Ignoring protests from residents and a resolution from state legislators calling for the state’s seasonal celebratory tree to be called by its Christmas designation, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (left) insisted that the blue spruce that graces the Statehouse this year be referred to officially as a “Holiday Tree.”
Here’s a switch! The ACLU has come down on the side of students in Brownsville, Texas, who were told by the local school district that they should not openly display their rosaries. As reported by the San Antonio Express newspaper, the ACLU’s Texas franchise is “looking into whether the Brownsville Independent School District’s policy on wearing rosaries and crosses is violating students’ religious rights.”
The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence of South Carolina is a bishop in the Episcopal Church. He has remained with that old, American Episcopal Church, which during the Revolutionary War had been the church for American patriots who, for logical reasons, could no longer belong to a church intimately connected with the British Crown, despite its many changes.
It has been a holiday tradition for as long as anyone can remembers: Salvation Army bell-ringers standing at the entrances of stores and malls, their red kettles at the ready, beckoning for shoppers to drop in their spare change or a few dollars for those less fortunate. And, for the past few years, it has become a tradition for homosexuals activists to bang their drums of grievance in a call for friends, enablers, and fellow “gays” to boycott the compassionate Christian organization for what they argue is “anti-gay” discrimination.
I entered graduate school to study English literature in the late 1980s, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature, and have been a professional academic ever since. I have reached that point in life where I am sufficiently wizened — and sufficiently jaded — to be allowed the luxury of griping about how much tougher it was growing up for my generation. As a life-long teacher, I might also be granted indulgence if I grumble about how little my college students actually know compared to what I learned. And although there is as much justice as exaggeration in these observations, the thing that never ceases to amaze me is how morally stunted and ethically underdeveloped our students are, how utterly unable to make even obvious moral distinctions, and how completely uninterested in differentiating between virtue and vice.