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No Christmas at the Pilgrim’s House

How did the Pilgrims celebrate their first Christmas? Here’s a clue: The Puritans were against the singing of Christmas Carols.

Why? Because the Pilgrims were strict Puritans with religious views against holidays like Christmas and Easter. They found no Biblical justification for celebrating Christmas and associated such celebrations with pagan holidays. In fact, they dubbed Christmas “Foolstide” and went out of their way to work in the fields like any other day.

Here’s an article titled When Americans Banned Christmas, that discusses why they felt that the origin of Christmas was really from the pagan holiday of Mithra, which was an ancient Rome celebration for its sun god. In addition, the Puritans were incensed that some specific date like December 25 was assigned as a celebration of Baby Jesus, when they believed that his birth was probably closer to a September date.

The Puritans continual stand against Christmas never relented (Wikipedia) It is historically noted that Governor William Bradford took the following action:

On the day called Christmas Day, the Governor called [the settlers] out to work as was usual. However, the most of this new company excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it [a] matter of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Christmas was celebrated. In 1823, Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a holiday. In 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a federal holiday. Sometime thereafter, Target and Walmart had their first Christmas sale… Boom!

And for pic o’ day, another that I post each year and I still laugh when I see it:


Church and Law Notebook

I benefit from always having my iPad with me except when I lose it. I guess that’s what Captain Obvious would say. I now have lost 2 iPads by the usual forgetfulness. I left one on top of my car roof and drove off. The other got mistakenly thrown out at a gas station. while on a trip (at least that’s how I think that I lost them)

I say that I benefit because I can always save or bookmark things quickly and come back to them for blog ideas. Sometimes, I realize that I have items that have been with me for a while. So, here’s from the “notebook”.

This  blog is basically a collection of things that you might classify as church humor or might hear as a joke from the pulpit. I know what you are thinking, “how is this in a legal blog?”. My reply, “if you classify it from the notebook… anything goes!”.

The church decided that it needed to call a meeting to vote on some church business. The deacons got into a heated discussion over buying a chandelier for the church. So, one man stood and formally made the motion by saying, “I move that we buy a chandelier for the church”. Then, a second man stood and seconded the motion.

     One of the members then stood to address the motion. He said the following, “I’d like to speak against this motion. First, no one knows how to spell it to even order it. Second, no one knows how to play it. Third and most importantly… what this church really needs is some lights.” Boom!

And here are the pic o’s…


And this would be considered dating advice?


I suppose she might answer something like, “That is quite a Revelation… and I guess that’s a signal for my Exodus”.

The Religious Tolerance Line

Not long ago while traveling on the roads of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, our car passed several Amish horse-and-buggy riders. Having been born in Pennsylvania as well as being a “Lancaster regular”,  I was not surprised by this scene. Cars regularly traveling in Lancaster are accustomed to keeping a lookout . Plus, the grooves on the sides of the roads from the buggies and the horses are just part of travel now. Even part of the tourism.

In the early 18th century, the Amish and Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania. Their dialect combination of Pennsylvania German became known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Locals accepted their religious beliefs that included life without electricity, automobiles and telephones. Their clothing and dark colors just added to it. The Amish do not participate in the social security system nor buy commercial insurance. That is their religious beliefs and they are accepted.

Religious beliefs now impact travel. The New York Times recently described an event on an airplane that involved the beliefs of the ultra-orthodox Jewish faith.  A lady had settled into her airplane seat to get ready for the long flight from New York to London. A man dressed in the all black garment of the orthodox religion appeared next to her seat and refused to sit down. His religion did not allow him to sit next to a woman that was not his wife. Finally, the lady agreed to change seats and the flight attendant found a man to sit there.

The article went on to report that many flights between the United States and Israel have been delayed or disrupted over this religious issue. It raises the question of what airlines must do in the name of religious tolerance and accommodation.  As one Rabbi stated, “Multiculturalism creates a moral language where a group can say, ‘You have to respect my values.'”

Some religions do not allow  a woman’s face to be publicly exposed except for the eyes. The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils which covers the entire face and body, leaving only a mesh for the eyes to see through. Airlines make accommodations for security purposes.

I’m not trying to recite all religious distinctions and beliefs. It does raise the question of just how high of a bar do we all have to reach in the name of tolerance. I remember a minister who used to say, “your freedom ends where my nose begins”. I guess that would suggest that no passenger should be made to change seats in the name of religious tolerance.

And for pic o’ day, I need to lighten it up a bit:


The Bacon Sentence

Now that Halloween is over I guess it means the end of the costumes.


It means that the Ninja, Superhero, Dorothy, or the Lion and Tin Man costumes can go into the closet. I’m guessing that no one wore a Meat Dress like the one once worn by Lady Gaga. I have always wondered why Hardee’s and Wendy’s have advertised entire campaigns around Bacon. But that’s just me.


However, as you know, there are obviously some religions that take pork and bacon very seriously. The Judaism and Muslim religion adhere to anything connected to the unclean pig to be off-limits.

This takes me back to the June story at where an 18-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man were jailed after they thought that they had pulled a prank on an Edinburgh Mosque.

The couple from Scotland had attached bacon to the handles of the mosque and then opened the door and thrown more strips inside. As a result, the pair was charged with behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, likely to cause fear and alarm. One pled guilty and the other was initially found guilty. They both ended up getting sentenced to nine months in prison.

As one member of the Muslim congregation stated, “it hurt my feelings when I saw this meat hanging inside tthe mosque in the worshiping place”. As a result, of the criminal charge to the pair and the resulting sentences, it’s clear that throwing bacon in Scotland is taken very seriously.

I did not originally blog on this story because I thought that ultimately the sentences would be reduced. I don’t believe that there was any reduction. I understand taking religious beliefs seriously. I just hope that I never see this kind of case and punishment  in the United States.

And for pic o’ day, how about Homework dog?

homework dog

A Baby Name Change

A Judge in Tennessee has decided to change the name of a 7-month-old boy. His mother named him Messiah. The Judge determined that the name is a religious name and that there is only one person entitled to that name “that one person is Jesus Christ”. (Associated Press Story)

The child’s name was at issue because the parents were in court, battling over his last name. During that custody hearing, the Magistrate had determined that his first name “could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point, he has had no choice in what his name is”.

Once the Tennessee Magistrate passed on her recommendation, then the Judge ruled that the child’s name would be “Martin” and that his last name would include both parents’ names. So, the Judge ordered that the child would be known as Martin DeShawn McCullough.

The baby’s mother says that she will appeal. She says that she named her child Messiah because she says that she likes how it sounds next to the names of his two brothers- Micah and Mason.

The attached story is also from a post of Despite what the Judge ruled, the commenters note that they know different individuals with the same last name. The question is whether the Judge has the right to declare this a religious issue that he has jurisdiction over; or whether a mother has the right to name her child any name that she chooses.

DID YOU KNOW that apples are members of the rose family?

And for pic o’ day, here’s someone rebelling!

really angry

Bible Verses for Cheerleaders

Here is a story from Utah’s Deseret News with an unusual combination. It is a pairing of cheerleaders and Bible verses. Plus, the cheerleaders won.


A Texas judge has ruled that Kountze High School cheerleaders were not violating the Constitution by displaying spirit banners at football games, that included Bible verses. This ruling occurred after an attorney on behalf of an Atheist group had filed a complaint that originally started the court case.

Judge Steven Thomas ruled that the school district can permit the banners under the establishement clause, but it is not required to do so. The judge left a crack in the door for additional argument after stating that there was still a basis for the school board to exercise editorial control over such displays as banners.

Those responding on behalf of the cheerleaders are calling it a victory because the banners remain displayed. Their attorney added that, “The message that this decision sends is, it is impermissible for the government to ban the private speech of students”.

The opponents of the decision continue to argue that, “In our opinion, this court just said that Christianity is an official school religion”. They also indicate that they may look to Federal Court for relief. For now, the fifteen banner-hanging cheerleaders are the winners.

One final note unrelated to the blog subject; I truly got to celebrate Mother’s Day. I was so fortunate to spend Saturday with my mother and then Sunday with my mother-in-law. As the old proverb/saying says, “A mother understands what a child does not say”.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one from my Mom… one from the country!

city dog

Halal McDonald’s Food Settlement

Halal Here is some Monday food for thought, with a blog that is about a food settlement. (Detroit Free Press)


Dearborn, Michigan attorney Majed Moughni, here holding a McDonald’s chicken sandwich that was sold as a halal prepared chicken sandwich. A Halal sandwich means that it was prepared to comply with Muslim religious customs and practices. Halal is the Muslim equivalent to Jewish Kosher preparation.

Any food prepared to receive the Halal preparation designation meets several criteria including how the animal was killed as well as whether prayers were recited to Allah while the animal was killed. Currently, McDonald’s sells halal chicken products at only two of its restaurants in the entire U.S.

A lawsuit was brought against this Michigan McDonald’s restaurant claiming that the food was not truly prepared as represented. McDonald’s did not admit to any wrongdoing but did agree to a $700,000 settlement to resolve the lawsuit.

According to Moughni, the lawsuit and settlement “was positive”. The purpose in filing it was that “it allowed us to educate the public on halal religous customs and practices. It’s a good thing for the community”.

According to the article, there was some objection to the settlement by those participating as part of the Muslim class. Separately, there was some suggestion that McDonald’s was threatening to discontinue serving any Halal prepared food, if they pushed McDonald’s for more. McDonald’s denied any threat on the free speech of its customers.

For pic o’ day, I went with some Monday Cat humor:

Monday Cat

A Pope’s Website

“Saturday Night Live” used to have a repeated skit called, “Find the Popes in the pizza contest” that was performed by the fictional Father Guido Sarducci. When I read this lawyer’s prediction in the Chicago Tribune, I figured that this man had truly found a needle in a haystack.

About three years ago, Chris Connors purchased the domain name “”. He said that he had hoped that a Pope in his lifetime would choose the name Francis, after Italian St. Francis of Assisi. Because newly elected Popes change their name, Connors was hoping for Francis because, “Nobody names their kids Innocent anymore and I thought that it’d be great if a pope chose Francis after the great Saint”. Then it happened.

Now, Connor has contacted officials near his Chicago Archdiocese to let them know that he is willing to give it to this Pope. Connor claims that he has been contacted by several people about purchasing the domain, now that it is relevant. Instead, he plans on giving it “In the spirit of St. Francis”. He told the reporter that when he tried calling to tell of his proposed gift, “he left a message. I told them that if Pope Francis wants it, he’s got it. Especially in this age with social media, it might be helpful for him if he’s going to use it. I’d like to see it used.”

This is a story of the Internet meeting the international religious stage. It is quite a prediction by Connor to purchase that domain. No word yet on who he thinks will win the NCAA championship during this March Madness.

I’m not sure how he saw that. Just like pic o’ day. I’m not sure how anyone saw this coming: (No, this is not an advertisement for underage dog drinking)

dog on stool

Max Lucado’s Devotional

      Because our practice is injury law, it means that no one is calling unless something has happened. Max Lucado ( emails a daily devotional. Below is a portion of the one that was sent today that made me stop and think. A reminder of hope: even when times are tough. 

My friend Joy teaches children in an inner city church. Her class is a lively group of nine-year-olds. There’s one exception—a timid girl named Barbara. Her difficult home life had left her afraid and insecure. She never spoke.  Never.  Always present.  Always listening.  Always speechless. Until the day Joy talked about heaven—about seeing God. About tearless eyes and deathless lives. Barbara raised her hand.  “Mrs. Joy? Is heaven for girls like me?”

      pic o’ :




A Pantry of Fears

Daily Bread reminded me of the story of the mother who asked her 5-year-old to go to the pantry and get a can of chicken noodle soup. As he got close, he stopped and didn’t want to go in to get the soup.

“What’s wrong with you?” the mother asked. The little boy hung his head and said that he didn’t want to go into the pantry “because it’s dark in there”.

His mom assured him that it was okay. “Don’t be afraid, Jesus is in there.” The boy slowly opened the door and began to peer in. Then, without going in he shouted, “Jesus, can you hand me a can of chicken noodle soup?”

All of us call it “planning” when we look into the future. What are we going to do about meeting bills or retirement? Is President Obama driving us off a cliff or do we worry if he’s not re-elected? Rep. Michele Bachman has never had a bill or resolution passed and never chaired a committee or subcommittee. How can she be President?

Is the US Supreme Court so “pro-business” that it is eliminating personal rights and ignoring the concept of precedence. Is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes expecting another baby and trying to take over the world with their beliefs of Scientology?

I just saw that the Virginia Governor and Attorney General are attending a policy seminar in Colorado, that is organized by two brothers (Koch) that have made their money, primarily in the Oil and Chemical business. Their beliefs revolve around eliminating government regulation and letting corporations be free to work.

When one of Kochs ran on the Libertarian Party Presidential ticketin 1980, the platform included the following: (from Wikipedia) “abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and U.S. Federal agencies including the SEC, EPA, ICC, FTC, OSHA, FBI, CIA, and DOE.[2][12] The ticket proposed legalization of prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide.

The wealthy have the ears of our politicians and I haven’t even included worries of flying, the ego of Lebron James, or whether your cell phone plan has enough minutes and enough bars.

I’ve gone overboard to discuss worry because one of the greatest damages in many auto accident cases is mental anguish and worry and future medical expense. Many clients ask, “What is going to happen for my care. Who is going to pay for it?” These damages are sometimes the most ridiculed by the defense.

Also, such future damages of what is out there for the future, face some cap limitations in some states. Maryland caps pain and suffering and mental anguish, at 750K. Worries of what is out there for future limitations and surgery may be the greatest damage in a case.

It’s easy to be afraid of the future. Will I have my health? Will I have a job? Will I have enough for retirement? We can feel like the little boy looking into the pantry; the uncertainty brings the most fear. It is the same worry in dealing with the future of injury.

The History of “The Serenity Prayer” (also modified and adopted by some 12 step programs) tells us that the Armed Forces adopted a prayer for soldiers and army chaplains, that was attributed to a minister named Reinhold Niebuhr. It was to help as they faced the fears and difficulties of war. A familar prayer; but also, a good reminder:

“O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen”

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