Monday, December 24, 2012

That Christmas Feeling

I saw a newspaper article today about religion in schools. Namely, should elementary schools be allowed to sing religious songs for Christmas? It got me thinking. Religion is usually a taboo in school. We study it in high school in World Religions and any AP social studies class. And of course, you have to talk about Judaism when learning about World War II. But as a personal, here and now thing, you're not supposed to bring it up. Especially if you're Christian. Never mind that 78% of America is as well.
When is was in sixth grade we had a musical program with the theme of friendship. There was one song, I can't remember the title, but it inclued the phrase 'we pray'. After a week of practicing, our teacher crossed it out and wrote 'hope' above it. I can't imagine who that would offend. All religions pray to something.
And then there was our annual Christmas program. We sang about reindeers, Santa, and giving gifts. One year we sang the dreidel song. As far as I know, nobody in our class was Jewish. But nobody minded. I know we sang 'Do You See What I See?' one year. The whole thing's about the nativity. I thought it was strange that we'd be allowed to sing about religion in school, but I never heard anybody complain.
My mother lived in Iran for a year as a child. She went to an American school, where they got days off for both Christmas and Ramadan, and learned to sing 'Silent Night' in Farsi.
There are plenty of people who don't have a religion. Lots of them celebrate Christmas anyways just so they can exchange gifts. And then there are atheists. Poor atheists. They have no holidays.
You can debate about it all you want, but no matter how commercialized and popularized it becomes, Christmas will always be a religious holiday.
"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself."
-Charles Dickens

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