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Postby Stargzer » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:29 am

Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby gailr » Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:50 pm

Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay.
And I learned the truth from lenny bruce,
And all my wealth won’t buy me health,
So I smoke a pint of tea a day.

(And if that was mate tea, its being a member of the Aquifoliaceae family permits a stretch to "seasonings greetings" as well.) Nice to be reminded of that song, stargzer.
-gailr
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:02 pm

I1m familiar with that tea. People drink it in a chimarrão, which goes around the group as if they were smoking grass.

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:10 am

gailr wrote: . . . (And if that was mate tea, its being a member of the Aquifoliaceae family permits a stretch to "seasonings greetings" as well.) Nice to be reminded of that song, stargzer.
-gailr


Folk rock.


. . . are the final words as the song fades out as I remember.

Celestial Seasonings has a tea called Morning Thunder that has yerba maté. It's been a while since I had it, though. I usually drink some of Columbia's second major agricultural export in the mornings :wink: , but lately I've been drinking Brazilian coffee. In general I think I have a cast-iron stomach, but ever since my college days regular tea has done unkind things to my empty stomach in the mornings. Morning Thunder never bothered me, however.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:50 pm

Stargzer wrote:Speaking of Seasonings Greetings:

...

--For Henri, Wherever She May Find Him . . . :lol:


She did - she always does ! Thanks, Larry ! Speaking of seasoning's greetings, I really find it difficult to understand what's going on on your side of the Pond - it seems the (Christian) religious types, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, are raising High Heaven (pardon the pun !) over the fact that some commercial establishments have chosen to write «Seasoning's Greetings» instead of «Happy/Merry Christmas» when inviting people to their Temples of Mammon. I distinctly remember an earlier age, when these same groups used to deplore the profanisation of the sacred by these establishments. Have they finally realised that «nemo potest duobus dominis servire aut enim unum odio habebit et alterum diliget aut unum sustinebit et alterum contemnet non potestis Deo servire et mamonae» and changed their allegiance to the Master they love best ?...

Henri
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Postby gailr » Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:37 pm

M. Henri Day wrote:
Speaking of seasoning's greetings, I really find it difficult to understand what's going on on your side of the Pond - it seems the (Christian) religious types, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, are raising High Heaven (pardon the pun !) over the fact that some commercial establishments have chosen to write «Seasoning's Greetings» instead of «Happy/Merry Christmas» when inviting people to their Temples of Mammon.
Henri

Despite the execrable spelling, etymological errors, and holier-than-thou attitude, this editorial makes some good points along those lines. This one does so with more humor, albeit with even less tact.
-gailr
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:04 pm

I see that Adam Cohen, fortuitously or not - perhaps he knew that we were discussing this topic !) has just published an OpEd in the New York Times on this issue. Two brief quotes will suffice to indicate the tenor :

The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.

...

Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be given over to drinking and swearing, but it introduced another concern: commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas shopping season."

Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953 Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons - lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.


Talk about the Grinch !...

Henri
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:53 pm

M. Henri Day wrote: . . . Speaking of seasoning's greetings, I really find it difficult to understand what's going on on your side of the Pond - it seems the (Christian) religious types, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, are raising High Heaven (pardon the pun !) over the fact that some commercial establishments have chosen to write «Seasoning's Greetings» instead of «Happy/Merry Christmas» when inviting people to their Temples of Mammon. . . .


There are those who perceive a concerted effort by "The Left" and especially the ACLU (American Communist Lackeys Union :) ) to remove all references to religion in American daily life. The first "assault" came in the banning of prayer in public schools, which probably never should have happened in the first place. Later came attempts, so far unsuccessful, to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, which phrase wasn't added until the 1950s. Next came the banning of religious symbols on Government property, an example being Manger scenes at Christmas time. The last legal big brouhaha concerns having copies of the Ten Commandments on Government property, particularly in court buildings. Now comes the retailers, afraid of inadvertantly offending non-Christians, only to alienate the bulk of their customers. It's a classic no-win situation for them.

The First Amendment to our Constitution says, in part:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .


These two clauses have engendereda great deal of often rancorous debate. Many probably don't even know what "an establishment of religion" is. The Established Church of England, the officially sanctioned state church, is the reason many emigrated to the Colonies in the first place. Unfortunately, their desire for a place to practice their own religion often caused others to move elsewhere to practice theirs. The colony of Maryland was founded by Roman Catholics who wanted a place where they could worship in peace. They were eventually overrun by Protestants, and it was only in the passing of the Toleration Act that the Catholics were able to breath a little more freely. The Act, however, only guaranteed freedom of worship for Christian religions that believed in The Trinity and the Virgin Birth. The penalty for blasphemy was rather extreme by modern standards:

Acts and Orders of Assembly assented
vnto
Enacted and made at a Genall Ses-
sions of the said Assembly held at St
Maries on the one and twentieth day of
Aprill Anno Dm 1649 as followeth viz.:

An Act concerning Religion

fforasmuch as in a well governed and
Xpian Comon Weath matters concern-
ing Religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to
bee taken, into serious consideracon and endeavoured to bee
settled.
Be it therefore ordered and enacted by the Right
Hoble Cecilius Lord Baron of Baltemore absolute Lord and
Proprietary of this Province with the advise and consent of this
Generall Assembly. That whatsoever pson or psons within
this Province and the Islands thereunto belonging shall from
henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our
Saviour Jesus Christ to bee the sonne of God, or shall deny
the holy Trinity the ffather sonne and holy Ghost, or the God-
head of any of the said Three psons of the Trinity or the
Vnity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachfull
Speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity,
or any of the said three psons thereof, shalbe punished with
death and confiscaton or forfeiture of all his or her lands and
goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heires,



Next, and a little less extreme, came penalties for for using unkind words for the Mother of God and the Apostles and Evangelists:

And bee it also
Enacted by the Authority and with the advise and assent afore-
said. That whatsoever pson or psons shall from henceforth
use or utter any reproachfull words or Speeches concerning
the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of our Saviour or the
holy Apostles or Evangelists
or any of them shall in such case
for the first offence forfeit to the said Lord Proprietary and his
heirs Lords and Proprietaries of this Province the sume of ffive
pound Sterling or the value thereof to be Levyed on the goods
and chattells
of every such pson soe offending, but in case
such Offender or Offenders, shall not then have goods and
chattells sufficient for the satisfyeing of such forfeiture, or that
the same bee not otherwise speedily satisfyed
that then such
Offender or Offenders shalbe publiquely whipt and bee
ymprisoned during the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary
or the
Leivet or cheife Governor of this Province for the time being
[/b]


For a second offense, the fine doubled to ten pounds sterling or being "publiquely and severely whipt and imprisoned as before. . . " A third offense resulted in the original "Three Strikes And You're Out" provision:

And that every pson or
psons before mentioned offending herein the third time, shall
for such third Offence forfeit all his lands and Goods and bee
for ever banished and expelled out of this Province
.


Other provisions banned insulting another's religion or profaning the Sabbath.

Clearly, in those pre-Enlightenment times, this also amounted to an establishment of religion, just not a particular variety of the Christian religion.

Now we fast-forward from 1649 to 1789. The question of freedom of religion was the first part of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Clearly people were worried about being able to practice religion freely. But just where do we draw the line? There aren't enough bits on this board to begin solving that problem. :wink:
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:22 am

Larry, I checked on the ACLU website, under the rubric Religious Liberty, but was unable to find anything which indicated that they concern themselves with whether or no major retail outlets greet their customers with «Happy Holidays» or «Merry Christmas» or some other variation on the Winter Solstice. This seems, to me at least, to demonstrate that that particular organisation, unlike some others that could be named, saves its powder for other objectives. And with reason : in theory, at least, if one finds one's retailer's advertising offensive, one can go to another (of course, if all the little fish have been swallowed by, say, Wal-Mart, in reality this is no longer the case). With public organs, however, the opportunity to opt out doesn't exist, which, in my opinion, is why they should be required to exercised greater much caution in these areas - thus that little addendum in the First Amendment restricting the Privileges and Powers exercised by the US Congress, otherwise regulated in Article I of the US Constitution (wish that body would take back its Powers under that article's Section 8 !) To my mind, this caution and this restrictivity is especially important in the schools, given the fact that the power of a child to recognise and resist indoctrination (which after all, is a major part of what a school does - and indeed, is supposed to do) is limited. You may disagree, but I think one of the major reasons for the success of the United States has been its ability to integrate vast numbers of people of widely varying beliefs into a fairly coherent whole, a process that has depended on the mutual willingness of groups to step back from their maximum programmes and accept limitations on the ends for which and the means by which they can use their political power. There may be many good reasons for organising boycotts of the big chains that dominate retailing in the US - e g, the sweatshop conditions in the workshops of their subcontractors, their anti-union activities, their corruption of political representatives - but «Happy Holidays !» is not one of them !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:35 pm

I'm not worried about retailers using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." I heard on the radio this morning that even President Bush was taking heat from some conservative Christians for using "Happy Holidays" on the White House Christmas, I mean, Holiday, cards. As he retorted, his cards go to a number of non-Christians. Even I often choose a card that says "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings."

One of the things I did find dumb was the chain, I think it was Home Depot (one of the WalMarts of the hardware store world), that was selling "Holiday Trees." THEY'RE CHRISTMAS TREES FOR PETE'S SAKE, NOT CHANNUKAH BUSHES!

Even the witches in the Harry Potter novels celebrate Christmas! This even in spite of the Old Testament injuction against witches.

As for the American Crackbrained Lawyers Union, please don't get me started. It's one thing to defend the rights of Nazis to march through a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago. After all, the Orange Order gets to march through Catholic neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. It's quite another matter, however, to defend the right of NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association) to disseminate instructions on how to molest children. Free speech is one thing, but it's not legal to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater unless there really is a fire.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:34 pm

Stargzer wrote:...

One of the things I did find dumb was the chain, I think it was Home Depot (one of the WalMarts of the hardware store world), that was selling "Holiday Trees." THEY'RE CHRISTMAS TREES FOR PETE'S SAKE, NOT CHANNUKAH BUSHES!

...


If people celebrating Channukah buy them, presumably they're Channukah bushes. To me they're rather young examples of Picea abies (if they're not made of plastic, that is, which is an abomination), and their connexion to Christmas (or, for that matter, Channukah) is of rather recent date. I've never really been able to understand how Evangelicals who believe in the literal truth of their version of the Bible can invite this particular pagan symbol (descendent of the old jul log) into their homes, but consistency is, as we know, the bugaboo of petty minds....

Henri

PS : With regard to the ACLU, one doesn't have to agree with all the organisations, persons, or issues they defend to realise that a USA with the ACLU is a far preferable place to one without. Think defence lawyers....
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:41 pm

I've never really been able to understand how Evangelicals who believe in the literal truth of their version of the Bible can invite this particular pagan symbol (descendent of the old jul log) into their homes, but consistency is, as we know, the bugaboo of petty minds....

I totally agree.

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Postby Stargzer » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:05 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
I've never really been able to understand how Evangelicals who believe in the literal truth of their version of the Bible can invite this particular pagan symbol (descendent of the old jul log) into their homes, but consistency is, as we know, the bugaboo of petty minds....

I totally agree.

Brazilian dude


There are those who believe that radical Islamic fundamentalists want to take the world back to the 7th century. One could argue that some Christians want to return to the 1st century . . .

Then there's the old joke about how someone asked President Reagan what he would do if radical fundamentalists took over the oil fields. He replied that he thought he was on good terms with Jerry Falwell. :roll:
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby gailr » Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:07 am

Guys, don't forget the radical ecofeminists who would like to take the world back to, hmmm, to well-before written records.

Living in the past...

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