Faithless aren’t morally inferior – Jonathan Carney

Faithless aren’t morally inferior

Jonathan Carney

Anchor Editor

 

For decades, religious institutions have spouted the pretentious assertion that non-religious people live by an anything goes code of morality; claiming it was the decline of religion in America that lowered moral standards. Morality can only, and should only, be judged based on one’s actions and not their religious religious beliefs, or lack thereof.

Society would be much better-off defining morality through philosophical and logical means rather than through adherence to religious dogma. Nevermind the fact that such beliefs frequently lead people astray just as often as they lead them to virtue. Renouncing Catholicism allowed me to gained an objective, outside perspective of organized religion and become thoroughly convinced that morality is better left to philosophy and logic rather than any unchallengeable and, incidentally, imperfect Gospel. However, don’t confuse criticism for condemnation, religion does have a good side.

There are many wonderful lines in the Bible that promote compassion, acceptance of others and many other philosophies that are respectable. Any word of any god can be cherry-picked to promote a certain message and unfortunately a lot of religious people do just that, especially with the unsavory parts. For example, each of the Abrahamic faiths’ Gospels contain passages that blatantly vilify homosexuality. It is easy to dismiss those abhorrent people that parade anti-LGBTQ+ hate signs through the streets as “crazy people,” but it is important to realize that their ironically uncompassionate beliefs did not come out of thin air. Their beliefs came from sources like the Old Testament. So, without religion, an argument against gay rights would never have been created.

Like any human construction, religion is full of good ideas and bad ideas. The problem is, rather than sorting out the good from the bad, followers are taught that questioning God’s word is sin, punishable by damnation. Followers easily become afraid to ask questions or modify their preachings even when something doesn’t sit well. Religion is based on one major foundation, faith.

Faith: the voluntary suspension of critical thinking. We are taught that faith is a good thing, that it is commendable to cling to beliefs without requiring evidence, logic or reason. Faith is what exists when science has no answers, and that makes it superior.

Religion isn’t the sole defining factor in a person’s morality–it is far more complex than that. For those who say abandoning religion leads to moral depravity, there is a need to understand that religion does not make a person good. Sound judgment and benevolent intent makes a good person. If individuals cannot sort right from wrong without a god’s command, then society is morally bankrupt indeed.

Shop local, dismantle “big business” – Mary Ellen Fernandez

Shop local, dismantle “big business”

Mary Ellen Fernandez

Anchor Staff

 

Christmas is supposed to be one of the most joyous times of the year; a time for family, friends and celebrating with the ones you love. However, it is also one of the most stressful and frustrating times when Christmas joy turns into retail Hell where society forces you to scavenge for gifts for every friend and relative in your life. Stores, such as Walmart, get raided by customers and pictures show customers ready to trample each other for their shot at a half priced electronic. There are images of long lines at Target with crying children in carriages and that one person who has 50 items in the express lane on any given Black Friday.

The joy of Christmas certainly does not come from the stress and annoyance of shopping at the large corporate companies. If you find yourself in a holiday funk while going through the aisles of Sears or Macy’s, then you should try shopping local. It’s a nice change of pace from the everyday grind of the “big box” store. Local businesses offer a unique shopping experience for buyers, with interesting gifts, personal attention to shoppers and an opportunity to support the local economy.

I’m sure your father is sick of acting surprised by the “#1 Dad” mug you’ve bought him six years in a row, and your mom is less than thrilled at the Yankee Candle she’ll be receiving…again. Shopping at these corporate stores is the cause for less creative and personal gifts. The stores only carry items that are best sellers for the general population, meaning the gift your giving is the same gift everyone else is giving–and everyone else is getting.

Shopping local gives you an opportunity to buy a less than ordinary gift for everyone on your list. Whether you buy a scarf for your aunt from a small boutique, or buy a handmade, knit Patriots hat for your dad, these presents are a way to add a personal touch to your gift giving.

When was the last time a Walmart worker authentically greeted you when you walked in? It’s rare in these corporate environments for workers to give close personal attention to shoppers. Due to the many customers they have to attend to, it’s difficult for them to say hello, let alone strike up conversation about your day. When customers shop at a local store they are always greeted warmly by a person who is ready to give them plenty of attention and assistance in finding the perfect holiday gift. These interactions between the small businesses and their customers create a more positive and less stressful experience.

Unlike many of the big businesses, small businesses are the backbone of all local economies. The small business owners help to employ the community and rarely take a day off themselves. They help to inspire others to open their own businesses, while simultaneously supporting other local businesses which helps to create a stronger community. When you choose to shop locally, you are helping support the economy and helping to support your community, as well. Our country was founded on hard working people who helped to create a strong local economy and we should aspire to continue such a tradition.

There’s no need to get down during the holiday shopping experience when you can feel good and get amazing gifts for all of your friends and family. Instead of shopping corporate this season, take the stress away from your holiday shopping and support your community by shopping local. You can take pride in helping your economy by buying unique gifts and creating strong relationships with local businesses.

Is wishing someone “Merry Christmas” offensive? – Ryan Foley vs. Samantha Scetta

Is wishing someone “Merry Christmas” offensive?

Ryan Foley    vs.    Samantha Scetta

Anchor Staff        Anchor Editor

 

Ryan Foley

People should not be afraid to say “Merry Christmas” as the year draws to a close. There is nothing offensive about it; it is not meant to be exclusionary. It is simply a way to wish somebody well.

 

As a Catholic, I would not be offended if a Jewish person wished me a Happy Hanukkah. Non-Christians should not be offended if someone wishes them a Merry Christmas. The obsession over what to say really takes away the joy the season is supposed to bring.

 

I have no problem with the phrase “Happy Holidays.”  My problem is with the fact that people are so afraid to say “Merry Christmas.” They shouldn’t be–plain and simple. Even though it has Christian roots, it is still a federal holiday.

 

Wishing someone a Merry Christmas, especially in the days leading up to December 25, should not be considered offensive or insensitive.The same is true for saying “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Happy New Year.” These are both just other holidays that exist during the year and don’t inherently oppress or offend anyone.

 

Samantha Scetta

While there might not be any hidden motives behind saying “Merry Christmas,” wishing someone “Happy Holidays” is much more suitable for the globalized world in which we currently live. People celebrate more than just Christmas, and saying “Happy Holidays” shows you recognize other forms of celebration without assuming everyone fits into the majority Christian category.

 

This may be of sound logic, especially since not everyone in the world is going to have the same attitude as you. Some people are very sensitive when it comes to what they celebrate in and around December, and saying “Happy Holidays” helps to avoid unwanted tension.

 

Instead of wishing someone a “Happy Thanksgiving,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Years” the phrase “Happy Holidays” exists as a convenient phrase to wish someone well, and nothing but that. Regardless of the fact that Christmas is a federal holiday, it is still viewed as a Christian holiday and it is imperative that in such a diverse world we do not assume someone’s religious celebrations for the sake of ease.

 

Saying “Happy Holidays” to someone during the holiday season is just a more convenient and less potentially offensive way of grouping all things Christmas together. I’m sure there are quite a few humbugs out there that get offended at the mention of Christmas, and who wants to deal with that around a beautiful and already semi-stressful time of year?

Dogs versus cats – Robert Gagnon

Dogs versus cats

Robert Gagnon

Anchor Staff

 

Over the ages, humanity has struggled to draw conclusions to many important debates: Democrat or Republican, Coke or Pepsi, but more importantly, dogs or cats. A dog may be a man’s best friend but I am a manly man and I own two cats. Although some of the time, they own me.

I love my cats and consider them to be my best friends so I suppose one could say a cat can also be a man’s best friend. I do love dogs, I just live a very busy life and have no time to care for a dog and give it the attention that it would need. All house pets, whether dogs or a cats, can give the same amount of companionship and love and pitting species against each other for the sake of elitism is unwarranted.

Robert DeNiro in the smash hit “Meet the Fockers” explains the differences between dogs and cats best when he says, “When you yell at a dog, his tail will go between its legs and cover its genitals, their ears will go down. A dog is very easy to break, but cats make you work for their affection. They don’t sell out the way dogs do.” This quote appears to be very true–cats do make you work for their love and trust. Cats can seem pretty low maintenance. They may not require much exercise and can generally roam about the house or the yard without major supervision, but they require you to work for their love, unlike a dog. A cat’s attention is hard fought but highly rewarded.

Cats were once worshipped as gods in ancient Egypt, and now they are glorified throughout the internet as memes and humorous videos on Youtube. It seems as if cats are privy to a history of adoration, as they carry an air of sophistication. Also, to be frank, cats may be smarter than dogs; you’ll never see eight cats pulling a sled through heavy snow. Making the decision to own cats, especially when one does not have the time to care for a more high-maintenance animal, such as a dog, is not something to be shamed for. Owning a cat or dog doesn’t define a person. Being a Cat Person or a Dog Person is inconsequential in the grand scheme of life. What matters is how you care for your animal and how you treat them, regardless of species or cuteness.

Change making to punk anthems – Derek Sherlock

Change making to punk anthems

Derek Sherlock

Anchor Staff

 

After a month of deep contemplation about the backlash associated with the election of Donald Trump into the highest office in the free world, a positive silver lining has shown itself. Political awareness is at an all time high.

The moment it was announced that Trump won the election, young people in college towns all around the nation were still awake. Deeply angry and upset over the results, they immediately took to the streets to voice their opposition. Reading about that the day after the election evokes much happiness for me because even though the less desirable candidate won there are still hundreds of thousands who are willing to speak up and fight for their political rights. However, it’s not just young people who are speaking out; there has been a resurgence of punk bands, as well as other musicians, declaring their political agendas.

When George W. Bush was in office there was a strong uprise within punk groups and pop stars who voiced their opposition to the administration. The epitome of pop stars calling out Bush came after hurricane Katrina when Kanye West so eloquently declared, “Bush hates black people,” on national television.  At the time of the Bush administration, there were strong fears that the country would enter a global proxy war in which the draft would come back. Thankfully, there was an outlet for those fears for young and angry people via artists from the mainstream, such as Green Day, Bad Religion and Public Enemy to name a few. These artists all either made albums or songs that became the soundtrack for a generation who wanted to “fight the power” and create a better society.

Trump coming to office on Jan. 20, will force a resurgence of such politically active music back to the forefront of mainstream radio. With the popularity and publicity of rebellion comes encouragement for young people to carry on with their protesting and fight against the political machine that has so frequently burned them. This political awareness being seen in young people and in the musical representatives of such audiences can only lead to more change and societal progress. Regardless, wherever you are when the revolution comes at least there will be good music do we can dance.

This week in RIC history – Shane Inman

This week in RIC history

Shane Inman

Managing Editor

 

Rhode Island College’s fall semester of 1985 has been one of political turmoil and organized discontent. Having worked without a contract since July, the faculty have been chafing against their low wages—well beneath what they cite as being reasonable or competitive—for some time now. What began with a work slowdown, professors refusing to work beyond the exact requirements of their employment regarding class times, office hours, and the like, turned into very real fears of a strike as Thanksgiving approached and demands for a pay increase grew more emphatic.

It seems however, that these fears will not come to fruition, as many in the faculty union do not believe striking at the tail-end of the school year would be an effective strategy. While negotiations remain halted and discontent continues, the school will not have to face a strike just yet. Looking to the future, the ultimate outcome of this clash remains to be seen.

Road safety at the forefront again – Taylor Dame

Road safety at the forefront again

Taylor Dame

News Editor

 

The college and student leadership are again planning to look into what can be done to improve the safety of pedestrians and motorists at Rhode Island College. This comes after a student was hit by a vehicle at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday night in front of the Thorp Residential Hall.

When asked about the accident the President of the College, Frank Sanchez, said, “My first concern is for the student; we are fortunate it was not more serious. We are looking closely at the traffic safety issue. You may have noticed new speed bumps around campus.”

The President of Student Community Government, Jose Rosario, echoed Sanchez’s statement, “My thoughts are with this student and I hope for the best for them and their family. Regardless of who this is, it is a member of our community and we stand with them. I welcome any more information and will work to ensure that this does not continue to happen, along with President Sanchez. SCG will not ignore this.”

Rosario also warned the community of the increased danger on the roads at this time of year, “I want to take a moment to encourage every member of our community to exercise caution as the days get darker earlier and road conditions may become troublesome.”

President Sanchez and his staff will be reviewing the area in which the crash took place to see if safety can be improved. “For this specific area, I am going to make it a priority to review in short order: adequate lighting, consolidating pedestrian traffic crossings, and installing walk/don’t walk indicators so it is clear to everyone when they should cross, and when cars have the right of way.”

Providence Police, who were on the scene and took the accident report did not respond to requests for more information regarding the accident.

Remember, as Winter sets in and the holidays get closer, the roads get more perilous. Always look both ways before crossing the street and always use a crosswalk, when possible.

Students respond to plans for professional counseling at RIC – Taylor Dame

Students respond to plans for professional counseling at RIC

Taylor Dame

News Editor

 

While faculty response to the plan for professional advisors at Rhode Island College has been mixed, the student response has been largely positive.

For those that do not know, the new college administration has asked for money in next year’s budget to be set aside for looking into implementing professional advising on campus. A report issued by the College Advisement Committee recommends using a shared or dual model for advising at RIC.

“What we recommend is the dual model in which declared majors receive both a faculty and a professional advisor at the beginning of their academic career…Majors would be expected to see both their professional advisor and faculty mentor for the first two years of the student’s college experience. During these two years, the professional advisor would be responsible for the nuts and bolts of advising.”

The report goes on to list several benefits that adopted the dual model would bring such as, more access to advisors for students throughout the year and when faculty are not available such as during breaks.

Students response to the plan has been fairly supportive of the professional advising plan.

Nick Farrell, a marketing major in the Class of 2018, said “I can not think of a single reason not to implement this. As a free service, I for one know I would take full advantage of this. While I have no complaints, I have heard my fellow classmates complain that their advisors are of little help. These new professional advisors would be an excellent way to solve this issue.”

Jemma Weibrecht, who is a member of the Class of 2019 and studies political science mentioned a point that the report also highlighted as a benefit. “I think this is a great idea. This way the students can get a feel on how to map out their semesters with help from someone who is qualified to do so. Then, they are able to actually talk to someone who works within their specific course of study. The best of both worlds.”

Logan Firmin from the Class of 2018, talked about a major benefit for faculty under the dual model, “It would allow students to be advised more freely and allow faculty to focus more on instructing classes.”

While nothing is set in stone yet and the administration of the college is merely looking into professional advising, it does appear as if the students and the administration are on the same team on this issue.

Pot and profit forum – Mike Dwyer

Pot and profit forum

Mike Dwyer

Assistant News Editor

 

The Publick Occurrences forum to discuss the future of medical and recreational marijuana in Rhode Island happened last Monday, the Publick Occurrences forums are a joint venture of The Providence Journal, Rhode Island College and Leadership Rhode Island.

This event follows the recent voter approval of recreational marijuana in our neighboring state of Massachusetts where residents approved to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana sales, similar to the states of Colorado and Washington. The referendum passed with 54 percent of voters approving the measure. It will allow for marijuana retail by Jan. 1, 2018, so long as the state legislature does not delay the new law from taking effect.

There will be three panels during the event featured experts from law enforcement, patients, medical professionals, state regulators and legalization proponents. They discussed and debated the current status of medical marijuana in the Ocean State, as well as the future potential for ending Rhode Island’s marijuana prohibition.

The first panel discussed the history of law enforcement and marijuana and featured speakers from two very different ends of the debate. Those speakers are Stephen Dambruch, the first assistant United States attorney for the District of Rhode Island, alongside Charles Brown, a Providence man who was sentenced to life in prison for drug crimes and whose sentence was recently commuted by President Barack Obama. The second panel provided a platform of debate regarding the successes and failures of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program, and the third panel will discuss the possible ramifications and rewards of legalization in the state.

Election got you down? – Taylor Dame

Election got you down?

Taylor Dame

News Editor

 

Need to vent about the election? Want to talk about politics in a respectful and civil way? This Tuesday, the college is hosting a Post-Election Processing and Reflection forum. The forum will be for students to talk in small groups about how they feel in regard to the 2016 presidential election. The group discussions will be moderated and the Student Affairs and Academic Affairs departments are sponsoring the event. The discussions are open to anyone regardless of political ideology. The forum will be on Tuesday Dec. 6 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Center.