Hillsboro School District in Oregon sent out a letter to staff letting them know that while certain office and classroom decorations are okay, they need to refrain from more religious-themed decorations. Like Santa Claus.
“You may still decorate your door or office if you like,” the memo read, “but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.”
Hillsboro School District spokesman Beth Graser said that this wasn’t sent to parents. It was sent to teachers and was meant to ensure that they were being “sensitive and thoughtful” as they entered the “holiday season.”
It’s an interesting way to be “inclusive.” Just ban everything – or mostly everything – so that no one gets offended. But what about those people who don’t like that they can’t decorate with crosses or Santa?
“I’m from that generation where we believe in Santa, and my kids believe in Santa, and they should be able to celebrate it,” one parent told KATU.
“If you’re going to put a giant cross on the window that’s one thing, but I think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point,” another parent said.
I never thought of Santa as “religious” either. In fact, I always looked at him as sort of a secular alternative to Jesus. For that reason, I figured schools wouldn’t have a problem with Santa. But apparently, even Santa’s too religious.
This all stems from Atheists’ interpretation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment, which directs Congress not to make any law respecting any establishment of religion. Atheists interpret “Congress” to mean “any public institution,” including public schools. The part that they conveniently leave out is the part about not “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” So, Congress can’t make a law that establishes a national religion – or denomination – but they also can’t make a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion.
Ironically, what’s happening is that Atheism is slowly becoming the national religion, and all other forms of religious expression are being prohibited.
What is the solution? One solution is to find a way to get kids out of public schools, if this issue is bothersome to parents. It’s no use griping to the school boards. All they care about is making sure Atheists and Muslims aren’t offended. So, if they ban nativity scenes or crosses, then they have to ban everything else to be “equal.”
If your kids are homeschooled, you can put whatever decorations you want in your own house, regardless of whether it “offends” people. At least for now.