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Ben Stein Confesses AND Happy Holidays

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:16pm
I grew up in a Mexican-American Catholic family and attended church every Sunday as well as private, Catholic schools from Kindergarten through High School . And yet, as an adult, I don't attend church, I no longer pray and as a parent, I am not raising my son as my own parents - or my son's father - would like me to be doing as far as religion is concerned ( Father, please forgive me ).



I've traveled to many places and experienced many things in my lifetime, many of which have made me realize that religion and beliefs are just as unique as fingerprints or snowflakes.



My son attends preschool in a community with a large population of Indian families (and by Indian, I don't mean Native Americans). The preschool program begins each morning with meditation and yoga. It is truly amazing to watch a group of three-and-four-year-olds sitting silently for nearly fifteen minutes with their eyes closed, backs straight and breathing deeply in a darkened room, usually with a candle glowing in the background.



When my son and I were in Minnesota last week and when he's with me on the weekends or when school is closed, we continue the daily practice of meditation as it helps us both to feel more calm, relax at the end of a long day and prepare us both for bedtime.



I am not sure where this all fits in with his ideas of religion or God, but I do know this: My son is a sensitive, well balanced and centered little boy who has been taught to be respectful, polite and kind to all living beings. I doubt there is a religion in this world that could argue with that.



This blog is certainly not a place where I ever thought religion would be brought up. But I had to comment somehow on the following commentary I recently received in an email.





The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary .

I am a Jew and every single one of my ancest ors was Jewish, a nd it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees .

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, " Merry Christmas " to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we're all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me one bit that there's a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, fine. The menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too.
I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way. Where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to. - Ben Stein



And, since I enjoy playing devil's advocate in many circumstances, I am pleased to present you with a look at Kane/Miller Book Publisher 's non-secular holiday title that even Ben Stein would endorse: It's Christmas by Tina Burke.



Illustration from It's Christmas

by Tina Burke

(Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2007)



No mention of God, baby Jesus or images of a nativity scene: The perfect gift for anyone who enjoys opening gifts on December 25th. And actually, come to think of it, Antonella and her Santa Claus is quite similar in that it doesn't speak about the religious aspects of the holiday.



Discuss amongst yourselves.


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