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  #81  
Old 06.05.2012, 20:14
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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Oh, and I am 100% atheist, I just like the extra 12 religious holidays in addition to the two non-religious ones (1st of August and 1st of January).
Only in Ticino We protestants (which I am not) have to keep up the work ethic...
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Old 06.05.2012, 20:19
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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The US used to have a similar Christian only approach, but as times changed, they had to as well. Some politicians try to force it back in, but it only really works in small concentrated areas like the deep south. Maybe a canton like Appenzeller might not have this issue, but Bern with its embassies, Geneva with the international influence and Zurich with it's large foreign populations should start to change with the times.
Right. So there are no more Christian holidays in the US.

The problem I'm having with your whole rant is the "Religious Dominated Place" thing. Switzerland is so not religious it's refreshing. You rarely hear any religious anything on the news. I can barely even listen to US news anymore with all the religious BS going on there. Really. I'm very confused about your complaint and I think you are making a mountain out of mole hill.

Personally, I just think some people are not suited to living abroad. It's not for everyone. You could be one of them. I wonder what promoted you to do so? Maybe I've got it wrong. I mean of course I don't know you & I could be completely wrong. I'm only going with your most recent posts.
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  #83  
Old 06.05.2012, 20:28
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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This is a fair point. But if the Jewish employee could work good Friday and take off Rash Hashanah, the Muslin could work on Ascension and take off Eid etc. each person would essentially have the same amount of holiday time. Much like my father works on Memorial Day so he can use the day to spend time with us. You don't give everybody all religious holidays, but allow them to choose. I bet you would find that even some Christians would rather work on Ascension and use the day at a more oppertune time time of the year instead of fleeing with the entire European population. My wish is for fairness across faiths. Making one faith seem more important by honoring all their holidays and none of the rest in many ways makes the others feel less important.
Your fairness principle seems very unfair as far as atheists and agnostics are concerned. What holidays do WE get? DISCRIMINATION, says I.

If you work at Ascension hoping to get it back at a more "oppertune" (sic!) Date it means you're an Opportunist, not a Christian. I suggest you shouldn't be allowed to get it at all. You just want society to bend around you. As a teacher you should know that optimising a multiple parameter system is far from the individual optimum (Lagrange equations and all that)

And to say that your whole passionate advocacy for fairness stems from realising that you booked a holiday same time as everyone else.
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  #84  
Old 06.05.2012, 20:41
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

OP, I am not following you here.

It would seem that you wish for:
A) The same number of paid holidays afforded everyone else in Switzerland, be they "state" holidays or "religious" holidays;
B) The choice of when you personally will take those holidays, in order that you are not inconvenienced by crowds at the places you wish to travel;
C) The convenience of having all shopping and services open, so you are able to take advantage of those businesses during your selected holidays.

I think you would be writing the same complaint no matter where you happened to move, as I do not believe there is any country/job combination that would afford you all three of the above options, regardless of your perception of the "religiousness" of the country as a whole. While there is generally some flexibility afforded those who are members of religions differing from the religion upon which the national "religious" holidays are based, that flexibility does not extend to allowing those of no specific faith the opportunity to pick and choose days that are best for low crowds at Disneyland.

Holidays are just not really on a "cafeteria plan," no matter where you go.
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Old 06.05.2012, 20:42
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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This is a reasonable policy and one that many business have. So if you are Christian, you get all your holidays off...paid. If you are not christian, you have to have a few days of docked pay if you wan to observe your faiths holiday. Seems unfair to me.
In the past 22 years I've worked for 7 or 8 different companies and this is what I have found in respect of non Christians:
  • Some take paid time off to attend a service and work the rest of the day
  • Some work the skeleton crews on Christian holidays and then take their own religious holidays off instead
  • Some work up overtime to compensate for the time they want to take off on their own religious holidays
  • Some take holidays

I can't ever recall anyone taking unpaid leave for a religious holiday, although I expect some do.

It has been my experience that most people are sensitive to the religious believes of others in the work place and try to accommodate them. For instance we do not have team lunches or breakfast meetings during Ramadan if we have Muslims on the team and so on
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Old 06.05.2012, 20:58
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

Now for a silly question unrelated to religion. Why on earth go to DisneyLand Paris, especially as you had a bad experience last time you went. I mean it is YOUR choice of course - but there are so many beautiful places to visit in Switzerland, North Italy, Austria, etc, within say 50 to 100 km of where you are. Why go to a poor version of a US attraction park if you live in CH?
(yes, I know, you are free to make that choice- but I do wonder why oh why - especially as you've been there already)
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  #87  
Old 06.05.2012, 21:03
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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Compared to the US, Switzerland has very few national holidays - the US has far more.
The United States has 10 (only 1 is related to religion).

Switzerland has ±8 (only 2 of them are NOT related to religion) with a smattering of MORE, with whether or not they are observed dependent upon which Canton you're in. Plus, there are bridge holidays typically given by employers, which is not a common practice in the US.

Saying the US has "far more" is stretching... A LOT.

...and with that... I'm going to chime in.

I don't really care what the public holidays in Switzerland are based on... Christianity, Public Figures, War memorials, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, et al. But what I think is important is to know WHY the day is a public holiday.

In the US, we take the days off, but even though they aren't religious-based, they've become more about having a barbeque than about actually observing what the day is supposed to be about.

So to me, public holidays in Switzerland may be based in a religion that I don't follow. Fine. But I look up to see what is Whit Monday, and then I say (oh... another Christian thing...) and then I thank the Lord that I don't have to go to work that day because my job sucks. Yay! But I also wonder, what do Swiss people think of this day. Are they observing Whit Monday for what it is supposed to be about? Or are they out having a barbeque? Does it matter?

Surely, in my own opinion, I think that there should be OTHER more important days to celebrate, and to take a holiday. I'd also like to think it would be in the people's interests to have their public holidays a bit more spread out instead of all clustered up around Easter and Christmas. But hey... that's just what I'm used to.

By the way... http://www.tourism-review.com/top-countries-with-most-public-holidays-news1665
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  #88  
Old 06.05.2012, 21:09
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

And of course :

The Christianization of Pagan holidays began about the fourth century A.D. when the Roman Emperor Constantine, became (or feigned becoming) a Christian. In order to consolidate his rule, he incorporated the Pagan holidays and festivals into the church ritual - attracting the Pagans, but he gave the holidays and festivals new "Christian" names and identities - thus appeasing the Christians. Over the centuries, this practice has continued until the present time where we find the two systems, Paganism and Christianity, almost indistinguishable.

That unusually large FULL MOON will soon be over- and things might (?perhaps?) go back to normal soon - relax
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  #89  
Old 06.05.2012, 21:11
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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The US used to have a similar Christian only approach, but as times changed, they had to as well. Some politicians try to force it back in, but it only really works in small concentrated areas like the deep south.
And that is part of your problem, you see it as a religious issue, where as we see it as a cultural issue, you see assimilation as the solution where as we see accommodation as the solution.
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:21
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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... I, for the first time am realizing how hard it can be to live in a place dominated by a specific dogma...
For a moment there I thought you were talking about a country where a declared atheist couldn't possibly be president.

Christianity is part of the heritage of many European cultures. The separation of church and state arose in the US from a desire to protect the church from the state. Now it seems to be to protect the state from religion. Hence, when a parochial individual turns up here, they can't understand why there is apparently so much Christianity about.

The state and church used to be the same thing, but over the last few centuries, the power of the church has waned. However, the forms, traditions and cultures of the society remains Christian - or at least Christian based. There is no need to have a formal separation of church and state, because the state doesn't need protecting from the church, and the non-conformist religious no long longer need protecting from the state.

I think you are confusing a country having a culture formed by Christianity with it being a Christian country. A little tolerance and understanding (a maybe a book on European history) would probably be helpful.

In many ways this country is freer than the US -especially for younger people. You just can't cut your grass on a sunday. Big deal.

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Ascension excludes all Swiss who are not Christian...
What rot. I am a Christian from the UK. Until I came here, I didn't even know some Christians celebrated it. Funny thing is, I celebrate it now in exactly the way my muslim, hindu, atheist, agnostic and spaghetti monster (with meatballs) worshipers do - a nice day off with the family.

Get a grip!

I had rabbit stew on Easter Saturday, so didn't get any Easter Eggs.
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:25
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

We can - NO big deal
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:26
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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We can - NO big deal
That's 'cos you live in a godless Gemeinde.
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:31
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

No we live in the Vicarage, lol, right next to the Church - whose members used our back room for their after service picnic today
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:32
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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No we live in the Vicarage
Ah - so you're the vicar. And no-one will tell the vicar off for mowing the lawn on a Sunday, or you'll excommunicate them. Nice one.
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:36
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

Nope - even if I look like an aged version of the Vicar of Dibley, lol. You get atheists in vicarages when the Church tax is democratically voted as optional and the Church runs out of money... and has to sell its heritage ...

Last edited by Odile; 06.05.2012 at 22:16.
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Old 06.05.2012, 21:54
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

Let us not forget that the fact that church and state are that much intervowen in Switzerland is at least partly due to the fact, that after the founding of the Swiss Confederation (after the defeat of the catholic cantons in the Sonderbundskrieg) the victorious protestants feared the interfeareance of the roman church. To limit Rome's power they put the hirarchy of the Catholic Church partly under the authority's of Swiss Cantons.
For example: cantonal governments have a veto in the appointment of parish prists, the administration of the (catholic) parishes is done by an elected council of parish members, bishops are appointed by cantonal governments. All of this is strictly against the principles of the Roman Catholic Church and is a annoiance to the pope.

Today this may look like an unacceptable entanglement of state and religion, but it was actually intended as meassure to ensure secularisme and proberably achieved this pretty well.
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Old 06.05.2012, 22:07
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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Again I will state that many countries now do not have laws telling people what they can and can't do on religious holidays. If you want to observe the Sabbath, fine....but don't force me too.
Sunday is NOT a religious holiday, it is a day OFF. Defended by the trades unions and not by religious organisations. Switzerland is NOT a "religion dominated place" . No Swiss politician would even dare to speak in the ways of some US presidents of recent times in public. And few politicians here declare their denomination in public as this is regarded as a private matter. People in Zürich knew that City-President Estermann was a Catholic as he originated from a strongly Catholic corner of the Canton of Luzern but nobody cared. And I cannot tell you the demonination of City presidents Lüchinger, Landolt, Widmer, Wagner, Ledergerber, Mauch, as this was never under discussion

Bundesrätin Mrs Ruth Dreifuss was the first Jewish member of the Federal Council, but nobody cared.

So that I rather describe Switzerland as a secularist country. Sure, Buddhists and Hinduists may at times feel that the country in cultural terms is based on the three monotheist mosaic religions
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  #98  
Old 06.05.2012, 22:20
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

OP,

I've read through this thread (and especially your posts) with interest and am getting more and more confused.

Before I start, I'm going to put my head above the parapet and say that I'm a Christian. I went to church today. Twice. And incidentally, one of the main themes of both sermons was about the danger Christians are in today of treating Sunday like any other day...

I'll also point out that before I came here, I wasn't aware of Ascension or Pentecost as particular festivals, not having being brought up in the Anglican church. I should also admit that I (once) worked at my Saturday job on Good Friday, and felt awful about it and decided never to do that again. I'm not a Catholic but I will quite happily take advantage of any benefits that may arise from the feast of the Assumption of Mary (when my family came here on holiday we used to plan our yearly trip up a cable car to fall on that day because in the Valais the cable cars were free on religious holidays).

So that's where I'm coming from. I like living in a country where (most) shops are closed on Sunday. I respect the fact that the public transport isn't so good that day, even though I can't drive and it takes me longer to get to church. I wouldn't hoover, iron, or do my washing on a Sunday anyway. But if my neighbours do any of those things, I don't complain or judge them. Unless they wake me up in the middle of my Sunday afternoon nap!

So that is my background.

Now I must confess I find myself puzzled by your complaint. I would understand it better if it was coming from someone of another faith. But...

You say in your first post that you are not religious.

Then a little later on your complain (on several occasions) about how you and your students *have* to take off Christian holidays but can't take off Jewish / Muslim / Hindu holidays (in your case without forfeiting a day's pay).

Now 'take off' is a strange term for someone working in an educational environment. Education (both teaching can learning) can be done at home. However, leaving that aside, I agree, that what you describe is unjust. I used to be a teacher (in a church school). Occasionally pupils were absent for religious festivals. I didn't complain. I asked them to tell the class about it the next day. I tried to cover as many religious festivals as I could in my curriculum. It broadened everyone's experiences. I treated all faiths with respect in my teaching, and taught my pupils to do the same. When a parent asked me to make accommodations for their child on account of their faith, I did. And if a colleague who was of another faith was ever denied the chance to celebrate a religious festival, I would have told them call their union, and would have supported them in their fight.

But you are not religious... so I can't understand why are you, personally, so upset by this? Does it really matter to you if you have a day off on Thursday 17th May, or Friday 4th May (if Jediism became an official religion)?

Is it that you're (justifiably) indignant on behalf of those members of other religions? If so, it seems (from what others on this thread have said) that the treatment those members are getting in your place of work is the exception rather than the rule - so I suggest that this is something you need to take up with your employers, rather than blaming it on the Swiss culture.

Is it that you object to having a day off based on a religious tradition you do not follow? Well, you're a teacher. I never met a teacher who didn't have enough work to do (outside the classroom) to fill a month of Sundays! Use the holiday you have gained by living in a 'religious dominated place' to get some of that work done! Most teachers I know spend at least 50% of their so-called 'holidays' working anyway... I know I did...

Is it that you object to having your holiday time settled by an external, arbitrary timetable as opposed to being able to select the dates yourself? Errr... You're a teacher, right? So (and I'm really, really trying not to be sarcastic here)... what's the difference between a religious holiday and the timing of the school holidays? You don't get to pick those either.

Or has all this business about holidays just 'spilled over' from the fact that you don't like the way Sundays are 'run' here? In which case... well, different countries have different ways of doing things. As do different cantons, communes, towns, apartment blocks... in other words, people are different, and therefore do things differently. You can grumble about it - I expect we all have done that at some point - but then the decision is yours - do you try to adapt, accepting that you are the 'foreigner' here and so it's up to you do do the changing, or do you decide that you don't 'fit' and so move on to somewhere else that fits your expectations better?

But please don't judge all of Switzerland by one bad experience with one neighbour.

I hope you enjoy your break, despite it's religious origins!
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Old 06.05.2012, 22:27
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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I would rather work on Ascension and goog Friday and Easter Monday and whatever other damn catholic holiday is coming at the end of may and use those days elsewhere. So while religion is not being directly forced on me, I am being forced to take a day when I do not want to.
Good Friday and Easter Monday and Ascenscion/Auffahrt are NOT Catholic holidays but also Protestant holidays. Just to have the records straight. And you are free to take work home and work on those days from 6am until 11pm. Or you can do what most people do, enjoy the day off, use it for family reunions and more.
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Old 06.05.2012, 22:32
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Re: Living in a Religious Dominated Place

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The thing about Sunday being the resting day is not religion, it's cultural. I'm from Ticino and I've never hear of such thing till I moved to Zurich. I will always remember my neighbour freaking out when I vacumed on a Sunday.

Swiss Germans stick to the rules and the rule is no work or noise on a sunday. Nothing to do with religion - just with narrowed-minded people...

no no no no no --- nothing to do with "narrow-minded" but with rules-abiding people, with people who believe that general rules and regulations are to be adhered to and not just some ideas to be circumvented
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