Friday, November 30, 2007

Wash. School Calendar Forgets Christmas

The most telling statement in this article is the following: "It was absolutely an error of omission," district spokeswoman Terren Roloff said. "In our efforts to be inclusive, we missed the obvious."

Well, at least this story helped me to learn a new word. I reasoned that if a xenophobe was "a person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples," then there had to be a word (an antonym—like xenophile, if such a word existed) to describe those who rush headlong to embrace every new influence and cultural extreme, even at the expense of their own culture.

And sure enough, a visit to the The Free Dictionary led me to:
xen·o·phile (zn-fl, zn-)n. A person attracted to that which is foreign, especially to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures.
This obsession with other cultures, even those that do not exist within a community or that have to be invented (How many devotees of Kwanzaa were there before someone fabricated this "holiday" out of whole cloth?), has become such an obsession that it causes people to forget reality. I mean, forgetting Christmas? C'mon.

Of course this could have been simply a case of a school secretary having a bad day. But this sort of thing is emblematic of what is happening to much of western culture—a reckless abandonment of our own cultural foundations while mindlessly chanting the mantra of "inclusion."

Wash. School Calendar Forgets Christmas
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - They made a list, but they should have checked it twice.

In a December newsletter to the families of elementary school students, Spokane Public Schools' list of "important dates" didn't include Christmas.

Hanukkah, Human Rights Day, winter break, the Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha, first day of winter and Kwanzaa all made the list. But no Christmas.

"It was absolutely an error of omission," district spokeswoman Terren Roloff said. "In our efforts to be inclusive, we missed the obvious."

The omission drew complaints from some parents that Christians are being overlooked in favor of other cultures and beliefs.

Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals Executive Director John Tusant said the error surprised him.

"The stores have been decorated for the last month. How do you overlook that?" Tusant asked.

Hutton School parent Jane Harper noted the absence of Christmas but didn't think the omission was meant as a message to Christians.

"Christmas is so dominant in our society. I don't know that anyone should feel slighted," Harper said.

Roloff said the district would not have included Hanukkah and Eid al-Adha if it had intended to avoid religious celebrations. She said her office has been fielding calls about the newsletter from concerned parents, and that most have been understanding about the mix-up.

Christmas had been added to the "important dates" section of the online version of the school district's newsletter by Thursday afternoon.

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