Wednesday, July 06, 2005
EVERYBODY'S icon on the courthouse lawn!!!! Then it would be fair!
What's the matter, doesn't every Subway have a huge statue of the Ten Commandments in the middle of its entryway?
This statue was carved by local stonecarvers and intended for the lawn of the State House in Indianapolis. However, its delivery was delayed by all the lawsuits and protests, so the statue was temporarily placed on the courthouse lawn of this town. However again, this placement was also protested and the statue was removed, under threat of destruction, back to its place of origin: the limestone quarry. It lived at the quarry for a while, and then a big building on the corner of the main intersection in downtown ThisTown burned down, and the owner decided to build a Subway restaurant there. A Subway with a really large entryway. An entryway large enough to house a really big two-sided statue of the Ten Commandments.
People are still protesting, but a guy's Subway is his castle, and he can have whatever he wants on his own property. So there, protesters.
He's had to install heavy security to protect the statue: bright lights, and a security camera that runs 24/7/365. The statue gets death threats.
I honestly do not understand all the fuss. Sure, it's a religious thing, but if other religions don't like having only one religion represented, why don't they carve out something of their own to place alongside this one? It would not offend me in the least to have a whole row of representations side-by-side there on the Courthouse lawn. People could walk by and pick out their own, and then explain to their children that the others represent things that OTHER people believe. Wouldn't it just be educational? Wouldn't it just teach us all about each other and our beliefs? Christians and Muslims and Jews and Pagans and Mormons and Buddhists and Hindus and Elflore (yes, we have that right here too) all side-by-side for all the world to see.
Even people who didn't believe in anything could have some kind of symbol for that, so they wouldn't feel left out. Feeling left out seems to make some people all cranky, and resentful that somebody else has something they don't have. Even if they don't WANT to have it, some of them don't seem to want anybody else to have it either. What's the deal with that? Shouldn't we by now have outgrown that kind of thinking? Isn't that more than just a little bit like kindergarten playground kind of thinking?
But I suppose if we allowed all intelligent thinking people to have an icon on the public lawn, we'd have to allow ignorant evil prejudiced people to have one, too. You know, those smelly Phelps-following people who congregate in the intersection of the CVS and Family Video in town after town in this area, holding their signs that inform us that "God Hates Everybody Who Doesn't Think and Look Exactly Like Me. " Those people are always ungrammatical and smelly, rude and screeching and hateful. They come to this town almost every Sunday afternoon to scream and wave their misspelled signs in the faces of motorists who have to stop at the red light. We've got pictures, but Hub won't let me post them. He's probably right; they'd just make all you nice people angry.
Hey, aren't those the same kids who spoiled everything out on the playground, too?
Jeepers, people, why can't we all just get along? Knowledge is power. The real kind of power.
And exposure to many things gives us that much more knowledge. What are we all afraid of? Kids asking questions we can't answer?
Isn't that what we should be encouraging our kids to do?
Immigrant parents took great pride in hearing questions they couldn't answer, from their kids. It meant that the kids were becoming more and better educated than the parents, and education was one of the main things immigrant parents came here to get for their children.
To our shame, it seems that present generations consider questions without easy answers to be something to avoid at all costs. If the parents can't answer a question, then the question must be about something bad.
At conferences, teachers hear it all, from families that don't believe in dental hygiene, to families that want their kids to sit out in the hall out of earshot when stories about fantasy are being read, to little kids who are not allowed to be in choir lest a song mention fairies, to kids who can't take PE lest the evil square-dancing demons overcome them, not to even mention wearing shorts. . . . . You name it, we've seen it. And everyone is entitled to his/her beliefs. I wonder, though, if some people realize what they are doing to their children by forcing them to stand out in the innocent crowd. (I'm not talking about taking a different stand in a not -so-innocent crowd, mind you. . . .)
Let me say it again. Knowledge is power. And you don't get knowledge by refusing to acknowledge that certain things exist about which you might not immediately know a good answer. You don't get knowledge by pretending things don't exist when they so obviously do. You don't get knowledge by hiding in the hallway lest your mind expand with a new idea that your grandparents don't already know and approve of.
What was this post supposed to be about. . . . oh yes.