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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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January 13, 2007

Comments

Carol

Perspective:

My littlest came home from grade school one day, angry, "Don't EVER send me with a small juice box again. Everyone teased me."

While folks strive to be uniquely different, any difference is cause for a momentary pig-pile on the one who dares be different, but if it can be translated into a greater "sin" -- to something for or against God! -- well then (not) by God, someone will use it as a neon-lit javelin for stirring up a ruckus!

When a wife-caused homeless friend in Ireland was about to enter another courtroom to fight for his family home (and I mean it was something that went back many generations) in his bad-heart condition against a woman who truly hated his guts, I suggested he wear a crucifix visibly. Now, I can hear the smile he must've had then, but he said, "Um, Carol.. in a land that is 94% Catholic, we none of us wear crucifixes."

Well, that percentage is dropping in Ireland, too.. but I'd always been forewarned not to wear blatant religious symbols into community workplaces, but it's not the community that died for me, it's not the community that will shuttle me out of Purgatory one day, and wearing a crucifix has always given people peace -- those who needed it. It says something even before I open my mouth:

I will try to love like Him.

No one shall succeed in prying it off me until my clay is empty. 'Til then, I remove it only when I am in a foul mood. I won't have Him visibly aligned to that.

If there's any safety issue in wearing jewelry, I think we'd be wiser to look to enormous bling itmes first.


forget me not

Um, Carol, fill me in. What is a "bling itmes"?

Allyson

I believe in an individuals right to wear symbols of their religion even if I do not follow that religion.The school 'claims' it does not allow the wearing of necklaces because of health and safety reasons BUT 14>18 year olds are allowed to wear necklaces but not 11>13 year olds at the school.Boys also wear ties as part of their school uniform at the school and they wear their ties around their necks....obviously!
I wonder what the real reason is for not allowing this young girl to wear her crucifix!
Aly

Carol

I think we know the real reason, Aly. When I read something as foolish as this, I recall the little girl in the rubble of Beslan whom someone didn't want parted from her cross (unless she herself asked for it) -- I have a picture of her bruised aching hand with a small gold chain wrapped around it, so that the Orthodox cross rested in the palm of her hand.. so she could see it while she waited for transport to a hospital to see what could be saved of her.

FMN, I posted about of some bling offered online that some are wearing, like dazzling diamond crosses/crucifixes that weigh 4 lbs even without the chain... or the big chunky gold necklaces like the young boys across the street wear, also about 4 lbs., as are some bling rings and chunky watches.

Oh, and..

I meant to say, "itmes" is a typo, FMN. It should've said "items" -- I seem to make typos more and more often.. I made yet another in the post above, but bear with me, please! Textual error is the least of my gaffes -- just as I did with his mom before him, I have called my grandson everyone's name (including the dog's) but his own!

Gabrielle

I think there certainly can be a health and safety issue regarding jewelry, and if there's a policy in place at the school, it should be adhered to by everyone, and the parents should support it as well.

Heavy chains have been used as weapons, dangling earrings can be painfully ripped off, long necklaces and other types of jewelry can be the cause of freak accidents in gym class, workshop, etc. Also, certain items can set young people up to be swarmed, which in some instances has resulted in death. This is our society.

A tiny, delicate cross may not be a health or safety issue in itself, but if there is a policy in place, it should be respected by everyone. Teachers don't have time to be wasting on individual judgment calls all day long. If others do not respect the rule, and this child develops a "well, if they can do it, I can do it" attitude that is supported by her parents, is this really teaching her to defend her religious beliefs, or is it just teaching her to defy school authority?

Deacon DW

Gabrielle-I agree with you, just as long as the school isn't making exceptions for students of other religious beliefs.

I haven't seen jewelry be a problem of safety at the school where I teach, but no one wears hood ornaments on big chains--I don't know that they're doing doing that in the UK except the Ali G character leads me to believe that it might be possible.

At my kid's Catholic school, which is definitely in an urban setting, jewelry, except for religious jewelry, is forbidden.

Carol-don't worry about the typos. I find plenty of my own, but at least I have the ability to go in and edit them, which I will do if they're really glaring or it's unclear what I meant. I usually don't bother though-

CompletelyAnonymous

It'd be fine if they were true safety rules, but the girl said some kids wear bracelets and turbans. I'm sorry, but do we realize that turbans are even more dangerous than a delicate crucifix on a chain?! Why, what if one slipped down over the eyes just as a child was running for the bus??

You know, as a child I was distracted by freckles in the classroom. How many tests did I fail thinking about the Irish jig instead of taking notes, all because of those redheads with blonde eyelashes? I say we move to ban freckles or demand they be covered up..they are an absolute hazard.

...

(Sorry--I've been behaving for so many hours in a row, I was afraid I'd stay that way.)

forget me not

Oh, I do that too, all the time. My second son's name is Lorenzo and I always call him Hiroshi (our Akita Inu). I never get my eldest confused with the dog though, because he doesn't need to be reprimanded like the Hiro and Lory do.
What I meant to say is "what does bling mean...?" or was that a typo, too? You must know that sometimes, living so far away from home, I miss out on the evolution of new words and phrases, so at times I have no idea what anyone is talking about. If I try to read up on them, it's hard to find out when a term started being used and why.

forget me not

As for my two cents regarding wearing religious jewelry or not, I know that in France they have ruled not to allow any kind of religious clothing or symbols- The rule is nothing for everybody. I don't know if the motion passed or not, or if it is being applied.
Here in Italy, high school students have a right to go on strike to protest against something (like "it's not fair they make us go to school on a beautiful sunny day like this...") They have protested against principals who try to enforce any kind of dress code (such as no bare bellies please), because they say it goes against their right to express themselves. As a result, kids who want to wear crosses can do so, those who want to wear satanic symbols can do so, and those who want to wear religious head coverings can do so.

forget me not

I forgot to add, that I wouldn't mind a rule prohibiting satanic symbols.

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