State Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston filed a bill in the Texas legislature that is expected to receive bipartisan support to help religious-minded teachers and schools use holiday greetings like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” and to “display Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, menorahs and other cultural icons of winter celebrations”.
So technically a Wiccan teacher, could erect a Yule tree (Christmas tree), a straw Yule goat, and eat a Yule Boar (Christmas ham) in honor of the Solstice and the pagan god Odin. Ironically if there were such a teacher, that person would most likely not do any of those things knowing that it would offend the religious majority of their parents.
Sort of the way, Bohac was offended when his son came home telling him that the teacher has erected a holiday tree with holiday ornaments.
“After inquiring with school officials as to why the term ‘Holiday Tree’ was being used, it became apparent that the school was fearful of litigation,” Bohac said. “It was that moment that inspired me to file legislation that would provide students, parents, teachers and administrators a safe harbor for openly celebrating a Federal holiday.”
One has to wonder how offended he would have been if his son’s teacher was a pagan, and they honored Odin during Yule. Aside from nativity scenes there isn’t one popular Christmas ritual that doesn’t have a pagan origin.
I’m sure some of the pagans were a bit miffed too about having their Thor’s Oak replaced by the tradition of a Christmas tree. It’s also curious how Christians erect Christmas trees, given that Jeremiah 10:1-10 expressly forbids this particular pagan practice. A Christian legend was concocted which attributed the demise of the pagan tree to St. Boniface, an eighth century missionary to Germany. After just one chop of his holy axe, a mighty wind blew down Thor’s tree. The credulous pagans were impressed and amazed and thereafter they celebrated Christmas, or so the story goes.
If only they could have filed legislation to protect their cherished religious beliefs from succumbing to the popularity of a new belief. They didn’t really have a say back then because religion was dictated by the state. Which in a roundabout way is exactly what Bohac is doing with his bill.
Yes he leaves it up to teachers and schools to choose which religious tradition to follow. Realistically in a majority Christian country, I’m betting on more mangers than menorahs. The few brave souls celebrating different traditions can either try to buck the majority or just give up and say “Merry Christmas!”
So again Jesus’s birth will be celebrated boldly in Texas public schools funded by taxpayers of different faiths or no faith. The people with the dominant religious belief will determine what holiday is celebrated. The Christian ruling class will be able to promote their religious beliefs and drown out different religious beliefs. The Jewish students in my classroom, who talked about their traditions when we were reading A Christmas Carol from a secular perspective, will be de facto second class citizens.
Except in a neighborhood where a minority religion like Islam is the most popular. Imagine the Christian outrage then. Imagine it when they no longer have the numbers to be the ruling class. Their best hope in that scenario is that the next religious ruling class keeps their religious beliefs out of government.
*Update. I posted a link to the post to Rep. Dwayne Bohac’s Facebook page. Let’s see if he will address the criticism of what he calls “The Merry Christmas Bill”. Maybe he could at least put Happy Hanukkah in parenthesis next to the name of his bill right? Just to show this isn’t about promoting Christianity over all other religious traditions of his constituents.
If you like go on over there and give your opinion. My opinion: civil and articulate opinions will accomplish the most.