Deck the Halls with...Discrimination?
by Navy Girl on October 27, 2016 - 8:54pm
Discrimination is a topic that's hotter than cocoa, more pungent than fresh-cut pine, and louder than carols. Who ever thought that Christians would be discriminated against for celebrating their own holiday incorrectly? Christmas, the holiday that is world renowned (even among atheists) for its peace and joy, is now being pounced upon with hatred. While public acknowledgement of Chanukah and Kwanzaa is on the rise, Christmas is being forcibly shaken from the public circle. People have been fighting religious discrimination by, ironically, discriminating against the Christian religion. The very definition of Christmas is: “a Christian holiday that is celebrated on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ or the period of time that comes before and after this holiday.” Why then, if Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, is it so astounding that Christians would incorporate the Holy Child into their celebration? Why can’t Christians celebrate their own holiday in the way it was created and defined to be?
An article published on Yahoo! News, reported how the birthday boy’s (Jesus) acknowledgement in honor of his birthday was removed by a court of law. This happened during Concord High School’s (a public school) annual Christmas Spectacular. For months, the children had prepared a brief skit to honor the birthday child, only to have it kyboshed just days before the event. An unnamed, non-Christian family was appalled at the recognition, and filed a complaint. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, said “It’s the kind of thing you’d expect in a Catholic school or private school or something out of the ’50s, but not today. This had our jaws dropping.” Students were not forced to participate in the skit, nor was it a mandatory part of the show. So, what was so wrong about this skit? “’The living nativity scene impermissibly conveys an endorsement of religion and thus runs afoul of the Establishment Clause,’ U.S. District Court Judge Jon DeGuilio noted in his Concord High decision, referring to the First Amendment clause that forbids government from establishing an official religion and from favoring one religion over another.’” If that’s the way the Constitution was interpreted, I find it acceptable. However, that same school is encouraging Jewish and Muslim celebrations, but banning Christian ones. Isn’t that what the Establishment Clause condemns? Isn’t that favoring one (or multiple) religions over another? Why should Jews, Muslims, and atheists have more greatly protected religious rights than Christians?
Similar to the Concord High case, Great Britain has been experiencing discrimination against Christians. Christmas Nativity plays are being re-written to include Elvis Presley and drunken spacemen, and replacing traditional carols with pop songs. As Ms. Freegard stated in an article published on BBC News, "While the UK is a diverse and multicultural society and it's right that children learn about all religions and cultures, many parents feel that the traditional nativity is being pushed aside."
In conclusion, I—as a student pursuing a career in Pastoral Ministry, and a political science and historical speaker and writer—this debate concerns me. Will I always be able to celebrate my faith publicly? Whatever happened to the freedoms of speech and equality? I think that, if we truly want the separation of church and state, perhaps the state should stay out of religious affairs. However, this starts at a personal level. If people would just accept religious diversity and not complain about it, it would save peaceful, innocent Americans a lot of grief, and shame. This is a hard concept, but, if we’re honest, discrimination of any kind starts within the individual.
Christmas. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Christmas
Coughlan, Sean (December 2, 2014). School nativity plays 'pushed aside'. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/education-30277344
Greenfield, Beth (December 3, 2015). Judge Bans Students From Performing in Live Nativity Scene. Yahoo! News. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/news/judge-bans-students-from-performing-in-live-192232997.html