Archive for November 16, 2006

VA Pentacle case goes to suit

After waiting nine years, after the government refused to allow a soldier killed in Afghanistan to be buried with the symbol of his religion, with 1800 Wiccans on active duty in the military, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has finally filed suit against the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs.

“I honestly think there must be some people who don’t want to acknowledge that the Wiccan religion should be entitled to the same rights as other religions,” said Selena Fox, who is senior minister of the Wiccan Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin.

I don’t know if Selena is being disingenuous, because, like, of course some people don’t want us to have our rights. Of course “freedom of religion” only means “my religion and those very similar to mine and not those that make me uncomfortable.” I mean, read the Constitution, duh.

CNN has a poll up. Go vote. And while you’re at it, consider contributing to Americans United. This is work done for all of us.

Ethnic Food Day

Yesterday, my office had ethnic food day. In our office of about 40 people, we have at least* eleven countries of birth represented. There was biryani, chicken tikki, raita, and a few other Indian and Pakistani dishes, there was baked ziti, chicken Kiev, macaroni and cheese (representing the all-American contingent), edamame, fried tofu, red caviar, and brisket, among other things. We were all stuffed.

I’ve posted before about the true joys of pluralism. What we tend to forget, when working towards a better and more pluralistic society, is how much fun it is. When my sisters married African-American guys, my reaction was, Whoa, there’s a lot more dancing at black weddings. Cool! Then my brother married a Chinese woman and they had a Chinese opera company perform at the wedding (as well as a band playing Ha Va Nagilla) and that, too, was cool. And the food!

The ability to share our cultures, our fun things, our food and dance and jokes and fashion, is dependent upon feeling safe and accepted. So if you’re a bigot and you’re forcing people to fit in or get out, your palate is both literally and figuratively more bland. You’re not just a bigot, you’re also missing the party.

*I know that the employees from the former Soviet Union come from at least Russia and Ukraine, but there may be other countries represented. The countries I counted were U.S.A., Russia, Jamaica, Ukraine, Israel, Peru, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, The Phillipines, and China. Among the U.S.-born employees we enjoyed Jewish and Italian dishes, as well as the aforementioned macs & cheese.

Answers to Tuesday Trivia

By the way, I recommend all of these movies.
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