December: Celebrations and Dilemmas, 2002

December 2, 2002


On December 2, 2002 reported that "the first week in December includes the celebration of Advent, Hanukkah, and Eid al-Fitr, and Christmas and Kwanzaa aren't far behind. After a year of constitutional controversies regarding religion, the winter holidays are yet another venue for debating the meaning of religious symbols in the public square. Communities are wrestling with how to acknowledge both common values and diverse belief systems as the country reels from terrorism, economic instability and impending war. Many choose to forego holiday displays completely, to the frustration of local religious groups. The perennial issue of public holiday displays gained new emphasis last year as the nation, still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, became more aware of the reality of multifaith America and grappled with how to express religious beliefs inclusively. This year's activity on the issue may signal whether Americans are more divided - or united - on the place of religion in public life."