Vacations Inappropriately Endorse Christian Faith

Samuel Ganten, Editor

The halls are decked with boughs of holly, but the season isn’t jolly for everyone. While some students enjoy the 2-week winter break, the school “holiday” is actually a reminder of Christianity’s insidious influence over the public education system.

The winter recess conveniently lines up with the Christian observance of the birth of Jesus, the New Testament messiah.

This is wrong for several reasons, but foremost because it discriminates against all other religious faiths. For instance, Hanukkah occurs from December 12-20, but vacation days are not extended for the convenience of the district’s many Jewish families.

It also discriminates against those who are atheist or irreligious. As an agnostic, I see the winter break and its accommodation of the Christian holiday as an affront to my own beliefs.

Some might say that this criticism is overblown because the “holiday” is not necessarily observing a religious event or idea. But the timing of the break does conform to a strictly Western and Christian worldview. In a sense, this break is an extension of the imperialistic attitudes that have dominated the West.

No Eastern calendars or Eastern holidays have been considered in regards to the planning of this break. Abrahamic religions of Islam and Judaism are specifically ignored. Passover and Eid al-Adha are not given equally generous vacation days.  In fact, they are given no vacation days at all.

This problem isn’t exclusive to the Christmas season. Spring and Thanksgiving breaks also play into the ethno-nationalism.

Another reason to oppose the Christmas break is because it interferes with the conclusion of the 1st semester. The timing of the vacation, a 2-week hiatus, just a few weeks before students are expected to recall a semester’s worth of content on final exams, is hardly ideal.  In fact, it is a considerable detriment.

Three possible solutions exist: 1. abolish all breaks; 2. assign breaks for all religious, ethnic or cultural practices; 3. schedules the breaks without regard for ANY religious, ethnic or cultural practices.

While the 1st solution would be intolerable for everyone, and the 2nd would be logistically unworkable, assigning 4 weeks of vacation, one at the end of 1st and 3rd quarter and 2 at the end of the 1st semester, would avoid troublesome religious or nationalist favoritism and avoid disrupting instruction.

By disappointing everyone (even Christians), we achieve a greater equality than the status quo, as is the nature of all compromises.

We must change the current vacation policy that is inherently discriminatory and look for a different path. Church and State were meant to be separate, not wed together.  “Holiday” breaks are an overt and inappropriate endorsement of a particular faith.