Friday, December 01, 2006

School Calendar

Notice anything interesting about this school calendar?

If not, take a look at December 16th and December 25th. Not only is one religious holiday identified and not the other, there's a religious symbol used for one and not the other. I wonder why that is.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah Mr. Miller. That is pretty funny.


Anonymous said...


Darren said...

Thanks, Evan.

And yes, anonymous, Hannukah is a Jewish holiday. Good job!

gbradley said...

They left off Kwansa.

Anonymous said...

While I am not interested in any of the “assault on Christmas” stuff, this does make a solid point about the pendulum swinging far the other way. A middle ground of mentioning none or all must be reached.

Anonymous said...


Why don't we just cut the PC crap? Really, if anyone feels offended by something like not having a holiday put on a calender, go take a few happy pills and leave the rational folk to go about their business.

Darren said...

Wow, Eric, implying I'm irrational for pointing this out is a bit extreme, don't you think?

Besides, I'm not offended. Just find it curious enough to post about.

Anonymous said...

eric has a point. many religious groups bitch and scream (like mr.miller) because we've mentioned CHRISTMAS, and then bitch because we havn't mentioned their religious holidays. in the end, we take out the original name to make ourselves politically correct, and then we put the other religious holiday, just to make them happy. double standard, no?

the original reason we even have a CHRISTMAS break is becuase of CHRISTMAS. if there was no christmas, we wouldnt have a break. so just accept that it used to be called CHRISTMAS (and should continue to be) and get over it.

Darren said...

Scott, when have I ever complained about mentioning Christmas?

Anonymous said...

My comment wasn't directed at you, Mr. Miller. It was directed at all of the people who really care that much about naming holidays on school calenders. Do holidays really need to be on there? I mean, the only religious holidays that people get the day off for are already during breaks, so they aren't really necessary. Plus, anyone who needs to know when Hannukuh is could consult their own home calender. And besides, I haven't heard of anyone converting to Judaism because they knew when the 7th night of Hannukuh was.

Anonymous said...

At universities, the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction. We get a directive from the Dean of Faculties office every semester, listing over thirty religious holidays -- voodoo, neo-pagans, druids, you name it -- and are "asked" by the Dean not to require any work or attendance on these days.

Anonymous said...

Omitting Christmas was not an oversite. It has no place on a school calendar. Including Hannukah was a mistake most likely made by office staff eager to deploy crappy clip-art whenever possible. Neither Hannukah nor crappy clip-art are appropriate on a school calendar.

Anyway, the Christians always get their way: no school on their special days. Oh, and how is it that December 25th became Christmas anyway? Oh yeah, Christian usurpation of the Pagan Saturnalia festival. Those crafty Christians, I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

What, exactly, is supposed to be post-worthy about CalendarGate? What's the bit? And if there is no bit, why the post?

Is it presented as yet another link in the growing chain of Christian oppression sweeping the "In God We Trust" nation? Like that evil plot sprung by corporate America to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays"? How dare corporations take steps to not offend non-Christians! No wonder so many Christians are offended by this attempt to not offend people who are not just like them.

An rightwingprof, how much work do your students turn in December 26th? I'm guessing less than they do for any of the other holidays you're waved off from. Are you not prepared to extend courtesies to others that society extends to Christians?

And what perks to Atheists get? Seems unfair they don't get a state-sanctioned do-nothing day or two on the calendar.

Oh and Scott, it may be called CHRISTMAS, but it has nothing to do with Christ. Historical accounts suggest Jesus was born in the spring (if he was born at all). Many cultures/religions have winter solstice holidays, so even if it weren't called Christmas, you'd probably still get a school vacation out of the deal.

Darren said...

It's post-worthy because I write this blog, and *I* determined it's post-worthy. Don't like it? Don't come around here no more.

(pseudo-apologies to Tom Petty)

Darren said...

For those of you who want to argue that the mere mention of Christmas is an apoplexy-inducing violation of the Constitution, I point you to the following web site, dealing with Ganulin v. United States:

On December 6, 1999, Federal District Judge Susan J. Dlott granted our motion to dismiss the case. In her decision, she wrote, "The Court holds that under Sixth Circuit and Supreme Court precedent the establishment of Christmas Day as a legal public holiday does not violate the Establishment Clause because it has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular, and it does not impermissibly cause excessive entanglement between church and state."

Plaintiff Ganulin appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Becket Fund filed a brief with the Appeals Court on May 1, 2000, and participated in oral arguments before the Sixth Circuit on December 7, 2000.

On December 19, 2000, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court decision, and dismissed the lawsuit. Ganulin appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on March 30, 2001, The Becket Fund filed a brief (PDF format, 135K) with the high court asking that it decide the case by "summary disposition on the merits," without additional briefing or oral arguments.

On April 16, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case, leaving in place the Sixth Circuit decision affirming the holiday's constitutionality.

Since Ganulin filed his lawsuit, two major appeals court decisions have been handed down regarding official holidays. In Granzeier v. Middleton, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that closing a county's courts and administrative offices on Good Friday did not violate the Constitution. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a Good Friday holiday in Maryland in Koenick v. Felton.

The fact that this web site and organization *are* apparently run by Christians does not take away from what the courts have ruled.

Just as Christians co-opted a few pagan holidays along the way, so have the secularists co-opted a few Christian holidays along the way. Nowhere in the Christian holy book do I find references to a fat man living with flying reindeer at the North Pole, to a suggestion to cut down an evergreen tree and display it with ornamentation--or to a rabbit that hides eggs and brings chocolates, for that matter. Those of you who don't like Christians or their beliefs but expect everyone to bow down to you and yours: tough.

Anonymous said...

Let me help you out, Darren. When the judge says that mention of Christmas "has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular," he means you have to deal with the fatman, reindeer, north pole, pagan tree rituals, etc.

And none of those stem from secularist plots, as you suggest. They stem from commercialization (you *do* support free enterprise, don't you?) and leftovers from the stolen holidays. If the Christians didn't want the baggage, they should have come up with their own holiday instead of stealing previously established ones. But then, that wouldn't have helped out with the religious colonization that was their agenda. If Christians don't like the baggage they acquired through theft: tough.

Darren said...

I myself don't mind the baggage, anonymous. Because that secular, profit-centered holiday that was co-opted from a religious holiday means I still get to call it Christmas at school, and you Christian-hating bigots just get to deal with it.


Anonymous said...

You can call it whatever you want. But I have the strength that comes from knowing.

Like knowing that Dec. 25 bears no relation to the birth of Christ--even if you believe in all that. And Christians--who co-opted the solstice holiday--cry foul because free enterprise co-opted it from them? It's a drag when your stolen property gets ripped off.

Some of my favorite corrective discussions ensue when a particular "Christian" looks down his/her nose at me and demands an explanation for why I celebrate Christmas. As if it's their party and I can't legally be part of it. They're treated to the history lesson they asked for and clearly needed.

And what's with the name-calling? I looked back at the comments and saw no evidence of a "Christian-hating bigot" in the discussion. Who's the *real* hater here?


Darren said...

I, too, know.

I don't care if Christ was born on December 25th or not. It's a commemoration of a date no one knows for sure, so you don't get my undies in a bunch over that one.

What would Jesus do? I'm not sure; why don't you pray and ask him? =)

Anonymous said...

1. Since Dec. 25 is simply a commercialized commemoration of a date unknown, probably best that it be left off the school calendar. No biggie, since school's not in session and there are no school events that day anyway. I just hope something happening on Dec. 16 wasn't excluded by the gratuitous Hannukah reference.

2. I would pray, but prayer doesn't work. Besides, Jesus holds meaning for you, not for me. Are you not compelled to live your religion and provide an example to all?

(Notice, by the way, I included the most Christian-friendly account of prayer's failure I could find. Many accounts of the study were much more objective.)

Anonymous said...

1. Could be an accident due to the fact that there is no school on that date, whereas parts of Hanukkah occur before Winter Break starts, but I admit that is kind of weird.

2. What kind of school? Public or private? For instance, I teach at a private Jewish school, so my calendar (if we had calendars like this) wouldn't have any Christian holidays on them, whereas Jewish holidays would appear. That's to be expected.

3. I, too, don't get the whole assault on Christmas paranoia, but I also don't think that Darren was trying to say he felt like Christmas was under siege -- rather, like he said, he was pointing out a weird thing that happened.

4. Someone said "if Jesus was born" he was born in the spring. Or perhaps the fall... The shepherds and whatnot. However, I don't get why the debate on "if." I think Jesus is a well-documented historical figure. The question is not whether he existed, but whether you believe he's the Son of God or a heretic or a nuisance or whatever. Like I said, I teach at a Jewish school, and I've never heard anyone question whether Jesus was a historical person.

Darren, why so many anonymous commenters? Just curious...

Mamacita (The REAL one) said...

I don't pay no nevermind to anything "anonymous" commenters say. If they were proud of their words, they'd sign their name and leave contact information. Those who just hit and run and don't leave an address are cowards.

Darren is the boss of his blog.

AprilMay said...

I think the calendar post is both hilarious and irritating! Way back when, as a student teacher, I was reprimanded by my mentor teacher for giving the students a nativity scene to color. The activity the next day, planned by the mentor teacher, was to make dreidels. I just hate the double standard!

Anonymous said...

Dana, try Googling "Jesus never existed" for starters.

There is, in fact, a substantial body scholarly work suggesting that no actual single "Jesus" individual ever existed. Generally speaking, Christians and Jews are unaware of this work; the assumption of a real Jesus is very deeply engrained in Judeo-Christian religion and culture. So much so, the question is never asked.

Mamcita, if an idea has merit, why would you obsess over the byline? You are certainly free to dismiss anything under the anonymous banner, but why not read and evaluate the content? And if you enjoy puzzles, try to imagine why someone might want to pen an anonymous thought to a blog run by a highly opinionated teacher who is a member of a school community.

Darren said...

Wow, anonymous, and you supposedly wonder why CTEN doesn't publish its list of board members. Interesting double standard.

But it's ok. Heck, even students have correctly identified you. May as well drop the pretense.

Darren said...

And one other thing. Perhaps you'd have been more accurate if you had said, "try to imagine why a highly opinionated teacher might want to pen an anonymous thought to a blog run by another highly opinionated teacher who is a member of a school community."

Anonymous said...

The library in my hometown will be closed on December 25 for "Winter Holiday".