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O.C. RELIGION | QUESTIONS OF FAITH

Is Halloween a holiday that should be celebrated?

October 28, 2000

DR. MUZAMMIL H. SIDDIQI

President of the Islamic Society of Orange County

Halloween has no place in Islam. It was an old pagan holiday of the witches and the dead. Later some Christians tried to Christianize it by calling it "All Saints Day." However, there are still many Christians who resent it and consider it a bad holiday. Some even call it a "helliday."

Whether Christians accept it or not, we Muslims should never accept this holiday. This holiday has no message, and it is totally meaningless. Masquerading; going trick-or-treating; decorating shops, offices and homes with witches, spider nets and wasting so many pumpkins are all repugnant things. It is strange to see reasonable people acting weird and doing foolish things. It is also becoming quite dangerous now. Some people really act like monsters and witches.

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THE REV. CONRAD NORDQUIST

St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Costa Mesa

Let's face it, Halloween is a secular holiday (is that a double oxymoron?) in our country that has served to frighten and excite little kids. Halloween is a great opportunity for all American children to have fun to a vague theme of scariness and preposterousness and for adults to enjoy children being children. I love it.

Then, the morning after, on All Saints Day, a few of us gather at God's altar and offer thanks for the unsung heroes and heroines of faith who, we believe, have gone to a good reward by the grace of the God we love and serve. And then perhaps we'll sing, "For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith, before the world confessed. . . . The golden evening brightens in the west; soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest; sweet is the calm of paradise the blest."

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PASTOR ERIC HEARD

Family and Student Ministries, Mariners Church, Irvine

My answer usually comes in the form of a question, "Is it all right for Christians to celebrate life on Halloween without celebrating the symbols of Halloween?" Yes, since every day is given to us by God, we can celebrate each day without attributing any unpleasant meanings created by man.

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RABBI DAVID ELIEZRIE

Congregation Beth Meir HaCohen-Chabad Center, Yorba Linda

I feel like the Grinch that stole Halloween. Like many observant Jews, I refrain from joining in the annual Halloween fun. The problem's not the great custom of giving candy to kids or building community bonds by visiting the homes throughout the neighborhood.

Halloween presents a dilemma in its historical roots, which reach back to the pagan festival of the dead of the ancient Druids. They worshiped a variety of deities, and this poses a great theological impasse for a religion whose core principle is monotheism, the worship of one God.

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BISHOP JOHN L. PETERSON

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Harbor Hills Ward

Our church has no official position on participation in Halloween activities. Traditionally, Halloween has been a source of simple fun for children dressing up in costumes and asking for goodies. I have no problem with that.

However, a darker side has crept into Halloween. I am against exploration of the occult, focus on violence or horror, glorifying evil or any other unwholesome activity.

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THE REV. BRIAN KENT

Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Tustin

There is a lot of darkness that actually goes on at Halloween. For that we pray and watch and keep our pets at home and our children closely supervised. I have no problem with kids playing dress-up in all sorts of costumes. But let them know that the real holiday is the next day--All Saints Day.

If you have an issue you'd like Questions of Faith to explore, e-mail us at ocreligion@latimes.com or fax us at (714) 966-7711.

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