Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You know, I just can't get worked up over this. I'm willing to believe that there are enough people in the community who celebrate this particular lunar holiday to justify it as a day off. Cambridge is pretty big and pretty diverse. A look at the school calendar shows that the other two of the Big Three are pretty well represented, so it doesn't seem like special treatment or anything.

The only thing I'd wonder about is, what about accommodations for other religious groups? Are there so few Hindus or Buddhists (or maybe neither celebrate in the same way?) that time off for Diwali or Tet aren't represented? This is one of the pains in the rear of being a religious pluralism in a devolved government system*. It can get messy.

Then there's this all. It's not like Campbell is forcing people to eat halal meat in their products. They're just marketing the vegetarian option differently (vive le capitalisme!).**


*This last point I think is lost on a lot of folks here who think that we should be more "European" in our approach to both education and dealing with religion. First, it's a big country - a continent. Can't see a Central System (like the Frenchie calls it - L'Etat) working here at all. Doesn't seem to work very well, even in smaller settings. Secondly, what's called "Secularism" in a lot of places is just preference for one faith/view over others - in the case of England, a lot of former Christian holidays are papered over with the term "Bank Holiday." In France, they don't even bother with that.

**I do think the problem of the British grocery chains not labeling meat as halal is problematic, though. Certainly, there is an 'ick' factor involved if you believe that this is torturing an animal to death. What bothers me about it is the potential level of adrenaline that secreted/diffused due to this method of slaughter. Adrenaline is a hormone, after all, and last time I noted, folks were pretty anti-hormone treated meat in that general territory.

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