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Chan Lowe: The annual fight over religious symbols


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I like to think of South Florida as a social laboratory because there are so many of us who are transplants and transients that we’ve created a heterogeneity of culture, background and religion almost unknown in other communities.

Life is a little different here, as evidenced by our annual spats over whose religious symbols ought to be allowed to appear next to whose, or whether they ought to appear at all. The cities of Boca Raton and Weston, fed up with the contentiousness, have taken the radical step of eliminating them altogether, like mothers who ban crayons around the house because the kids can’t be trusted to use them responsibly.


One of my letter-writers recently signed off with, “Merry Christmas,” which may have been a sincere salutation or an in-your-face taunt. I don’t know, nor do I care. I took it at face value.

I don’t pretend to understand the mind of Jesus, but I would guess that He considered Himself a good Jew who happened to have some sound ideas to share with His fellow Jews. From what I know about Him, He did not intend for His adherents to use their faith as a cudgel to make others feel inferior because they hadn’t joined up.

Which brings us to the simple issue of civility. Being civil doesn’t mean that you are making concessions. It just means that you respect those unlike you and their beliefs. Saying “Happy Holidays” to someone is not diminishing your own faith. It’s just practicing the Golden Rule.

Remember that one?


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Comments

Would the today's Anti-Semites treat Jesus the Jew as they treat other Jews?

A conundrum for the faithful:
Most people believe in one GOD who created the universe and all life. They believe in one God but not in the same GOD. Many people have suffered merciless atrocities at the hands because they didn’t believe in the others' same GOD.
Most people also believe that their God will send a messiah to arrive at the end of time to save those believing in Him. Pretend that today is that day and the Messiah has arrived and but he is not from your GOD. What do you do?



I don't know when or where it was that I first saw the bumper sticker (or t-shirt) that said "If Jesus saw what was going on today in His Name, He'd puke" or words to that effect, but it's true. Perhaps I shouldn't try to present myself as an expert on the subject, but it seems as though quite a few people these days--ESPECIALLY those in positions of political leadership--call themselves Christians, but what they preach (as it were) is so far away from what the Bible actually says that it isn't funny. And the Christians, incidentally, don't hold a monopoly on this: there are plenty of Jews and Muslims about which the same could be said.

Which puts in mind another old saying: "Hell's hottest fires burn for hypocrites."


As far as malls displaying decorated trees, christian barns and jewish candelabras, they do it to make you feel like you're accepted. "Welcome! C'mon in! And spend freely!"

Get it now?

Amazing how, every year at this time, all the cult believers who should be brimming with joy and happy feelings are busy beating each other over the head (not to mention pepper spraying each other over crap made in China) over whose silly cult symbol should be more prominent at malls and which should be on public property.

The answer? ANYTHING GOES on private property like your yard or the mall, according to the owners. AND NOTHING GOES on public property.

Imagine having a temper tantrum if a store clerk doesn't say just the right slogan you want to hear. How childish. I'd imagine you'd love "happy holidays" because it spreads good cheer to even those NOT in your cult. But no.

You act like brats.

Great work, Chan.


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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