|Back to Jan. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 240||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JANUARY 2006|
|What Happened to Christmas and History?|
REMARKS TO THE
R-12 SCHOOL BOARD
By Dee Wampler
I am Dee Wampler and once served as the elected Greene County Prosecuting Attorney.* I understand the stress and often thankless hours you spend working on school issues. You are appreciated!
I address this School Board about two things:
(1) The fact that "Christmas" has been removed from the official school calendar and;
(2) The increased editing of our American History and Social Studies books omitting mention of the faith of our Founding Fathers.
There is great confusion in our day regarding the relationship of church and state. Some have bought the idea that religion is not to be a part of any educational system, confident that it requires a total strict separation so that Biblical principles must never be mentioned.
This so-called "strict separation of church and state" has never been the law, it is not now, and it never will be in the future.
There are hundreds of examples of God, Jesus Christ, Christianity and religion in general in our nation's monuments, documents, and laws.
Just to give you a few examples, God's name is in our National Anthem, the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Liberty Bell, the Pledge of Allegiance, and our national motto is on every single coin and bill in your pocket which is "In God We Trust."
There are some who believe that religion and government must be "ruthlessly separate" and all symbols of faith be erased - a sort of "religious cleansing"- that our monuments from the crosses at Arlington to the Washington and Lincoln Memorials should be sandblasted.
The United States Supreme Court has nullified the idea of a total separation of church and state.1 There has always been an "accommodation" between religion and government and we must never forsake our national traditions and history.
Some years ago2 the word "Christmas" was removed from the R-12 School calendar. "Easter" or "Good Friday" was also removed.
I believe it is utterly ridiculous that the word "Christmas" has been removed from the calendar. It is time to put it back. Christmas should be called what it is! It is recognized by Federal Statute as an official federal holiday.3 Christmas is a most outstanding fact in the history of the world. For 2000 years Christmas has been a celebration of peace on earth, good will towards all men; to stop and reflect on the birth of a person that altered the course of history. Our calendar is dated from His birth. We have no reason to be ashamed of the birth of Christ. Our nation was not based on freedom from anything religious.
There is not one single federal or state court case that has ever once ruled that a school board is wrong by calling Christmas "Christmas".4
When the former School Board changed its calendar, I believe (using the words of the U.S. Supreme Court) that it was an "overreaction contrary to our history".5
II. American History
Many of our public school books may have been originally published in the 1950s and 1960s; as you know, they are regularly edited and updated. Our school books have gradually lost any focus on the faith of our Founding Fathers. "God", "Christianity", or "religion" are rarely mentioned or not even mentioned at all.6
Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving are not even mentioned in several of the books. In only one book Thanksgiving is mentioned but there is no reference of giving thanks to God.
The Bible has been removed as the authoritative source for determining right from wrong; prayer is outlawed; the Ten Commandments became offensive; the mention of Jesus Christ became taboo; but when Christmas became politically incorrect enough is enough!
Please! I am asking you to not give in to the absolutist view that any mention of God or religion must be sanitized from the calendar and school books.
Our students are being cheated out of a true American history, sacrificed upon the altar of political correctness.7 Let us resist efforts to redefine or surrender our national tradition. If our children are going to make informed decisions about the future of our nation, they need to know about its past.
Pass a Resolution now to restore our traditional greatest national holiday on the official calendar!
Thank you for your consideration.
* I attended Rountree Elementary, Jarrett Middle School, Central and Parkview High Schools, Drury University, University of Missouri-Columbia, and Southwestern University. Our two children attended Wilder Elementary, Jarrett Middle School, and Glendale High School.