A Sydney School has been accused of stealing Christmas (you can read the article here and judge for yourself).
It’s a big call but is the school taking it too far?
The school have changed words to Christmas songs to say “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” have no Christmas tree, pictures of santa or reference to Jesus.
The school is a Montessori school, which uses a different approach in educating children. It uses the love of learning and encourages independence in an environment where the children can determine the pace in which they want to work at, which they say fosters positive social behaviour.
Montessori schools are a part of the secular education system. No particiular religion is taught (just like the public education system) however all religions and people are respected. Religion is instead looked at from a cultural and sociological point of view rather than the doctrine.
The schools also claim that this way of learning encourages and fosters respect between the students, the staff and the students learn to respect people of all walks of life.
The 2001 Census data states that 68% of Australians came under the umbrella of Christianity for the question on religion (that amounts to 12,762,920 of the population, the total population for 2001 at the 30th June 2001 was 19,413,240 people)(I couldn’t find accurate information from the 2006 data and the 2011 data won’t be released until June 2012).
With the above figures, it’s safe to say that Australia is a predominantly Christianity based country. So why is it that institutions are insisting on not celebrating the traditions and holidays of the predominant religion of our country? This is not about proclaiming that Christianity is better than other religions, it’s simply about celebrating what the majority know. I would consider myself atheist. But it bothers me that there are some religions that you can mock openly and some that you can’t. It seems that there are some religions that have to compromise and some that don’t. Is that why it’s easy for us as a country to allow simple things like not celebrating Christmas to occur?
I think it’s gone too far. I understand that it may cause discomfort to people of other cultures and religions but we’re all in Australia and i don’t think Australian traditions and culture (some will argue we have none but that’s a different matter altogether) should have to suffer because we’re on a preemptive to not offend. Putting up Christmas trees, decorations, references to Santa and saying “Merry Christmas” is not intended to cause harm or to offend. It’s done because it’s what has come about organically. I can’t imagine anyone said “hey, all these other religions don’t celebrate Christmas so let’s shove it in their face with all these trees, decorations and presents and keep talking about and Santa and Jesus in front of them.”
I don’t remember when we became so uptight about these things. But it has been occurring over the last few years. I strongly believe that when you come to a new country and choose to stay, then you are also choosing to accept their traditions and their culture. That’s not to say that you have to forget about your own, but you need to accept them. It also doesn’t mean that you have to take part but it does mean that you respect them, just as you’d expect others to respect your traditions and culture.
I think the school hasn’t handled the situation appropriately. They’re claiming that they teach respect to their students yet ban a tradition that is probably one of the most significant in Christianity. Would that also mean that eventually Good Friday and Easter Monday will also be banned or are they OK because there aren’t as much visual components to these holidays? I think the school need to rethink their approach. For kids, Christmas is about Santa and presents (well for most kids, that’s what it’s about). How about we just let them enjoy it instead of trying at such an early age to focus on political correctness.
How do you draw the line between what is too far and what is being considerate of other people?