Bad Santa, or Bad ACLU?

Giving credit where credit is due, the BBC’s Clare Murphy gives a balanced overview on the annual controversy that brews in America during the holiday season. The controversies, of course, regard the extent of which the separation of church and state plays a role during the holiday season in public schools.

I (as a Christian) strongly support the separation of church and state, in that religion is private issue that shouldn’t be exploited as a political tool nor used for political gain. As with anything else, everyone has their own unique viewpoints on religious matters, and should be left to their own viewpoints. However, extreme cases often do sprout up around the country's learning centers that make me wonder if common sense has also been separated out. In its pursuit to steer clear of any topic that may evoke religion, it appears that even facts are being outlawed at government-run schools.

The Kansas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has, for example, just issued a complaint over a "sneaky Santa", a man who was invited into several state schools by the local authorities and who allegedly used his time there to "proselytise".

After asking the children what the meaning of Christmas was, one or two youngsters apparently offered the information that it was connected to the birth of Jesus, with which the Santa concurred.

"He was sneaky. He took advantage of his access to children to preach, and that simply cannot be allowed to happen," said Dick Kurtenbach of the Kansas ACLU, which has made a complaint.

Although the article doesn't give the full details of the situation, how does Mr. Kurtenbach figure this to be "proselytizing"? Religious-based subject or not, the information offered here is factual information. Atheists and theologians alike would agree that there was indeed a man named Jesus Christ born roughly 2003 years ago. Both would agree that he is a religious figure worshipped by hundreds of millions of Christians, and both would agree the holiday of Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating his birth. This is merely History 101. Now, if Sneaky Santa began reciting biblical passages, psalms, and gospels, or contemplated aloud whether Jesus Christ was divine, then the ACLU has a case. But withholding true information from children to appease politically-correct watchdogs is lunacy gone wild.

Of course, as with any tax-funded institution, there is the continuously constant headache of creating and upholding a one-size-fits-all monolithic system in which millions of different viewpoints need to be placated.

"This just goes to show that there should be no room for religious symbolism in our schools. Someone's bound to get left out, there will always be an angry mother."

It’s unfortunate the angry mother has so very few choices as to where to send her child.

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