Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas v. Ramadan: Where Congress stands

The U.S. House of Representatives recently had two votes on separate pieces of legislation acknowledging religious holidays.

One piece of legislation (H.R. 847) was with regards to Christians and Christmas, while another piece of legislation (H.R. 635) was with regards to Islam and Ramadan. The Ramadan legislation passed 376-0 with 42 (41 Republicans and 1 Democrat) voting "present" while the Christmas resolution passed 372-9 with 10 (9 Democrats and 1 Republican) voting "present."

I'm trying to understand why 9 Democrats (Gary Ackerman, Yvette Clarke, Diana DeGette, Alcee Hastings (FL), Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Bobby Scott (VA), Pete Stark, and Lynn Woolsey) voted against the Christian/Christmas resolution. Of the nine that voted against the Christmas/Christian resolution, 8 (with the exception of Lee who didn't vote) voted yes on the Islam/Ramadan resolution.

As you can read, the resolutions have fairly similar wording. Both note the religion in question is one of the great religions of the world, the Ramadan resolution expresses friendship and support for Muslims while the Christmas resolution expresses support for Christians, both reject hatred and bigotry towards the religious groups, and both acknowledge the religious holidays, the Ramadan resolution commends Muslims who reject using Islam to justify terror while the Christmas resolution expresses its respect for Christians. The only significant differences I see is that the Christmas resolution acknowledges Christianity's role in the founding of Western civilization and America and acknowledges the importance of the Christian faith.

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