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Another Irksome Seasonal Experience

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  • Another Irksome Seasonal Experience

    I subbed yesterday in a fourth grade class for part of the day. When checking in, I casually mentioned I had remembered to bring my Santa hat and a favorite copy of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS to read if time was available. They informed me that I could not wear the hat, and only read the story to myself; NO holiday clothing or allusions are allowed.

    I have a white beard, and every year at this season some children ask if I am connected to Santa in some manner. The older ones are just trying to be funny, but the younger ones often are serious. Had one of the class girls ask me twice if I might be able to let Santa know she would not be home, but at her uncle's. Told her I would do my best. But, then I could not help but think about what they told me at check in.

    Just a bit depressing. This whole thing has been beat to death before; but it still astounds me that somehow we are forced to cater to a very small minority because they do not have enough individual strength to simply believe what they choose, and let others do the same.

    So, Merry Christmas to all that celebrate; and a festive something or other to those that do not. Just please accept that my wishes are not taking any thing away from your personal beliefs.

  • #2
    Isn't it funny how the Constitution's meaning gets changed over the years. From "Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof" to "no, you can't wear a Santa hat in a public school".

    And people wonder why we're so paranoid about the 2nd Amendment...


    • #3
      What often amazes me is how anyone be offended by someone wishing them something good...

      I have often wondered if I should be saying, "Merry Christmas, but if that offends you, please disregard my well wishes for you."



      • #4
        Nonsense. I do the Santa Claus thing every year for my DIL's elementary school classes. By request. I do it for the local pantry as well. And, of course, for the office party (but that's a story best untold). It's a hoot, doing it for the children! The best comment I ever overheard: "Do you think he's the real Santa?", one boy asked another...."Oh yeah...he's OLD!" Great minds at work.


        • #5
          Hey skeptic, I know how you constantly beat the drum that it's OK to ignore the civil rights of certain undesirable people as long as there aren't too many of them, but it sounds to me like you're whining about an administrative decision. Don't you think they can make such decisions?

          Just be reassured that no other teachers in that school are reading "god is not great" to their classes, either. The students aren't there to be solicited by your religious views.


          • #6

            Do you truly think "The night before Christmas" is religious?


            From a school law class I took about 13 yrs ago, we learned that schools can do whatever their community accepts. There is no hard and fast rule, and basically, complaints guide the rules in a community. In my community, skeptic would have no problem wearing a Santa hat (my wife a school administrator wore one on "hat day" last week), and reading that particular poem. In his, obviously, it's not acceptable.


            • #7
              I have been at events were people have wished me Happy Hanukkah and I didn't feel the least bit offended. I simply took into fact that these people were enjoying their traditions and it was kinda nice to be included in their well wishes. I'm thinking I might have been a little disappointed had I been left out.

              However, with that being said, I was raised to be polite, tolerant and take into considerations the feelings of others. Yes, I have been known to make mistakes and others have mistakes made towards me, but I just shrug it off and assume the person was trying to be nice.

              It all takes me back to my childhood when my father was a member of a men's chorus in the local church. The chorus was open to any man wishing to join and have fun. They had one member of the group that was Jewish and yet chose to sing in the chorus. He was really a neat guy. At Christmas time everyone got a canned ham for Christmas as a present from the church. It was really a lot of fun when they got around to this gentleman who graciously accepted his ham and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. My dad told me many years later that he, too, was very impressed with this man's kindness because he couldn't eat his Christmas ham, but he would always take the ham to some needy family in his neighborhood.

              I could assume that 1) this was a mean spirited man who was out to poison the first Christian he could find, or 2) he was one of the most impressive men I have ever met in my life. I have always opted for #2.

              Sometimes people rise above the pettiness of life to show what the world could be, rather than what it is.



              • #8
                Do you truly think "The night before Christmas" is religious?

                About on par with a dreidel; not very, but clearly associated with one particular religious holiday.


                • #9
                  My experience this year was ... my home town YMCA ... which was connected strongly to the city churches when I was young.

                  Now, the title is just "The Y" and the sign says "Happy Holidays". They are trying to market Christian and Christ out of the equation. Under history on their web site it says: "The Y was founded in London in 1844 by George Williams and a small group of his friends to help young people find a positive foundation for their lives. The YMCA came to America in Boston in 1851, and quickly spread throughout the United States."

                  Positive foundation? It was a Bible study group.

                  The only mitigating positive is that it linked to this page that does mention the Christian basis. Sadly, the rest of the history is white washed of the strong church involement.

                  I think they are staying true to their mission, but the mission was to promote Christian values. One Christian value is not being embarrassed to be a Christian.

                  Anyway, that was my sad holiday moment.


                  • #10
                    Merlyn_LeRoy .... Merry Christmas.


                    • #11
                      They informed me that I could not wear the hat, and only read the story to myself; NO holiday clothing or allusions are allowed.

                      Yah, this is where yeh hope and expect that da kids and teachers all decide together to come to school wearin' da most festive holiday clothing for their tradition that they can find. And then call da national media if anyone makes a stink.

                      If anything, a jolly old elf is promotin' secular paganism, eh? But it's still fun. And the poem is a popular work of literature, which can of course be taught as seasonal American literature. No different than readin' Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation last month.

                      Me personally, I'd fire da administrators who made such a rule. Lack of common sense good judgment means yeh shouldn't be runnin' a school.



                      • #12
                        Me personally, I'd fire da administrators who made such a rule. Lack of common sense good judgment means yeh shouldn't be runnin' a school

                        Like having a public school run a private no-atheists club? Oh wait, you seem to think that's legal and even good judgement.


                        • #13
                          Gotta tell ya, my pet peeve is in the other direction -- the folks who get all huffy over "Happy Holidays." I've heard/seen/said Happy Holidays my entire life. The intention of the phrase is to wish someone happiness through the holidayS as in Thanksgiving, Hannaka, Festivus, Christmas, New Years, Ramadan, whatever. No intent to take Christ or anyone else out of Christmas.

                          People just seem to enjoy being offended.


                          • #14
                            skeptic, then I see no reason why your school should be closed during the holidays. Maybe they could stay open that week and teach a little about US history and the Constitution.


                            • #15
                              And what many people assume is written in the Constitution is that any public entity cannot have anything to do with a particular religion.

                              People came to the New World to escape state religions of Europe. They wanted relgious freedom and so the Constitution reads the US government cannot establish a state religion. Doesn't say anything about States or any local governmental assemblies being able to do that. After all, many of the states were established on religious principles in the first place, i.e. Utah, Pennsylvania, Georgia, etc.

                              Having a group of kids in school sing a Christmas carol as part of their "holiday" concert doesn't establish any religion.

                              What we have done with all the subsequent "interpretations" is turned our country from a institution that promotes tolerance of all religions into an institution that tolerates no religions.

                              We have turned our country into one of those godless nations that we used to read about 50 years ago that were the scourge of the world.

                              I guess I don't worry too much about it, after 2,000 years, the persecuted Christian church always thrives under oppression, it seems to have waned when that persecution went away.