Bah! Hum­bug! Uni­ver­sal theme, new twists

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - DEB­O­RAH SIM­MONS “The Deb­o­rah Sim­mons can be con­tacted at dsim­mons@wash­ing­ton­

You know it’s Christ­mas­time be­cause some­body’s of­fended about some­thing. Read­ing about the protes­ta­tions of peo­ple who cringe at the thought of a creche or a Na­tiv­ity scene perched on a govern­ment site is noth­ing new. Be­fore the birth of the ACLU, and long be­fore the found­ing of the Free­dom From Re­li­gion Foun­da­tion in the 1970s, peo­ple re­jected God and re­li­gious in­sin­u­a­tions.

They damned the liv­ing, and ac­tu­ally thought they them­selves had the power to do so.

Come the lat­ter-day crit­ics who want to yank books off school shelves be­cause an au­thor used the “N word” or the “Vir­gin Mary” is de­picted along­side the son of “God” and three “Wise Men” on the very night Christ was born.

The “N word,” like other deroga­tory eth­nic and re­li­gious char­ac­ter­i­za­tions, has a long and sto­ried Amer­i­can his­tory. In­deed, lit­er­a­ture tells us that not only did Mark Twain em­ploy the slur to tell the 19th cen­tury tale of Huck Finn, but also Harper Lee did so in her 1960 novel “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird.”

Those books should al­ways be avail­able to pub­lic school­child­ren, and so should “Twelve Years a Slave” and other sim­i­larly semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal truth tellers.

That school of­fi­cials in Ac­co­mack County, Mary­land, even con­sid­ered ban­ning Huck and “Mock­ing­bird” be­cause of the slurs is ig­no­rant, es­pe­cially when you read why the board re­versed the ban­ning de­ci­sion.

“These nov­els are trea­sures of Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture and in­spi­ra­tional, time­less sto­ries of con­science and brav­ery,” said school board Chair­man Ron­nie Holden, NBC re­ported. “We agree that some of the lan­guage used is of­fen­sive and hurt­ful. For­tu­nately, Ac­co­mack County’s ex­cel­lent teach­ers and me­dia cen­ter spe­cial­ists have a won­der­ful tal­ent for con­vey­ing the big­ger mean­ings and mes­sages of lit­er­a­ture.”

Scratch the en­tire first sen­tence. It’s ir­rel­e­vant. So are the com­ments about tal­ented teach­ers and me­dia cen­ter spe­cial­ists. If they were as tal­ented as Chair­man Holden wants us to be­lieve, the chil­dren and their par­ents would have been pre­pared for the “of­fen­sive and hurt­ful” lan­guage that is so per­va­sive in those Amer­i­can trea­sures.

Some­thing is al­ways hurt­ful and of­fen­sive to some­one some­where.

Be­sides, young­sters in pub­lic school use that lan­guage and worse ev­ery day on so­cial me­dia. Have you par­ents and guardians even seen the mean and nasty things threaded in your chil­dren’s so­cial me­dia sites?

Kids don’t just bully one an­other, they use slurs when re­fer­ring to each other. They de­scribe kids ac­cord­ing to their ap­pear­ance and, like adults, of­ten hide be­hind on­line anonymity.

Now, con­ser­va­tives will tell you some of the twists and turns be­ing made to­day are con­nected to prayer be­ing nixed in Amer­ica’s pub­lic schools. There prob­a­bly is a con­nec­tion, but one not writ­ten in stone. So let’s just agree that while the 1962 U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing against school prayer was a game-changer, what fol­lowed a decade later re­mains in play.

It is the mis­con­cep­tion of re­li­gious lib­erty and the First Amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion that still has folks up in arms. It was an­other Supreme Court rul­ing in 1963 that struck down school­spon­sored Bi­ble read­ing in pub­lic schools. Lord help us since then.

The gen­er­a­tions of youths who have at­tended prayer­less schools are the very par­ents and youths who have been try­ing to wipe not just or­ga­nized re­li­gion off the map but prac­ti­cally any sem­blance of spir­i­tu­al­ity not of their own lik­ing and mak­ing.

They will­ingly ac­cept and hail vam­pires and other un­dead crea­tures try­ing to rule the world. Yet they can­not con­ceive, no pun in­tended, of God be­stow­ing bless­ings.

For ex­am­ple, con­sider the Charles Dick­ens clas­sic “A Christ­mas Carol.” We’ve seen it on the big screen in black and white, on the TV screen in color and with Mr. Ma­goo and the Mup­pets as the head­lin­ers. Yet two par­ents com­plain about one line — four lit­tle words — and the folks who run Cen­ter­ville El­e­men­tary School in Lan­caster, Penn­syl­va­nia, shiver like naked PC doves and can­cel the an­nual Christ­mas sta­ple.

Their ex­cuses? No. 1, the words “God bless us, every­one” of­fended two par­ents, and No. 2, re­hearsals were tak­ing away from class time.

Well, God for­bid that a snow­storm or act of Mother Na­ture cause a loss of class time. Oh, that’s right, there is no God. Can’t give Mother Na­ture credit.

So it’s OK to close schools to rec­og­nize the birth of Je­sus, but it’s not OK to rec­og­nize the birth of Je­sus in­side the school­house.

Are we all sup­posed to fall in line with such think­ing, as if “Twi­light” is the here and now? Shouldn’t we awaken them to the fact that the “Twi­light” sagas are pure fiction?

Clearly, the light-switch needs flip­ping be­cause, you know what, Dick­ens did not write a book ti­tled Christ­mas Carol.” His sur­real book has an en­tirely dif­fer­ent mean­ing and ar­ti­cle of speech.

So get over it, peo­ple.

All in the cho­rus now: “This lit­tle light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

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