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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Don’t let political correctness ruin holidays

With the end of this semester in sight, many students and faculty will engage in traditional activities that mark this special time. Often, these observances are unmistakably religious in nature. To those who partake and those who prefer not to, here is some friendly advice: Don’t let political correctness ruin your vacation.
The period between Halloween and New Year’s Day presents a relative cornucopia of opportunities for politically correct activism. Often referred to as the holiday season, the months of November and December are routinely stripped of the very meanings that are responsible for their recognition.
Recent media reports have supplied ample evidence that there is only a minority that is trying to impose its beliefs on the majority in this country by bleaching the culture of all religious references. Citizens should not let hypersensitivity reduce the season to mere consumerism.
In Denver’s Parade of Lights this year, one was more likely to see homosexual Indians, German folk dancers and Chinese lion dancers than references to the reason for celebrating Christmas. In fact, the organizers banned floats that were “overtly religious,” according to the Denver Post.
At one point, opponents to public religious displays in December were content to sue city councils and complain to media outlets about the mythical separation of church and state that appears nowhere in the Constitution. Recently, attempts to secularize and sanitize the public forum have set new targets.
School districts in New Jersey and Florida have forbidden student choral groups from singing traditional Christmas carols this time of year. Attempts at sensitivity have lost all association with reason – some schools have banned even instrumental renditions of Christmas favorites.
Musical masterpieces like Handel’s “Messiah” are basely exchanged for “Frosty the Snowman,” notes agnostic columnist Danny Westneat.
The Seattle Times report of a school’s decision to cancel a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on the basis that it was too religious, is enough to make Ebenezer Scrooge look like a saint.
Even schools that try to please everyone can’t get it right. According to The Washington Times, a Chicago-area school had an “all-inclusive” musical program that featured “Jewish and Jamaican songs, but no Christmas carols.”
Even the term “Christmas” is being relegated. That’s right; it is now offensive to say, “Merry Christmas.” Christmas trees have become community trees; Christmas parties are renamed holiday parties.
The fact that Christmas in this country has always been a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ seems to escape those who would supplant its meaning with empty cliches.
December is not alone when it comes to attempts at eradicating the religious tones of national holidays. Just last month, revisionist textbooks and ill-informed individuals set their sights on Thanksgiving.
The last Thursday in November is not “Turkey Day,” it is Thanksgiving Day. While they were undoubtedly grateful to friendly Indians, the Pilgrims did not institute the holiday as a way to acknowledge them. It was designed as a special occasion to “render thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings,” according to the official proclamation of Governor William Bradford in 1623.
It is the origin of Thanksgiving that makes the actions of the Lincoln-Franklin Elementary School in Garwood, N.J. so absurd. An overcautious busybody removed the word “God” from a fifth-graders’ poem before it was displayed at the school so as not to offend anyone. After receiving a complaint, the school had to check with its lawyers before the poem was restored to its intended form.
In response to Christian symbols in December, Bruce DeBoskey, a regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Denver Post, “We believe these religious observances are wonderful and belong in the home, in a house of worship and in the heart, not in the public square.” By this logic, free speech is permissible, but only in private. DeBoskey implies that public expressions, though the true benefactor of First Amendment protection, are to be restricted in the name of sensitivity.
Everyone is entitled to celebrate their holidays as they see fit. The entire religious spectrum in America – including Christians – should be free to exercise according to the dictates of their conscience.

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