Re: Culturally Sensitive Xmas/Religious References
Marc Solomon (m_solomon@ALLI.COM)
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 12:13:06 -0600
Chaplain Morrison wrote:
> I do think many other-than-Christian families have been hooked by "Santa"
> who is a completely secular figure today. I don't think that most people
> think of him as some sort of a Christian Saint anymore.
I would have to disagree vehemently with you on this statement. First,
I know of no Jewish parents (with the exception of those involved in
mixed marriages) that teach their children about "Santa" other than to
tell their children the truth about such myths. Secondly, how can you
say that a "person" who visits only on the day of one of your most
holiest of holidays has no correlation to that holiday or the religions
that celebrate that holiday. That would be like saying that Elijah
(whose ghost visits every Passover Seder) has nothing to do with
I specifically find some of the Christian non-religious traditions
self-defeating. Children are taught to believe in imaginary characters
like "Santa" and the "Easter Bunny" only to learn later on that these
are not real. Doesn't this make the other teachings (i.e., a belief in
G-d) by the same group suspect in the eyes of these children?
Sorry about that side issue - getting back to the main issue, while
"Santa" might have no real religious significance, most non-Christians
still see him as a representative or symbol of the Christian religions.
After finally convincing our kids that no such person visits OUR house
on Christmas Eve, to have him show up at a party we are attending to
give out gifts causes problems between us and our children and makes our
job of teaching our religion to our children more difficult.
I know there are ways to share the meaning and beauty of our holidays
without tearing down the beliefs and teachigs of other religions. I
know most Jews are tired of having to deal with the commercialism of
Christmas and the ways it has caused one of our minor holidays
(Chanukah) to receive undue importance and commercialism.
The Jews had a tradition of giving Gelt (money) on Chanukah. This
tradition was not from being too lazy to shop for a gift but from the
fact that during King Antiochus's reign over the Jews, he forbade the
use of any money other than coins he had minted. After his overthrow,
the Jews returned to minting their own coins. We gave Gelt to remind us
of that freedom. Now we give gifts to prevent our children from feeling
left out of the commerialization of the Christmas season. Pathetic,
Marc W. Solomon Unit Commissioner
mailto://firstname.lastname@example.org Sycamore District
mailto://email@example.com Blackhawk Area Council (IL)
I use to be a wise old owl... Now I am just old
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City