Renaming Easter eggs to ‘spring spheres’

Filed conveniently under “odd news,” UPI has picked up a story that has been across blogs, Twitter, and provided convenient fodder for the outraged.

The story began last weekend when MyNorthwest.com posted a story about “Jessica,” 16, from an unnamed local private high school, who said she wanted to do a community service project for a third-grade Seattle Public School class.

The story came from the girl’s interview with KIRO radio. Jessica said the teacher of the unnamed public school approved Easter egg involvement if the girl called the eggs “spring spheres.”

Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to “roll with it.” But the third graders had other ideas.

“When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, ‘Oh look, spring spheres’ and all the kids were like ‘Wow, Easter eggs.’ So they knew,” Jessica said.

The Seattle elementary school isn’t the only government organization using spring over Easter. The city’s parks department has removed Easter from all of its advertised egg hunts.

The ending makes the story believable, right? Unfortunately, the story (and the follow-up UPI report) doesn’t attempt to track down the girl or speak with public school officials. The Seattle School District received so many questions that they put out a notice about their policy.

We have a “Religion and Religious Accommodation” policy, approved by the School Board in 1983, stating that “no religious belief or non-belief should be promoted by the School District or its employees, and none should be disparaged.”

I couldn’t find anything from the Seattle Times on the story, but Vanessa Ho writes on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website with some skepticism.

Interesting story on government neutralizing of religious holidays. But is it true?

Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said Wednesday that the district does have a policy on religious holidays, but that it has not confirmed that the “spring sphere” incident actually happened. And the reporting so far has been a little vague.

“It’s gone viral all over the place, but we haven’t heard if or when it happened,” Wippel said.

It’s good to see a reporter do some follow-up questions instead of repeating a vague interview from a radio station. The following background is especially helpful.

True or not, Spheregate follows a few other well-known non-promotions of holidays. The city of Seattle purposely leaves out the word “Easter” from its annual community-center “spring egg hunts.”

And the Port of Seattle was pummeled over Christmas trees a few years ago, after a threatened lawsuit in 2006. They first removed the trees, then brought back, then said they weren’t Christmas trees, but trees that promote “peace and harmony.”

The war on [pick your religious holiday] provides viral material, but occasionally we should consider whether the story is too convenient. Perhaps that radio host could provide a few more details to give reporters more details to verify the facts.

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  • http://goodintentionsbook.com bob smietana

    Thanks for injecting a bit of journalism and common sense

  • Jerry

    The war on [pick your religious holiday] provides viral material, but occasionally we should consider whether the story is too convenient. Perhaps that radio host could provide a few more details to give reporters more details to verify the facts.

    Amen.

  • Martha

    I would be more worried that a school wanted to call them “spheres” when, as any fule kno, they’re ovoids.
    :-)

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The fact of the matter is that stories like this become “viral” because many Christians are convinced that our government has become aggressively anti-Christian to the point of absurdity.

  • TheresaEmilyAnn

    Don’t the eggs have more to do with the season of spring and older Pagan holidays than the Jesus coming back from the dead anyways? If you want to take anything and say that it’s against Christianity make sure it fits with the religion itself instead of just saying that anything (from any older religion) and/ or secular stuff that has been thrown in all together is hating on the Christians beliefs!

  • http://khanya.wordpress.com Steve Hayes

    Easter eggs make little sense if one has not observed the Lenten fast. If you haven’t eaten eggs since Cheesefare Sunday, then the Christian significance is obvious.

  • Judy Harrow

    Eggs are an ancient symbol of Spring, certainly not exclusive to Christianity. For example, a roasted egg is one component of the Passover Seder plate. On first thought, they represent natural birth, not resurrection — but, of course, all living Nature is resurrected in the Spring. And Spring affects all of us, regardless of which religion, if any, we adhere to, so it’s something all of us can celebrate together. Removing any specific religious references is not a war against Christianity, it’s a way of making sure that all people feel welcome at the party.

  • B

    Spring spheres? First of all, they’re ovoids. Secondly, whose bright idea was this? As the Bard once said, ’tis a vile conceit. For the braindead, that means it’s really poor English. Third, get the hell over it! ‘Easter egg’ has gone beyond religion and has become a bonafide ‘colloquial expression’. That kind of oh-so-precious PC manure is oh-so-stupid. Has Seattle become the stronghold of speshul wittle snowflakes? *eyeroll*

  • Dave

    I could more readily believe that this or that religious symbol had gone beyond its original meaning to a secular intent, if they all weren’t Christian symbols and the “secularization” weren’t clearly motivated by keeping them in the public sphere (or ovoid).

    This is a journalism issue. When is the MSM going to look behind “War on [Holiday]” hoopla to some underlying patterns?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I’m sort of tired of reading in the media about how everyone is supposed to be concerned about the psyches or feelings of the children of a few complainers who usually get their way these days in the public schools.
    How about the psyches or feelings of a big majority of little children who, are in effect, told that the customs their families follow are virtually illegal and need to be banned to protect other people from them. Now there’s a spin I’ve not seen in the media. It’s always–Oh! those poor 1 or 2% of children whose families don’t follow a particular custom or tradition.

  • Judy Harrow

    So, Deacon John, you figure that this country is 98 or 99% Christian?

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Let’s keep focused on journalism, please.

  • bob

    I wonder why no one seems to have the journalistic integrity to name the school?? Come ON already.
    I’m from Seattle. You have to allow for some pretty dumb things to come out of both private and public schools around here. It’s something like (well, actually exactly like) the Soviets trying to get people to stop using saint’s names for children and encouraging parents to name their children things like “Tractor” instead. That along with misnaming geometric shapes of things and annual holidays wouldn’t surprise anyone here at all. Will some reporter notice that similarity? I thought the USSR fell.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    So, should programmers stop including “Easter eggs” in the name of inclusiveness?