There are two ways of doing business in a country with a secular government and a religious population.
- A complete separation of church and state.
- Inclusion of everything from all religions in state proceedings.
New York City public schools are now closing for two Muslim holidays. My conservative Christian circles have already had some thoughts on this that toe the line between “what did our [Christian] founding fathers intend?” and outright racism.
I’m a Christian, and I think it’s a very good move on the part of NYC’s school district. If they’re not doing it already for some of the Jewish holidays, I hope they do that too. The schools have enough of the Abrahamic religions represented in their roll call that they should be doing this.
The more levelheaded conversations about this wade into murky waters.
The Satanic Temple’s proposed Satanic monument in Oklahoma City is currently my favorite take on this conversation.
Who gets to claim that the schools or the banks or anything gets shut down on a particular day of the year because of a belief in a invisible force or forces or lack of invisible force or forces? Education is a complicated area to consider. For private business it’s easier, every employee gets X number of personal days to celebrate Easter or Eid al-Adha or Holi or sit in front of the TV and get drunk, it’s up to you. We could do the same thing for government employees as well. Education makes things tricky.
I don’t have any kids, but if I did, I’d want them to learn about the holidays of the other religions and cultures that they’re going to be sharing this world with. If Lil’ Stephen doesn’t go to school one day because it is another religion’s holiday, that probably doesn’t provide him with any information, understanding, or appreciation for that holiday. Perhaps that’s still the best way of doing things, because I know I went to a Christian school that seemed to go out of it’s way to avoid educating it’s students about anything in regards to other religions unless it was to ridicule them. If a parent wants to leave their kid in the dark about other religions or teach them divisive opinions, that’s their business. And it’d be mine to at least tell that kid to pull up Hinduism on Wikipedia and stop making so much noise while he’s off from school.