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Christmas Is A Religious Holiday For Many, Cultural For The Rest Of Us

December 28, 2016 Featured, Popular Culture, Religion Comments Off on Christmas Is A Religious Holiday For Many, Cultural For The Rest Of Us
We buy a new ornament every year, this year we got a leg lamp ornament -- a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story (click image to watch video clip)
We buy a new ornament every year, this year we got a leg lamp ornament — a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story (click image to watch video clip)

For many of us, Christmas is an important holiday. My husband and I are both atheists, but we have a Christmas tree every year. Sunday his family came down from Springfield IL for brunch at our loft, it’s an important cultural holiday for us.

We’re not alone:

About nine-in-ten Americans (92%) and nearly all Christians (96%) say they celebrate Christmas, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. This is no surprise, but what might be more unexpected is that a big majority (81%) of non-Christians in the U.S. also celebrate Christmas. This includes 87% of people with no religion and even about three-quarters of Asian-American Buddhists (76%) and Hindus (73%). Roughly a third of U.S. Jews (32%) – many of whom have non-Jewish spouses – said in a 2013 survey that they had a Christmas tree in their homes during the most recent holiday season. Among Americans overall, about half (51%) say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while roughly a third (32%) say it is more of a cultural holiday to them personally. (Pew)

The results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll reelected this diversity of views:

Q: For you personally, is Christmas a religious or cultural holiday?

  • Very religious 3 [10%]
  • Religious 7 [23.33%]
  • Somewhat religious 0 [0%]
  • Equally religious & cultural 7 [23.33%]
  • Somewhat cultural 0 [0%]
  • Cultural 8 [26.67%]
  • Very cultural 5 [16.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Though not reflected above, the 25th is just another day in December for others.

However you spent the 25th I hope you had a great day. Trying to decide if I’ll stay up late to ring in 2017 this weekend.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: For You Personally, Is Christmas A Religious Or Cultural Holiday?

December 25, 2016 Featured, Popular Culture, Religion, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: For You Personally, Is Christmas A Religious Or Cultural Holiday?

The last Sunday Poll of  2016 happens to fall on a holiday. Today’s question is what type of holiday is it for you personally.

The poll will be open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Which Location Would You Pick For A Soccer Stadium?

October 30, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Midtown, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which Location Would You Pick For A Soccer Stadium?
Please vote below
Please vote below

The NFL has left, but major league soccer (MLS) is interested in St. Louis.

There are at least two potential MLS ownership groups in St. Louis.

They include Foundry St. Louis, which has already identified property at the northwest corner of Chouteau Avenue and Grand Boulevard for stadium development, and MLS2STL, whose representatives are adamant the stadium site should be downtown. (Post-Dispatch)

The downtown site would technically be in Downtown West — just West of Union Station.

So today’s non-scientific poll seeks to figure out where the readership thinks a dedicated soccer stadium is best placed, if at all. There are many pros & cons to both possible locations.

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Don’t Prefer Rock Concerts In Outdoor Stadiums

August 24, 2016 Popular Culture 5 Comments

The Sunday Poll here each week is non-scientific, but occasionally I think we can learn from it. The recent poll had no right or wrong answer, it is entirely personal.  This is rare — I don’t have an opinion on the subject matter. Why? I’ve never attended a major pop/rock concert. Ever. I did attend one day of the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2004 — I got to hear some legends, such as Bonnie Raitt, while sitting on a big grass field. She was a speck on the stage, so I’d glance over at the video monitor when I wasn’t people watching or chatting with my friend.

Here are the poll results:

Q: What is your favorite type of venue for a major pop/rock concert?

  • Indoor theater: Fox, etc 20 [57.14%]
  • A field/lawn: Forest Park, etc 5 [14.29%]
  • TIE 3 [8.57%]
    • Indoor sports stadium: Scottrade, etc.
    • Other:
      • small club (Off Broadway)
      • Off Broadway
      • a small venue like the Sheldon or the Pageant
  • TIE 2 [5.71%]
    • Outdoor amphitheater: Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, etc
    • Unsure/no answer
  • Outdoor sports stadium: Busch, etc. 0 [0%]

What I find interesting is that nobody picked outdoor sports stadium as their favorite type of venue, yet the recent Paul McCartney concert was sold out.


I would like to see James Taylor perform sometime, which is usually a venue like the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater. Though a smaller place like The Pageant would be awesome.

— Steve Patterson


Transgender Persons Should Be Free To Use The Public Restroom That Matches Their Gender Identity

Some of the comments in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll illustrate the lack of understanding and compassion for those people with gender identity dysphoria. Just like my farther knew in the 1930s that he was left-handed, and I knew in the 1970s I was gay, those with gender identity dysphoria know from an early age their physical body doesn’t match who they are.

Zoey was born male, but she transitioned to female at a young age
Zoey was born male, but she transitioned to female at a young age

Here are some excellent news stories:

Just a decade or so ago kids were told to accept the gender they were born with. Years later, as adults, they might eventually transition — if they didn’t kill themselves first. Thankfully, most parents today are helping their kids be themselves.

So-called “bathroom bills” introduced by social conservatives in states such as Arizona, Maryland, Kentucky and Florida typically mandate that people use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. That’s a marker that is difficult for most transgender people to change, as well as one that, for them, is a bureaucratic indicator decided by someone else that should not be weighed against their innate sense of self. Just a handful of states have “modernization” processes that make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates. Some in the community have protested by taking selfies in the bathrooms that they would have to use under such laws, highlighting how those spaces don’t jibe with their appearance or their feelings. (Time: Everything You Need to Know About the Debate Over Transgender People and Bathrooms)

As I indicated in the post on Sunday, a century ago society was worried about men & women being in a swimming pool at the same time. Today we realize just how silly that was. It’s also silly to male these kids use the bathroom for the gender they were born with. The U.S, population is over 323 million people — less than 700k are transgender. They just want to live their lives.

The irrational fear than a transgender person is going to molest anyone in a bathroom is just ridiculous. The ones to watch are often clergy:

The poll was far more popular than usual, but the percentages stayed roughly the same throughout the 12-hour voting period.

Q: Agree or disagree: Transgender persons should be free to use the public restroom that matches their gender identity.

  • Strongly agree 81 [71.05%]
  • Agree 13 [11.4%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [1.75%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [0.88%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [0.88%]
  • Disagree 4 [3.51%]
  • Strongly disagree 10 [8.77%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [1.75%]

Just she of 3/4 agree, while less than 15% disagreed.

In my 30+ years as an out gay man I’ve met many who are transgender. When I was younger I didn’t fully understand it. Back then they had transitioned well past puberty, not always convincing — but they were happy being themselves finally. Others, like Chaz Bono and Caitlyn Jenner, also transitioned post-puberty but medical advancements are giving them the body/appearance they’ve always wanted.

Expecting parents — just because the ultrasound tells you a gender, please consider a gender-neutral nursery. Your child will know his/her own gender.

— Steve Patterson




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