Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good On You, Stony Brook

Congratulations, Stony Brook University. Good job on discouraging preferential treatment to specific religions. Obviously, Rush Limbaugh doesn't like it, but, well, it's Rush Limbaugh. I don't think there's much of anything that he actually does like; the man's show is a putrid fountain of hatred and idiocy.

But that's beside the point. In February, Stony Brook made some changes to their calendar for 2012, which will presumably apply to later years as well, provided no one has a big enough tantrum first. Religious holidays will no longer be holidays from classes  specifically, Christian and Jewish holidays won't, since no other religion's holidays were recognized by the school calendar.

Of course, the Jewish and Christian groups on campus weren't too happy about it, and of course Limbaugh and Fox News had to weigh in and whine about how Stony Brook is being so disrespectful to religions and how the university was attacking the "Judeo-Christian ethos" that the United States was supposedly founded upon (-sigh-)... but what Stony Brook is doing is great. Everyone is being equally respected.

Is it so hard to understand that, if an institution can't take a day off for everyone's days of worship, they should probably not play favorites and only give some people time to celebrate their religion? Is it so hard to understand that such treatment isn't fair? That it's not respectful of those whose religion isn't being given a few days off?

I don't think it's that difficult to comprehend, but a lot of people don't seem to quite grasp that no one's rights are being violated here. Privilege is being altered, but at a public university, no one has the right to be treated as if their religion is superior to anyone else's.

If Christian and Jewish students at Stony Brook don't want to go to classes on their holy days, they can make that decision like anyone else. The 55 percent of the student body that identifies as Roman Catholic, other Christian, or Jewish can join the rest of their campus in learning about setting their priorities.

Stony Brook's new holiday policy isn't an attack on any religion, guys. It's the mandated end of an ongoing attack on non-Judeo-Christian religions. It's the removal of a bullet point from the invisible knapsack of Judeo-Christian privilege.

It's a step toward equality, and that's a step in the right direction in my book.

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