what are the laws for Xmas in public schools? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 03:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by imagine21 View Post
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Christmas is a Christain holiday, period. Therefore anything associated with Christmas, becomes a de facto Christain symbol, i.e trees, santa, reindeer, etc... Any argument to the contrary is a rationalization so people can do what they want and not feel bad about offending those who have different religious traditions or no religion at all.
Really? I don't think Santa, reindeer or Christmas trees have anything to do with Christianity. I'm certainly not offering rationalizations so that I don't have to worry about offending those with no religion at all...because I'm agnostic, bordering on atheist (I don't have strong enough views on the non-existence of a deity to truly consider myself an atheist). I find religion - any religion - mind-boggling. I don't understand the role it plays in people's lives. I don't get any of it. However, Christmas, at least here, isn't a Christian holiday. It's a holiday that's rooted in traditions that Christians, by and large, brought here (after claiming them right out from under other spiritual traditions)...but it's long since become a cultural, secular holiday.

I realize that people with non-Christian religious beliefs won't see it that way...but every agnostic/atheist I know celebrates Christmas. It's not religious to us. It's cultural.

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#92 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 03:58 AM
 
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I realize that people with non-Christian religious beliefs won't see it that way...but every agnostic/atheist I know celebrates Christmas. It's not religious to us. It's cultural.
Then I'm guessing that you came from a predominantly Christian culture. Many nonChristians came from nonChristian cultures. For them Christmas is not mearly not part of their religion, but also not part of their culture.

Is respecting a culture as a whole any less important than respecting the purely theological parts of that culture.

As I mentioned earlier there are Christians who share the belief in Jesus as savior, but do not share the cultural tradition of pine trees, Santa Claus, and reindeer. Are their objections to having those things forced on their children in public school any less valid simply b/c they are also Christians and it doesn't go against their religion but against their culture?

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#93 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 04:56 AM
 
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Then I'm guessing that you came from a predominantly Christian culture. Many nonChristians came from nonChristian cultures. For them Christmas is not mearly not part of their religion, but also not part of their culture.
Yes - I come from a Christian culture (sort of - I don't consider it a religious culture at all, to be honest). However, I know people from very different cultural/spiritual traditions who also celebrate a secular Christmas. I've had friends and colleagues who were/are (some aren't currently in my life, and some are) from other countries, who were/are religious, but not Christian, who also celebrate the secular Christmas celebration. I've been given Christmas gifts by both Jews and Muslims...all of whom knew that I'm not a Christian.

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Is respecting a culture as a whole any less important than respecting the purely theological parts of that culture.
This question comes up a lot. You know...I think the multiculturalism we have here is wonderful, in many ways. I'm just not sure why respecting other people's cultures means that my own culture has to disappear into the background. I grew up here. When I was going through school (graduated over 20 years ago), Christmas was a secular celebration. Christmas concerts at schools are part of the culture - Christmas crafts are part of the culture - Christmas trees in public places are part of the culture. Those traditions were already a meld of celebratory styles from different cultures (Christian, admittedly)...but they're now Canadian. (As much as I hate to admit it, Bob & Doug McKenzie's "12 Days of Christmas" is part of Canadian culture.) At what point does the culture of people who grew up here get to be respected?

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As I mentioned earlier there are Christians who share the belief in Jesus as savior, but do not share the cultural tradition of pine trees, Santa Claus, and reindeer. Are their objections to having those things forced on their children in public school any less valid simply b/c they are also Christians and it doesn't go against their religion but against their culture?
I'm sorry. I don't understand the question. I'm not sure whose is being forced to celebrate Christmas.

What should our public schools look like, then? Our entire North American culture (it's different here in some ways than the US, but probably still more like yours than it's like anyone else's) has been shaped by cultural traditions that were, in turn, shaped by Christianity. The entire culture, including the public schools, has been shaped, in part, by Christian thought patterns. Where do we draw the lines?

ETA: I just want to add in respect to the part of your quote that I bolded...are you seriously suggesting that there should be a separation of culture and state, as well as a separation of church and state?? If one isn't objecting to Christmas in the schools on religious grounds, then what grounds are they objecting on?

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#94 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Our entire North American culture (it's different here in some ways than the US, but probably still more like yours than it's like anyone else's) has been shaped by cultural traditions that were, in turn, shaped by Christianity. The entire culture, including the public schools, has been shaped, in part, by Christian thought patterns.
I have to disagree with this.

For one thing, the founders the US were largely non-Christian.

Secondly, this nation was founded on greed, which, last I looked, isn't a Christian principle.

What cultural traditions are you thinking of?
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#95 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 08:07 AM
 
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Christmas is NOT NOT NOT an exclusively Christian holiday. People have been having Midwinter celebrations long before Christians co-opted the Roman Pagan Midwinter celebration by naming it as Christ's birthday. I think it is fair to say that it is a Christian holiday if you are Christian, but many of us do not view Christmas that way.

We are atheist and celebrate Christmas in a secular tradition. DS's school also celebrates the secular aspects of the holiday.

OP if your kid is being teased, I would deal directly with that issue.
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#96 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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When we went to public school, it was expected that we would see Christmas decor during this time. The school also put up Kwanzaa and Hanukkah decorations. We are now in a private Catholic School. The holiday concert had Hanukkah songs and they talked about Hanukkah in our son's class. We're Jewish.

I personally don't care what others do, decorate, whatever. If it makes them happy, fine. If it makes us happy, fine. I have my traditions. They have theirs. It provides an opportunity to share differences and similarities. As long as schools are respectful, I don't have a problem.
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#97 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I have to disagree with this.

For one thing, the founders the US were largely non-Christian.

Secondly, this nation was founded on greed, which, last I looked, isn't a Christian principle.

What cultural traditions are you thinking of?
I think Storm Bride's in Canada? I am, and it's always interesting because we can't really go back to "the founding fathers" to try to eek out one's group's original view.

We definitely have legacy Christian here; in my province (Ontario) Catholic schools are publicly funded because it was written into the merger of Upper and Lower Canada. Quebec is definitely rooted in Catholicism as the dominant religion right up into the late 70s, but now I would characterize them as one of the more "liberal" areas of Canada.

Oddly enough though, I find the tensions lower around these issues than in the US (I am American by birth). In my biased interpretation, this is because we pretty much acknowledge that there is a dominant culture that does have Christian roots, and recognize that our attempts to be all-inclusive will, by default, be incomplete. But we try anyway.

A lot depends on your population. I worked in a Saturday school where it was about 80% new immigrants, mostly from China. At that school they did teach about Christmas traditions like they were foreign, because they were, but the moon cakes just happened.

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#98 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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I teach students who are new immigrants to the US. Many come from Christian-majority countries where Santa isn't a part of Christmas. Others come from countries with a majority of a different religion. They have been drowning me in questions this week about reindeer, chimneys, etc. They are fascinated to learn about this "American custom." I treat the topic like I treat Cinderella and the tooth fairy. A story that many people in the US tell their children.
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#99 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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I'm just not sure why respecting other people's cultures means that my own culture has to disappear into the background.
I hardly think that asking that it not be forced on people in public schools is the same thing as disappearing into the background. Have you been to the mall? Have you watched Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and It's a Wonderful Life on TV yet? Do you have a tree in your house?

Public schools are not the only aspect of a persons life, but they are meant to be welcoming to all children from all faiths, cultures and creeds.

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I'm sorry. I don't understand the question. I'm not sure whose is being forced to celebrate Christmas.

What should our public schools look like, then? Our entire North American culture (it's different here in some ways than the US, but probably still more like yours than it's like anyone else's) has been shaped by cultural traditions that were, in turn, shaped by Christianity. The entire culture, including the public schools, has been shaped, in part, by Christian thought patterns. Where do we draw the lines?
Mexico is part of North America they have a fairly different culture than Canada. Last I heard Canadians were not decorating skulls made of sugar on the Day of the Dead. Remeber North America is not just Canada and the US it also includes Mexico, GreenLand and I think a few small islands. Even within the US and Canada there is a great range of cultural traditons. The culture in Quebec is not the same as the culture in Nova Scotia. People who come from a Navajo background do not share the same culture as those from an Irish imigrant background. One would never confuse New Hampshire and New Mexico.

I was mostly thinking of Cuban culture when I was talking about Chritians who don't celebrate Santa, trees and reindeer. instead they have the three wise men bring the giftd 6 days after Christmas. It is important and meaningful to many of them.

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ETA: I just want to add in respect to the part of your quote that I bolded...are you seriously suggesting that there should be a separation of culture and state, as well as a separation of church and state?? If one isn't objecting to Christmas in the schools on religious grounds, then what grounds are they objecting on?
In my post I used the word "theology" not "religion" for a reason. How does one seperate religion and culture? While seperating theology from culture is mostly possible, seperating religion and culture is much more complex. Who decides if Santa claus is a story book charater from our culture like the Wicked Witch, or he is a reveared Saint to be prayed through just like Saint John or Saint Francis?

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#100 of 101 Old 12-19-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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wow - what an interesting thread to read.

Our DS is in a private christian school so none of these issues have ever come up.

If long term your daughter is still not comfortable in the public school system -- does your religion have private schooling that supports your faith?
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#101 of 101 Old 12-20-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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ummmm, Valentine's Day is the saint's day for St. Valentine, so it is a really poor example of what you are trying to say. It is a Catholic saint's birthday that has become a secular holiday.

actually...its not a birthday...its a feast day that is a commemoration the saint's martyrdom. Sorry ...i hate being such a nerd about these things.

 

 

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