Author Topic: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree  (Read 639 times)

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Offline Dante

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Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« on: October 11, 2012, 08:05:43 AM »
I'd appreciate some input and insight on this topic, as I am undecided.

On the surface, it seems to be a waste of monies that would be better spent actually improving our little villiage in the form of infrastructures or education or fire prevention or addressing the homeless situation or a whole host of other more pressing needs.

This is besides the fact that it does, in many ways, violate the seperation of church and state. Even though it has been a tradition for a long while in this country.

On the other hand, the price is relatively cheap, so the monies spent shouldn't have a hugely detrimental impact to other subsidized ventures. And the decoration, which would be placed downtown, would widely be a source of civic pride, as well as a revenue generator for downtown businesses. All good things for the community.

So, that's the question; should public funds go towards any traditional Xian holiday decorations?
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 08:31:50 AM »
I'd appreciate some input and insight on this topic, as I am undecided.

On the surface, it seems to be a waste of monies that would be better spent actually improving our little villiage in the form of infrastructures or education or fire prevention or addressing the homeless situation or a whole host of other more pressing needs.

This is besides the fact that it does, in many ways, violate the seperation of church and state. Even though it has been a tradition for a long while in this country.

On the other hand, the price is relatively cheap, so the monies spent shouldn't have a hugely detrimental impact to other subsidized ventures. And the decoration, which would be placed downtown, would widely be a source of civic pride, as well as a revenue generator for downtown businesses. All good things for the community.

So, that's the question; should public funds go towards any traditional Xian holiday decorations?

There's the secular holiday, Christmas and the religious holiday Christmas. They share the same date, and share the same Pagan origin of Saturnilia. As there's nothing exclusively Christian about the tree, no manger scene, no declaration of "Christ is Lord," I really see no problem with it.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Backspace

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 12:02:24 PM »
Indeed, there is a line of scripture that actually discourages the faithful from decorating trees as a form of celebration/worship because of its pagan roots.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 02:15:56 PM »
Indeed, there is a line of scripture that actually discourages the faithful from decorating trees as a form of celebration/worship because of its pagan roots.
Actually there is some debate on the subject, becase of the imprecise nature of translation. The passage you are looking for is

Jeremiah 10:3 - 10:4

"For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails"



The Chisel is the point of contention...as most Christians take that to mean carved wooden Idols. Not that gold and silver adorned carved wooden Christian icons are in short supply.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Garja

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 03:07:57 PM »
I (as I find is often the case) agree with Hatter.  As long as its not all about the Jesus I dont have a problem with it.  If it becomes all crucifix-y then a little less so.  Hell, my xmas tree was mostly star wars ornaments even when I was a theist.
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution."

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Offline Nick

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 04:06:34 PM »
Someone needs to show up with a FSM display to put up near the tree.  I'm sure that will be OK also.
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Offline Nam

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 04:38:58 PM »
My city, outside Orlando, puts many decorations up: Christian, Jewish, and Secular. (Last year they even put up Kwansa (sp?), don't know if they'll do that this year, or not) and the Mayor dresses up as Santa and goes around the neighborhoods, and city at night on a fire truck made into a sled with reindeers on the week of Christmas. Did I mention the mayor of my city is Republican? See, not all Repubs are so bad.

I find it equally enjoyablwe for everyone. Religious or not.

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 05:28:09 PM »
Indeed, there is a line of scripture that actually discourages the faithful from decorating trees as a form of celebration/worship because of its pagan roots.
Actually there is some debate on the subject, becase of the imprecise nature of translation. The passage you are looking for is

Jeremiah 10:3 - 10:4

"For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails"

The Chisel is the point of contention...as most Christians take that to mean carved wooden Idols. Not that gold and silver adorned carved wooden Christian icons are in short supply.
I am surprised that there is any contention about Jeremiah: it is a clear reference to the Asherah poleWiki . Asherah may have been Yahweh’s consort. The bible, particularly Jeremiah, is littered with references to her. She was the most commonly worshiped god at the time the Israelites were making the transition between henotheism and  monotheism. Part of Jeremiah’s job, when working for King Josiah (who was a rabid Yahwist) was to eradicate by force the worship of Asherah – hence the prohibition on the trees/poles which were Her sign.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Chronos

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2012, 06:23:11 PM »
I offered up to city one of the fir trees in my front yard so that they could use it as official city Christmas tree. They cut it down and ground the stump for me.  The decorated tree spent 2 months in front of city hall. Completely secular.

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2012, 07:08:56 PM »
I am surprised that there is any contention about Jeremiah: it is a clear reference to the Asherah poleWiki . Asherah may have been Yahweh’s consort. The bible, particularly Jeremiah, is littered with references to her. She was the most commonly worshiped god at the time the Israelites were making the transition between henotheism and  monotheism. Part of Jeremiah’s job, when working for King Josiah (who was a rabid Yahwist) was to eradicate by force the worship of Asherah – hence the prohibition on the trees/poles which were Her sign.

(A) I was unaware that it was a reference to Asherah

(B)Christian admit the fluid nature of the God/gods of the Israelites, that would be admitting that Yahweh didn't always exist in his present form
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Dante

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 07:39:56 AM »
Thanks all for your input.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Garja

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 12:19:23 PM »
This is the kind of discussion I wish more of the general (theistic) population could see. They love to pain themselves as a victim of the so called "war on Christmas" while I have never thought that to be true I think something like this would be good for th to see. A reasoned discussion on what does and does not constitute a proper separation btx church and state.
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution."

-Benjamin Franklin

Offline Nam

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2012, 01:16:37 PM »
People see what they want to see, and usually the bad rather than the good.

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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 04:17:39 AM »
This is the kind of discussion I wish more of the general (theistic) population could see. They love to pain themselves as a victim of the so called "war on Christmas" while I have never thought that to be true I think something like this would be good for th to see. A reasoned discussion on what does and does not constitute a proper separation btx church and state.

Would those who push such issues not be more inclined to press for a creche and eschew the xmas tree? 

IMO:  Any effort by cranks to rid the public square of things tangentially related to xmas (trees, wreathes, mistletoe, santa etc) should be opposed by everyone.  There is really no church/state issue. Those are effectively secular props of the holiday season.  (Jews and muslims can't relate?  Who cares?)  Any effort to display specifically xian (or any religion's) symbols should be opposed on the grounds of SofC&S.  any religious statements such as crosses, crucifixes, and creches should be confined to private and church property, and be funded by the same.

Offline Betelnut

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Re: Publicly Funded City Xmas Tree
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2012, 06:43:19 PM »
I consider Christmas tress secular so I don't mind it.  Frankly, I love Christmas and one of the primary reasons I love is how "dressed up" everything is around town and down the streets.  It just makes the time of year feel really special.

Now if it were a nativity or something, I'd sue their asses!