral ground," i.e. public property. Most of the United States is NOT public property, so there is no way to say there isn't enough space to get your message across.I am not offended by anybodys beliefs and I am sure most folks feel that way. I have to wonder how we are going to deal with the folks who are offended by everything....from the books of Mart Twain to the Christmas decorations in a city mall. Soon, there will be no celebration at all. When folks say they are offended, I would like to know just how much. Having a religious painting in a school hall should not be that offensive if it has been there for almost a century. That seems petty to me.
The City Mall is a different story. That is PRIVATE property and when businesses CHOOSE not wish you a "Merry Xmas," preferring "Happy Holidays" they are exercising their freedom and options. They are recognizing how many customers are out there who prefer something different. There will always be celebration if the faithful remain true. There is not a single Christmas where I am not overwhelmed and amazed by the countless displays of lights, decorations, parties, good cheer, carols, and so on. There is so much of it I just haven't missed the one that used to be on the Courthouse steps. Isn't that really what we are talking about. Isn't the only thing being denied here the right to go into a location of authority and plant a flag?
I think that is great. I think if more people were this tolerant and respectful of other people's beliefs the world would be a better place. I still have to point out that your admirable shelter is PRIVATE property run by spiritual people doing the right thing for the right reasons. Bias is clouding your judgement in this debate because you are mixing apples and oranges. There is private and there is public. There are places people willingly go and places people are hostage to by fate. Public schools (and public property in general) is owned by all of us and thus it must treat us all equally. It cannot acknowledge the faith of some and ignore that of others. Since it would be impossible for a school to acknowledge possible faiths of everyone without creating a huge uproar, it deals with the problem simply by leaving that aspect of people's lives to their personal time and space.One of the shelters I worked at was run by a Christian organization. It was a public place where seniors, with little money, could come to socalize and have three hots meals a day....free of charge. We had other things like free dental, free hair cuts and pedicurs...all that stuff. Different volunteer groups would come in different days of the week. Sai Baba would come in every Wednesday and help with a vegetarian meal..they would buy the supplies for it. When the meal was cooked and the clients were seated we would have a moment of prayers, then the members would place a picture of Sai Baba on the counter with a tea candle. The first dish from the meal I cooked would be placed by the picture in respect. Now this is a Christian shelter...but folks looked forward to the Sai Baba days of the week. They were wonderful. This is tolerance. Nobody was hurt by having to acknowledge their faith. In fact, we learned from it.