Re: Culturally Sensitive Xmas
Kevin Doyle (kdoyle@HEI.COM)
Wed, 8 Nov 1995 16:22:39 -1000
To Santa or not to Santa?
First, I think it's important for all of us, Scouts included, to be
culturally sensitive (and there is a big gulf here between culturally
sensitive and politically correct). Some non-Christian Scouts and
Scouters do see "Santa" as a Christian symbol. I think we need to be
sensitive to those who feel this way.
While I was raised as a Roman Catholic, I never saw much parallel between
the Church's St. Nicholas and the contemporary Santa. Elves, flying
reindeer, sliding down chimneys, visiting every child in a single
evening? To me Santa has evolved (and as one Scouter pointed out with a
good deal of red and white marketing assitance from Coca-Cola) into a
pretty commercial figure. Doing good works and bringing a smile to the
faces of small children certainly fit with teachings of most Christian
churches, but as a symbol, I personally don't find the fellow to be
particularly religious, much less associated with any particular sect or
belief. But that's how I see it.
But what about others who see Santa from a different perspective? I think
I have to take their views into account. If they can't bring themselves
to see it from my perspective, (that Santa has ceased to have any
particular religious importance, regardless of the origins of the
character), then I think I have to respect those feelings. I'm reminded
of a card that was left at the place settings for the opening luncheon of
W-CS-37 Wood Badge course in Camp Tracy in Salt Lake City Utah. It
reminded everyone that they would hear grace said in a number ways during
the course and that others might not pray as you do. But everyone was
reminded to respect the beliefs and rights of others to pray in the
manner to which they were accustomed. I was particularly proud when on
Day 5 a Bobwhite finally said "Please prepare yourself for prayer,"
instead of the usual "Please remove your hats." I don't think we lose
much by being sensitive to the needs and beliefs of others.
I used to be a Bobwhite......
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City