War On Christmas Leads To Diversity Rethink in Ames, Iowa
January 01, 2011, 04:14 PM
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There was a War On Christmas incident in Ames, Iowa, of which I wrote

It was a Winter Tree, meant for a Winter Dance, but someone complained to the school board and the tree had to go.[Tear Down The “Winter Tree” Because Someone Complained]

As a result, a woman has a letter to the Ames Tribune saying she used to think diversity was a good idea.

Merry ... no, happy holidays

Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:54 AM CST

 I used to think that the diversity at Ames High School was something to celebrate. Where else in Iowa could a town the size of Ames have the opportunity to learn about so many different cultures and religions? What a wonderful educational experience for our children. After the AHS tree episode, I am beginning to question the wisdom of my reason to celebrate. If the other religions and cultures wanted to display a symbolic object of theirs, would the Christians at Ames High protest? Would the phone ring off the wall crying, “Take it down?”I would be very surprised if that would happen.

 As I said, a great opportunity to teach and educate our children about the way others celebrate. Why, then oh why, cannot the majority celebrate their cultures and religions as they see fit? Did this tree not include all students to learn and enjoy our customs?

 Next year, why doesn’t the committee for the Winter Formal ask each of those religions or cultures to take part and display their symbols along with the tree? Why not even have them come in attire from their countries?

What a learning opportunity that could be. Take 15 minutes to 30 minutes during the evening to have them explain how and why this is an important symbol to them. What an amazing learning opportunity for all the students. I’m not going so far as to say we have, or should have, the right to celebrate Christmas as Christians, but please don’t take that right away from the students. Just be sure to include everyone. Let them see the joy in the diversity instead of instilling ill feelings toward each other.

 * I would like to end this by saying Merry Christmas to all, but I must settle for happy holidays.

Karen K. Popelka Ames