Federal Court Ruling: A federal court has ruled that Christmas (like Hanukkah, Easter, and Passover) may be observed in the public schools as a cultural event but not as a religious holiday. Educational lawyers interpret that as meaning that songs like “Silent Night” may be sung in a class learning about religious customs or in a music appreciation class but not as a religious celebration. Do you support the idea of banning all religious celebrations from the schools in this manner?
Docudramas: When Elizabeth Taylor learned that a TV movie based on her life was in preparation, she went to court to block its production, claiming that the so-called docudrama was “simply a fancy new name for old-fashioned invasion of privacy, defamation, and violation of an actor’s rights.” Some people would say that her request should have been denied because it represents censorship. What do you think? (Would you think differently if the docudrama concerned the life of a deceased celebrity, such as Kurt Cobain or Elvis Presley?)
Behaviors: Think about how mannerly the students, faculty, and staff at your college
are (could be done anywhere, just think of the people who are around you). Observe their behavior in various situations, noting examples of courtesy and rudeness.
Attitudes: Apply your critical thinking to each of the following issues. Make a special effort to recall situations you have observed that are related to the issue, and ask yourself, “What conclusion do these observations point to?” (If your observations have been too limited, solicit the observations of other people.)
a. In recent years, books and articles have warned people of the dangers of “workaholism.” During the same period there have been few, if any, warnings about chronic laziness. Which is more prevalent in this country today, workaholism or chronic laziness?
b. The view of winning attributed to Vince Lombardi is “Winning isn’t everything—it’s the only thing.” Is this a healthy view to bring to athletic competition? To other forms of competition?
c. Many people believe parents should be held legally and financially responsible for children over the age of sixteen who live at home. Is this a reasonable stance?
Limiting an Issue: Apply the approach explained in this chapter to two of the following issues. Be sure to select issues that interest you. For full credit, respond to at least two other student postings.
a. Is the U.S. federal income tax system in need of reform?