Prayer Is Banned…But What About Christmas?

(Editor’s Note:  A new column from a new columnist today…and she gets right into one of the messiest of the messy school subjects.  Tell us what you think of the points raised below.–Ed.)

by Raiza R-K:

It’s been an ongoing debate for the longest time amongst a wide variety of people-the teachers, the students, the parents, the nudist-slash-sun worshipper who lives down the street… Yet still, we can’t decide what to do about prayer in schools.

But if we think that keeping prayer out of schools is keeping religion out of school like we’re “supposed” to, then let me ask you this:

What about Christmas?

To us commercialized Americans, Christmas is about the closest we can get to religion. Perhaps praying that you’ll make a fortune at the races counts, but as this piece is not designed to point out America’s gambling problem, I’ll stick to the holidays.

Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in America, most likely because it’s a chance for all those spoiled little rotten brats to get ponies and puppies and expensive electronics like they asked. But its religious side usually doesn’t come out, unless the celebrating family knows anything about the holiday itself. Christmas is a holiday meant to celebrate the birth of Christ, and to hope that the sun will come out again following winter so that Spring will start again and all our families won’t die of starvation. At least, that’s what it meant in the old days.

But today, all Christmas is about to your average American family is getting gifts, baking cookies from store-bought dough, and watching small children beat each other up over who gets to put out cookies for Santa. For this reason, I don’t think it’s fair we consider Christmas a religious holiday anymore. (Let’s just say, my family is in the middle.)

A few members of the 7th-grade population of Jefferson Middle School seemed to agree on one point: Getting rid of Christmas at JMS isn’t the nicest idea on the planet.

Hannah P.: No way!
Kayla R.: That’s (expletive) up.
Violet M.: That sucks, man!
Victoria R.: Freedom of religion. All I have to say.
Angie C.: I would be PO’ed.

But the problem still stands: Sure, we can keep Santa Claus (AKA Saint Nicholas, patron saint of thieves) in school, but if the Christian kids want to pray in school, they can’t, is what I’m getting from what I’ve heard. The simplest solution here is to just make up our minds. It’s not fair to have the Americanized (not sure if that’s a word) part celebrated, and the actual thing shoved to the side like math homework.

So I’ll let whoever reads this choose: Would you prefer that you not get Christmas break, not get holiday parties in class, or not being able to wish your friends a ‘Merry Christmas’ on the last day of classes before Christmas (I’m sorry, Winter) break? Or would you rather we have a room in our school set aside for optional prayer?

Your call.

(Note: I was kidding about the nudist sun worshipper down the street thing.)


19 thoughts on “Prayer Is Banned…But What About Christmas?

  1. First off, Saint Nicholas is NOT Santa: he is the basis for the personality of Santa what with the bringing of gifts and such (Saint Nick left gold coins in peoples’ shoes). Also Saint Nicholas is NOT the patron saint of thieves, what sort of idiot is the patron saint of something the bible speaks against, he is the patron saint of children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, pharmacists, archers, and pawnbrokers.

    Secondly, since when have christians NOT been allowed to pray? All that has changed since ’45 is that now not everyone HAS to pray. You may still pray if you wish.

    My policy is don’t intrude on my beliefs and I won’t openly mock yours!

    • Trust me, Ivan. If I wanted to openly mock your beliefs I would have a long long time ago and in a much ruder manner.

      Second of all, yes, he IS the base for Santa. But in that “The Night Before Christmas” poem or whatever it’s called, he is referred to as “saint Nicholas” and I quote…

      …In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…”

      Third, and I wouldn’t fight me on this because I have a cousin (whom/who) I consulted when I wrote this (Might I mention, she’s dedicated a good eleven years of her life studying Christmas, which is odd): Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Thieves in some cultures, and the Patron Saint of Thieves who have repent their ways in others.

      Thank you for your opinion, I will take it into consideration the next time I try to dis a holiday. (Believe me, I plan on doing July 4th at some time or another.)

      • And…. as stated in my second paragraph…

        But if we think that keeping prayer out of schools is keeping religion out of school like we’re “supposed” to…

        So, in schools and not just everyday.

        And I am referring to ORGANIZED prayer in public schools, not just a math test you’re dreading.

  2. Well, I have to side a little with Ivan on this, I think. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone who was praying privately have someone come up to them and say “Hey, punk! You’re not allowed to pray!” I’m not sure what you mean about “organized” prayer. Is this saying that everyone will go into a room and pray together? Anyway, I think that it is fine the way it is. Christian people are allowed to pray privately if they want to, and those who are of a different belief are not required to do anything. And, we can still have winter break.

  3. First off “The Night Before Christmas” isn’t exactly what I would trust on facts about Saint Nicholas. Also, I put in higher regard the “Google Definitions” than a cousin of yours whom I have never met and trust about as far as I can throw a black rhinoceros.

  4. I have personal issues with brackets. They’re the lame stepcousin of (parentheses). Go ahead and mistrust the cousin. I’m not picky. And if that one poet dude thought that St Nick was close enough to Santa to be substituted in poem, then I’ll make like a poker player and deal.

  5. Ok, I agree that Christmas has become a sort of excuse to get gifts and not go to school. I agree that it isn’t fair that we celebrate the “Americanized” Christmas and not the actual one. And WINTER break is very Christmas oriented…

  6. Alright. I agree that Christmas Spirit doesn’t have a place in the school itself, but students ARE allowed to pray. Freedom of religion of speech, hmm? The thing is that the school isn’t allowed to present or enforce a single form of belief, such as making an atheist student recite a pledge that accepts the existence of god *hint, hint* or wishing people a merry Christmas over the announcements. Students, on the other hand, aren’t part of a government program and therefore can pray all they want.

  7. ben- quit mixing your rights. freedom of religion of speech? REALLY? your beliefs are your own, and nobody can take that away from you. and it seems that this thread has went from religion to homework! STAY ON TOPIC!

    • How am I mixing rights? To the best of my knowledge, we have BOTH freedom of religion AND speech [and press, I might add], not just one or the other. And how did this ‘thread’ go to homework from religion? Organized take-time-out-of-that-dreaded-health-class prayer is still prayer, and prayer is religion. And finally, who are you?

  8. I believe he is an uninformed person of strong (though highly inaccurate and generally unsupported) opinion.
    Grenade Man, if you don’t have anything intelligent to say, don’t say anything at all!

  9. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    What does that have to do with the point (however controversial) of your article? By the way, I think I’ve finally gotten the point of your article: you think that either a) the schools take out some time from each already jam packed day for a task which hasn’t the most remote connection to education and would disinclude several people or b) the school stops having winter break because at one time it was connected to Christmas.

    If I don’t miss my guess, that is the most misguided Catch-22 ever and should be avoided altogether! You can find your own time to pray and if you have a problem with winter break speak up!

  10. I am leaving a commet.
    Sorry, that was stupid. Anyway, I say we should have WINTER break, and completley forget chrismas. Not only does eveyone forget it’s religous aspect, we also forget that it was a sad attempt to get pagans to join there religon by proving that they were a little bit alike (which they arent. Im sort of the sun worshipper person, but im not a nudist. Im afraid of rapists.) Also, i dont care if someone wants to pray. It’s his or her religous choice. I have a freind who prays alot before eating and I dont care even though i really dont like christianity(correction I hate MOST christains. they usually are hypocrits. Ive met satanists who are more good than most christains i meet.) Now, i need to find my writing.

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