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Cultural Insensitivity

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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Meade » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:37 pm

bdog wrote:Ah...it's only the "American" religions that are important.

I don't see why you feel the need to put American in quotes because, yes, we are talking about Americans here. Jewish Americans. Christian Americans. Hmong Americans. Atheist Americans. All Americans.

If a civic group or organization goes out of it's way to disrespect a specific group of religious Americans, I have a problem with that and I think you should too. We're not talking about blue laws or officially observed holidays in this case. We're talking about two local organizations who seem to have knowingly scheduled their events at two of the few times when observant Jews would not be able to participate. There is no excuse for that.

And suggesting that Stu, as chair of a governmental commission, would behave that way toward any other group of religious Americans is deliberately and gratuitously insulting and, in my opinion, Stu is owed an apology.

Of course, Stu engaged in name-calling which was also unnecessarily insulting. So there is that.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby bdog » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:02 pm

Meade wrote:And suggesting that Stu, as chair of a governmental commission, would behave that way toward any other group of religious Americans is deliberately and gratuitously insulting and, in my opinion, Stu is owed an apology.

I didn't mean to suggest, I was out and out saying it.

Or do you think Stu deliberately schedules all of his commission meetings to suit all possible flavors of religious Madisonians?

I also find it odd that Stu is presenting this affair as an either/or scenario and yet he was able to attend at least one of the events and report that someone ate at the bar and left after a short time.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Meade » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:33 pm

Stu's oddness should not be the issue here.

I would find it very disheartening to learn that Stu, as LC chairman, goes out of his way to deliberately schedule meetings at times when specific religious groups won't be able to attend. In fact, I'd be surprised if Stu isn't extremely accommodating in that regard.

I don't think the two groups Stu mentioned were targeting Jews when they drew up their schedules. But too many people, thinking they must maintain separation of church and state, have gone too far trying to demonstrate their "enlightened" non-favoritism toward any religion. I blame the Freedom From Religion zealots and everyone who tolerates their idiotic activism.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Huckleby » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:10 pm

Meade wrote: But too many people, thinking they must maintain separation of church and state, have gone too far trying to demonstrate their "enlightened" non-favoritism toward any religion. I blame the Freedom From Religion zealots and everyone who tolerates their idiotic activism.


Alright, so you suggest that it is OK if all religions are not accommodated. Fine. But then you still have to draw the line somewhere. You approve of recognizing Passover as a "major holiday." What about Good Friday? Ash Wednesday? Since Muslims are the largest population after Christians, do you think the city should refrain from meeting on some or all of the Islamic holidays listed above?
Speaking of freedom from religion, what about the pagan rituals, winter solstice and such? They are as popular as Jewish Holidays, I should think.

Give some specifics.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Stu Levitan » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:09 pm

I hope people realize that there is a city-wide policy on this, and that meeting or not meeting is not subject to the whim of the chair. In fact, the basic commission schedules are all standardized. If you have questions or concerns about the policy, I suggest you take it up with the mayor or your alder.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby DCB » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:56 pm

Stu Levitan wrote:So, for the record -- do you believe the city should reverse its current policy and allow government meetings to take place on important religious holidays?

Define "important religious holidays".
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Huckleby » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:13 am

DCB wrote: Define "important religious holidays".

Don't expect a response. Stu & Meade aren't saying.

I guess the definition of "important religious holiday" is like Potter Stewart's definition of hard-core pornography: "I know it when I see it."
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:36 am

I think an important religious holiday is one for which congregants, to be considered observant, are obligated to attend services/refrain from secular work/practice particular and well-defined home ceremonies and feasts. For me personally, that's Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first night of Hanukah, and the first two nights of Passover. I believe it is good public policy for the city to forbid its commissions to meet on those days. (Funny story -- I tried to schedule LC for tomorrow, but city policy forbids it). I believe for most Christians, it's Good Friday, Easter, Christmas Eve and Christmas; for some, add Ash Wednesday. Other than fasting, I don't know what the rituals or prohibitions are for Ramadan. I have no idea how any Buddhist or other religion's holidays meet my definition above. But, again, this ultimately is not a subjective determination on my part -- the City Clerk sends out a schedule telling commissions when they can and cannot meet.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:42 am

UW-Madison policy here.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby bdog » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:14 am

Stu Levitan wrote: But, again, this ultimately is not a subjective determination on my part -- the City Clerk sends out a schedule telling commissions when they can and cannot meet.

It's a subjective determination on the City of Madison's part.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 am

If you find religious accommodation so offensive, call the mayor and your alder.
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby scratch » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:04 am

bdog wrote:Pastafarians celebrate every Friday as a holy day.


Not to mention Grounation Day and several other holidays strewn about the calendar, some of which correspond to Jewish or Christian (it's all the God of Abraham, after all) holidays. Then there are the more secular observations like Bob Marley's birthday, etc., etc....

Hey bDog! I think you're right in questioning if Hell has frozen over-- I find myself agreeing with you. Let's get together on Beltane if all the bars aren't closed for the holiday!
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby O.J. » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:20 am

Stu Levitan wrote: Other than fasting, I don't know what the rituals or prohibitions are for Ramadan. I have no idea how any Buddhist or other religion's holidays meet my definition above.


That's very insensitive of you, Stu. By the way, if the Iron Chef event was such an affront to humanity, why did you attend? Also, why would that preclude any practicing Catholic from attending that event? No one was forcing these people to eat forbidden foods, were they? As an example, my girlfriend doesn't eat meat on Good Friday. Her neighbors invited us over for a dinner party where meat was being served, which we attended(after going out for fish fry). How was this any different? Was pork served at the Brink that night? Would that, or the serving of alcohol, dissuaded any Muslims from showing up?
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby Huckleby » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:35 am

Stu Levitan wrote:If you find religious accommodation so offensive, call the mayor and your alder.


I'm not sure that anybody is offended by religious accommodations by the city, the policy is a well-meaning attempt to be respectful. The point the heathens here are making is that identifying certain religous holidays as "major" is impractical & selective, arguably resulting in much greater cultural insensitivity than doing nothing.

BTW, you started this thread because you were offended because private organizations neglected to accommodate holidays you consider major. You are the one carrying the "offensive" torch.

Stu Levitan wrote:UW-Madison policy here.

Interesting link. The UW policy is comparatively a piece of cake, since they just accommodate individuals rather than adjust event schedules. UW advises, "A student's claim of a religious conflict, which may include travel time, should be accepted at face value. A great variety of valid claims exist for religious groups, and there is no practical, dignified, and legal means to assess the validity of individual claims."

They link to an interfaith calender which shows how many holidays exist that quite legitimately can be considered "major". (I would only add Super Bowl Sunday.)
http://www.interfaithcalendar.org/2013.htm
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Re: Cultural Insensitivity

Postby peripat » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:44 am

If we're going to separate church and state the only reason to not schedule things on a religious holiday would be to avoid excluding people. You can fine tune that until it is necessary to verify that no one with any interest in any topic has any other commitment that might conflict. There are people who can never make day or evening meetings due to work schedules, childcare, etc. Why are our multitudinous religions the main thing we officially accommodate? Why should we do that at all? If your religious observations are more important to you than your government maybe you shouldn't even participate. Why can't religion do the accommodating for a change?
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