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Teacher defends "Santa" remarks (Full, unedited statement)
Lebanon Daily News ^ | 12/23/05 | Theresa R. Farrisi

Posted on 12/26/2005 8:11:14 AM PST by Conservatrix

To the Editor:

"Last week I substituted at a local elementary school in Lebanon County. The lesson plan required me to read the 1882 poem “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore to two classes of students. While I can appreciate the poem for its literary value, the subject matter is offensive to me, and the reading of this poem to the children imposed values upon me which are against my deeply held religious beliefs. I could not in good conscience present the notion of Santa Claus as a truth to the children, and stated so.

No public school teacher should be required to teach a belief, or custom, or religion that he or she believes to be false, or be required to pass those purported falsehoods onto impressionable children, without the right to state a disclaimer. Furthermore, freedom of speech and religion, no matter how unpopular the speech or against cultural norms the religion, are protected rights under the Constitution of the United States. A secular public school should not be propagating any kind of religion. The belief in Santa Claus as a divine, magical, omniscient, powerful, giving, loving father-figure, to which children are taught to make supplications and requests, is a religion indeed-- a distorted substitute for the Judeo-Christian God; a false form of Christianity; a zealously-protected American idol.

In presenting the poem, I gave the children quick historical background about the Santa Claus myth-- its evolution from the historic Nickolaus, Bishop of Myrna in Asia Minor, who died in 343 A.D., to its amalgamation with ancient Western pagan traditions of German, Scandinavian and Dutch origins, to the current manifestation in the secular Christmas culture of today. (Dutch children, for example, would put their wooden shoes out at night for “Sante Klaus” to fill with candies.)

The current Santa Claus figure was popularized in the late 19th Century by artist Thomas Nast of Harper’s Weekly Magazine, who depicted “Saint Nick,” not as an elf, but a rotund, pipe-smoking man in a red and white suit. This is the deity to which countless public school children today are taught to make supplications, and about whom they sing their many songs at annual public school Christmas programs.

If people are upset about the revelation to children that Santa Claus is a myth-- which all children who are taught this lie find or figure out eventually-- perhaps it is because Santa is that zealously-guarded idol of their own modern religion. Therefore, as a religion, let Santa be kept out of the public school classroom (no more “Dear Santa” letters to line those school hallways)--or perhaps, in the interest of “diversity,” make his mythical, oversized personage share equal representation in literature, and song, and Christmas programs, with the other Person of the season: the Lord Jesus Christ, God made flesh, God with us."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: absolutelywackaloon; allaboutme; badsanta; bahhumbug; bundleofjoy; campuscommies; campusradicals; christianity; coalinyoursock; crankymeanie; devilwearsredtoo; elohim; elvesinhell; feminazis; getalife; harridan; hormoneswouldhelp; leadpipes; mentalmidget; miserablewretch; needsagoodscrooge; nogiftsforyou; nutcaketeacher; nutjob; oldnickstnick; piousposer; pontificatrix; publicschools; religion; santa; santamyth; santasatan; satanclaus; scroogette; shrew; sourpuss; teacher; teacherfromhell; toobadkids; waronchristmas; waronpaganism; wheresmymartyrdom; xanthippe; xmastaliban
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To: Sister_T

The commercial use of Santa Claus is at the heart of it. "The Night before Christmas" has nothing to do with Christianity, nor with the reason Christmas is celebrated.

Never thought I'd find myself agreeing with an atheist but HERE! HERE! And AMEN to that!

I agree, also!!

161 posted on 12/26/2005 9:21:09 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
I love Him and am not ashamed to call Him my Lord and my God.

Nor am I. But he is most certainly not a "vine". Why do you insist on saying so?

162 posted on 12/26/2005 9:21:45 AM PST by mcg1969
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To: Egon

If you say so. To me, it sounds more like folks are upset that she told kids that Santa was a myth.

163 posted on 12/26/2005 9:22:29 AM PST by Sister_T (Kenneth Blackwell for Governor of Ohio!)
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To: Diddle E. Squat

And to some people healing on the Sabbath was a sin.

And a little but of dancing around the goldne calf was okay until Moses cam down from the mountain!

164 posted on 12/26/2005 9:23:12 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix

Big sigh. Santa isn't a god. He's a myth. You said so, yourself.

165 posted on 12/26/2005 9:23:57 AM PST by hershey
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To: jigsaw

"I would never have agreed to speak to this reporter at all,
had I known that your paper would distort both my words and
its intentions about the use of my words."

Welcome to presstitution, Dear Teacher.

Such misrepresentation and lying by MediaPersons is now the norm in the journalism field, ever since the Columbia University School of Journalism accepted the legitimacy of "advocacy journalism".

166 posted on 12/26/2005 9:24:44 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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To: Conservatrix

Just curious, are you Theresa R. Farrisi?

Either way, I think you (and her, if different persons) are probably well-meaning and a good person/parent. Having lived in that area and attended a conservative Christian church, we may have even met before. The zealousness for Christ and trying to live as pure and honest a life is admirable, but in this case the zeal may have been taken too far, and the wrong battle fought that undermines credibility and the message instead of spreading it.

167 posted on 12/26/2005 9:25:12 AM PST by Diddle E. Squat (Thou shalt not snipe hunt)
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To: hershey

Big sigh. Santa isn't a god. He's a myth. You said so, yourself.

That is how the teacher taught it, as a myth.
So why is everyone so upset about the truth?
Unless, of course, Santa IS a religious figure...

168 posted on 12/26/2005 9:25:16 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: picturebell

"gee, maybe these kids weren't as mature as you were.... I am sure that whatever is good for you is good for other people's 6 year olds.... typical bitter, cynical self-righteous a-holes.... "

OK. You've convinced me. Christmas is the story of Santa Claus, who lives at the North Pole. Once a year he brings presents to all boys and girls who have been good. He comes in a sleigh, pulled by flying reindeer.

If you believe in him, and ask him for things, he will bring them to you, but you have to be a good child. No fighting. No other bad behavior, either. Those are sins, and you'll be punished by not getting any toys.

Now I understand the true meaning of Christmas. Thanks for clearing that up for me. All those Santa stories are really true, and should be read as scripture.

So what's all this stuff about Jesus? If Santa's really the reason for Christmas, and the stories about him should be taught to young children, I don't get the Jesus thing. Does Jesus bring presents on Christmas? Does He have a sleigh and flying reindeer? If I send Jesus a list of toys I want, will I get them? No?

Heck, I'll stick with Santa then.

169 posted on 12/26/2005 9:25:37 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Conservatrix
Many to you these are small thing that aren't important but to some who love Jesus with their whole hearts, an idol is an idol, not matter how accepted culturally.

Well, apparently, God has a different message for me than He has for you when I've prayed about this issue.

My faith allows the two to co-exist. In the end, the reality wins out, the fantasy doesn't.

I have no problem with you discussing this with me in this fashion. Nor is problem with you in our differences in faith, it is in your deciding not just to refuse to perpetuate the myth, but in actively undermining my responsibility as a parent and dispelling the myth.

170 posted on 12/26/2005 9:27:22 AM PST by Egon (I don't want edible meat, I want edible animals. - CygnusXI)
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To: G.Mason

Thank you G.Mason...Merry Christmas to you too!

171 posted on 12/26/2005 9:27:37 AM PST by trussell (Work for God...the retirement benefits are great!)
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To: mcg1969

You might want to check this verse. Seems that Jesus himself said that he was the true vine. It's interesting what you learn when you study the Bible, instead of just listening to preachers or just claiming to be a Christian based on nothing but a few verses:

"JOHN 15
1 I am the true VINE, and my Father is the husbandman.

172 posted on 12/26/2005 9:28:08 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: abclily
"Here is the substance of her ignorance: Not knowing or caring about the emotions of young children. Pure ignorance. And a bit sadistic besides."

Yes, I don't think she was really concerned about the children. It sounded like she was overly concerned with herself, IMHO. The amount of "I's" and "Me's" in her statement showed her own narcissistic temperament.
173 posted on 12/26/2005 9:29:15 AM PST by khnyny (Merry Christmas)
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To: Sister_T; Conservatrix
Never thought I'd find myself agreeing with an atheist but HERE! HERE! And AMEN to that!

Do you also agree, then, that it is appropriate for a substitute teacher to announce to children that their PARENTS have been lying to them?

This is another example of the schools usurping the authority of the parents. It is the responsibility of the parents who tell their children about Santa Claus to decide the appropriate time and place and way to tell their children the truth.

"Educators" are increasingly attempting to replace the role of parents, and this substitute, did the same thing liberal academics have been doing for decades.

174 posted on 12/26/2005 9:29:20 AM PST by SittinYonder (That's how I saw it, and see it still.)
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To: MineralMan

1 I am the true VINE, and my Father is the husbandman."

I believe that. My faith in Jesus is based on much more than a "few statements."

BTW what does this have to do with the main point of this thread, Santa Claus and public school?

175 posted on 12/26/2005 9:29:32 AM PST by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: MineralMan
MineralMan, I am quite aware of that verse, thanks. You are missing my point, which is that Jesus is NOT, in fact, a vine, even though he says he is. So why do you think he did so? Why do you think he said something that is not, in fact, true?
176 posted on 12/26/2005 9:30:02 AM PST by mcg1969
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To: Conservatrix

I have no idea. The topic has strayed, as usual...

177 posted on 12/26/2005 9:30:26 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: MineralMan; All
How many six year olds do you suppose still believe that Santa Claus is a real figure?

I have a six year-old and a ten year-old, and they both love to get excited about Santa coming at Christmas. It's part of the fun. At some deep level, they understand the truth. They can sense that fundamentally, Mommy feels very different about "helping Santa" by buying gifts, than she does about Jesus Christ.

This teacher was completely out of line, she stole something important from both the children and their parents.

btw, I love the keywords on this thread. Bah humbug, indeed.

178 posted on 12/26/2005 9:30:28 AM PST by proud American in Canada
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To: Sister_T

Amen Sister!

179 posted on 12/26/2005 9:30:45 AM PST by mollynme (cogito, ergo freepum)
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Comment #180 Removed by Moderator

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