Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2012

Letter: School Scrooge

December 15, 2012


To the editor:

How would we think differently about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day if we changed the name to Civil Rights Day? I suspect we would eventually diminish the memory and greatness of him who did so much for our country. That is what happened, after all, when we renamed Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays “Presidents Day.” Something great about our heritage has been lost. For the most part elementary school classrooms and cafeterias no longer celebrate those men annually as they once did.

Likewise, the Lawrence public school district now calls Christmas parties “winter” parties. That meaningless name diminishes the memory of the heritage we have as a nation so profoundly influenced by the Christian religion. It treats an important part of our history as if it were so unimportant that we don’t bother to teach it at school.

Since the Supreme Court has affirmed the legality of teaching about our religious heritage, it seems that the only reason we call them “winter” parties is some mistaken notion that referring to Christmas will “exclude” people of other religions. In fact, refusing to diminish our heritage will be “including” folks in all the wonderful history and traditions of America. The goal of public schools should not be to advocate for one religion. Rather it should be to advocate for all we are as Americans. That includes the importance of Christmas. Instead of behaving like Ebenezer Scrooge before he was visited by the ghosts, let us all, including USD 497, say with Scrooge, “a merry Christmas!”


ridikkulus 1 year, 3 months ago

Happy ChriSolstiKwanzakkah, to all, and to all a good night! (Or a good day, just in case you happen to not like night, or have to work nights, or something.)


bevy 1 year, 3 months ago

They can have whatever parties they want, as long as they only serve HEALTHY SNACKS! Break out the carrot and celery sticks! Haul out the hummus! But not a cookie, not a candy, not a sweet of any kind.


kugrad 1 year, 4 months ago

My kids attend elementary school in the Lawrence Public Schools. In their classes are many children of many faiths. They have learned about the seasonal holidays many religions celebrate this time of year: Hannukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, and, yes, Christmas. So the author of the LTTE is operating on a false premise. The Christian holiday is taught in public schools, but so are other holidays. How would you feel if your child was taught only the Christian traditions but he or she was Jewish or Muslim? What about the children of Atheists? The timing of Christmas isn't based on some factual known birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth, but rather reflects the timing of the Festival of Lights and pagan holidays of earlier centuries.

This nation isn't founded on Christianity so get over yourself.


roadwarrior 1 year, 4 months ago

Loved the joke on SNL last night: Many faiths celebrate during this time of the year. It doesn't matter whether you celebrate Hannukkah, Quanza are buddist or Muslim. The only thing that matters is recognizing Jesus Christ as the king and savior." LOL.


Gandalf 1 year, 4 months ago

In unrelated news (probably soon to be disappeareded). The phelps clan is planning to picket the Newtown, Conn childrens's funeral. Just as soon as you think a piece of scum has hit a new low, a kansas "christian" proves you wrong!


Gandalf 1 year, 4 months ago

Let's just celebrate the winter solstice as the pagans did . . . before the christians highjacked their holiday.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Radical Right Wing Fundamentalists leave many wondering what is christianity? Is there any such creature? So hateful and demanding their way or no way. Kinda like Sam Brownback.

Isn't it the right wing that complains soooooo much?

The fact is not everyone celebrates Christmas the same way or at the same time. Some never celebrate matter what.

Some believe the so called holidays have become nothing but 'big sale" days.

For some holidays create more work to do after returning from a holiday.

Let's do real holidays say 90 days at a time once a year and eliminate the "big sale days". Stagger the 90 day holidays accordingly.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm constantly amazed by what people care about.


Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 4 months ago

In The Gambia, for instance, Christians and Muslims celebrate Christmas, each in their own way. It is not limited to a Christian point of view.


chootspa 1 year, 4 months ago

Yes. The horrors. I'm sure the poor children will never never learn about this thing called Christmas because the school party has a different name. Why, just the other day, while wandering past all the Christmas decorations and listening to the store radio play a Christmas song next to the Christmas card aisle, I thought about how kids these days just don't learn about Christmas. They never hear about it at home, and we certainly don't have a culture that ever encourages anyone to mention the holiday at all.


Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

It is a non-issue. December has many holidays for many faiths. A Winter Party lets all children enjoy the time. It is also a nice way to end the semester.

A Winter party at school does not impede anyone in celebrating their holiday of choice at this time of your choosing. No one is being forced to celebrate a holiday they don't believe in with a Winter party and no one is forced to celebrate their holiday of choice in a manner not of their choosing.

A Winter party has nothing to do with any religion and it should be that way. All get to enjoy a fun day at school. I don't see why a fun day at school is a bad thing. It is a party. There are yummy treats and fun games. Those are good things. And everyone gets to enjoy them.


disappointed_regressive 1 year, 4 months ago

“Really, the one thing that actually works, you know, state run communism — may not be your cup of tea but their government works".

Jeffrey Immelt-Top economic advisor to Obama


beatrice 1 year, 4 months ago

WristTwister writes: "The secular progressives want to destroy traditional America ..."

I am curious, what exactly is "traditional America"? Would that be the America of the 1950s, when we had segregation? How about the 1910s, before women were acknowledged as capable of voting? Or do we go back to the beginning, when Presidents owned slaves? What is "traditional America"?

If you ask me, America is like the shark that needs to keep moving to stay alive. An ever evolving society that increasingly includes more and more people in all walks of life is the real tradition of America.


voevoda 1 year, 4 months ago

A "winter party" allows all the children to participate, while a "Christmas party" excludes some. It excludes children who belong to a non-Christian faith, those who are not religious, and those Christians who believe that it is a violation of canon law to observe holidays in the company of heretics. It forces them to identify themselves as different, and that is very hard on them.

Furthermore, Mr. Upchurch, by claiming that the "American" tradition is really the "Christian" tradition, you are excluding not only non-Christian schoolchildren from a party, but many of your fellow-citizens from full membership in our nation. From its inception, this was a multi-religious country, Mr. Upchurch, and there is no compelling reason to single out Christianity as the one tradition that deserves special celebration.

I am 100% in favor of teaching children (in an age-appropriate manner) about religion and its diversity and its place in world and especially American society. But a party is not the right setting to do so, and wishing people "Merry Christmas" without regard to whether they are Christian or not is actually counter-productive in conveying the lesson.


Mark Jakubauskas 1 year, 4 months ago

By the way, Thanksgiving vacation is no longer Thanksgiving, but is now referred to as "Fall Break" in the elementary schools as well. NOT joking.


verity 1 year, 4 months ago

The consumer frenzy at Christmas is what keeps the economy fueled.

As an atheist I can celebrate whatever holidays I choose or make up my own. I personally am fond of the winter solstice---fires and such. I imagine faeries, elves and other wee folk dancing in my garden and they become real. Sometimes I dance with them. You can have your dead trees and Santa Claus.

I do like the lights. I imagine that they're meant to encourage the sun to return and bring Gaia back to life. I'm happy---or should I say merry?


purplesage 1 year, 4 months ago

The spirit of Mr. Grinch has possessed most of you. Or perhaps it is Ebenezer Scrooge. From dismissive to outright rude, these responses to Mr. Upchurch's letter are very revealing of the intolerant spirit of many liberals. It is Christmas. God's give of Jesus may still be received today. There's nothing in this letter that presses or forces that.


WristTwister 1 year, 4 months ago

The seculars on the left have deemed the subject of this LTE a "nonissue" and unproductive, but fail to answer the question posed by the writer. If this is a "nonissue" then I suppose Congress can move forward with legislation which will change the name of Martin Luther King Day to Civil Rights day. Agreed? And if it's really a "nonissue" then we can count on the seculars to end their endless tirades and insults to all things Christian. Agreed?

The secular progressives want to destroy traditional America and change this country into a Godless form of Socialism where everyone is the same (equally poor) and wealth is re-distributed from the makers to the takers. They want more than a safety net for those who are vulnerable. They envision a country where government ensures everyone has the same amount of stuff unencumbered by the inconvenience of having to work for a living. Everyone is the same. Even those who do not deserve it.


disappointed_regressive 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr. Upchurch, we've turned the corner with fundamental transformation. May as well get used to it (fundamental transformation).


observant 1 year, 4 months ago

Another religious nutcase trying to force his religion on all of us.


deec 1 year, 4 months ago

Since the period prior to December 24 is actually Advent in traditional Christianity, worrying about calling it Christmas is kind of weird.

Of course the season is more accurately called Greed and Consumption season in modern America. Religion has nothing to do with the mad rush to buy stuff.


Brock Masters 1 year, 4 months ago

Keep in mind that Christmas is both a religious Holiday and and national holiday. You may not be Christian, but if you are American, then Christmas is a holiday that your country celebrates.

You don't have to celebrate it, but Americans who choose to celebrate it should not be impeded by the government since it is a government holiday.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 4 months ago

I don't know of a lot of winter or Christmas "parties" that are occurring at the public schools anyway. LHS and Free State are having finals next week... Does that count?


Abdu Omar 1 year, 4 months ago

Not only that, Katara, but a lot of our founding fathers were not all Christians, some were Diests. They believed in One God, but didn't include the worship of Jesus as part of that belief. Please read history of our founding fathers and you will see. But above all they believed in freedom for all who land on our shores or live here. Freedom from the oppression of one religious group. This is not a Christian country but a country with the majority of the population Christian. Our country is made up of every religion, ethnic group, race, and original nationality and that is why we are the best in the world.


Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

Seriously? This is what you spend your time worrying about? Why not quit griping about the fact that not everyone shares your religion and just devote your time to doing things that Jesus would have done. It certainly would be more productive.


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