Monday, December 04, 2006

Santa Claus "Too Religious" for School?

From Cybercast News Service:
A Christmas-themed event to raise money at a public elementary school in Warwick, N.Y., has been altered to accommodate a parent's complaints that the program would illegally spotlight a "religious" figure - Santa Claus.

"Breakfast With Santa" has since been changed to "Winter Wonderland Breakfast," and -- in an effort to be inclusive of all beliefs -- the bearded one will now be joined at the Dec. 9 event by Frosty the Snowman.

Organizers made the changes after one parent charged that she and others in the community were offended that the Parent Teacher Association at the Sanfordville Elementary School was sponsoring a program geared toward one religion.

That parent, who did not wish to have her name used, wrote a letter to the school board asserting that Santa represents Christmas -- a Christian holiday -- and by law, a public school is not allowed to promote religion.

According to the Warwick Advertiser, the PTA offered to include Hanukkah traditions in the event, but the parent said she felt this still wasn't fair because it included religious activities.

"I look forward to sponsoring an event that is within the law and inclusive of all," the parent wrote in a letter to the school superintendent, Dr. Frank Greenhall. "This is not an argument about religion; it is about the law of our land. Discrimination is simply detestable."

Greenhall then contacted an attorney, who advised him in a letter that the district "should, at a minimum, modify the events to avoid potential litigation."

The complainant suggested Frosty the Snowman as an alternative icon, and the school eventually agreed to have both Frosty and Santa.

The trouble with secularists is that they don’t even know enough about Christianity to know whether a particular image is religious or not. Santa Claus is an imposition of religion? I guess Rudolph’s nose is a secret Christian code word for the Star of Bethlehem, Mrs. Claus is a metaphor for the Blessed Mother, and Donder and Blitzen are really Michael and Gabriel.

It’s sad that these people aren’t just opposed to the public endorsement of a particular sect, or even to the display of religious sentiment in the public arena. They simple cannot stand anything that even reminds them of the fact that religions and religious people exist. “Santa Claus makes me think of Christmas. Christmas has that awful word “Christ” in it, and that makes me think of those horrible Christians. It’s intolerable! I’ll sue!”

What is there in the name of Christ that causes such strong reaction? Most of us view Phillipians 2:10 – “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” – as a joyful promise. Obviously, there are a lot of folks out there who view it as a threat.