The News Journal, Delaware Online.com, Mar 1, 2010
"Farnan found that elected school boards are closer to a legislative body than a school, and therefore a prayer is permissible. Both Houses of Congress open sessions with prayers.----------------------------------------
"Although reasonable people can differ as to whether the board's policy is wise, could be more inclusive or is actually necessary to solemnize board meetings, too much judicial fine-tuning of legislative prayer policies risks unwarranted interference in [a legislative body]," Farnan wrote.
That was a direct rebuttal to prayer critics' claims of a constitutional bias in favor of separation of church and state.
But in the meantime, local communities can lead the nation's high court on this matter.
Requiring scripted, non-offensive prayers omitting references to deities is disrespectful of any religion.
However, the nation's changing plurality is trending more to subpopulations of minorities, as opposed to monolithic majorities.
Up against the Constitution, only two options seem unlikely to offend -- moments of silence or the solitary bang of the gavel."
Spirituality and kitsch at Lump
"Worms Are the Words" by Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck, at the Lump Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Through March 20
by Dave Delcambre, The Independent Weekly, 3 MAR 2010
"The artists call upon Wicca, paganism and other unsanctioned nature-based religions, deeming them all equally fair game for exploration. A solar oven included in the show stands like a survivalist's reliquary: a clamshell pair of dish-shaped mirror-tiled circles fringed with assorted ceramic offering bowls. (One of Swenbeck's fortes is in fact ceramics, and here he bestows George Ohr-like funkiness to his terra cotta and Egyptian paste works at will.) Swenbeck and Feasley have also taken a unifying cue from the restrained design of the Shakers, the Protestant religious sect that dates to the 1700s and is renowned for their design simplicity and spare lifestyle. The Spartan Shaker aesthetic is exemplified in the gallery's wall-mounted wood railing with pegs and brackets supporting the paintings and a few mixed-media works. At the gallery's middle section, a Shaker-inspired wood stove with faceted angular faces has an exhaust pipe that runs up and through a wall. It transforms itself on the other side into a withering deflated balloon shape that winds it way into a freestanding, glowing fiberglass-wrapped form looking like a funky visitor from another planet. Call this the UFO portion of the show. Yet with a little suspended disbelief, it fits within the artists' quirky cosmic mysticism.----------------------------------------
Another intriguing painting called "Orion" depicts the famed nighttime constellation. Rendered exquisitely in engraved resin, it expresses a spirit of cosmic ethereality, a certain awe of nature and wonder that has so often captivated the human imagination in art. Looking at this splendid little painting, I glimpsed our own primal spiritual fascinations at work, coaxing out at least a little of the magic on display."
What is interesting about this letter is that I think this is basically a nice person and I agree with him that compromise and getting along with people are good things. I think he doesn't understand the "everyone is right" idea. It's is not that everyone is simultaniously correct. It is that it is ok for different people to have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. Of course this means that people are going to disagree about what is right and what is wrong. In those cases we need to discuss our differences and work out a way to live together. That may involve compromise, or it may be an agreement to disagree.
Trying to lay down "absolute morals" is tricky. That would involve forcing one group's views on another. That is not compromise or even tolerance.
As a Wiccan I believe in allowing people to live the way they want as long as they don't force their beliefs and practices on me.
I believe that same-sex marriage is right. Other people believe it is wrong. I think making it legal is a good compromise because only people who want to get married. Other people feel that allowing same-sex marriages is somehow forcing them to participate in something they think is wrong. I think they are wrong about that, but I understand that they think they are right.
There will always be these problems. There is no way to please everyone all the time. We just have to talk it out.
Tolerance of All Beliefs Blurs Distinction Between Right, Wrong
Charles Anderson, letters, The Ledger, Mar 2, 2010
"Wicca teaches that you can do whatever you will as long as it harms none. Christianity teaches to follow the teachings of Jesus. And so on with all religions. My question, though, is how can everything be right?----------------------------------------
I would venture to say that if this country and this world would lay down some absolute morals, and they were enforced, this world would get better. We have to understand that not everyone can have one's way, not everyone is right all the time.
It's called compromise. It is something I hear is found when a couple get married. They learn to compromise for the better of the union.
If we learn to compromise more and not insist on having to have it our way all of the time, I'm sure a lot more would get done in this world, and a lot more good too."