Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli
I was pretty grossed out by the arrogance they participated in here. As a full-on Christmas celebrating Atheist, who can't wait for the holidays because of the lights and aspirational humility and good cheer, and who finds Santa, the tree, the snow, the presents mesmerizing in a way that is completely non-religious, yet very spiritually fulfilling (for a materialist), I must recognize that it is, nonetheless an ethnic expression.
As such, I liken it to a holiday like Halloween, a holiday that many do not celebrate, and whose sentiment many schools wish to respect. While I love and prize both holidays, I prize even more the idea of public schools as a shared, secular space where all can feel equally welcome and included. In communities where Halloween celebrations are replaced with "Harvest" celebrations, I'm perfectly OK with that.
I can't help but feel that deep down, this is about an impulse of ethnic chauvinism - something, ironically, I find no greater contradiction of than in the aspiration of "peace on Earth and goodwill to men", an expression many religions could do to spend a bit more time on, instead of petty identity reinforcement.
I generally agree with you. And yet, I have to say that when a friend who is a teacher told me there were complaints about the kids having a Halloween party at school, I thought that was stupid. Kids should be able to have a Halloween party at school. It has nothing to do with religion, even though it has religious origins. It's a secular custom. The tiny minority of parents who object should be free to keep their kids home that day, which is too bad for the kids but, unfortunately, you have to recognize that sort of parent right, up to a point.
Christmas is trickier, but I personally don't see anything wrong with the typical kids' Christmas play, providing it's not accompanied by pushing the Christian religion and is varied by recognizing stories from other religions too.
I find it hard to believe, as one of the diavlogers claimed, that there are public schools who are fine with activities related to other religions but not the Christian religion. That, of course, would be wrong, if it's true.