"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

"Christmas" Is Becoming Extinct in the Public Schools of America

My sister-in-law is a bright, professional high school teacher in a large, metropolitan public school in Texas. Her school is not in the inner city; it is the epitome of upper class suburbia in middle America. She emailed my wife and me this week and recounted a shocking event that occurred in her teenage daughter's classroom. Her daughter, our niece, is a student in the same high school where her mother teaches. The names of my relatives and the school district will remain anonymous, but I hope the story spreads.

My sister-in-law's email to Rachelle and me

December 7, 2009

Dear Wade and Rachelle,

I would like for you to write about the direction we seem to be going in the public schools in regards to "Christmas" (see attached emails). We may have stopped it in our school district this year, but the scary thing is that it was not as easy to stop in the school district from which our daughter's teacher came. Is it possible that this is the trend throughout the US? Absolutely, I believe we are just at the forefront of this issue. It wasn't too long ago we were able to pray before football games and school board meetings. Soon, nobody will be able to use the word "Christmas" without being punished--unless we do something about it. Please make sure my name, school and school district are not used on the blog.

Love you guys...
Within her note to us my sister-in-law attached a couple of emails between herself and her daughter's teacher. The emails explain the events that occurred last week within my nieces' classroom. I commend my sister-in-law for the proactive steps she took to correct a problem that, if others choose to ignore, could become a universal problem within public schools in America.

The email from my sister-in-law to her daughter's teacher

December 2, 2009

Dear ___________,

My husband and I are greatly concerned about a situation that occurred yesterday in your classroom and we were hoping you could let us know if our daughter, _______, was relating the information correctly.

Our daughter told us last night that during class she had been talking about Christmas break and at that time you told her that it was not appropriate to say "Christmas Break" but to refer to it as "Holiday Break". Later during the same class, she said it again. You again informed her that it wasn't appropriate and if she said "Christmas Break" once more she would be sent to the office. ______ was upset but she tells us that she made the correct choice by not being disrespectful when you told her you would send her to the office if she said the word “Christmas” again.

We are Christians and in our home we have always referred to the break as “Christmas” vacation. Our daughter's perception from you was that she was using an “inappropriate” word. We certainly understand why the school disctrict uses the "Holiday" or "Winter Break" terminology as we have a multitude of students from different cultures that celebrate many different religions. However we believe our daughter has every right to refer to this break as her “Christmas” break as we would expect her to respect a Jewish student referring to this break as a “Holiday” break.

Our daughter was very upset and confused with your warning and why this would be something worthy of being sent to the office.

We would really like to understand what happened yesterday in your classroom so please email or call at your earliest convenience.

Signed, __________________
The teacher's response to my sister-in-law's email.

December 2, 2009

I apologize for your daughter being upset. I should have explained to her more in class the policy of why the school district uses Holiday and not Christmas. I had asked her a few times to not refer to it as Christmas in class and would have done the same if it was a different religion. I have not been with the district long enough to know how serious they are with the use of Christmas in the class but I came from a school district where I was reprimanded for students mentioning anything religious in the classroom and I didn’t want that to happen again. At the time when I said I would send her to the office that was the quickest way I could think of to stop the behavior which is a tactic I had used before with other students for different situations. Again I am sorry that this situation happened.

Thanks,

__________
My sister-in-law's second email to her daughter's teacher

December 2, 2009

Thank you for responding so quickly to my email. As a teacher for this district for the past nine years, I can tell you that this school district is very conscious of respecting all of our students and their beliefs. However, it has never been a policy that I am aware of that tells students they are not allowed to mention anything related to their religion in class. It is my experience that we celebrate our students' differences and find many teachable moments by talking about them.

I am not completely clear from your email if my daughter will still get reprimanded if she says the word "Christmas" in your classroom. Please clarify

Thanks,

__________
The teacher's final, three word email in response to my sister-in-law's second email

December 2, 2009

No she won't.
In light of my last post, I confess neither surprise nor fear over the secularization of America. My identity in Christ supercedes my identity as an American. I confess, however, that the problems faced by my niece last week in her classroom makes me want to say "Merry Christmas" to whomever I meet and do all I can to ensure the continued freedom of all to say "Merry Christmas" whenever and wherever they please.

In His Grace,

Wade

42 comments:

Christiane said...

Wow.

If I were THAT teacher, I would have requested to speak to the child privately concerning what I felt might be a more appropriate phrase that reflected respect for the beliefs of everyone present in the class.

What concerns me is that this teacher has 'dropped the ball' in making an issue of something which in a state like Texas, in the Southern Bible Belt, is a hot potato.

The teacher should have known, or been aware of, the cultural backgrounds of her students, and the teacher should have acted with sensitivity to protect this child.

Once again, a child was placed 'in the middle'. And children cannot handle that well at all. There are school districts that help their teachers understand how to interact with children 'of faith' in ways that reflect sensitivity. Particularly in areas of teaching science and health education where religious sensitivities are involved.

The teacher needed to think about the child FIRST. The child was more important than 'the issue'. The worst thing people of faith AND professional educators can do is to put a child in the middle.

It is just plain wrong.

Very sad to read about this. It could and should have been handled differently for the child's sake.
Love, L's

TA said...

As a conservative Christian concerned about the Evangelical's loss of the Gospel, I am absolutely against making "Happy Holidays" an issue. This is just more Culture War rhetoric. (Not your Blog entry, it's well written); but here in Colorado Springs, Focus is trying to make saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays a sign of your Christianity (ok overstated, but only slightly). Culture War is wrong. Loving and being God's love to all is our calling- and in and through that love is how other's find Christ. Not through our Christian culture.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Culture War is wrong."


That is why Paul had long fruitful ministries in each city he ministered in, spending 10-15 years in each city being loved by the people.

Happy Stop being Salt and Light-mas,



K

Bryan Riley said...

I have no idea how to say what I'm trying to say, but I'm still going to try.

Our war isn't against flesh and blood; it is a spiritual war. It isn't against people; it is for people. Jesus fought that same war and demonstrated His love for people throughout His life, and completely so on the Cross.

Our war is with anything that contradicts the culture of the Kingdom, the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. As Christians, Jesus is our Lord and we must be unashamed of the gospel of the Kingdom, as Paul told Timothy.

Jesus clearly warred with His culture, just as He allowed culture to be an important part of His ministry. He demonstrated both, sensitively following the Spirit to know how to do this. We do well to do the same, waiting on God to show us how to minister and live.

Jesus warred with His culture when He radically stepped on the toes of the religious elite. He showed them how their cultural beliefs failed to live up to God's principles and the Kingdom's ways.

He embraced His culture through story and parables that demonstrated Kingdom principles.

Merry Christmas isn't universally used to say, "I identify with Christ," but it is a good way for followers of Jesus to demonstrate they are celebrating Jesus' birth nonetheless. I don't think you wag your finger in a Jewish person's face and unlovingly tell them Merry Christmas, but I do think we should not be ashamed to let people know we are celebrating Jesus' birth. I think if you spend a lot more time depending on God to speak through you, as Jesus did 100% of the time, then you will speak in a loving way and sometimes you might say Merry Christmas and another time you might say Happy Holidays. God knows exactly what our listeners need to hear. We don't. And I don't think there's one perfect phrase for every moment; if there were, God would have told us.

There is this, though: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I think I just wrote a post on this post. Sorry Wade.

Bill said...

John Q Public should be not feel at ease speaking about the Gospel. Christians should neither expect nor demand that the lost should understand anything about it.

Trying to make the community at large responsible for saying "Merry Christmas" is waaaay beyond where we should be drawing the lines.

The World should look at us and be totally confused as to why we celebrate the birth of the Savior (if in fact we celebrate at all). Personally, I am appalled at how 90% of christians celebrate the event (self included here).

As Christians, we need to be much more concerned with acts of kindness and mercy in this season which will minister to the needs of those without Christ and worry much less about how carefully our stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

The Gospel of Christ divides wheat from chaff, and bears light in darkness. We Christians should take great opportunity to be faithful in proclaiming this message and in this endeavor (of bearing light and ministering in the name of Jesus).

May our Great God give us all strength the resist the worldly temptation at this time of year.

Praise His Name!

Bill

RM said...

I'm not sure where your relatives attend school but anytime you think it is bad anywhere, you should come walk through the halls of a Dallas Independent School District school. That is if you have the courage to do so and know in advance that you are taking your life in your own hands...

Stephen said...

I see this as a free speech issue, not a "culture war" issue. Actually, there are two issues. 1. the free speech issue - Does the First Amendment no longer apply? I understand the issue of sensitivity and not wanted to exclude someone based on their beliefs, but where does it say we have to dilute our beliefs and / or speech? This teacher should be reprimanded for infringing on the free speech and free exercise of religon of Wade's niece.

2. The issue of - Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. It is insane for anyone to refer to December 25th as "holiday." I have no problem with the "Happy Holidays" rhetoric - in include the various religious days and New Years. When the term "holiday" is used to refer to December 25th, that is blatant PC. Look at the 2 liter Cokes. A picture of Santa Claus and the caption "Holiday 2009." Also - "guaranteed Holidy delivery" and the subsequent print says " Deliver no later than December 24th." This is PC and cannot be excused or framed in any other way.

Our response as citizens? Don't allow our free speech / religion to be infringed upon.

Our response as Christians? Make your own choice about the PC issue. Wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" and above all show the love of Christ. After all, "We are the reason for the season." Jesus was sent for us.

cwbswmo said...

Wade,

A couple thoughts as a public school administrator....

1. We still call it "Christmas Break", but we have a "Holiday" basketball tournament. No one seems offended.

2. The issue is the continued correction by the teacher of a student talking about a holiday from her faith-tradition. The teacher was out of line.

3. Christmas is not just a Christian holiday, a season of giving, a break between semesters, etc. It's a NATIONAL HOLIDAY. The teacher not allowing reference to Christmas is akin to saying, "Don't say 'Labor Day', call it 'that day off at the beginning of September', we don't want the non-union folks to be upset with us."

4. Sensitivity to other cultures and faiths in necessary in public schools. Political correctness is not.

Just my two cents.

Charles Brazeale
Neosho, MO

Joe Blackmon said...

The teacher should have known, or been aware of, the cultural backgrounds of her students,

If only those ignorant rednecks could be taught. If only cultural missionaries could be sent to teach us who live in the south how to live as educated people like our enlightened bretheren in the glorious land of the North have always known we could crawl out of the soup of stupidity that we all collectively stew in.

Haa haa!!!!

Joe Blackmon said...

As a conservative Christian...This is just more Culture War rhetoric.

A conservative Christian would not see wishing people a "Merry Christmas" instead of cowtowing to the PC Police by saying "Happy Holidays" as "Culture War Rhetoric". That is the equivilant of someone saying "I am not a racist" and then using a racial slur to describe someone who just cut them off in traffic.

Why don't you just man up and admit that you're a moderate not a conserative? I mean, why is it that moderates have such a huge problem with the term moderate and insist on being referred to as conservative? Never have figgered that one out.

RM said...

I don't have to worry about the word "moderate." I don't use it. I use either "conservative" or "liberal" and am doing just fine figuring out things. I do think it is interesting that liberals in the SBC only want to be called moderates and always want to refer to conservatives as fundamentalists.

A psychiatrist would have a field day with Baptists...

Christiane said...

Hi JOE BLACKMON,

When I first moved to my city, I signed on to a tutoring agency before I was hired by the city to teach. One of my clients was a Baptist minister's daughter, a child of thirteen, and I worked with her at her home on mathematics.

One day, she asked me, "Mrs. __, do you think dinosaurs lived at the same time as people?" I asked her if we could talk about it with her father, the minister.
He explained that the child's public school science teacher was teaching evolution 'as fact' and his daughter was confused and was scared of this teacher. He was worried that she might not pass this science class, also.

I told him that I would be happy to arrange a meeting after school with the teacher so all of us could try to help the child be more comfortable.

The teacher was HORRIBLE in the way he spoke to us. He was as fierce a 'culture warrior' as I have ever seen on this blog. There was absolutely NO understanding that a child was caught in the center and was suffering. All I could do, was to ask him to think about what it must be like for the child.

The minister was a Christian gentleman. He was not a 'culture warrior', he was a father who cared about his child.
I don't know if our appointment helped. The child did not fail science. I felt so sorry for her, having meant this teacher. He 'didn't get it'. I tried.
When I read Wade's post, the memories of the child I tutored came back.

No matter 'what side' warriors fight in their battles for whatever, children don't belong in the center of it. They can't handle it. They shouldn't have to handle it. As for those who consciously use children as 'pawns', may God help them understand the pain that they cause.

Pax Christi,
L's

Ray said...

The Federal government recognizes Christmas as an official holiday. It does not recognize Hanukkah nor Ramadan.

If the schools are government institutions, and the government recognizes Christmas as a holiday, then I do not see why the schools refrain from using the phrase, "Christmas Break/Holiday." This is a question I have never received an answer to from those in my children's schools.

The Old Geezer said...

interesting blog

B Nettles said...

We should not let our past failures to reflect properly on what Christ/Messiah has done and continues to do dissuade us from beginning that reflection. You should wish the world "Merry Christmas" while at the same time thinking, specifically, "My, and the world's, only joy is found in Christ. I am reminding myself and them." One might begin to reduce the self-indulgence.

I'm really surprised that "holiday" hasn't been banned. After all, what does it mean to the agnostic or atheist for a day to be "holy?"

verification word: nolowel...is that in contrast to "low noel?" Ironic, no?

Rex Ray said...

Joe,
You just waved a red flag with your ‘why do moderates insist on being referred to as conservatives?’

It’s real simple, Joe, because we are. One definition of ‘conservative’ is resistance to CHANGE.

But what have the so called ‘conservatives’ done? To start, they changed all the names of SBC organizations except the WMU. (Hooray for the women.)

I guess they made these changes just to show they were in control. They demanded the boycott of Disney for the same reason.

They changed the ‘Infallible’ Word of God to the ‘Inerrant’ Word of God, and woe is the Christian that believes otherwise.

They changed:
Marriage from a partnership to a pecking order.
Our doctrinal guideline from the Bible to their man-made paper.
Missionaries guided by the Holy Spirit to ‘follow God-appointed leadership whether they understood or agreed.’
Love your brother to “those who depart theologically will be identified and called to repent.”
Priesthood of the believer to a committee.
Women to second class Christians not good enough to teach Hebrew or pastor.


So called ‘conservatives’ got so good that being part of the BWA was beneath their dignity. Anyone or anything that didn’t agree with them was automatically accused of ‘drifting left’ and being liberal.

I picture ‘conservatives’ as floating toward Niagara Falls yelling at people on the bank, ‘Why are you people leaving us?’

Alan Paul said...

This teacher seems driven by fear - of being reprimanded again or possibly ultimately losing her job - not really caring what is right or wrong. A sad way to live your life in any area, but especially in the area where most of us spend the largest part of our time: work.

I will say that if this were my child, I would tell them to be respectful, but to continue to use "Christmas" instead of "Holiday". If that led to any issues adversely affecting my child, it would be Liberty Legal Institute time and probably, unfortunately, time for a lawsuit. We must protect our freedom of conscience.

Joe Blackmon said...

Off Topic:

A small victory in the war against Obamacare. Looks like the public option is dead. Woohoo!!!

However, everyone needs to remember that we have got to keep the pressure up. The American people can have a victory against those in Washington who want to shove their garbage down our throats.

Christiane said...

Hi B NETTLES,

You wrote this: "I'm really surprised that "holiday" hasn't been banned. After all, what does it mean to the agnostic or atheist for a day to be "holy?"

You are right. Most people don't realize that 'holiday' is a contraction of 'holy day'. And even more people don't realize that 'Christmas' is a contraction of 'Christ's Mass' meaning the mass (Eucharist) that is celebrated on the day that the Church appointed to mark His Birth. And yes, the Church did it to line up with the old Roman celebration of the time of winter solstice: when light begins to increase in our world day by day.
There are many, many more examples out there of what people have no clue about, even how using the terms B.C. and A.D. were set by a pope, and that A.D. stands for Anno Domini: 'in the year of Our Lord'.

Love, L's

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

For readers interested in viewing the health care debates as being reported in NYT or Washington Post, via Google Labs Living Stories:

NYT > The Struggle Over Health Care.

Washington Tackles Health Care Reform.

greg.w.h said...

I think it's equally important that parents not pressure their children to stage shows of faith. That also puts the children in the middle.

Emphasizing one-on-one communication with peers regarding their faith with the emphasis on explaining how they have been personally impacted by putting their trust in Jesus is more likely to have a long-term impact than shows. A casual use of Christmas should be expected from a house that celebrates the birth of Jesus. A focus on rights--such as freedom of speech--isn't exactly the same thing.

It's another take on the book of Amos. On that subject: I've been enjoying Switchfoot's lead singer Jon Foreman's Seasons EPs which include "Instead of a Show":

I hate all your show and pretense
The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show
Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up my ears when you're singing 'em
I hate all your show

(Chorus) Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

Your eyes are closed when you're praying
You sing right along with the band
You shine up your shoes for services
There's blood on your hands
You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don't fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There's blood on your hands

(Chorus) Instead let there be a a flood of justice...

Let's argue this out
If your sins are blood red
Let's argue this out
You'll be one of the clouds
Let's argue this out
Quit fooling around
Give love to the ones who can't love at all
Give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
Stand up for the ones who can't stand at all, all
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show

(Chorus) Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show


I think in our efforts to promote our faith--and especially when we live vicariously through our children's culture ware efforts--we should be extremely sensitive to the appearance of hypocrisy and pretense. Not just before people but even more so before God.

Greg Harvey

Jim said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS

B Nettles said...

Oh, Christiane,
They've already started the date thing. The popular press and publishers are using CE and BCE instead of AD and BC. CE means 'common era' and BCE means 'before common era'. It'll be interesting to see how history and science texts define the dividing line of BCE and CE.

Bob Cleveland said...

I'm not in any way demeaning teachers .. or any other public servants under orders to be so PC .. but someone pointed out something a while back that really got my attention. Namely, where are the complaints, in the Bible, about persecution? They seemed more honored to have been worthy to be persecuted for Jesus' sake.

I'm not personally aware of any teachers in jail, or who've been fired, for praying, talking about Jesus, etc. And that seems markedly different from the results of persecution 2000 years ago.

To me, it all smells of the end times. That, I suppose, is encouraging, at least to me.

I have no idea what I'd do if ordered not to say "Christmas", or pray in public, etc. Probably tell them to go pound sand, but I've never been in those shoes, so.....

Jeff said...

Based on the facts I read in the post, the teacher violated the students first amendment rights. Any time a student exercises their religious expression in a non-disruptive way, a teacher has no right to try to stop it.

But I find the whole "merry Christmas" vs "Happy Holiday" issue a made up fight.

Let me explain. Merry and Happy have very similar if not synonymous meaning. The word Holiday means "Holy Day". Shouldn't the secular humanists be offended that a religious person would foist their religion on them by insisting on a "Holy Day"...how is that different than the religious implications of Christmas? So I believe that to insist on Happy Holidays at the expense of Merry Christmas is to make up an argument based on semantics. The fact that they just want to exclude "Christ" is not lost on me either.

As for Merry Christmas, I try to avoid it personally, and let me tell you why. I was saved by the grace of God out of the Roman Catholic Church. I understand that the Mass of the catholic church celebrates the eucharist in a way that insist that Christ dies every time they take the eucharist. This entire ceremony is offensive to me. So to say that Christ is a part of the Catholic Mass is theologically unsound.

So I will use Happy Holidays, but I do not get offended when people use Merry Christmas. But I think it is silly for us to be offended either way. What is wrong with a happy holy day? Why not say Happy Jesus Birthday...(I know He was not born on Dec 25) but that is the intent of the holiday, is it not? Why can't we just be gracious and get passed these artificial disputes?

Jeff Rogers'
Loving the snow in Colorado Springs
And Oh by the way...Happy Chanukah, and merry Kwanza...or for those bah humbug types...Merry Festivus.

Benjamin Family said...

This has really hit a nerve with me. Here are my random thoughts on the topic:
1. I can't believe that that teacher was disciplined at another school for using Christmas or other religious comments. Our country was founded on religious freedom. Are we going to take that out of our history books, like the Japanese government has tried to take the mass suicides during the Battle of Okinawa in WWII out of theirs?
2. Our own money says "In God we Trust?" on it.
3. Our government recognizes a federal holiday on December 25th, called Christmas. So our schools should recognize it too.
4. I thank the Lord everyday for Emmanuel Christian School, where my girls attend and they will have "Christmas Vacation" from Dec 23-Jan 4.

Christiane said...

Dear JEFF,

You wrote this:
"As for Merry Christmas, I try to avoid it personally, and let me tell you why. I was saved by the grace of God out of the Roman Catholic Church. I understand that the Mass of the catholic church celebrates the eucharist in a way that insist that Christ dies every time they take the eucharist. "

Jeff, you are mis-leading Wade's readers about the Catholic Eucharistic celebration when you say this: "the catholic church celebrates the eucharist in a way that insist that Christ dies every time they take the eucharist".

Your 'understanding' is not something that is present in the Catholic catechism. If your 'understanding' is simply a 'misunderstanding', after you read the catechism', then you can come here and state that, if you feel that it is the right thing to do. But that is your choice, Jeff.

Some advice: next time you share about the teachings of the catholic Church, and say that you were once a practicing Catholic, at least check the catholic catechism to be sure that you are presenting it accurately.

Nothing wrong with disagreeing with the catechism. Something is wrong with misrepresenting it as a 'former Catholic'.

I hope you see the difference.
And I write this respectfully, hoping that you will think about what you are doing.

I think my Protestant brothers and sisters can say 'Christmas' without betraying their own beliefs in the Lord's Supper. And I think I can wish them a blessed Christmas without disrespecting them in any way. And, at the conclusion of Advent, I most certainly will wish them a wonderful Christmas 'holy day', filled with the deep Peace of Christ.


Peace of Christ,
L's

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Joe, you can repost it, I'm not offended. You are prayed for and cared for.
Love, L's

Timothy Snider said...

The local 'Rib Crib' here in Stillwater likes to advertise 'Holiday Hams' for sale.

Have you ever given that PC-ness some thought???

Respond to me if you don't get it.

Jeff said...

Christine,
Thank you for your comments. I have no intention of doubting your sincerity or your information, as the Roman Catholic church is a master at misinformation. I also do not believe Mormons when they tell me that they do not teach that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers...I know they do, and their denial is for the sake of a public image among weak Christians that they hope to convert.

I will only tell you what my priest taught me in Catholic school. Catholic teaching of Transubstantiation says that the Eucharist is the literal body and blood of Christ, (not figurative) and that every celebration of the mass is incarnational...that is Christ brought down in a new incarnation every time the Eucharist is celebrated. The priest who taught me in Catholic school went on to tell us that this incarnation occurs according to the scripture "As oft as you do this you do remember his death".

This priest INSISTED that this mandates that Jesus indeed (at the hands and the incantation of the priest) presides over the sacrifice of Christ for the congregation every time the Eucharist is celebrated.

You may not like it, and you may not agree with me...that is fine. And I understand that because this teaching is truly offensive. This was (and I assume is, since the Catholic church changes not)the teaching of the Catholic church as it was the curriculum at the Catholic school in which I was raised.

I mean to offend nobody, and I am sorry if you have been offended. But A mass for Christ is pure blasphemy, and to celebrate a Christ Mass is to participate in that blasphemy.

You may call the holiday what you wish...but it is a scar on my conscience to see born again new testament true believers in Jesus Christ celebrating a mass of any kind...so I do not call it Christmas.

Jeff

Lydia said...

Just for fun:

To My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010 , but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.


To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Christiane said...

Dear JEFF,

You did not address the fact that you are telling readers something that is untrue about the teachings of the Church.

If you examine the 'catholic catechism', it does not teach what you say the Church teaches.

'Mis-information' aside, what is the point of saying something about a church that is untrue?
There are many readers who comment here who don't understand the first thing about the catholic Church, and display that in their comments. They are innocent of wrong-doing, in my opinion. But when a person who says they 'were Catholic' tells readers an untruth about their 'former Church's' teachings, that is not innocent.
The proof: your remarks concerning the 'teachings' just aren't there in the catechism.
That IS an example of 'mis-information', would you not agree?

BTW, there are plenty of people who are malevolently anti-Catholic who claim they were once Catholics but were not. Why do they do this? It gives them 'credibility'?
Not for long. When they attempt to represent what the 'Church teaches' and mis-inform others, their credibility is out the window. You, of course, are not one of these people, so my original advice was to enable you to keep your credibility, which as you ARE a 'former catholic', you know is a matter of conscience between you and Our Lord.

May the Lord be with your spirit.

Christiane said...

What Christmas is all about . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQPfoxNw_ns&feature=related

Gene S said...

My mother taught school in the DeKalb County System which is East Metro Atlanta. It was in the day when Bible reading in the classroom was the issue.

Here was her final solution and action:

The real issued was FORCED BIBLE READING. She had never forced a child to read or listen. They could be quietly excused.

My wife even had a Jewish boy for a classmate in her deep south town. The teacher let each student take turns reading the passage of the day.

Before his turn Arthur was asked privately if it was a religious offense. "Heck, no," he said, "If it weren't for Christmas we couldn't go to the Bahamas off all the stuff Christians buy at my daddy's store.!"

In America we have a Constitutional right to freedom of religion. Were it to go before the Supreme Court, I suspect "Holiday" would be but one option with "Christmas," "Hannukuk," and others included.

Good Baptist preachers are making this one as silly as trying to destroy Halloween.

Let's just show some good sense and respect passing up "SILLY."

Jeff said...

Christine,
Again, I am sorry if you are offended. But there are many things that the Catholic church holds to that is not in the catechism and is NOT available for public consumption.

Many denominations do this. I would not want to advertise many of the teachings of the catholic church either. Like Mary worship, they insist publicly that they do not do it at all, or they call it "Veneration"...what is veneration if not worship? But when Pope John Paul went to Latin American Countries, it was one of the first things he promoted.

Ask your local priest about a "Baptism of Sorrow"...Ask him about the Brown Scapular". Did you know that if you are wearing a "Brown Scapular" when you die, you are guaranteed entrance into heaven...no purgatory. This I learned from the lips of a Bishop...not just a priest. I have relatives who still wear the Brown Scapula everywhere except the shower.

Kind of like the Mormon underwear that the Mormons don't like to talk about publicly. But the Mormon must wear it to all temple ceremonies...secret ceremonies. If you think that the Catholic church is advertising everything they teach...you would be wrong. But do ask your local priest/bishop about these things.

I am sorry that your local priest has not been honest with you, but all this is true, I have heard it taught in Catholic schools, I have seen it written in many places...I had participated in some of it. I am not the one who made this stuff up. The fact that you are unaware of these teachings does not make them true.

If you would like, please post for me a link where I can go read a retraction from the encyclicals where they have ceased teaching these things then I will print a retraction.

Thanks.

Jeff

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Hi JEFF,

I'm not offended.
I am concerned that you posted something that is not accurate, as though you were an 'suthority'.

My cpncern was that, in your contempt for another faith, you might have thought that 'the ends justify the means', and therefore put yourself at risk.

BTW, I don't proselytize on this site, I wouldn't do that, but I am a former Catholic school teacher, I have taught religion, and I was trained by the Sisters of St. Lucy Filipini, a teaching order. My father's whole family is very Christian and one of my great aunts was a cloistered nun in Canada, and a great-uncle was a priest in Canada. Point being: I am very familiar with the traditions and teachings of my Church.

You don't appear to have a connection to the catholic catechism: so all you have to do is to google it in. So the next time you want to publish a teaching from that catechism that you disagree with, you will be in good shape, and not 'lost'.

I am not offended. I can assure you that many people find plenty that is taught in that catechism that they cannot accept in faith.
There is nothing 'wrong' about that.
Many non-Catholics get mis-information about the Church instead, though. There is plenty out there. No need to add to the confusion, Jeff.

As I said before, I am concerned that you put yourself in a position where you might compromise yourself by 'knowingly' stating something that is not true.
I didn't want that for you.

Peace of Christ be to you and yours this Sabbath day.
Love, L's

The strangest thing: the word identification is 'bless'! God is good. Love, and yes, God Bless You, Jeff.
L's

revben said...

If one wishes to accept the civil libertarians on this issue, then we should nod our heads to our Father, the government who is certainly wise and omnipotent in such matters and tow the line of political correctness and avoid offending anyone, for any reason, without excuse. Somehow though I missed that approach in the scriptures. Peter in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost was certainly following the omnipotent Roman government and Jewish authorities when he "restrained" himself in his sermon. Really? We can become as many already have vanilla/beige believers and melt into the woodwork. Being stealth, invisible, unseen, does not quite approach Biblical admonitions. Do you think those Christian martyrs who became a Lion's snack for entertainment tasted vanilla? I would rather think they had been salt in the wounds in the authorities lives they bothered so much that they had to removed as to not offend anyone again.
For the past 50 years, Christians have become as bland as 3 day old watered down bread, useless, insignificant, and worthless to anyone, much less our Lord.
I recall a recent time as I led Christmas songs to 1st grade children that the carols were to be avoided as being indoctrinating. I suppose "uh, uh, uh, Barock Husein Obama" is no more indoctrinating than Mary had a little Lamb. What hole have you had your head in? Look around and smell the brimstone, it stinks of death, decay and the demise of men's souls.
we are not called to insignificance, rather to boldness of faith, courage of our calling, and certainly the conduit of salvation to a world hurling towards oblivion without Christ.
I generally prefer garlic, onions, oregano, and strong cheese on my Pizza, rather than rice cakes. It seems to catch the attention of consumers used to a lifetime of stale corn flakes.

Gene S said...

Look folks----THIS IS STILL A FREE COUNTRY!!!

Some of you act as if this swing away from super Christian religiosity is a personal afront to us. If we look at it from the other side of not having religion crammed down one's throat, it becomes an issue we can sanely encounter without making monkeys of ourselves.

"Congress shall make no law concerning religion" is just as real today as it was when the Constitution was signed.

Rather than condemning the heritics and cussing them, just ask some good questions:

(1) Is there a real difference between Darwin describing evolution from simple to comples and the first chapter of Genesis?
* both say essentially the same
* the Bible cites God as the prime mover / science posits pure chance and odds--which one makes more sense complex life "just happening" or God working in a field of matter He created?
* has man ever created any of the elements God allows us to use for a better life?

These are just a few "good questions" which the mean and arrogant agnostic/pagan teacher cannot answer without any faith at all.

(2) Another good question: When you came in and sat down, I notice you did not carefully examine your chair to see if it would support you---If you can trust the chair and floor even though they are more empty space than physical atoms, what is so difficult about trusting God? I do--but you are making a fool of yourself claiming to believe in nothing!

Everyone trusts something whether they want to admit it or not.

I just trust the freedom of religion to give me the right to express my religious views alongside any other belief. Most people who consider all sides of Faith and Creation end up needing to fill Pascal's "God shaped vacuum" with something more than hot disbelieving air!!!

Gene S said...

Christiane--

I bet you can add another dozen good questions so these poor people won't just be left to shout and pout!

Lay some on us, wise woman!

revben said...

thoughts on the management of religious matters in the Public schools
1. The secular leadership in the public school, be they local, state, or federal wish to remove any consideration of religion. Taken to the extreme where will this take us? Major surgery of just about any subject. Consider, that how can you study history, any culture and remove the role of religion. To do so, relegates the facts to nonsense and half truths. Tell me what period of history of western culture that religion did not have an enormous role in shaping the decisions of that time.
2. Let’s take music. To remove all religious music would trash all choral music to a waste bin. No Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, or Mozart. Visual arts, no michangelo or de Vinci.
3. Galileo and the conflict on the nature of the solar system. The crusades and the motivation to conquer Jerusalem.
4. Exploration of America and the motivation of European Christians.
5. The Muslim conquering the middle east and their motivation. http://www.tatemusicgroup.com/news.phpThe cultural war today is a conflict between evangelicals and secular humanists in such matters as abortion, public school ed, Medical reform
6. It is absurd to think that a force as pervasive and human as religion can be excised from American life. To do so is to create a false body of information, that is clearly inferior to the standards necessary to educate American citizens.