November 15, 2007

War on Christmas 2007: Battlefront Lake Placid

With the 2007 War on Christmas well underway, we are likely to see more and more stories like this one out of Lake Placid, NY. I present this one not so much because the outcome is positive (which it is), but to highlight how clueless many people remain about why "Merry Christmas" signs are inappropriate in public buildings.

According to the Lake Placid News, the issue of separation of church and state came up at a recent school board meeting.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Jordanna Mallach brought the issue of holiday decorations before the board and asked that it respect the Supreme Court’s ruling on the separation of church and state. Her request stemmed from an incident last year when a sign with “Merry Christmas” on it was displayed in front of the elementary school.
Okay, so a concerned citizen came forward to ask the board to comply with the Supreme Court this year. That it was necessary for a private citizen to make such a request - because the school was either ignorant of the law or unwilling to comply with it - is more absurd than I can stand right now. Still, she had the courage to come forward and ask that the school board make sure the school complied with the law this year.

The board claimed that the district they represent is usually compliant with the law (um...usually?) but that they must have put the sign up out of habit (sigh). Of course, not everyone agreed. Some, like board member Bob Miller, thought the request to comply with the law was too much to ask.
“As a person of faith, I find it insulting when we deny (a person’s) faith,” Miller said. “We have to be inclusive.”
Hey Bob, guess what? You are perfectly free to feel insulted. That is a right I wouldn't dream of taking away from you. Seriously though, nobody is trying to deny that your silly little faith exists or that you have it. Hell, we'd find it hilarious if it wasn't so harmful! What we are trying to do is make sure that the kids who don't live in a fantasy world aren't ridiculed for it by those who are as deluded as you claim to be. You see, we think you and your children should have the right to practice your religion in the privacy of your own home. We don't think you have any right to expect the schools to do it for you or to expose other children to it. See the difference?

Superintendent Ernie Stretton said that there will be no "Merry Christmas" sign this year.