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August 9th, 2010
08:55 AM ET

My Take: Keep schools open on Christmas

Editor's Note: David Bristow serves as a Christian youth director in northern Virginia and is a graduate student at Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.

By David Bristow, Special to CNN

Christmas may still be five months away, but what would happen if schools around the country decided to open their doors for the holiday?

I pondered the question after reading a CNN Belief Blog post in which Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of New York University’s Islamic Center, argued that public schools should close for two prominent Muslim holidays in New York City.

Noting that more than 10 percent of New York City school students are Muslim, he suggests that the public school calendar grant the Islamic community the same holiday leisure as it already gives to Christian and Jewish students.

It’s no surprise that readers’ comments were highly diversified on the matter. But I didn’t see my point of view represented among the hundreds of comments. A full-time Christian youth minister, I wouldn’t care in the slightest if public schools opened on Christmas Day. I’m fine with school on Christmas.

Here’s my reasoning: For those religiously devoted to Christmas, having school on the holiday might foster more faithfulness and community from professed Christians.

As the Christmas season becomes more and more secularized, various Christian segments have accommodated its material encroachment, often consuming massive amounts of product to the detriment of daily prayer, charity and genuine worship. Such a trend is not exactly what I feel Christ would want from his followers.

Yet having school open on Christmas Day could very well re-emphasize its true meaning for believer and non-believer alike. Devoted Christian families would have to miss school just as the country’s Muslim youth should do for Eid ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha.

Muslims aren’t the only religious minorities that have to do this. Jewish students often miss school activities for Yom Kippur. In doing so, American Muslims and Jews make a subtle but radical point, that faithful believers— not New York City politicians or its Department of Education—determine how and when they nourish their souls on holy days.

Of course, such a viewpoint is not without detractors.

The Christian, like the Muslim, would have to accept the consequences dished out by local school systems for their absence—be it missed school work, soccer practice, AP tests, etc. However, this may be the cost of faithful witness when one’s religiosity doesn’t jibe with public education or modern democratic principles.

It is a faith-centered rationale that seems to be lacking among many mainstream Christians. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time a Christian youth had a “religious obligation” over and above a prominent public school activity. But I’ve encountered many a Muslim youth who has done so. Maybe it's time we Christians learned from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

The issue is not about getting sanctioned approval for a religious observance. At best, such rallying seeks to outwardly justify one’s faith commitments and, at worst, relegates those same commitments to the whimsy of outside governing committees.

What I don’t understand about Latif’s post is why he feels Muslims would be any better off by having their holidays legitimated with school days off. To the contrary, his perspective runs the risk of over-accommodating the Muslim faith in the same way some Christians have watered down theirs.

Instead, why not continue to have thousands of Muslims miss school for the religious observances they hold so dear? It reinforces the idea that faithfulness to ones’ sacred days are a personal affair. It should make no difference as to what New York City bureaucrats decide to do with Muslim holidays because, at the end of the day, they’re not the ones in control of the matter.

I’m all for working with local governments, city councils and educational systems for the betterment of all. Yet a “working with” doesn’t need to entail a “bowing down to,” especially when it comes to matters of worship. What worries me most about Latif’s argument is that he appears to seek integration largely for reasons other than those set forth by his faithful witness.

I pray that Latif understands that Muslim children don’t have to attend school on their sacred days any more than Christians would if schools opened on Christmas. I hope he teaches Muslim students to realize that choosing between education and faith is to have already made a mistake. And I trust he’ll comprehend how percentages or social demographics should never determine who gets a religious holiday and who does not.

Our faiths are too good for that. They deserve better.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Bristow.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Holidays • Interfaith issues • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. Russell Hammond, Hollywood

    As long as I can take bring my turkey deep fryer to my kids' school for Christmas dinner, I'm all for the idea.

    August 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  2. SeanNJ

    The truth is Christmas *is* a secular holiday now, regardless of what religious people think. If you open school on Christmas, nobody will show up.

    August 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • PHIL

      Christmas is what you make of it not what people say you make of it.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • tenorlord

      After all, Christmas isn't even christian in it's origins. Romans were celebrating it before Constantine as Saturnalia.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  3. andy

    who cares what the muslims think ? Everyone kicks Christians but kiss the butt of muslims. If it were left up to most of you left wing wack jobs, there would be nothing to celebrate. Youi must live a sad life.

    August 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Gary

      Bravo, Andy you are the only one that says it like it is.......good to see someone with guts to say what 90% of americans feel.....

      August 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  4. Voyceoreason

    "Religious obligation" is the key phrase in the article. Born again Christians don't have "obligations" since they are saved by faith and not by works. Faith alone in Christ alone is the salvation Christians believe in. Works, obligations, and all other observances are testimonies of those who do not believe in the total sufficiency of Christ.

    August 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  5. Reality

    It is all about the koran which dictates that male Muslims dominate the world and should do so by any means possible. Therefore no male Muslims to include Khalid Latif can be trusted. When the con game Mohammed pulled by saying he was visited by some mythical "flying, wingie, talking thingie" is finally recognized by Muslims, then we can celebrate with a school holiday.

    August 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Ron

      Oh yes...my antagonistic boy/girl is at it again. Your capacity to hate is unmatched! Preach to us peasants...evangelize like never before. When are you going to talk about the Crusades or Hitler being a Christian?

      You my friend are no atheist!

      August 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • mama panda

      Oh, baloney!

      August 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Reality

      Some history:

      Hitler was never formally excommunicated, but it doesn't matter. Hitler was already excommunicated "in fact" (ipso facto) under the canon law of the Catholic Church for his numerous crimes against the Church, its people, its property, and its teachings. He could have actually returned to the Catholic faith (assuming that he might have wanted to), by having his excommunication removed by the Pope. The lifting of such excommunication is reserved to the Pope (latae sententiae). And let us not forget that the conference of German bishops excommunicated ALL Nazis who happened to be of the Catholic faith in 1930, and in the 1932 elections asked Catholics to NOT vote for any Nazi for any position. By being the leader of the Nazi party, Hitler had already put himself outside of the Church. The flaw in that logic might be that Hitler didn't become a German citizen until he ran against (and lost miserably) Hindenberg for the office of President.

      It is also true that the goal of the Nazis was to absolutely minimize the influence of ANY of the various Christian Churches without actually declaring an open war on them and without adopting a radical anti-Christian policy; "officially". (This is most certainly due to the fact that the Nazis came to power in a basically Christian country and in the middle of a Christian continent). An overt/open "war" upon Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in specific, would have meant the total demise of the Nazis early on.

      August 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Ron

      "By being the leader of the Nazi party, Hitler had already put himself outside of the Church. The flaw in that logic might be that Hitler didn't become a German citizen until he ran against (and lost miserably) Hindenberg for the office of President."

      I just pee'd myself...I love that you point out an error in your own logic! Or are you arguing against the source you copy and pasted from?

      August 10, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  6. SadPanda

    Christmas is not off because of Christmas. It’s off because if we were to choose when to have off for a break, it makes the most sense to cover days that the majority of the students would miss. I’m an atheist and if we were to choose a break, not taking into account anything but when people will be gone. I would choose the same days. As for me, I will be praying to the magical pink unicorn as the overwhelming majority of Christian families participate in what they believe to be a religious celebration.-When in actuality you are simply celebrating what big cooperation want you too. Silly Sheeple

    August 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • PHIL

      Get off the drugs , Christions know Christmas day is not the actual day Jesus Christ was born. Myself and many other Christions are moving towards a Christmas of less stuff and more of celibrateing the birth of our savior .

      August 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Kealee

      I agree Phil! We certainly celebrate the birth of Christ (although we realize it's not the actual day of his birth) before anything else on this day. We celebrate the day before on Christmas Eve and the day of Christmas. Christ is first in our family because he is the true reason to celebrate (be it Christmas or anything else!) Big corporations aren't dictating anything to me or my family.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • SadPanda

      I never said ALL christian families you will notice. Maybe you should lay off the drugs so you stop talking to invisible men, or perhaps take a reading class so you can better understand what words mean. However, If you buy presents for your children on christmas and open them under a tree covered in lights then you are still participating in a holiday that was molded and changed over the years into what it is currently by big corperations. 🙂 not that it isnt fun!

      August 10, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • kithope

      Ramen!

      August 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  7. Clay

    Christmas is a Federal holiday.

    August 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • Reality

      And a state and local holiday also.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Reality

      And it is celebrated as a holiday not a holyday so actually all can celebrate whatever on said day. A Winter Break holiday would be the better choice of wording.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Ron

      HEY EVERYONE- So Reality can move on...can we call it a "Winter Break". He tends to get angry at the idea of other ideas being more important than his. Thank you everyone.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  8. Sheila

    OKAY, Hold school year around with perhaps a short, two week break in the summer and at mid-winter. Provide up to six religious holidays for each person and agree not to hold exams on any of those days. Oh, wait...teachers don't want to work that hard...

    August 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Michael

      Oh Sheila,

      Just had to take that pot shot at teachers didn't you? You couldn't save your bitterness for an article that was actually about teachers? Yes, I am a teacher, and yes I do work hard. I know, I know, you have this all knowing ability that enables you to see how much all teachers work and have ordained that all teachers are lazy.....or maybe you are the typical cynical loudmouth who doesn't really know what they are talking about.

      August 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • deb

      I challenge you to work one month as a teacher as see how 'hard' we work. One month. This includes taking work home during the week and on weekends, attending after school and night meetings, doing daily yard duty, meeting w/ parents as needed, assessing and scoring exams in addition to the regular curriculum, running off needed papers w/ broken copiers, handle discipline problems so as not to offend any students' parents, and above all, keep the students safe and on-task.
      Yep, piece of cake.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Out of curiosity (and since we have some teachers here)–when would be practical, secular times for the students to have off? How often do teachers need the time to prepare for classes?

      (just so you know–I'm pro-teacher. 🙂 )

      August 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  9. RMS

    Celebrating Christmas is an American tradition. What is wrong with keeping some American traditions?

    August 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • deb

      Are you serious? How do you respond to all of the other countries celebrating it in the name of Christ?

      August 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  10. SPRINGSGRANNY

    The reason is because there are only 10% of muslim students vs a much larger proportion of Christians. If you cave to the muslim's then we'll have to have every other imaginible religion wanting days off from school too. Before you know it, there will be nothing left of the school calendar, no continuity and no learning. When my oldest son was in 1st grade (40 years ago), a woman came up to school and complained that they were celebrating Halloween with witches costumes and she was a witch and was very upset that it gave a negative view to her religion. Witches costumes were banned in school after that. See what I mean?

    August 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Actually–I'm married to a witch and know a few others. Most of them would love the opportunity to negate the negative connotations and have the opportunity to educate people about their beliefs. If we had a holiday that made all Christians out to be the Spanish Inquisition, I think some Christians might get upset.

      [But no one would expect that.... ;)]

      That said–most witches have a sense of humor about it.

      August 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • Hmmm...I wonder

      Let's not make any religious holidays off then... That would increase the continuity of learning and time in school. Why take a week off for Christmas or Winter anyways...

      August 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  11. Abby

    If there is a large enough population of practicing muslims in NY, then they should accomidate the religious observance. And please don't get rid of Christmas!!!! I am not personally a religious person but I value the time off to spend with my family and christmas is my favorite time of year; the food, conversation, and the day of movie watching and Wii games help to bring my family together. And what's the harm in giving the days off? I remember loving any excuse to miss school as a kid 🙂

    August 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Angie

      I agree!

      August 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Toby

      missadr- I think you mistook my point; I don't believe in any of the world's religions. My point is that secular ideas of the holidays (i.e. Santa, Easter Bunny) do not have evil repercussions for non-belief. Yes, the winter solstice was celebrated LONG before Christianity hijacked the holiday for their own gain, but I was never arguing otherwise.

      August 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  12. Toby

    Holidays in honor of myths are noting new, and secularism has a great way of turning these nonsensical ideas into things we can all enjoy (the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus). At least non-belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny will not earn you eternal suffering in hell.

    August 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • missadr

      Toby, last I checked, the winter solstice is not a myth. Neither is the return of light and life to the northern hemisphere. All religions have a light festival at the winter solstice. There's nothing mythical about it. Get over your hatred. There are things worth celebrating.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  13. Emmitt Langley

    I think it's a good idea...it would make it more obvious that government schools are little more than atheistic indoctrination centers. This is why we homeschool. So my kids will be taking Christmas and Good Friday off...

    August 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Right–because math and reading are atheistic....

      August 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
    • Scott

      I can't wait to see how socially inept your kids are.

      August 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  14. Dan G.

    The same way they do it in all the other states. There are only about 700,000!

    August 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  15. Leah

    Eh I say close and it's not because I'm a Christian–which I am–I understand the need to "get away". Besides Christmas isn't the ONLY day. When I was in school we got 2 weeks off for Christmas Break. Just like we have Spring Break. Keep battering kids minds day in and day out will only hurt their progress.

    That's why I'm taking 3 weeks off for Christmas because that's the only time I allow myself to see my parents/family. Just to "disappear of the face of the Earth" for 3 weeks–normally it's 2 but I got to get my license (as it's easier in FL).

    August 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  16. Dan G.

    If NYC didn't have so many illegals there would probably only be about 3 percent muslim school attendance.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bob

      How are the children registered for school with illegal parents?

      August 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Ron

      Bob- Don't you wish you had never hit "Post" on this one? I personally love that you did!

      August 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • Hmmm...I wonder

      Hmmm, even if I grant your argument and there are only 3% of public school system that are Muslim, shouldn't we still respect their beliefs and grant them their religious days? At what percent do we give religious tolerance?

      Moreover, a student can miss school for a dentist appointment, doctors appointment, religious holiday, whatever... Make up the work, learn what was taught and keep it going... Who cares why they were gone?

      August 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • Bob

      Ron, it was a legitimate question. Perhaps you should set your own silly bias aside and read comments for what they are.

      August 10, 2010 at 7:44 am |
    • Ron

      Bob- Bias...ok I'll accept that. Let me guess, I am a crazy Christian, or something of that nature...for pointing out your absurd question (that is factually incorrect) oh ye proponent of truth. No, I am not a crazy Christian, I am only concerned with antagonizing the antagonistic, or frustrating the frustrated. You're an easy target Boob.

      August 10, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  17. Pete

    Oh, sure, christians all across America should help all the antichrists in their continuous murder of Jesus Christ. Murdering him in our schools. Murdering him during his holydays in the public nativities. Murdering him in his marriage ceremonies. Murdering him in his churches. Christ killers need all the help their christian "brothers and sisters:" can give them. I mean what kind of christians would they be if they rebuked a perverted gay bishop in his church? You socialist subversives better start praying that the church of Jesus Christ does not wake up.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Why should we pray that the church doesn't wake up? Whatcha gonna do? Turn the other cheek? Tell me some idiotic parable?

      August 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Adrian

      No but some people might go tailban on you. I wont be one of them but some people will.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Meh, I find the concept of Christans being violent hilarous. It's like, the total opposite of what they believe.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • mama panda

      Muslims, Pete, are not antichrists. While they do not view Jesus as savior, or as God, they do view him as a prophet and messenger of God. They believe in the virgin birth, and that he will return at the end of days - and they had nothing whatsoever to do with murdering him. In fact, they don't believe he was killed, but taken alive to heaven.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Pete

      You said, "You socialist subversives better start praying that the church of Jesus Christ does not wake up."

      I just wish the church of Jesus Christ would wise up. LOL

      August 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Pete

      "socialist subversives" Really...? You are kidding right...?

      Please...... I wish the christian church of 'jesus christ'...... would wake up to it's ignorance, bigotry, worn out beliefs in unproven assumptions..........and on and on.....

      August 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      As the buddha said: If you see Christ, murder him!
      You're wound a little too tight their, Pete.

      August 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • DontDistort

      Pete, you forget (or the church failed to tell you probably), that christmas has it's roots in pagan rituals.

      In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast. In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

      Seems to me that the christians murdered the pagan faith by stealing all the parts of it to make christianity easier to swallow...what say you Pete?

      August 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • TammyB

      Ouch!

      August 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      "social subversives"

      If society is wrong, aren't you being the subversive?

      (It's antidisestablishmentarianism all over again!)

      August 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • So Sad

      Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity.. it was a Pagan day of celebration long before it became associated with Christianity .. as a matter of fact there was a time when Christians tried to outlaw Christmas because it encouraged too much 'merry making', drunkenness and debauchery. Christmas in the US has come has morphed into it's own tradition, very often having more to do with family and friends than religion. .. by the way Easter was stolen too, LOL

      August 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • Jason

      You forgot murdering Christ during Easter! ... Wait a minute...

      August 10, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  18. Don

    Christmas was designated a public, i.e., secular holiday by the United States government in 1870. This appears to be something of which the Imam is ignorant (and perhaps anyone else too if he or she insists that Christmas is sanctioned by the government as a religious holiday).

    I doubt that the Imam or any other Muslim would care much for a religious holiday being desacralized. However, it's doubtful that Christians in 1870 understood the making of Christmas into a public holiday as desacralization in any way. It more to assure that federal workers would not be deprived of a day off with their families. We tend look at thing differently through the lens of our times.

    Muslim holidays, no more than Christian, Jewish, pagan, or any other religious holidays, will not be sanctioned by the government as long as it exists in it current form, so the Imam may wish all that he would like. However, I think it equally wrongheaded to suggest that the current public or secular status of Christmas be removed. To do so would be to show preference to a particular religion. As a religious person I'm glad we the separation of church and state, as a protective measure, especially in the times of religious pluralism in which we live.

    August 9, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • Grant

      Context has been lost – This proposal has been made not for all of the USA, but rather for New York – where Jewish holidays are now days off from school – days not declared secular holidays by the government.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • Aloisae

      Except Jewish holidays were added to the calender not out of respect for the religion.. it was a practical matter (something like 40% of the staff were Jewish and 20% of the students). At this point, Muslim students and staff haven't reached the point where it is difficult for the schools to operate without them... they might at some point but still haven't hit it. If public schools (not private schools but public ones) start closing on religious holy days out of respect for the religions instead of based on practical reasons concerning the functioning of the schools then you really have to close for holy days of EVERY religion that is represented in the student body and/or staff. That is going to cut into school days pretty heavily.

      August 10, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  19. Bob

    > I pray that Latif understands that Muslim children don’t have to attend school on their sacred days any more than Christians would if schools opened on Christmas

    Wait what? I pray you understand the difference between a hypothetical argument and reality. The reality of the situation is that Christian children do not have to leave school for their spiritual days.

    For me, the only reason that there are christmas holidays is because the majority of staff and students would be off, thereby making the school day pointless for the most part. It's not about giving one religion more rights, just the nature of the situation.

    I would assume that in middle eastern countries they have Islamic days off and not Christian for that same reason.

    August 9, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Trav

      Well in most Muslim countries you have to pay a tax (the jizya) for being Christian, so no, I don't think they're giving them holidays off.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • DuhDude

      Trav has a good point. It's too bad the US isn't a Christian country, because in that case Christianity would matter in the national policy setting process the way that the Muslim religion does in a Muslim country. Secularism has its price.

      You mess with Bob Almighty you get burned. I'd say you should be the mascot for the Dems the way Joe the plumber was for the Right, except Bob the Builder is already taken and political sheep won't follow something unless it has a catchy name.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Father Robert Lyons

      Actually, Bob, there are times when, in fact, Christians have to take time off of school or work on days that are not recognized by society at large. For example, when I went to public school, I had to take off Holy Thursday and Good Friday most years, as our school system usually had Spring Break during the week following Easter. Another poster earlier noted the fact that the Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian Calendar for their computations of religious dates, leading to them celebrating Christmas significantly later. The Armenian Apostolic Church keeps Christmas on January 7th. Some Christians keep Christianized forms of Jewish festivals (i.e., Sukkot, Pesach, Pentecost, etc.) on the proper days based on the lunar calendar.

      Nobody deserves special treatment. When I was attending school, absence for any reason without a doctor's slip, judge's note, or an obituary was unexcused. It did not matter if the reason was religious, or what the religion was. As my principal once told me (when he also told me to stop saying grace before meals in the school), "Religion must take a second place to your education." I promptly replied "Bull" to him, and went right on praying and taking days off when they conflicted. I didn't care if the system approved or not.

      This is the approach I will be taking with my child. My wife and I are agreed that God and Family come before anything else. Education is vitally important, but education cannot stand in the way of the convictions of the soul. If we have to deal with the educational system over that, so be it.

      August 10, 2010 at 8:39 am |
    • kithope

      When I was a kid, I did indeed have to take off from school to attend mass on a holy day of obligation – All Saint's Day, Feast of the Ascension, etc. I do think that the article is well-reasoned and thought provoking.

      August 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  20. Bob

    Waiting for the hypocricy from the Christians that say "Christmas should be off. Islam days shouldn't!"

    August 9, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • Luke

      Patience is a virtue...

      August 9, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Mike

      Bob, your cynicism is unflattering, unnecessary, and unhelpful. If you comment about a blog, perhaps a moment of critical thought could mitigate your raw emotions and spare us all the few brief seconds we waste reading off-the-cuff bitterness. Bristow has clearly given thought to his entry and he deserves a thoughtful response. What do you think of his entry, not of the potential of others' responses?

      August 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Bob

      > Bob, your cynicism is unflattering, unnecessary, and unhelpful.

      You must be new here. It's not unflattering, because it's merely a comment on what this will eventually come down to. If you are in doubt of this, check the other blogs. They're ripe with fundie Christian hypocricy.

      It's also not unneccesary or unhelpful, for the same reason as above.

      > If you comment about a blog, perhaps a moment of critical thought could mitigate your raw emotions and spare us all the few brief seconds we waste reading off-the-cuff bitterness.

      If you took a moment you'd have realized that text is a very poor tool for conveying the tone of the message. Simply because you perceieve my message as bitter doesn't mean that it is. Honestly, it's the resignation that people like HumBled and CatholicMom will be soon here and posting how Christians deserve holidays and the government should support them because they know the one true God.

      Anyways, welcome to the CNN blogs.

      August 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Alex

      If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. Leave it alone . . . .

      August 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Noah

      If school was opened on Christmas, and if Christians take Bristow's suggestion not to show up, there would be hardly anyone there, teachers and students alike. The fact of the matter is Christians represent a large chunk of the student and teacher population, and the educational system therefore must oblige to them out of necessity.

      Perhaps Bristow is broadcasting his idea in metaphor, in which case, I agree.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Get a life, Bob. You're the one who's being a butt- the Christians don't even have to show up for the "buttness" to spread over the comments thanks to you.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Ron

      No Bob, you're waiting to argue with someone. Most of us see this... and BTW you look funny with your pants down!

      August 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Barbara

      Each year, millions of Orthodox Christians (Canadian, British, American, Russian, Serbian, Australian, Greek etc. ) who follow the ancient Julian Church Calendar (currently 13 days behind the civil calendar) choose to take off the many holy days that fall on a school/work day, including Christmas (unless it wonderfully falls on a Saturday or a Sunday that year). http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/feasts_e.htm

      August 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Russell

      I think the article was well written. I am a Christian and if school systems cater to one group for religious activities it needs to be the same for every religion. All you anti Christian people can hate all you want and say what ou want but the bottom like is the US was indead founded on the word of God. Look at all the public building in DC and around the country and what do you see? It's all founded in christianity. Read the money you love to save and spend say what you will the country was christian in the beginning like it or not.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • LP

      So, if you don't get the exact response that you're begging everyone for, you'll apologize to avoid your own hypocrisy, right? This isn't a fundie site- it's a news site.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Schools let out in the winter not for Christmas in most cases, but for winter break. Which is no different for schools that let out for fall break, or spring break. The attention span of a child needs a vacation every now and then. Leave it to American politics and minorities to bring more problems and raise more questions for something this silly. LEAVE THE KIDS BE!

      August 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • coramae

      I believe in the separation of church and state, therefore believe we should have a "Winter Holiday" that is for anyone to celebrate whatever they choose. So many of my Christian friends are offended about non-Christians celebrating Christmas and the "secularization" of the holiday. Well, it's secular because it's a national holiday and not everyone in the nation is Christian. If you want to hold your Christmas dear and wholly (thus holy) religious, then it needs to be only yours, just like the Islamic and Jewish holidays.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • DGHankins

      Let face it Christianity is the accepted faith of this nation,it is none believer that would ask the majority of American to change what has made us great. I do not have a problem with Muslim, Hen-dues or atheist and believe they have a right to believe in the wrong God, if the choose too. But at some point, Christian like myself will be forced to call for a radical hard line approach again though that would aid and assist with do undermined our faith and nation. The next this you will be asking for is to put Lord and Savor Jesus Christ on trail for claim to be the son of God.
      Be careful Bob.............if this was a Muslim society, you would not be-able to ask these same question at a national level....just ask yourself, "the answer would be, No"!
      See the problem with the Muslim moment in this nation, is they believe they should be only one faith and that is the Muslim faith

      August 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • Roelof

      It's hypocrite that they don't celebrate Christian holidays in Islamic countries. The Christian holidays ain't Christian at all. Jesus wasn't born in winter. Christians decided to go along with a much older religion who had solstice. When the days become longer. The Christmastree is a dick with balls. That's what we celebrated before Christianity was introduced. Those muslims should have their own parties, somewhere else. We didn't came to their country to celebrate Christmas. They came to our countries. When they don't like it.. there's the door. Somehow I get the feeling muslims want to eliminate everything that's our culture. Don't want to live in our countries at all.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      @DJHankins

      "See the problem with the Muslim moment in this nation, is they believe they should be only one faith and that is the Muslim faith"

      Isn't that exactly what you are doing? Saying that the Christian faith is the only faith we should believe in? We CAN believe in other things–they are just wrong.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • catie

      It is not hypocricy it is being practical. If a school has 1,000 students and say 850 are Christian, 50 are Jewish, 10 are muslim and the rest non religious. Then why would you chance losing 850 students on Christmas and the $35 per student that the school gets for attendance? Lets be practical here.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • Chris Nicholson

      I am an atheist who has often been at loggerheads with Christians. I think Christmas should hold a special place as a traditional secular American holiday. I am precisely the person the writer of the article is against.

      However, we differ in considering present-day American Christmas devoid of deeper meaning. The feeling of universal goodwill on and near that day is almost palpable, even to me.

      Also, the last group of people on the planet would should consider accommodating is Muslims.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Monty

      If they have all the schools have the muslim holidays off then you will have angry muslims that say that we are disrespectful to thei muslim holiday because all the non muslim kids just see it as a day off school and enjoy their day off instead of observing their muslim holiday... and if its a holiday like christmas were you get gifts then society will probably turn it into a comercialized holiday focused on giving and recieving gifts just like they did fo chistmas

      August 10, 2010 at 12:47 am |
    • Peggy

      As a registered nurse for over 20 years, I have worked many Christmas holidays caring for the critically ill. Even though I would rather be at home or church with my family, sometimes we need to realize that celebrating Christmas is not in the place, the gifts, or the food-it's in the feeling of caring and giving that we should all celebrate every day. The feeling of camaraderie with my peers, the thankfulness of families knwoing their loved ones are cared for-this makes my Christmas special when i am at work. Perhaps schools could be opne and have a day of volunteer work, in the spirit of the holiday. This would be more benficial and really emphasize the reason we celebrate Christmas.

      August 10, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • Cesar Delgado

      Hey Bob,
      Face the facts. We are a Christian nation. That's just the way it is. You could campaign for any holiday you want but what makes sense is keeping the holidays that are supported by the most people – not creating holidays for special interest groups. Since our country will be a majority of Mexicans in a few years, I think we'll need more Christian holidays. The Mexican have many important Christian holidays year round...

      August 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Pete

      The only solid argument to be made would regard percentages – over 10% is impressively high (higher than I would have thought), but I don't think it should necessarily shut the schools down on those days. However, it should be accounted for in terms of teacher awareness – some of your class will be absent these days for a very legitimate reason, so no "have to be here" tests or activites on those days, and plan for how to allow these students to catch up on what was missed.

      August 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • anna

      People seem to forget that we are a Christian country! So Christmas is celebrated.
      As it was said muslim children can take the day off school if they wish but it should not be a public holiday.
      People from other faiths have come to this country voluntarily, so should abide with the rules here, just as anyone going to their country would have to do!

      August 11, 2010 at 8:55 am |
    • TammyB

      @ Cesar Delgado....Why don't you say it correctly? There will be more Americans of Mexican descent in the US in the next few years.... I'm tired of that argument that there will be more Mexicans here...are they invading? How about legal Americans of Mexican descent? If you are here, and a citizen, you are American, nothing else. People need to stop hyphenating "American" with something else. Which is it? Mexican or American?

      August 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • MJ

      Bob, FYI America is a christian country...so schools are closed for Christmas. What about in muslim countries?...i even doubt whether the schools are closed on christian holidays. so what becomes of the christians in the muslim .world?

      i doubt whether you are an Atheist.. not that its of any concern to me, but i have seen many like you who start anti-christian war in blogs... seriously duide...you need a reality check! get a life loser

      August 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • gp

      What's interesting is that in a place like India, the summer holidays are not as long as the summer holidays here in the US. Instead, major holidays of all faiths are sprinkled throughout the year and winter recess is not 1 week long but more. I think that is a much more respectful approach.

      September 9, 2010 at 10:10 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.