I'm one of those types of atheists who loves Christmas. I celebrate it with my family and I love singing the songs, regardless if they're about Jesus or Frosty the Snowman. I grew up singing Christmas carols in concerts for public schools, and it didn't traumatize me. My family was secular and I didn't feel left out; I just saw singing about Jesus's divinity the same as singing about Santa (aka, silly and fictional). I'm still an atheist now - the Noel didn't convert me.
Ms. Hyatt, 61, a substitute schoolteacher, is the chief proponent of a proposed California ballot initiative that would require the state’s public schools to offer Christmas music during the holiday season.
Ms. Hyatt said she was inspired to start her ballot drive after working at a school where only nondenominational songs were allowed at holiday parties.
That struck her as unfair.“We feel kids love Christmas,” she said. “And we’re not allowed to play Christmas carols. And we think that’s wrong.”
That being said, my experiences do not represent those of every child. Some children of atheists may see it as one big silly joke, but children raised in Jewish families must certainly feel like the odd man out. They get their one token dradle song, and that's it. But at least they get one song - what about the children of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Pagans, etc? Well, Ms. Hyatt has a solution for that:
Yes, because ostracizing small children even further by hiding them in a separate room and making them miss out on a fun party is an excellent idea. Way to show your tolerance and understanding.
As to whether people of other religious beliefs might take offense at having to carol, Ms. Hyatt, a Christian, said schools would be required to provide other rooms for other faiths, and students could opt out if offended. But she added that in her experience as a substitute teacher in schools in largely Latino, largely Christian neighborhoods in Southern California, she had not often encountered people who do not celebrate Christmas.“I don’t think I’ve ever had a Jewish child in one of my classes,” she said. “If so they never said anything.”
There's a point where I think secularization is unnecessary. I personally feel Christmas has pretty much lost it's religious value; rather it represents having time off from school and work, being with family and friends, and spending a crapload of money on presents (yay capitalism). But to require all public schools to sing religious songs just isn't right. Maybe let each school decide if it's appropriate or not, but don't force religion on all public students in California.
What do you guys think? Should there be no religious Christmas carols at all in public schools? Or have they lost their original meaning and it's all for fun? I'd especially like to hear from those not raised in Christian families about their experiences and opinions.
(Hat tip to @jakiking)