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'I Want Christmas to be Given Back to Our Children in our Schools': Perry Hall Conversations

One Patch reader, and concerned parent, is upset with what she says was the lack of Christmas recognition at a local school.

Credit: Patch
Credit: Patch
By Brian Hooks

Over the holidays, Patch reader Shannon Webb attended a concert at Perry Hall Elementary School, where her daughter attends fifth grade.

To Webb's dismay, the holiday concert did not mention Christmas or the figure Christmas celebrates—Jesus Christ.

Webb wrote on Patch that two Hanukkah songs, a song in Spanish and a Kwanzaa song were included, but she did not hear any mention of the biggest Christian holiday of the year.

"I want Christmas to be given back to our children in our schools," Webb writes. "If our children are going to sing about anything during a holiday concert, Christmas needs to be included."

As part of our feature, Perry Hall Conversations, we invite you to read the full discussion here, and add your own comments!
Shannon Webb January 13, 2014 at 09:31 AM
Yes Gene, thank you for speaking up!!!!
paerki January 13, 2014 at 09:31 AM
The point of your post brings into play many other questions, which must be considered. You opened Pandora's box when you said, "Other countries are NOT the United States. People that are trying to change USA to please OTHER countries/cultures are the problem!" Let's be fair about this. Fear is the bigger issue. I'm sure you're a lovely person, Shannon and mean well, but there is a level of ignorance on your part that can't be ignored. Your simple request is not so simple anymore because there are many other factors to consider and you must be open to that dialogue. Dear Shannon, may you get your Christ back into your Christmas. I hope it all works out for you and your fellow believers. I want you to have Christmas like it was, but I'm hopeful you'll embrace the diversity of all. If you haven't heard the prayers of Kwanzaa or lit the menorah and listened to the chants... You are missing out on something special, beautiful. I can't imagine any school ignoring Christmas. Were Christmas carols sung? If they were, you were not ignored. That's Christmas! Thank you for the civil discourse. I wish you well, and no matter what anyone celebrates, we can all agree to peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Cheers!
paerki January 13, 2014 at 09:45 AM
“Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.” – The Elders Oraibi, Hopi Nation http://twitpic.com/ds56yt
Woodside Park Bob January 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM
The only way to have real freedom of religion is to keep religion out of government and government out of religion. That includes keeping religion out of the schools. The schools should not be used to promote any one religion or religion at all. Religion is a matter of private belief, not something for governmental involvement. And no ones beliefs are safe if the government starts promoting any one religion over others. Promoting one inherently oppresses the others or no belief at all. Do you want the government or schools telling you what to believe or not believe? I don't. The real problem in what the school did was including other religious songs (e.g., Hanukkah songs) in the program. No one should expect the schools or government to support their religion. The fact that the largest group of religious believers is Christian in the US does not mean the government should push Christian beliefs, or any other religious beliefs for that matter. If you want freedom for your religion, you have to respect it for others, too. By the way, the person protesting also protested inclusion of a song in Spanish. Obviously Spanish is a language, not a religion. I see no problem in having kids learn other languages or sing in them -- as long as they are not being taught religious songs in Spanish to support religion.
paerki January 13, 2014 at 10:53 AM
I appreciate your input, Woodside Park Bob. Thank you, for your logical insight.
Michele January 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM
PAERKI & KIM.... i will continue to pray for you and others who are also confused about the statement "ONE NATION UNDER GOD".....NOT "a god", but God the Father. May He open your eyes!
Michele January 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Woodside Park Bob.....This opens up a whole other problem. I should not have to choose between Spanish (or any other language for that matter) and English. If you want to live in the United States of America, please learn to speak English. My grandparents and ancestors did, as I'm sure yours did as well.
Woodside Park Bob January 13, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Under our Constitution Michele is free to pray for anyone she wants, but she is not free to have the government impose her religion on anyone else. That is the genius of the Constitution. She can't try to have the government force us to believe anything, and we can't have the government try to impose our beliefs on her. The Supreme Court got it right in Emerson v. Board of Education when it said: "The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another ... in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and State' ... That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." The constitution prevails, not a motto on money, which was put on our currency in the first place as a vote-getting measure in the 1950s. Concerning Spanish, Americans have always spoken different languages when they came here, and the second and third generations have always adopted English as the common language. No one says you have to do that; you can speak whatever language you want, but if you want to be understood, it helps to speak the same language as the people you want to communicate with. But surely that doesn't mean that languages other than English shouldn't be taught or that we shouldn't translate things into other languages so that people who moved here can understand them. By the way, the Bible wasn't originally written in English; it was translated into English, so I guess Christians over the years have been tolerant of people who didn't speak their language or say that people had to immediately learn their language. It would be nice if we all exercised that same tolerance today.
Michele January 13, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Woodside Bob. You missed the point. I'm not saying people need to IMMEDIATELY learn English (but should in a reasonable amount of time), but we should not be catering to those who are not willing to learn (and I'm sure we all know who I mean!) And as far as the constitution goes....are we supposed to have a Muslim president???
Woodside Park Bob January 13, 2014 at 02:09 PM
incredible! It is hard to believe that anyone believes we have a Muslim president. What absolute rubbish. But even if we did have a Muslim president, so what? The Constitution doesn't have a religious test for holding office. The test for being President is that you were born in the US or a US territory, you are at least 35 years old, and that you can get elected. That's all. Period. To me it is absolutely un-American to suggest that the President ought to be or ought not to be a believer in any particular religion or in religion at all for that matter.
Michele January 13, 2014 at 02:13 PM
Woodside Bob.....you're too dense and dangerous-thinking to argue with anymore. Bye!
Woodside Park Bob January 13, 2014 at 02:25 PM
It is pretty sad when someone thinks supporting freedom for everyone, including those who don't share our religious beliefs, is "dense and dangerous-thinking." But I suspect Michele is right when she says there is "dense and dangerous-thinking" evidenced in this thread. The only question is whose thinking is "dense and dangerous."
jnrentz1 January 13, 2014 at 03:06 PM
Kim Cooke: Tax money should not support any religion, or the reconstruction of any religious building. This includes the National Cathedral, and any Mosques anywhere they may be found.
michelle January 13, 2014 at 03:39 PM
Michele, I totally stand behind you. I don't agree with having to press 1 for English when I am in the USA. If I go to a Spanish speaking country than I am expected to speak Spanish. If you want to come to the US, speak English or learn it. Secondly, don't rely on the government for freebies like healthcare and other benefits. Work and pay taxes. I'm tired of paying for all the illegals. The government surely isn't helping me any, they are taxing me more. As for Christmas in schools, I'm totally for it. I had it growing up why shouldn't my kids.
Lisa Haderman January 13, 2014 at 04:30 PM
I totally agree Shannon .They shove KWANNZA,and other ridiculous holidays religions down our throats.Yet we can't included Jesus who is the reason it is CHRISTMAS CHRIST - MAS .Without Christ there would be no Christmas.I'm sick & tired of my kids being taught about other pagan cultures yet Our precious Lord is left out we have to cal it the holiday break.Easter is now Spring break what a crock. They took GOD not allah out of schools & our country is going to HELL in a handbasket.
Marty Warren January 13, 2014 at 04:56 PM
I'm on Shannon's side........Q: Who Cares?..........Answer: IDK
Marty Warren January 13, 2014 at 05:10 PM
I don't believe diversity is the answer. Here are a few lines from the following article: Starting with the Irish ‘troubles’ and continuing with the partition of India, the Greek/Turkish war in Cyprus, the wars in the Middle East, the Rwandan genocide, the Lebanese civil war, the Bosnian War, the Iraq Insurgency and now the Syrian civil war (to name only a few), we have seen a parade of murder and mayhem around the globe as neighbours murdered neighbours because of their religion, language or race. Here's the link:...http://frankhilliard.com/?p=99
jnrentz1 January 13, 2014 at 05:56 PM
Marty Warren: I tend to agree with you regarding diversity. Excessive diversity, which we are currently experiencing in the United States, leads to a lack of consensus, competing interests, and social upheaval. I prefer homogeneity. I would abolish the Diversity Visa program, and restrict H1A and H1B visas as well. paerki: I agree with much of what you state.
mckutcher January 14, 2014 at 01:59 AM
I also attended a winter concert where a religious Hanukah song was sung by the students but not one mention of Christmas. My husband asked the choir director and the orchestra conductor why they avoided saying Christmas but mentioned Hanukah. They laughed at him and said it was okay to say Hanukah. At the conclusion of the concert we were wished a Happy Holiday. Christmas is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY by LAW celebrated by 90% of Americans, 86% of them are Christian. Who are they offending? Atheists represent a little over 1% of the population. I have written to the Harford County School Board asking them if it is the policy of Harford County Public schools to forbid the mention of Christmas. We have no National Winter Holiday. I have always believed that if we Christians boycott buying Christmas gifts except for the children you would see the force of BIG business supporting and demanding the right to celebrate and say Merry Christmas. We could make and share holiday cookies and candies, or other homemade items, for just one year and we would see how everyone would soon change their tune. Do we need a statewide petition?
mckutcher January 14, 2014 at 02:03 AM
Thank you Shannon Webb for speaking out.
Shannon Webb January 14, 2014 at 07:22 AM
Kolo Jezdec: Thank for that reminder--I am awaiting responses from several resources so that I have all my facts in front of me for meetings such as this. I'm sure you all understand what I mean! I can assure you this isn't over.
Michele January 14, 2014 at 02:53 PM
Thank you, Michelle!
Michele January 14, 2014 at 02:55 PM
Paerki....wow! lots of words....nothing said!
mckutcher January 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Kolojezdec, your correct, my mistake. I should have said Christmas cookies. I was getting frustrated because I had to write my response over and over at least four times. Every time I got half way through my comments I box appeared asking me to give my password, then all my comment disappeared. Finally I was instructed to register. When I did I was told my email was already being used. Finally, I registered with a new password and a different e mail. So, I was just getting tired. As to your poll numbers, they are always changing according to whose research you trust. The Catholic Civil Rights Organization said that 96% of American celebrate Christmas. So once again I ask, Who is the school offending when the refuse to say Christmas?
Shannon Webb January 17, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Mckutcher: thank you for asking that question. It's crazy to me that Christmas offends anyone. If you sing another cultural song, why not sing a Christmas song? I don't celebrate other holidays but I would t mind hearing those songs ! And as for the aethiests...if there is no God, why the argument?
Michele January 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Shannon....This is scary. There is nothing like the mention of God to make all the athiests come crawling out of the woodwork. All we can do is continue to pray for them.
Shannon Webb January 20, 2014 at 01:58 PM
Michelle, it is scary and frustrating. All I am asking for is to give Christmas the recognition that has always been given. Stop with the negative comments and be fair. I got a letter from the parent liaison with BCPS. She said nothing about my complaint. Only that the 'schools are multicultural'. Like we didn't know that? So what? Song about their culture too! But add Christmas!
Michele January 20, 2014 at 02:06 PM
Nice "cop-out" from BCPS!
Kim Cooke January 20, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Michele: Gee, thanks. I'm sure your prayers to god asking to save my soul will be heartfelt and genuine, and that you were not being passive-aggressive or unkind. Jrentz: You missed my point. I do not think federal money should ever be mixed with anything religious, or vice versa. How did we all get so lost here?
Michele January 20, 2014 at 04:48 PM
Kim...yes, they are heartfelt & genuine.

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