Schools Strive To Take Religion Out Of Holidays

Daryl James, East Valley Tribune (Az.), Dec. 9

Elementary school children will sing about Frosty the Snowman, sleigh bells and jolly ol’ St. Nicholas during hundreds of winter concerts starting this week across the East Valley. They also will perform Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even some Ramadan music.

But few public school children in the East Valley will sing about herald angels, the little town of Bethlehem or the little Lord Jesus.

In an effort to be more inclusive of an increasingly diverse student population, most holiday programs at East Valley elementary schools this month will avoid carols that mention deity or the Nativity events in Bethlehem.

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The push for political correctness alarms Peter Gentala, legal counsel with the Center for Arizona Policy in Scottsdale. He said recent surveys show 96 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, yet many public schools leave teachers and students unsure if they can even say “Merry Christmas” to each other.

“Christmas really is under threat right now, especially in public schools,” he said. “We’ve all been conditioned to look at our shoes when the topic of religion comes up at public schools.”

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