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I first posted this blog in December last year to public damnation. It was the insult to injury of waking up after 40 years of adulthood to learn that Christianity was no longer tolerated in the American school system responsible for educating my young children.
While we were strong-armed into supporting all other forms of religious faith, ours had become the dirty little secret that our children must hide, not unlike the youth of religious minorities throughout the course history.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: much has changed since the ’60’s.
Like the phenomenon of bullying in any educational institution, it’s now popular to slam the Christians and the Catholics.
From 1965 (the year of its television debut), I watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas (see link below) faithfully every December thereafter, shouting out with glee and a child’s pristine faith that the Christmas spirit of Whoville would prevail (mittens down!) every time.
It occurred to me today that I was the same age as my now four-year-old daughter when my life-long romance with Whoville began.
Although I might be on the edge of my seat, as the Grinch stealthily made his plan to rob the gentle Who population, I was seamlessly confident that it didn’t really matter. It didn’t matter that the Grinch purloined every last sparkling bauble, every last glimmering thread of tinsel, or every last Christmas pudding.
In his moment of miserly victory, as he grasped the sleigh full of Yuletide booty to himself, it inevitably spilled through his fingers and into the laps of Cindy Lou Whos all over the world whose faith was so simple and trusting that they somehow managed to discover his goodness.
Likewise, so trusting is my generation of the reliability of that happy ending, it never occurred to me—until the sugar plums recently fell from my eyes—that the Grinch just might, one cold day, win.
Last week, I was seated clutching a hot chai tea and discussing the upcoming seasonal craft fair fundraiser for my son’s elementary school with the mom in charge. Before long, our imaginations were in the icy grip of Frosty The Snowman’s irrepressible Christmas cheer, while visions of the First Noel Ornament Factory and Rudolph’s Reindeer Games danced like a festival of sugar plums in our heads.
We drafted a festive flyer as I prepared to help my son’s second grade class make Yuletide candles to sell at the fair.
The next day, the word came down from on high—and we’re now not talking about the North Pole.
“Christmas” has been outlawed at my son’s public charter school. Despite the fact that Christianity represents nearly a third of the world’s population and has become the largest religion (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Christianty) on the planet, my 7-year-old son can’t say the C-word in class.
In a moment I remembered The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and came to painful realization similar to that of children who grow up and cease to pen letters to Santa.
Not only had the Grinch robbed Christmas but he’d been stamped US Grade “A”, government approved.
The bully had landed.
When I complained bitterly to Frank, he stared at me and blinked as if I’d just arrived in town on an 1885 stage coach like Mary Steenburgen (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Mary_Steenburgen) (Clara) from Back To The Future, Part 3 (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Future_Part_III), reaching out with a gloved hand to be escorted down the creaking wooden fold out steps.
Having overcome this vision, his reply was like a cold snowball that landed on my neck and proceeded to slither, melting its way down to my heart.
“Where have you been? Haven’t you heard about the War on Christmas (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Christmas_controversy)?” he asked, beginning to chuckle at the ridiculous expression on my face, which must have been the very same one I had about forty years ago when I said “What do you mean, no Santa?” (It may have looked suitably endearing on a nine year old but I’m sure loses some of its smack after a few decades have passed.)
The War on Christmas? What War? And why was my life so full of oxymorons? (In this case, you can leave out the “oxy”.)
I did a little research and learned—after reading news digests that could have been titled “War on Christmas for Idiots”—that since early in the decade, schools have been banning all references to Christ, Christmas nativities, or carols with religious orientation. In fact, some schools have feared allowing “seasonal parties” with the looming threat of a lawsuit.
What? Has everyone gone mad? Is this the Atheist Invasion? Are we all inflicted with such a severe case of Grinchmania that we’re attending school board meetings, throwing bibles and brandishing reindeer panties?
Suddenly, with the so-called War on Christmas, the Grinch presents real and present danger to my children. Help! A felon has just been given a badge and made Sheriff.
Can you imagine whipping through a small rural town—let’s call it “Deliverance (From Christmas)”—on your drive home for holidays and ordering up a hot chocolate while humming Silent Night under your breath?
The Sheriff (rather a seasonal shade of green) would stroll in (at the behest of Madge the waitress) and say: “y’all ain’t from ‘round here, are yah?”
Am I supposed to tell my little Lizzie Lou Who that, one day, when she attends elementary school in the United States of America that there’ll be a picture of the Grinch in every classroom (like the president, or the Queen in Canada)? Shall I tell her that he —the Grinch Who Stole Christmas—will be upheld as a gleaming standard of our acceptance for all religious faiths, creeds and colors? Shall I tell her that he is legally sanctioned and sporting the red and green stamp of approval in our schools?
Already my son—a second grader—is beginning to worry that there must be something inherently wrong with Christmas.
Now, I have my own war with Christianity—in particular, the preachings versus the practices of the Catholic Church.
Last year I walked away from the Catholic educational system because I took issue with their particular brand of intolerance. The subject was one of my first blogs, Educating The Mob.
In fact, there was a period of time when I thought the Catholic Church and attendant school system had invented the term “Hypocrisy” and actually preserved the original in a vault beneath the Vatican.
But who says you can’t find a political card in the bottom of every granola box, or the near-evangelist hue and cry for Tolerance driving itself so far around the narcissistic bend that it ends up in the backyard of its supposed arch-enemy Intolerance?
Why does every cause that starts out being a “good” one (usually meaning that it appeals to simple common sense) have to drown itself in an orgiastic paroxysm of self-indulgent extremism?
In flying my sleigh innocently into the American public school system, I find I’ve just inadvertently leapt from the holiday frying pan into the seasonal fire.
And I’m not sure I can take the heat. I’m beginning to realize that, perhaps, I’m just too intolerant.
Notes for this blog:
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004VVP9?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00004VVP9 (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B00004VVP9?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00004VVP9)
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