Skip to comments.Teacher defends "Santa" remarks (Full, unedited statement)
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 Harpers 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."
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!!
Nor am I. But he is most certainly not a "vine". Why do you insist on saying so?
If you say so. To me, it sounds more like folks are upset that she told kids that Santa was a myth.
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!
Big sigh. Santa isn't a god. He's a myth. You said so, yourself.
"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".
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.
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...
"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.
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.
Thank you G.Mason...Merry Christmas to you too!
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:
1 I am the true VINE, and my Father is the husbandman.
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.
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?
I have no idea. The topic has strayed, as usual...
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.
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