UK Teacher Canned for Claiming Santa Doesn’t Exist to 7-Year-Olds

Parents have flooded a British primary school with complaints after a teacher told a room of tearful seven-year-olds that “it’s your parents who leave out presents on Christmas Day,” The Daily Mail reported.

Outraged parents were sent a letter saying the substitute teacher at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Royton, Greater Manchester, had been disciplined.

The class of 25 allegedly became rowdy talking about Santa Claus and the teacher blurted out that he did not exist in an effort to calm them down, The Mail reported.

“My son came home and said that his substitute teacher had told the class that Santa doesn’t exist,” one father told The Mail. “I thought it was wrong. He was distraught about it. He’s only seven-years-old and it’s part of the magic of Christmas to him.”

Radical Baptist Pastor Targets Santa Claus

They’ve picketed high schools, military funerals and even the Southern Baptist Convention with their controversial message that God hates homosexuals. Now members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., have chosen a new target — Santa Claus.

The headline-making congregation — most of whom are related to Pastor Fred Phelps — has weighed in on an ongoing controversy over religious displays at the Washington state Capitol by requesting permission to put up a sign that reads, “Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell.”

Olympia, Wash., became an early battleground this year in what has been labeled the “Christmas wars.” The Freedom From Religion Foundation received permission to display a Winter Solstice display on the front lawn of the Washington Legislature’s office building, near a Christian Nativity scene erected by a private citizen.

The atheist sign reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The back of the sign reads: “State/Church: Keep Them Separate.”

“Our sign is a reminder of the real reason for the season, the Winter Solstice,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Wisconsin-based foundation. Gaylor said Christians “really stole Christmas” from observances of the Solstice, which originally marked the shortest day of the year and celebrated the return of the sun and the new year.

About 500 people gathered Dec. 7 on the Washington Capitol steps to protest the Solstice sign. The sign was stolen but later found in a ditch.

Phelps wrote a letter to Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) requesting permission to place another sign at what he said is a public forum that has been made available to multiple religious viewpoints.

The 3-by-5 foot placard carries a message, which can also be sung to the tune “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” that says Santa is a lie and to blame for the economy and the war.

“He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet,” one verse proclaims. “But when you stand before your God, he won’t help you take the heat.”

Phelps said the sign reflects “sincerely held religious beliefs” and a viewpoint “well-grounded in Scripture.”

Phelps isn’t the only person trying to get into the Washington State Capitol act. According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, another Kansas group, the KC Free Thinkers, wants permission to put up a display celebrating a tongue-in-cheek deity named the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Meanwhile, an Olympia man wants to erect a pole celebrating Festivus, a holiday whose invention was part of the plot in a famous episode of the 1990s TV comedy “Seinfeld.”

Yet another display request is from a Christian woman who wants to send a conciliatory message to the atheist community in an effort to ease tensions.

“It’s a circus and we’re center ring,” state Sen. Pam Roach told the Seattle Times. Roach wants the atheist sign moved farther from the Nativity scene and for the governor to establish stricter guidelines for future holiday displays.

Canada Grapples with Christmas/Holiday Tree Dilemma

There’s some controversy over what to call that big lighted pine tree on the National Assembly’s lawn.

On Tuesday, premier Jean Charest’s office sent out a news release announcing the premier of all Quebecers was going to ‘light the Christmas tree’ the next day.

But 10 minutes later, that bulletin was followed up with ‘a slight modification.’

It said Charest would ‘light the holiday tree’ on Wednesday…without the word Christmas.

But during the day Wednesday, a spokesman for the premier said unequivocally that it’s a Christmas tree.

The debate over Christmas symbols, which has been raging in other parts of North America for years appears to have split the Liberal caucus, between those who see no problem with the word Christmas, and those who want to recognize that not everyone in this society celebrates Christmas.

Pelosi Takes Heat for Allowing Christmas on Capitol Hill

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi recently confirmed to Capitol Hill missionary Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) of Faith and Action that the war against Christmas is real.

Schenck is a missionary to elected and appointed officials on Capitol Hill and was a VIP guest at the recent US Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony held on the Capitol’s West Lawn, near the presidential inaugural platform that is under construction.

Following the ceremony that included traditional Christmas carols played by a US Air Force band, Rev. Schenck thanked Speaker Pelosi for keeping, as he said it, “Christ-mas” at the US Capitol, emphasizing “Christ.” Speaker Pelosi politely acknowledged the remark, then pursued Rev. Schenck to tell him she had been “mugged” for doing so.

Rev. Schenck commented, “At first I didn’t understand what Mrs. Pelosi was saying, so I simply nodded and thanked her again, but she repeated it emphatically. I realized the Speaker was saying she had paid a serious price politically for allowing the Christmas celebration to go on. She obviously took some political heat for it. For that, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be commended, and I made sure I did so.”

Schenck also said, “The fact that Nancy Pelosi said she was assailed for allowing a Christmas observance at the US Capitol confirms the war against Christmas is not a figment of the so-called religious right’s imagination. If one of the most liberal, arguably left-wing political leaders in our country, the woman third in succession to the presidency, is getting pummeled for lighting a Christmas tree and allowing Christmas carols on the lawn of the Capitol, that would qualify as a war against Christmas.”

NC School Board Saves Rudolph

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was almost grounded at Murrayville Elementary School this week after a parent complained about the classic Christmas song’s inclusion in her daughter’s upcoming kindergarten concert.

The objecting parent was upset about the words “Christmas” and “Santa” in the song, feeling that they carried religious overtones.

That prompted the song to be pulled from the upcoming holiday concert, which in turn upset more parents.

But Rudolph will be shining bright next Tuesday after New Hanover County school administrators and lawyers determined the song was just, well, a secular song about a make-believe reindeer.

“They’ve determined that it signifies just a day in time, Dec. 25, not the promotion of a religious symbol,” said Ed Higgins, chairman of the county Board of Education. “So Rudolph is back in.”

School officials also found the use of “Santa” to be okay because he’s considered a nonreligious figure.

The kindergarten chorus’ holiday concert for the school’s PTA will now include Rudolph along with the songs “Winter Wonderland,” a snowman rap and “Jingle Bells.”

“They have clearly decided that any other religion or custom is not important,” the objecting parent said after learning about the reversal on “Rudolph.” She asked that her name not be published, to shield her daughter’s identity.

The mother, who is Jewish, said she was trying to have a Hanukkah song added to the musical lineup but had not received a return phone call about it from school officials by mid-afternoon Friday.

Sean Dwyer, whose daughter is also in the kindergarten class, had complained Friday morning about Rudolph getting muzzled.

Friday afternoon he said he thought school officials had made the right call by reinstating the popular Christmas song.

“It wasn’t my point in the beginning whether it was about religion or not,” Dwyer said. “The children have been learning this for weeks, and some person was trying to push their own personal feeling and agenda for this for their own child alone, and you just don’t do that.”

But until late Friday morning, Rudolph wasn’t going anywhere.

Murrayville Principal Julie Duclos said the school decided to pull the song after the parent complained “to make sure that we were actually paying attention to everybody’s interest, that we were not choosing somebody’s interest over another.”

“If we had enough time in the PTA program to sing a song for every single interest and value system, then we could do it,” she said. “But when you can’t do that, you go to universal values that are agreed on by every faith, every denomination. We wouldn’t want to leave anybody out.”

Though concert participation is not mandatory, students had been practicing the songs during school hours in their music class.

The objecting parent said that she spoke to Duclos about keeping the program about education and having fun, without any religious references. She sees the beauty in the Christmas celebration, she said, but believes religious holidays have no place in a secular public school setting.

“I don’t mind Christmas or anything Christmas-related at all, so long as you’re not imposing it on my child,” the objecting parent said Friday morning.

Contacted about the matter Friday morning, Higgins was surprised and more than a little irritated by the school’s decision to drop Rudolph from the musical event.

“I thought we were getting to the point where people would live and let live,” he said, openly wondering about how a few words in a holiday song about a magical reindeer could influence a child’s religious development.

But Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman, with Wilmington’s Temple of Israel, said non-Christians are overwhelmed this time of year.

“I can understand the feelings the parent has,” he said, although he added that he personally didn’t have a problem with Rudolph.

Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said the district usually gets at least one complaint a year about some aspect of how the holidays are being celebrated in the schools.

But Stephanie Kraybill, head of the Council of PTAs, said she’s never heard of a parent complaining about Christmas songs in the schools before.

She said she remembers some parents expressing concerns about classroom decorations and holiday celebrations needing to include examples of all of the season’s holidays, not just Christmas.

“But not about Christmas carols,” Kraybill said.