Gastonia, NC Correspondent-The continual hand-wringing over Christmas in the schools is getting quite tiresome. It’s not as if there are any punishments handed out for failing to participate in the rituals, and no one’s forcing a non-observant child to dress in swaddling clothes and lay in a manger. I have one child in elementary school and another in middle school, both in quite “liberal” schools, and both have a variety of seasonal observances throughout December.
The simple fact is that Christmas has become a largely secular holiday. As a professional Santa myself, I can say that the kids who come to visit me come from all faiths. In fact, I did “first Christmas” pictures for two Muslim families this year. Beyond the Nativity scene, most of the trappings of the holiday have been sanitized for your protection, whatever your faith.
The big driver behind that, of course, is business. Retailers want everyone in the Christmas mood, so they can sell for waffle makers, Snuggies and all the other useless crap that would never be given a second look at any other time of year. Capitalism is as close as the U.S. comes to a state religion, and we pretty much all bend the knee to it at this time of year.
This specific case truly makes me see red. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of my and my kids’ favorite holiday rituals. Even though it’s available on disc and on demand everywhere this time of year, we make it a point to watch it when it’s aired on network TV, just as I did when I was their age and that was the only option. It’s a bonding experience, and the messages that the show teaches are universal. Yes, we have Linus reciting the Story of Christmas, but it’s all part of a larger tapestry teaching about love, friendship and inclusion.
And if those three values aren’t welcome in our schools, we’re truly lost.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Let’s face it, the vast majority of people consider Christmas to be a jolly good time. Even if they claim not to celebrate it, their actions show differently, as they continue to indoctrinate their kids about this big belly bearded man who goes around climbing down and up people’s chimneys on Christmas Day. Let’s face it, even you’re guilty. But, that’s not the issue here.
Recently, a judge in Texas ordered a school to restore a Charlie Brown Christmas decorative, which was initially taken down by the school principal and local school district. From what I’ve seen, it’s either the school has something against Charlie Brown or just Christmas.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less whether those schools incorporate Christmas-related displays during the holidays. However, I do have an issue if they coerce children who don’t recognize the holidays to celebrate it. This is a free world and regardless of their mental capacity and age, children, along with those caring for them, do have a right to say no to Santa Claus or the festivities of the day.
These schools can do whatever they want. I don’t care. In fact, put Santa Claus and whatever Christmas displays they want along the pavements, stores, etc. and I still wouldn’t care.
Frankly, I am still waiting for Santa Claus to pop through my chimney (I don’t have one) so I can throw him out. To heck with those pagan customs. Who in their right mind lacks love for their neighbor all year round but then decides to show love on Christmas? Their hypocrisy is staggering!
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Public schools, private schools, charter schools and other educational institutions should be allowed to display Christmas-oriented decorations during the holidays, and the Charlie Brown Christmas poster with the scriptural message placed on a door panel by a school nurse’s aide should not have been an exception.
In spite of the poster’s positive reception by both school staff and students, it was ordered taken down through the middle school principal and school district officials. The aide was told that non-Christian students might be offended or uncomfortable with the poster’s presence.
When laws have to be made to protect a tradition, there is something to be said about the character and temperament of individuals or organizations that want to destroy all vestiges of tradition, particularly when that custom just happens to be a Christian holiday. Anything that brings spiritual hope, happiness and joy to a school, town, country or the world appears to be forbidden by opponents of Christmas.
With this kind of opposition, people that honor traditions and Christian holidays simply have to shake their heads and do something about it, which is what happened when a principal with the Killeen Independent School District followed through with orders from the school district to take down the display. The only problem with this action was the Lone Star State’s Merry Christmas law, which states that no school official in Texas can silence a Biblical reference to Christmas.
Fortunately, the judge in the case did not have to heavily deliberate over a cultural tradition and a holiday that is and has been sacred to a large number of Americans for centuries. In the case of this Texas judge, he made the right decision and upheld the ruling against the school district under the state’s Merry Christmas law.
The attorney general of Texas stated it well when he said, “Religious discrimination towards Christians has become a holiday tradition of sorts among certain groups. I am glad to see that the court broke through the Left’s rhetorical fog and recognized that a commitment to diversity means protecting everyone’s individual religious expression.”
Other states need to enact Merry Christmas laws to protect the rights of those in schools throughout the country that want to honor tradition and display Christmas decorations in recognition of the holiday and its true meaning. Charles Schulz would be proud of Charlie Brown’s Christmas message and the court victory for religious freedoms.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-As a believer in as much local control as possible wherever government and politics are concerned, I support an individual school district’s right to celebrate or not celebrate holidays such as Christmas as the school board sees fit. However, one of the US Constitution’s overarching tenets is the “Separation of Church and State.” The problem lies with the wide variety of interpretations of that phrase, as well as the interpretation of various state laws on the topic. Because of the rise of political correctness and a desire to include all cultures and faiths equally, many local and state governments have decided the safest route is to ban all religious displays from public property, rather than allowing any or all religions to erect displays similar to Christians putting up Christmas decorations.
Since the clear majority of Americans are of the Christian faith, and many Americans from other religions also observe Christmas to some degree, this topic shouldn’t be so contentious. But the advocates for the minority viewpoint of not allowing any religious displays on public property have been more vocal and aggressive in recent decades in forcing governments to revisit traditional policies regarding schools tacitly promoting Christianity.
Since religion plays a role in all cultures of the world, understanding one’s own religion as well as at least being aware of other religions and cultures should be part of a well-rounded education. Perhaps the best solution would be to allow any religion or culture to set up a display on school property to celebrate their religious holidays if they choose to do so. No students, teachers, or administrators should be forced to participate. Students will then be exposed to the religions that choose to participate but won’t be forced to tacitly accept that one religion is seen to be preferred over others by government.