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View Full Version : God, I miss Disneyland and I miss America...



b52hbuff
07-17-2005, 04:35 PM
We're all being inundated with Walt's famous opening day speech... "Those who come to this happy place, welcome..."

As I was lamenting my bad luck to not being able to make it to Disneyland, I did the next best thing. I started watching the old 'Dateline Disneyland'. And it was very educational to see and hear all of the opening day speakers.

It makes me sad to see how far we've come as a country that we can no longer display the type of spiritualism and patriotism that was displayed on Opening Day 1955 without being labeled as some sort of extremists...

So I didn't go. Did anyone say a prayer today?

And for your education, here are the other two opening day speakers and their speeches:


Reverend Glenn D. Puder

I have known Walt Disney for many years. And have long been aware of the spiritual motivation in the heart of this man who has dreamed Disneyland into being. Let us join with him then, in dedicating these wonder filled acres to those things dear to his heart and ours, to understanding and goodwill between men, laughter for children, memories for the mature and aspirations for young people everywhere. And beyond the creed that would divide us, let us unite in the silent prayer that this every worthy envdvour may propser at God's hand. Let us bow in prayer ... Amen.


Honorable Goodwin Knight, Governor California

Today is a wonderful day and all America is proud as we open Disneyland. This is a wonderous community with all the charm of the old world and all of the progress and ingenuity of the new world. Yes, this is a wonderful place for children and grownups alike. There are replicas of every town and city in America, stores, libraries, schools, just like your home town.

All built by American labor and American capital. Under the belief that this is a God fearing and a God loving country. And as we dedicate this flag now, we do it with the knowledge that we are of the fortunate ones to be Americans and that we extend to everyone everywhere, Americanism, brotherhood, and peace on earth, goodwill to men.

GrumpyUTboi
07-17-2005, 05:59 PM
Amen Brother! What would the ACLU do? Probably scream and yell and storm the podium at the mention of God, then they would slap a multi-million lawsuit on DL for hurting the feelings of so few agnostics. Maybe the prayer was answered, look at how well DL and Disney has done over the past 50 years.

I wonder if the ACLU would share the multi-million dollar damages that would be awarded them with the few that were offended by the mention of God?

Thanks for writing what the speeches were at that time.

arpinl
07-17-2005, 06:20 PM
First, let me say that Disneyland and its executives are entitled to invite whomever to say whatever on their private property; I'm not incensed that a member of the ministry was invited to speak at Disneyland on opening day.

However, I do feel that the line "[u]nder the belief that this is a God fearing and a God loving country" from Governor Knight's speech encourages, even if subtly, the idea that being a patriotic American is somehow bound up with believing in a god which watches over the nation.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with believing in god, but to do so is not a prerequisite for morality or patriotism. Disneyland, in particular, attracts a very diverse clientele, and I think the decision (if indeed there ever was a conscious one) to use more "neutral"--if that's the right word--language in today's speeches was an appropriate one that allows everyone (even the allegedly "so few" agnostics) to enjoy the day.

That's my two cents. :)

b52hbuff
07-17-2005, 06:24 PM
Disneyland, in particular, attracts a very diverse clientele, and I think the decision (if indeed there ever was a conscious one) to use more "neutral"--if that's the right word--language in today's speeches was an appropriate one that allows everyone (even the allegedly "so few" agnostics) to enjoy the day.

That's my two cents. :)

And one day, say 50 years in the future, maybe the speeches will include ideas that stray even further from those shared by the founding fathers and presumably Walt himself. And I'm glad I won't be alive to see it.

wendyxo
07-17-2005, 07:14 PM
I do strongly believe in God. I did say a prayer today.
HOWEVER- these are MY beliefs. I do not think it is a good thing to force others to believe what I believe. This is a personal thing to me.
That being said, I totally agree with arpinl- you don't have to be a "God fearing" person to be a patriotic person. And I am sure there have been MANY agnostics who have visited Disneyland. I highly doubt the reason it is such a success is because a prayer was offered on opening day :rolleyes: . There are plenty of prayers offered for businesses and people who end up NOT succeding.
Disneyland is a success because it is a place where we ALL can go and experience happiness and fun. And our belief in God shouldn't matter there.

coronado_g
07-17-2005, 07:57 PM
I do strongly believe in God. I did say a prayer today.
HOWEVER- these are MY beliefs. I do not think it is a good thing to force others to believe what I believe. This is a personal thing to me.
That being said, I totally agree with arpinl- you don't have to be a "God fearing" person to be a patriotic person. And I am sure there have been MANY agnostics who have visited Disneyland. I highly doubt the reason it is such a success is because a prayer was offered on opening day :rolleyes: . There are plenty of prayers offered for businesses and people who end up NOT succeding.
Disneyland is a success because it is a place where we ALL can go and experience happiness and fun. And our belief in God shouldn't matter there.

I agree. Disneyland is a "magical" place - not necessarily holy ground.

b52hbuff
07-17-2005, 08:36 PM
I agree. Disneyland is a "magical" place - not necessarily holy ground.

So did you find the 7/17/55 ceremony offending? Did you think Walt was trying to imply that the place was a 'holy ground' when he asked Knight and Puder to speak? Do you think those two went up and spoke contemporaneously, or do you think Walt and WDC knew what they were going to say?

...this sort of attitude is what I was trying to point out. Why can't Christians celebrate using thier ideology. Clearly at some level, Walt and Knight were Christians. After all it is the Christian ideology that allows the athiests, Muslims and other non-Christians the freedom to have their views. You really think Christians would have the same religious freedoms in Iran, N. Korea and even Saudi Arabia?

wendyxo
07-17-2005, 08:51 PM
...this sort of attitude is what I was trying to point out. Why can't Christians celebrate using thier ideology. Clearly at some level, Walt and Knight were Christians. After all it is the Christian ideology that allows the athiests, Muslims and other non-Christians the freedom to have their views. You really think Christians would have the same religious freedoms in Iran, N. Korea and even Saudi Arabia?

The reason Christians shouldn't celebrate is because it IS offensive to some (I am a Christian and find the idea of forcing my beliefs onto another EXTREMELY offensive). Christians probably would not have the same freedoms elsewhere- but we are talking about DISNEYLAND- an amusement park that has nothing to do with God! I will worship at my church- not at a theme park, thank you very much.

b52hbuff
07-17-2005, 09:13 PM
The reason Christians shouldn't celebrate is because it IS offensive to some (I am a Christian and find the idea of forcing my beliefs onto another EXTREMELY offensive). Christians probably would not have the same freedoms elsewhere- but we are talking about DISNEYLAND- an amusement park that has nothing to do with God! I will worship at my church- not at a theme park, thank you very much.

Hmmm... I'm 'offended' when I see young muslims on a prayer rug at the airport. Or when I see people wearing religious head coverings who are 'offended' at having to show their faces to security guards or to have their drivers license photos... But that's another thread.

But back at the point. Did you think that Walt was 'forcing his beliefs' upon the opening day guests? Did you think Walt was 'forcing people to worship' as part of the opening day ceremonies?

AZDisneyDan
07-17-2005, 09:42 PM
I am shocked that I log on to this forum to get all the exciting information about this momentous occasion and I have to see a thread like this. My feeling on the issues brought up here are very strong, however and I choose not to elaborate on this board because that is not what this is all about. I am 'offended' when I see someone use a special time like this to promote an ideology that not everyone shares creating a debate unrelated to the spirit behind this website and message boards. I recommend you take these debates to the appropriate message boards where you may freely discuss these issues.

PragmaticIdealist
07-17-2005, 09:53 PM
A rabbi was also a part of the opening day festivities in 1955. Rev. Glenn D. Puder happened to be a member of Walt Disney's family and, very specifically, did not confuse Disneyland with a religious entity.

I subscribe to non-denominational Protestantism, but I am aware that Disneyland hosts several guests who do not share that same system of belief. Disneyland is a piece of mostly secular art as were most of the works for which Walt Disney was responsible during his lifetime. Sincere spirituality appeared in Disney's creations only when it was germane to the subject matter such as with "Johnny Appleseed", "The Three Lives of Thomasina", and "Pollyanna". So, the fact that the proceedings today did not invoke religion does not, in any way, disturb me.

The fact that Americans have grown more sensitive to the plurality within their midst is not a bad thing. And, the fact that Disneyland recognizes that its guests (and the shareholders of its parent company) come from around the world is also a matter of being respectful and polite.

People can be very sensitive about religion. For example, I disapprove of the taking of the name, "God", in vain. So, the fact that large, publicly-traded corporations avoid religion altogether is understandable.

The Walt Disney Company still does create works that present faith in a positive way for both people who hold those beliefs, as well as for the more general audience. "Sister Act" is a good example, and I think most people liked the film on at least some levels regardless of their respective systems of belief.

PapiBear
07-18-2005, 12:04 AM
You said you "miss America", b52hbuff. Where do you live now? Just wondering; I understand what it's like to be homesick.

Skunker
07-18-2005, 04:56 AM
Hmmm... I'm 'offended' when I see young muslims on a prayer rug at the airport. Or when I see people wearing religious head coverings who are 'offended' at having to show their faces to security guards or to have their drivers license photos... But that's another thread.

But back at the point. Did you think that Walt was 'forcing his beliefs' upon the opening day guests? Did you think Walt was 'forcing people to worship' as part of the opening day ceremonies?

I don't think that Walt was forcing his beliefs upon the masses that day. I don't believe he was forcing them to worship. Some have said they don't want to "force" their beliefs on anyone and they are Christians, but part of being a Christian is witnessing to others. That doesn't mean "forcing" anything on anyone. It can be likened to any display of your beliefs - including some mentioned above like praying in public. We have freedom of religion in the US. We do not have freedom from being offended.
Besides, would you expect a minister to give a speech and not mention God?? (I guess some people might think that he shouldn't have even been invited to speak?)

If the "worst" thing that happens in your day is that you have to hear a speech that mentions God, love or brotherhood, count your lucky stars.

*Off my soapbox now* :)

b52hbuff
07-18-2005, 06:30 AM
You said you "miss America", b52hbuff. Where do you live now? Just wondering; I understand what it's like to be homesick.

Kalifornia...

arpinl
07-18-2005, 07:02 AM
We have freedom of religion in the US. We do not have freedom from being offended.

Absolutely. I've also heard it expressed as "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." That being said, a theme park that caters to theists and non-theists alike (e.g. visitors from Japan, where ~1% of the population is Christian) is probably making an appropriate choice when it abstains from mentions of "God" or spiritualism.

The way I see it, a Christian already *knows* God is present, so His not being mentioned in a speech seems harmless (to me, anyway); that doesn't change His existence or anyone's faith.

I appreciated the speakers at yesterday's events, as well as Mouse Planet's coverage thereof. :)

pirateabbie
07-18-2005, 07:35 AM
Amen Brother! What would the ACLU do? Probably scream and yell and storm the podium at the mention of God, then they would slap a multi-million lawsuit on DL for hurting the feelings of so few agnostics. Maybe the prayer was answered, look at how well DL and Disney has done over the past 50 years.

I wonder if the ACLU would share the multi-million dollar damages that would be awarded them with the few that were offended by the mention of God?

What would the ACLU do? Nothing. As Disneyland is a private company they are perfectly able to do or say anything they like regarding religion. So long as they are not barring people from entering or working there based on religion, they are free to stick a giant cross on top of the Matterhorn without fear of legal retribution from the ACLU. If an individual doesn't like the way Disney handles religion, they don't have to buy Disney products or visit Disney theme parks. Some religous groups have chosen to boycott Disney to make their feelings known.

tod
07-18-2005, 07:38 AM
Fifty years ago, almost every public ceremony opened with a prayer. Nowadays, not so much.

On another topic, notice what people used to wear to spend a casual day of fun at Disneyland: Women in dresses, men in ties. Yesterday I saw teenage girls in halter tops and low-rise jeans that would have been scandalous in 1955.

And as far as




Today is a wonderful day and all America is proud as we open Disneyland. This is a wonderous community with all the charm of the old world and all of the progress and ingenuity of the new world. Yes, this is a wonderful place for children and grownups alike. There are replicas of every town and city in America, stores, libraries, schools, just like your home town.

All built by American labor and American capital. Under the belief that this is a God fearing and a God loving country. And as we dedicate this flag now, we do it with the knowledge that we are of the fortunate ones to be Americans and that we extend to everyone everywhere, Americanism, brotherhood, and peace on earth, goodwill to men.

Don't forget that declaring fealty to God and "Americanism" was a good way to avoid being tagged as a "subversive" in the mid-'50s. No specific reference to Governor Knight implied: I have no idea of his religion or politics... but I have some idea what the political atmosphere in the US was like back then.

--t

Borgnineus
07-18-2005, 09:17 AM
Oh man, I thought that I was going to get some cute pics of Miss Disneyland and Miss America in this thread! Oh well. :)

"There's so much we can share that it's time were aware, its......"

Celebrate diversity!

PragmaticIdealist
07-18-2005, 11:32 AM
I forgot to mention that a Catholic priest was part of the opening day festivities, as well, but neither the rabbi nor the priest spoke on television, at least.

It sounds like the set-up to a joke.

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister walk into Disneyland...

... and the governor says, "Hasta la vista, university subsidization." :p

wendyxo
07-18-2005, 04:53 PM
Did you think that Walt was 'forcing his beliefs' upon the opening day guests? Did you think Walt was 'forcing people to worship' as part of the opening day ceremonies?

No, I don't believe Walt was forcing his beliefs- and if he was, it is his property to do so. I don't know if a prayer was said yesterday- I wasn't there. If a prayer was offered, I would not have been offended anyway. I would not have had a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that I logged on to this thread thinking it had something to do with the festivities yesterday. Instead, I see that some feel as if we have lost our patriotism and spirituality because things were not as they were 50 years ago. Times change. This is life.

wendyxo
07-18-2005, 04:54 PM
On another topic, notice what people used to wear to spend a casual day of fun at Disneyland: Women in dresses, men in ties. Yesterday I saw teenage girls in halter tops and low-rise jeans that would have been scandalous in 1955.
--t

So true!

Wendi
07-18-2005, 06:23 PM
Hmmm... I'm 'offended' when I see young muslims on a prayer rug at the airport. Or when I see people wearing religious head coverings who are 'offended' at having to show their faces to security guards or to have their drivers license photos...

Wow... I'm thinking you probably shouldn't leave your house anymore... scary!!!

Andrew
07-18-2005, 09:16 PM
Yesterday I saw teenage girls in halter tops and low-rise jeans that would have been scandalous in 1955.

And your problem with that was...

:D

PapiBear
07-18-2005, 11:49 PM
Kalifornia...

:confused: You must be using euphemisms. Personally, I found it delightful to read the speeches of the Reverend and the Governor that you shared, as it hearkened back to an era I caught a glimpse of in my youth in the late 60s and early 70s in Orange County (which was so different from today - a very strong military presence was felt, for instance), but if you're complaining that California and the USA aren't what they used to be back in the 50s, it's kind of a fruitless argument. Sure, I get nostalgic for the way things used to be too, in various respects, but not everything back then was necessarily happy-happy joy-joy for everyone; a lot of people back then were chafing severely under the various societal pressures that were at play. The button-downed ultra-conservative Eisenhower era was partly responsible for the excessive rebelliousness of the 60s and 70s, and both those eras in turn fed into the 80s and 90s and into today in a wide variety of ways. The only thing constant in the universe is change, and in California, the only thing constant is rapid change. Don't you think some older people in the 1950s were grumbling about how it wasn't like it used to be back in the 1910s and 1920s, about how those were the "good old days" to them?

Regarding the other issues you brought up - the simple fact of the matter is that the world is not strictly black and white, good or evil, and neither is humankind; it's all various shades of gray. Why would you be offended at witnessing a Muslim prayer? I could understand being perhaps a bit fearful or nervous if such a prayer were witnessed at an airport, given recent events, but by itself, what's there to be so offended at? Everyone worships God in their own way, and a real American doesn't act to divide his fellow Americans based on how he or she chooses to do so. Everyone must follow his or her own path - no one can choose it for us. The world has different religious faiths and spiritual traditions, they aren't all the same as yours, and the world gathers here in America. We either have our doors open to the world, welcoming those who seek the freedom to worship God in their own way that our Constitution guarantees, or we don't. That doesn't mean we have to roll over and play dead when morally corrupt criminals who misuse religion to cause harm to innocents infiltrate themselves into our midst, it means we have to be very circumspect and must educate ourselves about newcomers to our shores and realize that ultimately we are ALL children of the same loving Creator, not just those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and have European ancestors.

I have no particular affection for Islam myself, but from my POV you're skating dangerously close to religious intolerance and hatred, and as a proud American citizen and genuine patriot with a very deep love in my heart for this nation and land, I have to tell you - those are not cherished American values.