Our Topsy-Turvy Holidays

Our national holidays used to be straightforward; they were religious (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) or they celebrated patriotic heroes (Washington, Lincoln, war veterans) or events (July 4, Columbus, Armistice). Nowadays, they are mostly an excuse for long weekends. But sometimes, they are exercises in twisted bigotry.

Take the case of Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, where

...three students arrived for classes in 2010 wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. Unpleasant verbal exchanges and altercations marked the previous year's Cinco de Mayo celebrations... So when students told administrators that trouble was a possibility because of the American flag attire, the students were ordered to turn their shirts inside out or go home...The three students have since graduated, but a federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday will consider their lawsuit alleging the school violated their free speech and equal protections rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The judicial comments on the issue bypassed the most obvious question: "why was the school celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the first place?"  It commemorates an event on foreign soil that had virtually nothing to do with American history -- a victory over French forces in 1862 in Mexico, where it is not even a national holiday. If we're going to observe foreign patriotic anniversaries, we should also celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic (June 2), the fall of the Bastille (July 14), independence for India (August 14), German unity (October 3), and so on. The fact that only Mexico was so honored has the sickly-sweet odor of political correctness, or even the acrid reek of minority-vote campaigning.

But that is mere surmise. The damning fact is that, instead of cancelling the Cinco de Mayo celebration, the flag-wearing kids were sent home. Political correctness (or cowardice) outranked patriotism.

This same upside-down prioritization applies to our religious holidays. Back when we were a Christian nation and interpreted the First Amendment a little differently, Christmas was publicly honored as the birthday of Christ. Now, the infamous "C-word" cannot even be mentioned -- it is discreetly replaced by "holidays" -- and a Nativity scene on public land is grounds for a lawsuit. Al right, we must not offend any minority religious groups and all public observance of religion is taboo, to the point where a president carefully omits "under God" when quoting the Declaration of Independence.

Except on October 31, when schools and other public institutions abound with devils, goblins, and other minions of Hell. Any way you look at it, Halloween is a religious holiday. Either it is the eve or All Saints Day or it is a celebration and glorification of Satanism. Considering the incredible popularity of demons, vampires, and monsters in movies and TV, the latter interpretation seems more plausible.

Therefore, since Halloween is a religious holiday, it should be banned from our schools, just like Christmas. Wrong again: nowadays Satan outranks Jesus, as any student of national politics may have already concluded. I can all too easily imagine Jesus, out in the snow, looking in at a Halloween party in a schoolroom where once, long ago, there had been a Christmas pageant.

Our national holidays used to be straightforward; they were religious (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) or they celebrated patriotic heroes (Washington, Lincoln, war veterans) or events (July 4, Columbus, Armistice). Nowadays, they are mostly an excuse for long weekends. But sometimes, they are exercises in twisted bigotry.

Take the case of Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, where

...three students arrived for classes in 2010 wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. Unpleasant verbal exchanges and altercations marked the previous year's Cinco de Mayo celebrations... So when students told administrators that trouble was a possibility because of the American flag attire, the students were ordered to turn their shirts inside out or go home...The three students have since graduated, but a federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday will consider their lawsuit alleging the school violated their free speech and equal protections rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The judicial comments on the issue bypassed the most obvious question: "why was the school celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the first place?"  It commemorates an event on foreign soil that had virtually nothing to do with American history -- a victory over French forces in 1862 in Mexico, where it is not even a national holiday. If we're going to observe foreign patriotic anniversaries, we should also celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic (June 2), the fall of the Bastille (July 14), independence for India (August 14), German unity (October 3), and so on. The fact that only Mexico was so honored has the sickly-sweet odor of political correctness, or even the acrid reek of minority-vote campaigning.

But that is mere surmise. The damning fact is that, instead of cancelling the Cinco de Mayo celebration, the flag-wearing kids were sent home. Political correctness (or cowardice) outranked patriotism.

This same upside-down prioritization applies to our religious holidays. Back when we were a Christian nation and interpreted the First Amendment a little differently, Christmas was publicly honored as the birthday of Christ. Now, the infamous "C-word" cannot even be mentioned -- it is discreetly replaced by "holidays" -- and a Nativity scene on public land is grounds for a lawsuit. Al right, we must not offend any minority religious groups and all public observance of religion is taboo, to the point where a president carefully omits "under God" when quoting the Declaration of Independence.

Except on October 31, when schools and other public institutions abound with devils, goblins, and other minions of Hell. Any way you look at it, Halloween is a religious holiday. Either it is the eve or All Saints Day or it is a celebration and glorification of Satanism. Considering the incredible popularity of demons, vampires, and monsters in movies and TV, the latter interpretation seems more plausible.

Therefore, since Halloween is a religious holiday, it should be banned from our schools, just like Christmas. Wrong again: nowadays Satan outranks Jesus, as any student of national politics may have already concluded. I can all too easily imagine Jesus, out in the snow, looking in at a Halloween party in a schoolroom where once, long ago, there had been a Christmas pageant.

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