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!”