Strange report coming out of California…
Sorry, let me start that again.
Typical report coming out of California: a substitute teacher has decreed that is it vital kids be given the freedom to be forced to sing religious carols in December while they’re at school. Merry (cute) Susan Hyatt has put forth a ballot and desperately wants people to agree with her and sign their names to the fact that Christmas carols are so important they simply must be part of public school winter activities.
Backers of the initiative to get the issue put on the ballot need to acquire 434,000 valid signatures on petitions to make it happen.
Reportedly, Hyatt feels that children need this. She said, “‘They need to see that we believe in Jesus, and He is the Prince of Peace. That’s why we are the best country on Earth.'” And as far as she is concerned, non-Christian children, can opt out and go sit in another room.
A representative for Americans United for Separation of Church and State had this to say about it:
Here’s a woman who’s so tone-deaf to American pluralism that she thinks everyone should be forced to enjoy Christmas whether they want to or not …
It seems way too early to wade into Christmas debates. It’s an El Nino year and we have no snow yet. And where should I go with this? I hesitate to take an atheist angle on it and get all uppity about the unChristian history of solstice celebrations (bindun) or deconstruct a Christmas carol (bindun a few times) so what should I focus on instead?
I guess I’ll twitch at the school angle of this. Kids have enough stuff they’re supposed to be doing that isn’t getting done every year to decent educational standards. Why add enforced singing to the list to daily to-do’s? Math lesson? Check. English lesson? Check. Every kid who claims to identify as Christian (none of whom ever got to choose that fate) has sung holy drivel offkey prior to wrapping up for recess? Check.
Non-Christians can opt out? Seriously? Make those kids leave the room while teachers demand harmonious joy from the rest? So your child comes home in tears because her classmates got to sing and she was told her upbringing is the “wrong” one so she can’t … No kid wants to be left out of anything that ought to be fun, even if they’ll never in their wildest dreams get good at it.
Kids can learn carols anywhere. They can sing them anywhere. If parents want to drill their kids on the holy ones, fine. If kids would rather belt out all the weird parodies of Jingle Bells they can devise, bring it on. If they want to scream and add more Fa lalalalaalallalalas than are needed to fit the tune, suck it up and buy some earplugs. But for the sake of everything great about this upcoming festive season, find a way to deal with the very real fact that celebrating Baby Jesus’ big day is only one of many many decent ways to mark the end of the year. Enjoy Christmastime, by all means, but quit trying to hog the whole damn month!
December belongs to everyone, no matter what they might do with it.
And joy is completely optional.