Patrick Craine

News

Canadian school board brings back ‘Christmas’ holidays

Patrick Craine

CHILLIWACK, British Columbia, November 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Christmas is making a comeback in at least one Canadian community.  Last week, school board trustees in Chilliwack, British Columbia voted unanimously to rename their annual winter break the ‘Christmas’ holidays.

The two-week break had been called ‘winter vacation,’ as it is on the B.C. Ministry of Education’s calendar, but trustee Heather Maahs, who proposed the motion, said she was shocked that they would not acknowledge the central reason for the break.

“With political correctness, we can fall into a hole where we abandon our traditions and we abandon our heritage for the sake of a very, very small minority,” Maahs told CTV.

“We’re not having a holiday because it’s winter,” trustee Martha Wiens said at the meeting, according to the Chilliwack Times. “We are having a holiday because it’s Christmas, so why not just say what it is?”

The trustees expressed some concern at the board meeting last Tuesday that taking a different stance than the Ministry could open them to a legal challenge.  “I say let’s take a walk on the wild side, and unless the legislation says we’re not allowed to call it Christmas, let’s call it Christmas,” said Maahs, according to the Times.

While many have praised the trustees for bucking political correctness and staying faithful to Canada’s cultural and religious traditions, they have also faced some opposition.

Both Katharin Midzain of the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association and Kirsten Brandreth of the District Parent Advisory Council denounced the move at the meeting, says the Times.

“I feel that we are going backward versus forwards,” said Brandreth.  “You’re recognizing that people get a couple of weeks off for the birth of Christ, and I think that we have to be very sensitive that within our community there are many other beliefs ... so I feel that it has been a very insensitive decision.”

“It doesn’t really matter that the stores are advertising Christmas sales and everything else, because we are supposed to uphold a higher degree of tolerance than a merchant in our community,” said Midzain.

Lorne Gunter, a columnist for the National Post, pointed out this week that those opposing references to and symbols of Christmas in schools, public buildings, and retail stores are generally not members of the religious minorities who are supposedly excluded.

Instead, he says, they are “born-and-raised members of our own culture who are using the perceived insult of minorities as an excuse to expunge direct and indirect references to Christ and Christmas from their own lives.”

“The same sort of people who screw up their noses at public recognition of Christmas would consider it the height of cultural imperialism if Westerners moved to a nation with a non-Christian tradition and started demanding the people and government there rename Ramadan or Eid or Diwali so as not to offend the Christian newcomers,” he continued.  “It is difficult not to conclude that they are working hard to erase our own heritage for largely personal reasons.”

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