It’s that time of the year again. Shoppers are busily cramming the roads headed to malls for those last-minute presents, trees are decorated, houses are alight, and UPS trucks are running amok. Yes- it’s the most wonderful time of the year as the song goes.
That is, unless you happen to be a college student being chastised for your belief in Christmas because even though Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, all references to that fact are frowned upon. However, it has gotten even worse. Now, even secular aspects of Christmas are being frowned upon by the leaders of colleges big and small, public and even private. This is all done in the name of diversity.
At the University of Illinois in Springfield, the official policy (which mirrors the mission of their Diversity Office) is that Christmas basically has nothing to do with the birth of Christ, but should be celebrated as “…a time to be with friends and family to build understanding and awareness of others.” At Ohio State, they declared that this uniquely Christian holiday should be to “engage in diversity awareness,” whatever the hell that means. They even suggested that “neutral” greenery, snowflakes and white lights should adorn campus halls. By this, one implies that such “greenery” as holly, mistletoe or pine is forbidden. Strangely, Ohio State also recommends that students avoid certain foods that “privilege any one religion.” And they are frowning on the traditional display of red and green lights since they conjure up such evil notions of a traditional Christmas.
The students at the University of Mississippi (a/k/a Ole Miss) awoke one morning to discover that their annual celebration of “A Grand Ole Christmas” had changed into a celebration of “Hotty Toddy Holiday.” In one fell swoop, they removed all mention not only to Christmas, but their own school. The fine administration at James Madison University assured the campus that their lighted pine tree was not a “Christmas tree,” but a “unity tree.” Of course, when an a capella group decided they were going to sing an offensive song called “Mary, Did You Know?,” campus officials stepped in and vetoed the idea because the song “represented a specific religion.”
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York issued a list of suggested offensive symbols such as the Star of David, a cross, an angel, or even mistletoe on campus. Some campuses in the University of New York system are even frowning on the very secular Santa Claus. Instead of “Secret Santa” gift exchanges, the correct language now is “grab bag.” Rowan University in New Jersey allowed its staff to have office decorations as “long as no obvious religious icons are displayed.” Translated: NO NATIVITY SCENES! And now even tree-toppers are forbidden because, well… the angel is just too obvious a reference to religion, and one wonders why the star is forbidden in the guidelines at some college campuses.
Naturally, all these “suggestions” are issued in the form of “guidelines” to students and staff at colleges, usually emanating from some office of Diversity or Affirmative Action. They are issued so as not to offend the odd Muslim or Jewish or Hindu student that may feel “excluded” or “offended.” It makes little sense to the Jew, however, since the Star of David is usually banned and even playing that offensive dreidel game is also disallowed. But as far as other religious minorities are involved, these same college offices suggest that Muslim students be allowed leeway around their holidays of Eid to celebrate. Some colleges even provide areas (and prayer rugs) for Muslim students to engage in daily prayer.
To illustrate the insidiousness of how this “inclusion and diversity” meme works, there was a recent small uproar in a school district in Minnesota because of a song in their holiday musical program. One song- sung partly in Arabic- contained the words “Allah akbar” in the chorus. This translates to “God is great” and in and of itself, so what? But, it is a Muslim reference in a holiday show devoid of any traditional Christmas carols. It would appear that “Allah Akbar” is acceptable while “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is verboten.
In the school where I work for the past seven years, this year’s “holiday” show was totally devoid of any Christmas carols. In the audience which usually overflows the auditorium, one sees Muslim scarves and headdresses on women, turbans, and gold crosses around the necks of audience members. This year’s show was totally devoid of such offensive songs like “Jingle Bells.” Instead, we got songs like “Ugly Sweater” and that showstopper- “Let It Go-” Elsa’s big number in the Disney movie Frozen. When I asked the music teacher why, he explained he did not want to deal with any complaints. Mind you- in seven years despite the songs presented, the school never received a complaint from a parent over the content of the musical program.
Instead, people have been so scared and shamed into avoiding references to Christmas that there is simply avoidance lest they offend a vocal (or non-vocal) minority. When stars, angels, color combinations, a pine tree, mistletoe and Santa Claus are now forbidden items, then the Left is truly winning the culture wars.