Christmas and the Question of Religious Pluralism in ME

December 5, 2004

Source: Portland Press Herald

On December 5, 2004 Portland Press Herald reported, "every December, millions of Americans are busy not observing Christmas. Yet, they go through a dilemma that is as old as the first Christmas celebration in this country: They're left out of the big national party that celebrates a distinctly Christian event that also happens to be an official American holiday. Evidently, this same declared national holiday is the reason for the controversy over the place of a Christmas celebration in the Scarborough schools. A group of Scarborough parents has raised concerns about including the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and what they see as the exclusion of the Christian holiday of Christmas... Rather than seeing Christmas as a December dilemma, it might be more appropriate for unhappy Christian parents in Scarborough and elsewhere to heed the advice of the Rev. David Butler of the First Parish Congregational Church in Gorham, who asked his congregants, in a 2003 Thanksgiving newsletter, to 'have a thought to those who feel cast in the role of aliens this season in a society that they have embraced as their home. Have a thought to those who feel marginalized by our Christian self-assertion. Those thoughts will be a better expression of the spirit of Christ's birth than any gift you buy or any song you sing.'"