My first gut reaction was "no, they shouldn't be attending the play"
But then i started thinking about my kids in public school. They learn about the holidays of the season there. At least they did last year. They didn't only learn about Christmas, but about what other people celebrate as well. If the school overall is teaching children about what everyone celebrates, i actually don't think its a big deal that they have the *option* to go to this play.
I'm not afraid of school teaching kids about different people's cultures and celebrations. I would only be concerned if they were teaching that any certain religion is fact or only exposing them to one religion.
So i guess i would have to know more about what the school does as a whole during the the holiday season to know how i feel.
And FTR, while i know nothing about the play, the television christmas special is VERY religious. The part where Linus is on stage and he recites the whole Christmas Story and then says "Thats what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown". Thats about as religious as any Christmas tv special gets.
Bonita~I agree that much of Christmas is not religious. I'm okay with kids having fun time and coloring Rudolph, Santa etc. because it's not religious. I wouldn't put up any stink about that even though it is related to Christmas. Despite believing in Jesus and God I would be a bit taken aback if my kids came home with a manger scene they made at public school.
I'm also okay about learning about the different holidays at this time of year. There are so many that I can never remember all of them. It is a good learning experience and world religions can be taught in school but it has to be done appropriately and without promoting one over the other. (Does this make sense?)
I think it's fine if they are also including other religions. Are they going to see a Hanukkah play? Are they learning about that as well? I do remember the tv special as being quite religious, but it's describing what Christmas is about, and that is indeed what it is about. I celebrate Christmas differently, not being religious, but I don't deny that that's its origin and I don't think it's bad for kids to learn about it. What I wouldn't like is only one religion or viewpoint being presented in that context.
I am a Jewish atheist, but my husband's a Christian, and occasionally the kids will go to church with him. It comes up, periodically, that we don't believe the same things, and I just tell them that, that it's good to learn about Daddy's beliefs, and mine are different, and they should hear it all.
But I am not part of the school in the article and I don't know what the atmosphere is like, so maybe it is indeed intimidating and dominating. I have no idea, I've only been a parent in NY where there isn't one dominant view like that. I'm with Kim (as usual), I need to know more about what else they are doing.
I'm remembering the debate about exposing kids to yoga, and how lots of people had a problem with it. . .are there folks who weren't okay with the yoga but are okay with this? Is the difference that it's more participatory? Just curious.
I seriously did not remember any of that about the Charlie Brown Christmas movie. The things I remember are the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and Snoopy dancing.
I think I agree with Kim and Laurie. If this school is going out of its way to expose the kids to different cultural experiences from a lot (or at least several! lol) different cultures and religions, then I'm not as worried about it. For example, my MIL (a Hebrew school teacher and Israeli dance instructor) sometimes goes to public schools to do presentations on either Israeli folk dancing, or some aspect of the Jewish religion, or some combo of the two. The presentations aren't done in the sense of "Here is what the school is encouraging the students to believe" but more "To expand your knowlege about the world around you, here is an interactive and hopefully interesting presentation about Jewish culture." I don't think that's inappropriate, and I could put the whole "Charlie Brown Christmas" thing in the same category, if it is being presented in that manner, like "For your information, here is a bit of Christian culture that you will hopefully find interesting and entertaining." If it's done more in the manner of "Here is what we encourage you to believe" or even "this is what we assume you all believe anyway" then it's more of a problem in my eyes.
I honestly have no problem with Christmas trees or Santa arts and crafts or whatever, in school or out of it. I think we can be enriched by celebrating each other's cultures together. But I also think that in fairness it needs to be more of a two way street. It can't just be that all of us non-Christians get enriched by celebrating Christmas with you guys, and then you ignore our cultures and traditions. LOL I think you guys can do with some enriching too.
I can understand the objection to the Charlie Brown play. I do not really understand banning the word Christmas in public schools. Should no play that falls on or around December 25th really not be allowed to be called a Christmas play? Should trees in public places have to be called "Holiday Trees"? In my opinion that is a little silly and not the spirit of the separation of church and state. A Christmas tree is exactly that, a Christmas tree. A play that involves Santa, Elves, or even a manger scene is a Christmas play, not a "Holiday Play". I was just at the zoo and was annoyed to see the sign that said "Holiday Lights" for the decorations. In my opinion that is way over the top sensitive.
This is why I don't get the whole "War on Christmas" stuff. It seems to me that most of it has more to do with Christians not wanting to "share" the month of December with anyone else. I'm totally cool with calling Christmas trees Christmas trees (cause that's what they are, although there is an argument to be made about Yule logs and Solstice...) I also don't get offended when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I wish them a Merry Christmas right back. But I have to say it does bother me when people get all upset over the phrase "Happy Holidays" or the like. It's like they find it offensive that anyone would want to acknowledge any holiday other than Christmas. I just don't get how including other belief systems in your well wishes hurts anyone at all.
Yay Bonita. Exactly what you said.
Maybe I'll get flamed for this, but in a country built on Judeo-Christian values I am sick sick sick to death of always having to be careful NOT to say Merry Christmas. I will continue to respect the religions of people I meet. I don't expect people to shove their religious affiliation and their manner of worship in a closet, but please do me a favour and don't give me the stink eye because in the only way I've ever done express to you my warm wishes for the season.
I used to just say Merry Christmas all the time because I happen to love Christmas, but I realized that it while it was fun for me, it might not always be the right thing for the recipient, so I switched to Happy Holidays, but I still sometimes say Merry Christmas, especially if it's the 24th or 25th. Never had a bad reaction from anyone no matter what I said, but I figured that if my goal is to wish OTHERS a happy something, then I should say something more all-inclusive.
Do people really get mad?
I have to admit i dislike the hubub people make over needing to change the word Christmas everywhere. Its one thing to not want to be part of a religion, its another to want to never see the word. I mean, thats where the stuff came from...Christmas celebrations, either religious our secular.
I'm not going to boycott a store or anything that decides to change it to 'holiday' or take the word Christmas out of everything. It just makes me roll my eyes...internally.
If a place really wants to change their use of the word to 'holiday' then i won't crusade against them...but i sure hope they are doing it because whatever they are referencing actually IS 'all holiday encompassing' and they aren't just changing it because they feel the word Christmas is taboo or politically incorrect.