Pay special attention to Act I, "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" for a very very clear example of why we keep religion out of school. And, for those keeping score, the gotdang candy cane does NOT symbolize how Jesus' blood saves all believers. It's also a very clear example of what little monsters children are, especially if their parents are big monsters-in-the-closet. Closet monsters are people who hide their monsterness -- bigotry, superiority, self-righteousness that excludes anyone who isn't like them -- behind the thin plywood door of well-meaning, well-bred bullshit. When I was a kid, I got harassed every December 7 because I had the audacity to be Japanese. Which, by the way, sucked because it was my mom's birthday. So imagine, if you will, 12 years of playground bullying and desperate explanations on how I and my family were NOT the enemy in a war that had ended 30 years before but somehow was still being fought in the minds of those around me. And afterward, cake and presents and hugs for my Japanese mom. September 11 is the new Pearl Harbor Day, in which American Muslim kids across the country get to go through what I went through, except there's still a war going on. Which means that 50 years from now, their kids will still be fighting that battle on the playgrounds.“A Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good...until September 11. After that, the elementary school their daughter goes to begins using a textbook that says Muslims want to kill Christians. This and other stories of what happens when Muslims and non-Muslims try to communicate, and misfire."
I'm going to go all theological on you and point this out: When the lawyer asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan. The point of that story was this: You do not have neighbors until you become a neighbor yourself. The neighbor to the wounded man was the one who treated him with mercy. So. Who are our neighbors? It's not up to those who are different in our communities to prove that they're "harmless" or "worthy" to be our neighbors. God calls us to treat those around us with mercy and love, to build a community, to neighbor to others. It starts with us. If you have kids, teach them this lesson well. Come September 11 and December 7, hope that they'll be be good neighbors.