War Against Christmas 2004 Competition [IV]: The Anti-Defamation League Defames Christmas.
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See also Boycott … Bloomingdales? Sob! 

When I was in school, I remember my parents being outraged when geography was removed from the Government School (See Milton Friedman for his definition) curriculum.

I had no idea why they were so upset. Frankly, I was relieved. It wasn't until later when I was playing a game of Pictionary and I had to draw "Madrid" that I understood.

Yeah, I drew a picture of South America with a star in the middle and grew indignant and then verbally abusive when my partner could not figure out what I was drawing. (My partner, Mr. Smarty-Pants, went to a private school and therefore knew that Madrid was in Asia.)

The government schools are in trouble again. Now, they are removing all vestiges of Christmas from school property.

A reader sends this wonderful article about public schools in Florida: Schools interpret rules for politically correct holidays By Tiffany Lankes, Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 2, 2004.

This entry may be my personal favorite.

East Manatee, FL, is home to several middle schools. There is one governing school district, but each middle school seems to be interpreting the district policy on celebrating Christmas differently.

Oops, I didn't mean celebrating because that word is verboten in East Manatee schools. The correct word is recognizing. They are recognizing the holidays.

For example, Freedom Elementary School is changing the program for this year's "winter concert." Why? Lankes quotes the principal:

"'There's a lot of rules and regulations out there,' said Freedom Principal Gary Holbrook, 'You're trying to be respectful of everyone.'

Here's another middle school principal in east Manatee:

"'You won't see any Christmas trees around here,' said Anthony DiBello, principal of Braden River Middle School in East Manatee County." 'We keep it generic.'"

But across the street at Braden River Elementary School, the tree will be going up. That school's principal was reluctant to break with tradition.

Whew! There's one!

As it turns out, the "holiday symbols" are allowed—but only if used in a class lesson. As one teacher, from yet another middle school put it:

"'If you want a Christmas tree you should be able to have it,' said Haile Middle School teacher Susan Darovec. 'It's kind of ridiculous to be treating it as a religious item.'"

I am not sure what irritates me more: The school district behaving like a bunch of whiny girls in pigtails or the fact that American children are being taught by scary people who make stupid statements like the one you just read.

It is kind of ridiculous to treat a Christmas tree like a religious item?

I suppose she believes the cross is simply a piece of jewelry invented by Madonna and rap musicians.

Lakewood High School in Manatee erects one, large "holiday tree" and decorates it with "ornaments reflecting all the season's celebrations." Everything from Kwanzaa to Hanukah is covered.

Whom do we have to thank for all this?

The Anti-Defamation League. According to the Herald Tribune story,

"School officials in Manatee County sent all principals a letter from the Anti-Defamation League, an organization with Jewish roots that fights anti-Semitism and discrimination…The letter suggests how to keep the holidays out of their classrooms."

In 1998, a group of rabbis confronted the Sarasota School District with accusations of racism. The teachers had allegedly endorsed Christmas activities in the classroom.

This new holiday policy was enacted in 2002—but not, allegedly, in response to the rabbis' complaint.

Sure it wasn't.

The website for the Anti-Defamation League has this mission statement:

"To stop the defamation of the Jewish people…to secure justice and fair treatment to all."

There are many helpful hints for avoiding what the ADL calls "The December Dilemma."[VDARE.COM NOTE: See here for the Catholic League's 2003 answer to the "December Dilemma," and here for their statement on Manatee, FL.]

Every winter, teachers "face the difficult task of acknowledging the various religious and secular holiday traditions celebrated during that time of year."

But according to the ADL, celebrating Christmas is a violation of our first amendment rights.

"The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion to all Americans — including young schoolchildren — by prohibiting the government from endorsing or promoting any particular religious point of view."

Basically, the Anti-Defamation League loves defamation, just not about them.

My view: banning Christmas in the name of the First Amendment is defamation.

It's Christophobic.

These schools are all from a town named after a beloved water mammal. An endangered species, the Manatee was on the verge of extinction for having been mowed down by speed boats for decades.

Sort of like Christmas today.

Florida officials are obviously capable of compassion—just not for a man who was nailed to a tree.

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.

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