The December Dilemma is Back: News Roundup

The December holidays always bring about conflict – in schools, offices, even New York City’s Lincoln Tunnel! Can we decorate? If so, with what? Can we celebrate? If so, how? Though institutions –both public and private – have become increasingly sensitive over the years to keeping everyone happy, clashes still arise.

But before we get into those stories: In anticipation of Nigeria’s upcoming Spring 2011 elections, a delegation of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action are currently in Nigeria on a mission to encourage the country to make the elections fair, respectful and peaceful. AllAfrica writes about the delegation’s efforts in Religious Leaders Converge in Abuja to Preach Peace” and you can read about their mission in the Peacemakers’ own words on our blog.
December Dilemmas
After receiving a number of complaints from parents, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter to 137 superintendents across the state reminding them that a school holiday celebration that only focuses on one holiday amounts to a school's unconstitutional endorsement of religion (
A decorated pine tree in an Iowa high school cafeteria was taken down after parents and an employee complained. The tree was decorated with Iowa State Cyclone colors and was meant for the school’s winter dance.
Superintendent Tim Taylor said:
City officials in Philadelphia quarreled over whether a “Christmas Village” sign should be changed to read “Holiday Village.” Though the sign was changed to the latter for a four-day period, Philadelphia’s mayor reversed the order, changing the name back to “Christmas Village” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Sarah Mullen of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania disagreed with the mayor’s decision saying, “We think the government should try to be as inclusive as possible" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
"Boca Raton Discriminates Against Christians." That’s what the Catholic League of New York announced this week in reference to decorations in the Florida city’s public buildings, which included “a religious symbol for Jews (menorahs) and only secular symbols for Christians (trees, snowflakes, garland and lights.).” (Palm Beach Post News).
The League’s President said:
The city decided not to revise its decorations to make them similarly “religious” or “secular.”
To help workplaces navigate the December Dilemma, DiversityInc give us its “Culturally Competent Guide to Holidays in the Workplace,” including tips from Tanenbaum’s own Executive Vice President & CEO Joyce Dubensky! (And for more on Tanenbaum's holiday tips, check out our podcast.)
Other stories from around the web:
A Pennsylvania couple is on trial for involuntary manslaughter after relying on faith healing to cure their ill toddler (NBC Philadelphia) rather than seeking medical attention, ultimately resulting in his death. Herbert and Catherine Schaibles’ Pastor spoke to his congregation at the First Century Gospel Church on Sunday, defending the Schaibles’ choice not to take their son to a doctor and claiming they were being “persecuted” (Philadelphia Daily News).
Caity Goodman