Cannon County School Board Unanimously Replaces ‘Winter Break’ with ‘Christmas Break’

Last week, when the Cannon County Board of Education (Woodbury, Tennessee) held its monthly board meeting, nothing very eventful happened until the board members discussed next year’s school calendar.

This is normally a quick, breezy process. Just approve it and move on.

But one of the board members was offended by what he saw on the proposed schedule:

“What is the possibility of calling Winter Break Christmas Break instead?” [Chris] Blackburn asked.

“I am frankly tired of being pushed around by people that want to take Christ and God and Christmas and everything out of the school system,” Blackburn said. “They want to take prayer out of school and they want to take it out before ballgames. I am in favor of this calendar as long as we call it Christmas break.

What the hell…?

Students and faculty members are welcome to pray on their own time, silently — no one has ever tried to stop them from doing that. Blackburn, who doesn’t appear to give a single damn about the Jewish and atheist and other non-Christian students in the district, is specifically saying here that his religion matters more than any other winter holiday.

At least someone else on the school board had the good sense to point that out to Blackburn:

Board member Nathan Sanders agreed.

“We put this (calendar) in the paper, on our website and it makes me wonder what kind of statement we are making,” Sanders said. “I don’t want to take the bully aspect here but those same people who wanted it called ‘winter break’ before can come back and we could address it at that time, but I share some of the same concerns (as Blackburn).”

The motion was made to change the name and the calendar was unanimously approved.

Okay, I was wrong. The entire school board is made up of spineless bigots who can’t see through their Jesus-tinted sunglasses.

Look, this isn’t the biggest problem a Christian school board has ever inflicted upon a district, but this sort of decision-making — the kind that disrespects the beliefs of many of the students because Baby Jesus might shed a tear — is the sort of mentality that leads to lawsuits and could cost the district (and, therefore, taxpayers) lots of money.

They can expect a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation shortly. And anyone in the area should take the issue up in person at their next meeting. School boards get away with shit like this all the time because they know so few people are paying attention.

If we let them do something this minor now, we have to wonder how they plan to push Jesus on the students later.

(By the way, the Cannon Courier reported on the meeting, but the article is behind a paywall. As if that could ever stop my readers from giving me all the details…)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • rwlawoffice

    Wait a second. When we are having the arguments about the war on Christmas, weren’t you the same person who has argued that Christmas is not a religious holiday and that it is celebrated by non Christians as well? Now when the school board wants to call the break for what it is, a time when the school closed so people can celebrate Christmas, you all of a sudden claim that it is a religious move?. I understand that the whole goal is to attack Christians here, but at least try to be consistent.

    • Sven2547

      …you all of a sudden claim that it is a religious move?

      Considering that Blackburn specifically said it was about “Christ and God“, YES, I think it’s fair to say this was a religious move.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        How dare you quote him directly! Don’t you know how Americanish works, “Christ and God.” mean Christ and God to religious audiences only. When those words are spoken to the broader public and especially if the broader is a judge at a constitution hearing, those words mean, “for completely secular purposes.”

    • TiltedHorizon

      Reading is fundamental….

      “I am frankly tired of being pushed around by people that want to
      take CHRIST and GOD and Christmas and everything out of the school
      system”

      I equate Christmas with Santa, Rudolf, Frosty the Snowman, and etc. I personally don’t care if they call it Christmas break, Xmas break, or Winter break. Unfortunately, Blackburn & Sanders do appear to take it personally and they have no qualms in expressing the need to make it religious in context. ‘Christ’ then ‘God’ then ‘Christmas’; the ordering is a parapraxis outlining intent. The only inconsistency is between your ability read and comprehend.

      • rwlawoffice

        I read and understood everything just fine. I understand what the school board member said. My comment was related to how Hemant made his argument. He based this as being wrong on the fact that other people celebrate Christmas, including atheists. So when the school board calls it a Christmas break this should not offend atheists regardless of the school board members motive. But it was an opportunity to bash the Christians so offense was taken.

        • TiltedHorizon

          “regardless of the school board members motive.”

          The motive is the reason for the post, but ‘No’, lets not concern ourselves over ‘motive’, else your argument would be pointless. This coming from a ‘lawyer’….

          • rwlawoffice

            You really should read Hemant’s post again. The argument was that Christmas is for others who are not Christian:

            ” Blackburn, who doesn’t appear to give a single damn about the Jewish
            and atheist and other non-Christian students in the district, is
            specifically saying here that his religion matters more than any other winter holiday.”

            The point is that when we Christians argue that trying to remove Christmas from the Christmas season it is an attack on Christians, Hemant and others here say it isn’t because Christmas by that name is celebrated by non- christians as well. Now that a Christian board member wants to keep the name Christmas break it is viewed as an affront to non believers. I know you don’t want to see the hypocrisy but it is there.

            • GCT

              Citation needed.

              Asking that people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Xmas” is because we are trying to be inclusive of those who do not celebrate Xmas. Same thing is happening here. There’s no hypocrisy.

              That some atheists also celebrate Xmas as a traditional thing is beside the point.

            • Fred

              Ah, your stupidity has a purpose.

            • God’s Starship

              No, deliberately stupid one. Some secularists celebrate Christmas as do many Christians. However, other groups celebrate other holidays instead, for reasons that may be religious or secular as well. It’s really none of our business why. What is being argued here is that preference shouldn’t be shown to those who celebrate one Holiday over others, regardless of whether they attach religious significance to it or not. And in this instance, the board member has gone out of his way to tell us his motive is to push his deity on others, with animosity towards those who don’t share his faith. If not for the mean-spiritedness of it, most people probably wouldn’t care, but this guy just couldn’t help himself.

              Really, the biggest issue is the persecution complex. By Christian logic, gays are not persecuted by Christians when the are denied equal rights, but Christians are persecuted when Winter Vacation isn’t called what they want it to be called. Seriously, Christians, grow up and stop wasting time on this. Our students deserve better than this.

            • phantomreader42

              I realize you’re dumber than dog shit and a pathological liar, but how could even YOU miss the fact that THE BOARD MEMBER WHO DEMANDS THAT IT BE CALLED “CHRISTMAS BREAK” OPENLY STATED THAT HIS GOAL WAS TO PROMOTE HIS RELIGION!!!? Once again, your sick death cult does not own the entire month of December, and you won’t change that fact no matter how desperately you whine about it.

            • TiltedHorizon

              “Now that a Christian board member wants to keep the name Christmas break it is viewed as an affront to non believers.”

              And why do ‘they’, not ‘he’, want to ‘change’, not ‘keep’, the name? Oh yeah, I forgot, ‘motive’ does not matter as it undermines the claim of hypocrisy. The change from ‘winter break’ to ‘christmas break’ was predicted on their perception of religious persecution. As evidenced by “I don’t want to take the bully aspect here…” which means “I know its going to upset non-Christians, but, as long as it makes us Christians happy. f’em.” Feel free to ignore all that, as you have been, and continue to explain how we offend you.

            • smrnda

              I’d say that there exist 2 clearly distinct concepts of Xmas in the States. One is a purely religious holiday, another is kind of a gaudy hallmark holiday which is more or less totally secular and a fairly recent invention.

              However, in terms of naming the break, the school should go for the most inclusive and least exclusive term. It *might* be that some nonXtians celebrate a kind of secular Xmas, but it would be a far better judgment call to call it Winter Break, which is more or less totally neutral.

              Just for saying, I say neither Merry Xmas or Happy Holidays, since plenty of people may be celebrating no holidays at all.

            • FTP_LTR

              By labelling it “Christmas Break” instead of the more inclusive “Winter Break”, isn’t it reinforcing the message to non-Christian students in the district that it is “Not Your Holiday” ?

              Maybe you Americans need to move to the Indian model (as I understand it) where religious holidays are optional and come out of a bank of ‘floating holidays’ that employees have.

              Christians can take Christmas and Easter, Jews can take Passover and Hannukah, Pastafarians can get Talk Like A Pirate Day and Pasta-UNAFPA Day on 25th October. Nones can get two free passes for any days they choose.

              I’m continually thankful that I come from a country where religion (or lack of) ain’t that big a deal.

        • baal

          Admission by party opponent, advocate. Blackburn said the point was to put god right back up into the school. Pointing out an opponent’s admission is perfectly valid and not appropriate for you to be offended at.
          “Your honor, the defendant is holding the smoking gun”
          “I Object!”
          “on what basis?”
          “I’m offended that the State is pointing out the smoking gun!”
          “Thank you, council. Sit down.”

          • God’s Starship

            How dare Hermant make Blackburn look bad by quoting him verbatim!

    • ShoeUnited

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen you argue with Mr. Mehta directly. Ever. The break is Winter Break. You see, because it usually starts somewhere around the 20th of December and lasts well into January. Now, I don’t know how you Christers see your holiday, but the last calendar I looked at Christmas is only one day.

      And I know, I know, stores are starting to add Xismas crap all the way back into September. And Texas is trying to get Xismuss started somewhere in June. But for fuck’s sake, you only do your Xeesemess one day a year. We can’t do it every fucking day. We gotta eat!

      If your Xossmusk break is only on Xorgiman day, then fine. But when your Xbiz runs from June to New Years, this shit has got to stop. It’s a break, in the winter, usually starting on the solstice and running through the new year. Give it up already. Or I’m gonna rename XissXossMist into something you won’t like.

      Like international spooning day.

      • Ed Selby

        Actually, the “Christmas Season” consists of Advent (Nov. 30 until Christmas Eve), Christmas Day, and Epiphany – not to mention the “12 days of Christmas”

        • phantomreader42

          Most of those days are not actually recognized or celebrated by the whiny stupid assholes babbling about the “War on Christmas”. And most of them are not included in the winter break (which excludes the first half of December).

        • ShoeUnited

          As a former Catholic who grew up in a Mexican heritage, Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas. So that’s anytime between the 27th and Dec. 3. And because of the heritage, from the 26th to the 6th is considered holy as the Three Wise Men are traveling to Christ to celebrate the Epiphany on the 6th of Jan. And then there’s the Christian Orthodox that celebrates Christmas on the 7th. Now, to be inclusive to all Christianity and to acquiesce to logic and demands, Christmas Break should start on Thanksgiving to be safe -Or maybe even two days before. The pilgrims were Christian.- and run until the 8th of January. So that’s about 40-45 days of Christmas. Even Lent doesn’t last that long. That’s about 10% of the year. Tithing for Christ maybe?

          But the Winter Break doesn’t last that long. So if the argument is Christmas kinda runs from W to Z it still makes no sense when the break only runs from X to Y.

          • Kodie

            Ok, religious people can just quit their jobs and take their kids out of school. Problem solved.

      • allein

        Your evolving spelling made me laugh a lot more than really seems warranted… :)

        • ShoeUnited

          Then my work here is done. :)

    • Sweetredtele

      Why would non-catholics want it called Christ’s Mass anyway?

      • Kodie

        Why would you call tomorrow Friday?

    • Bdole

      You’re trying so hard and yet failing so often.

      • baal

        It’d be easier for RW if he was trying to defend moral actions rather than christian privileges.

    • cary_w

      Try again. It’s Christmas Break when you get the 25th (and possibly the 24th) off, but you don’t need two weeks off to celebrate Christmas. Once the time off stretches into a week or more, then call it what it is, Winter Break.

      The fact that atheists and other non-Christians celebrate Christmas is completely beside the point. This school board is going out of its way to purposely exclude people by changing the name of the break. If they were just leaving the name “Christmas break” in place because its always been called that, they’re ignorant of the fact that someone might feel offended by it, and they have more important issues to deal with, then fine, no one would have that much of a problem with it. It is really not that important of an issue, when you consider all the crap schools have to deal with.

      But I have another issue with this. I work at a school that is bending over backwards to be sensitive to some of our students who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the point that some classes are not celebrating anyone’s birthday and not decorating for any holidays so these poor kids won’t be exposed to things their parents see as sinful. So why is it OK to hide Halloween and birthdays from the JW kids, but it’s a “War on Christmas” if an atheist doesn’t want a school break named after Christian holidays? Why can’t we expect some of the same accommodations given to religious groups? We are not asking for special treatment, just the same that religious groups expect. That our kids won’t be coerced into praying to a God we don’t believe in or be bullied into celebrating a holiday we don’t wish them to celebrate.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I personally don’t care what they call it. ‘Christmas’ is the name of a secular US holiday. I only object when they start talking about changing the name back to “Christmas” as a response to taking ‘God’ and ‘Christ’ out of schools. So I see their motivation as ‘putting God and Christ back in schools’. God and Christ belong ‘in’ each Student and teacher and administrator who want them. Wear crosses. Wear sweaters with bloody Jesus on them. But God and Jesus don’t belong at the ‘school’ level, only the personal level.

      Make sense? And you know we’d have the same objection to a Dearborn MI school wanting to put Allah and Muhammad ‘in schools’.

    • Kodie

      Isn’t it also Winter? What the fuck is wrong with calling it a Winter Break? When is the break? Winter!

      Why is there a break? So people can celebrate Christmas? For a week and a half? ONE DAY is Christmas. Do they call Summer Vacation “Independence Day Break” so people can take 2 months off to celebrate one long weekend?

    • Matt D

      I’m sure all that lying and self deception serves a lawyer quite well, but it sure makes you look foolish.

  • baal

    Um, Blackburn, Christ doesn’t belong in the school system. But for that comment, this isn’t that big a deal. His comment, however, makes it more than clear that what he wants is the government endorsing his religion so that he feels more comfortable in governmental buildings.

    I personally like having ganesh or nudes around. I doubt he’d be very happy were I to suggest either on should be referenced on the school year schedule.

  • Sven2547

    Anything other than Christian-supremacy is spun as an attack on Christianity.

    • God’s Starship

      Bingo. Christians are not the default humans. The rest of us are not outliers.

  • Mark W.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less if they called it Winter Break, Christmas Break or Scooby Doo Break, it pisses me off that they actually wasted time and taxpayer money, discussing and voting on such non issue so the insecure dipshits could make some sanctimonious religio-politcal statement. They’re probably the same Tea Party types that think the ebil guberment is out to steal all their nickels and waste them on health care, but see this as some patriotic stand instead of the waste it actually is.

  • C Peterson

    What are you doing over Christmas break? I’ll be celebrating the winter solstice; what about you? Hanukkah.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      No love for Agnostica, Human Light, Newtonmas, Festivus, Atheifest, the Pastafarian holiday “Holiday”…?

      • Art_Vandelay

        Which one has the orgies?

        • flyb
        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Baalmas

        • PrimateZero

          Saturnalia has naked caroling.

          • ShoeUnited

            You don’t see Joe Klein caroling naked. Thankfully.

          • fenaray

            assault on the eyes and ears, eh?

        • kenofken

          Beltaine!

      • C Peterson

        Just got to ask more people.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Left off Wintereenmas.
        [img]http://www.splitreason.com/Product_Images/b9a1668a7e05-xl.jpg[/img]

        • Hertzey

          The bestest holiday!

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        What about the Solstice?

    • Noki

      In most places, Hanukkah doesn’t fall during winter break. Here it starts a few days before Christmas and ends around January 5th. (That’s my birthday and I always hated going back to school on my birthday, unless it fell on a weekend. Now that I have kids, I’m glad they go back and I get a day of quiet for my birthday. lol)

      • Scott

        In most places? It isn’t celebrated on dates based on location. It is celebrated based on the Judaic calendar which is lunar rather than solar… and so it moves around as days get added and subtracted and a month added on occasion to keep the seasons in about the right spots. So Hanukkah can overlap Christmas or be an entire month before it.

        • C Peterson

          That was my first reaction to the wording, too. But she is referring to the fact that the actual dates of winter break vary from school to school. One district might have a break that includes Hanukkah, another might not.

          • Noki

            That’s what I meant. Shit wording, because I was half asleep. Winter break always includes Christmas, but usually doesn’t include Hanukkah. They always make sure Christmas is included. Growing up it was always called Christmas break. It changed to winter break around when my kids started school, so pretty recently. I never thought about it until I heard people bitching about it being changed to winter break. (Oklahoma)

        • Noki

          I meant when winter break is scheduled in most places. Most of the time Hanukkah doesn’t fall within that time frame. If it does, it’s pure coincidence, because winter break is scheduled with Christmas and New Years as priority.

      • Gus

        In most of the United States, winter break extends from a week before Christmas through at least the 1st of January. So many times it covers Hanukkah. This year Hanukkah will not fall in anyone’s winter break, since it begins on Thanksgiving (American) and ends eight days later.

        • Noki

          Exactly, winter break is scheduled to include only Christmas and New Years, No other holidays are considered in the scheduling. A holiday falling within it is coincidence. Here in Shawnee, OK this year it runs from December 23-January 6. The other Oklahoma districts are on a similar schedule.

          • David Kopp

            As soon as Hanukkah gets a solid position on the calendar we can plan around, we can discuss it. But a random floating window? That’s taking vagaries of the Jewish tradition and imposing it back on everyone else, which is also stupid. Winter break is fine, and being as inclusive as possible with the scheduling and labeling is the best we can really do.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              We seem to manage to fit the other pagan holiday into a ‘break’ don’t we? (I’m honestly not 100% since I went to school in Canada, and only have a year’s experience with ‘school breaks’ in the US).

              • Gus

                Easter? Easter falls on a Sunday and there is usually not a break associated with it.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  In Canada spring break is scheduled to include Easter. Or at least both the Friday and the Monday.

                  But as I started to make the point, I don’t really know how it works in the US. I do find it strange that Easter is a much bigger deal in Canada than the US.

                  I guess it’s the baby Jesus vs. dead Jesus factor. Americans love them some baby Jesus.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Easter usually has the Friday before it off. We always had it as a snow day, though (if it snowed over the winter and school got cancelled, the Easter holiday was removed to make up for that day).

                • Anna

                  Spring break around here always coincides with Easter. It’s either the week before or the week after.

            • Freak

              For many years, my school district would schedule Spring Break so that it held Good Friday.

    • rtanen

      I’m celebrating Legoland Attendance day, which generally occurs on the 25th but can be rescheduled due to weather or other conflicts.

    • Jim Jones

      Brumalia, Saturnalia and Juvenalia. Like god wanted.

  • Gus

    This is perhaps the dumbest exercise in Christian privilege I’ve ever seen.

    • PrimateZero

      Give them time… I’m sure they’ll think up something dumber.

      • God’s Starship

        Remember Ceaser Chavez Easter Googlegate?

  • velveteenRabbit

    the fact that they’re even WORRIED about this rather than the fact that their only high school rates a 4.1 on the college readiness scale, only 21% of their students are rates as “proficient” in algebra. WOW. Let’s make sure they call it christmas break instead of winter break… that will make ALL the difference!

    • John

      But you see, if they call it Christmas Break then God will bless their students with better test scores because he’s an insecure asshole

  • Jay

    Why try to circumvent the paywall of the newspaper that reported this? The paper used its resources to produce an article that you want to read. Why shouldn’t you pay for it? Newspaper reporters are underpaid, furloughed, overworked, and always in danger of being laid off because people want to enjoy the fruits of their labor for free.

    • David Kopp

      Because the news can’t be copyrighted. At least he had the decency to link back to the paper. He was under no obligation to do so.

      I’m not going to buy a subscription to some crappy local newspaper to read one story of interest. If they’d sold ads and had the actual content there they could have gotten some money from my time. But hey… their loss. Other people do it better, which is WHY they’re going the way of the dinosaur.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Posting the entire article verbatim would have been circumventing the paywall. What Hemannt did, summarizing and quoting from one sent to him individually by a subscriber, is perfectly legal.

  • potatochip

    Who cares? It’s always been called the Christmas holiday because Christmas falls in the middle of it, same goes for Easter. Even as an atheist I don’t deny that Christmas exists as a concept.

    No one is forcing anyone to celebrate it, they aren’t saying non-christians have to attend school but christians get extra days off. I call it the Christmas holiday, I even celebrate Christmas and so do plenty of non-christians because it is a nice tradition to take time off, spend time with your family, decorate a tree and all the rest of it (except the midnight mass).

    “If we let them do something this minor now, we have to wonder how they plan to push Jesus on the students later.”

    I completely disagree, if you always make a big deal about stuff that doesn’t matter then no one will take you seriously when you complain about the stuff that really does matter.

    • El Bastardo

      Should the summer break become independence break on the U.S. since 4th of July happens in there?

      If you don’t make a big deal over the little things then no one will take you seriously later (see countless “but it’s been here for years” claims), and the little stuff does matter, because it’s not little stuff to everyone.

      The 29 christians in a class may not see an image of Jesus or a prayer in Jesus name as a big deal, but to the 1 non-christian, it is. That is why we must make it a big deal for everyone.

      • rtanen

        Next up… renaming “weekends” as “Sunday Breaks”.

    • Jeff

      Reasonable argument potatochip. Except: Would you make a reasonable bet there are Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Witnesses, etc in that school district who do not celebrate the religious part of “Christmas” break, just as you do? However, having the rather nonchalant attitude toward what we call it (admittedly, I have the feelings about the time of year as you do) may NOT be the same for them. To them, it may be an affront to their religion, and immediate “you mean something less” feeling. They just looked at everyone who isn’t a Christian and basically said “Sorry, you are second class”. Is the world going to end because of it? Probably not. Should we accept when one person (or group) denigrates another? Well, I don’t think so. Of course, it’s just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

      • potatochip

        People do not have a right to not be offended.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          People in the US do have a constitutional right to not have their government agencies favoring one religious position over another.

        • GCT

          It has nothing to do with offended feelings and more to do with the school endorsing a religion over others and over non-religion in general. So, although you are correct, it’s a complete non sequitur.

        • Sven2547

          May I suggest some light reading? Why I’m Against Pre-Game Prayers by Gary Christenot. He is an evangelical Christian who moved to a majority-Buddhist area. Suddenly, being outside the position of privilege made him realize how callous he had been all along.

          We often advocate the practice of Judeo-Christian rituals in America’s public schools by hiding behind the excuse that they are voluntary and any student who doesn’t wish to participate can simply remained seated and silent. Oh that this were true. But if I, as a mature adult, would be so confounded and uncomfortable when faced with the decision of observing and standing on my own religious principals or run the risk of offending the majority crowd, I can only imagine what thoughts and confusion must run through the head of the typical child or teenager, for whom peer acceptance is one of the highest ideals.

          Now while this specific instance doesn’t involve school prayer, the principles at work are the same.

          • Foobwg

            Thank you for the link to Mr. Christenot’s essay, it’s very good. I hope it gets shared more widely!

            • David Kopp

              Wish it could be. “privacy” settings of some kind prevent it from being posted to Facebook.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                I’ve posted it to FB in the past, to a couple of groups. And I posted it on my wall just now and it worked.

                • David Kopp

                  Interesting. FB threw up some error about it when I tried to paste the URL. I’ll try again.

        • Jeff

          Exactly. So, I guess Christians should be able to take to being offend by calling it Winter Break, right?

        • smrnda

          There is a difference between being offended and schools violating church/state separation. Plus, why offend people over some pissing contest about the name for a break? Any school that is concerned with being inclusive should use the least exclusive name possible.

    • ShoeUnited

      So why not call it Satan Break? We get a group of Satanists, get them to agree to celebrate Satan’s Day on the 25th. Bam. Hail Satan! Sing all the carols by Ozzy and stuff. It’ll be great! Roast dead animal by the fire, tons of liquor, little red pointy hats, people dressing up, and maybe some sex. People gathering together to praise their unholy host who saw to it to make sure humanity was cast out of Heaven so that they could enjoy this Earth that God punished us with. We could decorate the school in cutouts of Satan, flames, pitchforks, bifurcated tails. Have the kids chant little rhymes about Taffy Was a Welshman at the music program.

      How well do you think that’d blow over?

      • kenofken

        That’s already listed as “spring break.” !

        • ShoeUnited

          Ha! Though if you take a closer look at the middle part, it’s interchangeable with Christmas too. :D

      • David Kopp

        Saturnalia Vacation. That’s even got some precedence, even before Christmas existed ;)

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        …but Ozzy is the Big Good!

    • kenofken

      The action itself may be trivial, but the sentiments that motivated it are not trivial or benign.

      The clearly intended message is “we don’t give a damn about pluralism or what the Constitution means. Our religion owns this country, and the rest of you better come to grips with that or get the hell out.”

      40 years ago, one could excuse “Christmas break” on the idea that nobody thought to honor diversity they didn’t have. This time around, it was done with deliberate intent to declare students of other faiths as second-class citizens who are there at the sufferance of Christians, not because they have any organic equal rights. That may or may not lead to worse actions, but when you look back on any pogrom or genocide, you find that actions like these are ALWAYS the first steps taken. It is a vicious precedent set for vicious reasons, and it matters because of that, not one word on a calendar.

      The irony is that Christians are staking out exclusive rights to a date on the calendar which has no plausible connection to the events of the Nativity whatsoever. It’s a complete rip off of pagan solstice. Reasonable conjecture on the Nativity would place it about a month ago.

      • potatochip

        I don’t think anyone is treating anyone as second class citizens. Everyone gets the holiday it just happens to be called Christmas.

        Just because A ALWAYS happens before B doesn’t mean A caused B and we should stamp out A at every possibility; every alcoholic started out drinking shandy so lets ban shandy and magically cure alcoholism! It’s a silly argument to suggest that this will lead to pogroms or genocide.

        Take god off your banknotes and out of the thing you say at school about “one nation under god” that’s far more important than renaming holidays.

        • GCT

          I don’t think anyone is treating anyone as second class citizens.

          When one religion is promoted above others by schools (AKA the government) it is indeed treating the students (especially those of other faiths or no faith) as second class citizens and is injurious to the rights of all of us (including the Xians).

    • curtcameron

      I personally am not offended by calling that time of year Christmas, but I can see how it would be offensive to a Muslim family whose kid goes to the school.

      I think Blackburn could have been within what’s legal if he had argued that “Christmas” is what the national holiday is called in the US, so why not call it that on the school calendar. He gave it away, however, when he mentioned Christ and God as his motivation..

  • KMR

    What’s insulting about this whole thing is the explanation given for keeping the “Christmas Break” label. If they had just said, “Nah, not going to waste time talking about it. Everyone is used to that terminology, it doesn’t really mean anything to anyone, no complaints given and we’ll deal with it if someone makes one, etc, ” then no one probably would have thought much about it. But nope they turned it into an us verses them discussion and then decided to make a statement by keeping the label purely for outspoken religious reasons. Dumbasses.

  • skyblue

    Hmmm…so we have spring break and summer break but “winter break” is an attack on Christianity? “Winter break” almost certainly also includes New Year’s, and when I was in college, I think it went all the way up to MLK day in January, by which point Christmas is long over. So “winter break” seems like a perfectly appropriate name to me, but then I’m not looking at this through a nasty persecution complex.

    Kind of like how “happy holidays” is either a cheerful combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s wishes, or an evil attack on Jesus that will surely lead to it being illegal to be a Christian, you know, depending on who you ask…

    • Tainda

      My cousin went off on fb last Xmas saying “I don’t care if you don’t like that I’m saying Merry Christmas. If you don’t like it, I will be happy to delete you!!”

      I replied “It actually is Christmas so saying that is fine with me. We say Happy Holidays because there are many holidays being celebrated and some people like to include everyone. Please feel free to delete me”

      He didn’t delete me lol Damnit.

      • Kodie

        Your cousin is kind of a douche.

        • Tainda

          Kind of? lol

      • skyblue

        Haha! Nice way to put it, all of a sudden deleting you doesn’t seem to be the Brave Stand For Jesus he wanted to make it out to be.

  • invivoMark

    Huh… I found a link to this article under the dictionary entry for “petty.”

    • GCT

      Yes, it is rather petty to throw a fit because those mean secularists are forcing the poor school board to be inclusive and not break the law.

    • Kodie

      Is it less petty to make a meeting to vote whether to change the calendar designation from ‘Winter Break’ to ‘Christmas Break’?

      • invivoMark

        That’s what I meant to convey. I didn’t realize my wording was ambiguous.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    What is Abbreviated Day? A celebration of English grammar or something?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      It means a short day, usually a half-day. It’s for when teachers need to do staff meetings or training, or sometimes when there’s state tests they’ll do the tests in the morning and then let the kids go home.

      • Anna

        The school districts around here called it a Minimum Day.

    • DavidMHart

      Actually, they got tired of spelling it out in full; now it’s just called ‘Abbrev’d Day’ :-P

  • busterggi

    “The entire school board is made up of spineless bigots who can’t see through their Jesus-tinted sunglasses.”

    Not spineless, brainless.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Not that these people aren’t entitled, insecure morons but to be fair, the government recognizing Christmas as a federal holiday lends them some credence. That’s the issue, first and foremost.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    How about Winter-Christmas-Solstice-Hanukkah-Ramadan-Chanukah-Feast-of-St.-Basil- Guru Gobind-Singh’s-Birthday-Not-Fourth-of-July-New-Year’s- Kwanzaa-Boxing-Day-Banquet-of-the-Rainbow-Shitting-Unicorn Break. We don’t want to leave anyone out do we?

    • Deus Otiosus

      I’m calling the PDL. The omission of His Noodlyness was an egregious slight that will not be brooked. Consider yourself brookless.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        I’m also creekless.

      • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

        PDL = Pastafarian Defence League?

        • Deus Otiosus

          Exactly.

    • Tainda

      I celebrate Festivus.

    • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

      If anybody does accidentally get left out, just swing by My Yule party to pick ‘em up.

      May I propose we add the Julian Calendar versions of Christmas and New Year’s, plus Robbie Burns Day? If we play our cards right, we can keep the festivities going clear through Imbolc into Valentine’s Day.

      *Sings* Haggis roasting on an open fire… Groundhogs nipping at your nose…

    • kaydenpat

      Agreed, although I’ve yet to meet even one person who celebrates Kwanzaa.

  • closetatheist

    OMG. THIS GUY! I mean, generations of American children will look to him and proudly proclaim, “It was YOU! A male member of the majority religion who proudly took a stance against the evil and generally inclusive term “winter” and DEMANDED that your particular term, “Christmas” be exalted to its rightful position on the school calendar. YOU reminded all those who did not practice your particular holiday that they were not being considered! YOU took a neutral stance and turned it into a negative! YOU fought against the evil (minority) hordes who advocated acceptance of all children’s holidays and reinstated your own! YOU WERE BRAVE. YOU WERE INCONSIDERATE. AND YOU WERE VICTORIOUS.”

    It’s sad that this guy thinks this was the best way to spend the board meeting. What else did they accomplish? Ordering nativity scenes for the schools’ front lawns?

  • Bdole

    I’m still in the habit of calling it “Christmas Break” even when I don’t want to.
    I “celebrate” Christmas in that I recognize the 25th as a day to eat a glazed ham – something Jesus would never have done – and erect a tree inside my very home, similar to an Asherah pole which was condemned continually in the Bible.

  • Ed Selby

    Pick your battles! This is a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. So what if they call it Christmas Break? Are we now going to go down the “Christmas is a Christian holiday” road so soon? Christmas is a cultural, social, and religious holiday. It carries only the significance you apply to it. Let it go, fellow atheists. Just let this one go.

    • David Kopp

      It’s not that. It’s that when people are trying to be more inclusive of EVERYONE and not just Christians, they’re being shot down.

      How’s that go… to allow the triumph of evil, all that is necessary is that good men do nothing? It may seem pointless, but each push back against that kind of thing is good, and necessary, even if it’s not “won” immediately.

    • GCT

      So what if they want to make sure they bring “Christ and God” back into the school system. Amirite? This is a clear violation. That you don’t see it as a big deal doesn’t mean that it isn’t a big deal.

    • cary_w

      Now wait a minute, we atheist didn’t start the “War on Christmas”, that was a Christian invention. We may have started saying, “Happy Holidays” as a way to be more inclusive, we may have asked our kid’s schools to be more sensitive to us and tone down the overly religious Christmas music and to stop coercing our kids into praying, but they are the ones who “chose the battle” and declared a “war on Christmas”. Particularly in this case, the school board “chose its battle” by re-naming winter break after a Christian holiday. They started the battle, and now you want me to walk away instead of fighting for what I believe in? Your right that the name of a school break is not worth fighting over, but once the school board MAKES it an issue, by insisting on a name that they chose specifically because it is the name of their Christian holiday, then the battle lines have been drawn and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to choose sides and fight!

    • phantomreader42

      Ed, did you not notice that the reason some asshat is demanding that it be called “Christams Break” is specifically to promote his religion, and ONLY his religion, to a captive audience in a public school at taxpayer expense? Or are you just lying and pretending not to notice that?

    • Gus

      I believe it is Mr. Blackburn you should be telling to pick his battles.

  • Gary

    Give me a break.

    • GCT

      Sure. I’ll give you all the time you need to present a coherent and cogent argument. I suggest you use it.

      • Gary

        I argue that I am sometimes too clever for my own good.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          I admit that I wouldn’t have gotten it without the responses. :(

    • guest

      A winter break?

  • God’s Starship

    What drives me batshit insane is that the Christians have this holiday that just about everybody already likes….. and then they turn around give everybody grief over not sufficiently making it the center of their universe! That turns people off of Christianity. Nobody wants to hang around a bunch of whiners. It’s a terrible p.r. campaign.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Honestly, does it even matter? Winter break, Christmas break, I-get-full-pay-to-stay-at-home break. Are there not weightier matters for the FFRF to deal with?

    • GCT

      Yes, it matters. This is a blatant case of a school board seeking to bring “Christ and God” back into the school. Of course that effing matters.

      • The Other Weirdo

        By calling it what everybody else calls it, too?

        • Kodie

          Everyone else calls it Winter Break. They already called it Winter Break. It already had an accurate and popular name.

      • Kodie

        How does it even bring Christ and God (back) into school if it’s a break?

        • GCT

          Because in school they are calling it Xmas break, which the school board members hope will equate to Xianity.

    • cary_w

      Some of us are forced to take time off without getting paid, so it does matter. I’d be a lot happier about my “Christmas Break” if I was getting paid to not go to work!

  • guest

    I’m afraid the Biters would be very disappointed in this Woodbury’s lack of tasty brains.

  • WillBell

    I honestly believe they see political correctness as a problem – something to be ruthlessly guarded against.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      This always amuses/aggravates me about the crowd that complains about “political correctness”, though. If the name is already “Winter Break”, and they’re changing it because they say that Christians are under attack, THEY are being politically correct. Similarly, in the sense in which the anti-PC people use the term, when they get aggravated over which word someone else is using… they’re the ones being PC.

      • WillBell

        No matter how annoying PC can be at times when taken beyond logical limits, anti-PC people in general are worse. Perhaps it is just a pet peeve of mine.

    • kenofken

      They see sharing the public civic space with anyone besides themselves as something to be guarded against. If Muslims got a demographic foothold in their kids school district and listed Eid al-Fitr as a school holiday, Christians like this would suddenly get ALL kinds of interested in separation of state and religion.

      • Matt D

        I’m starting to think we should encourage other religions to do just that.

  • sailor

    I don’t mind if it is called Winter of Christmas, just give a break!

  • DavidMHart

    Some people are Christians, some people aren’t, some people from both groups celebrate Christmas and some don’t … so why don’t we just stop squabbling and call it Decemberween?

    After all, some people like Christmas, some hate it, but everyone loves the Homestar Runner, right?

  • katiehippie

    I’m just curious as to how long it has been “Winter Break” and was it changed from something else.

  • greetje

    I am not Christian or a religious extremist by any stretch. Yet at the end of the day December 25 marks the birth of Christ and it is an important date for Christians. Call it what it is, centuries of Christmas break. Looks as if we are worried about offending and hurting non Christians’ feelings but are not too worried respecting and considering Christians’ feelings and believes. Why is that? Do Christians in this country try to change the names of other religious holidays? The answer is no, so leave it alone and call it was it is which is Christmas and leave the political correctness at the door. Thank you.

  • Stand UP!

    Good to see a school board call Christmas what it really is. Christmas!


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