The Instigator
Jama53juice
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JonMilne
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Should Christmas be celebrated in public schools?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
JonMilne
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,571 times Debate No: 32085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Jama53juice

Con

I feel strongly that Christmas shouldn't be celebrated in public schools because some non-Christians feel offended that they can't celebrate their religious festivals while around Christians that get to celebrate the birth of their messiah (Jesus). I am a non-Christian that has friends that are christians and they totally agree with me that christmas should be banned from all public schools.
JonMilne

Pro

As a person who, like Con, also fits under the description of a "non-Christian", as well as being an "Ex-Christian" and a "Secular Atheist", I can say that if Con had created this debate opposing religious monuments in public schools (such as the clearly religious banners in public schools that people like Jessica Ahlquist and Damon Fowler fought against and won), then I would support Con all the way. I can also say that I sympathise with Con's sentiments about how difficult it can be for non-Christians getting the whole Jesus celebration thing rubbed in their faces.

However, when it comes to the notion of how this relates to a particular holiday event, I quite simply cannot agree with Con's other sentiment that this therefore means that Christmas should be banned. On the contrary, I believe that Christmas should still be a time of celebration as a time that people get together and put up trees and exchange presents and eat deliciously cooked meals and engage in epic drinking and get taken in by the charm of that big red guy who rides on a flying cart with reindeer. I further hold that freedom of religion means that as much as I disagree with the Christian worldview and find myself increasingly uncomfortable with it, Christians should nonetheless not be forbidden to celebrate Christmas in their ways, just as the same applies to us non-Christians.

To me, I believe that the solution lies not in banning things, but in being inclusive for those non-Christians. A public school should take stock of exactly what the religious-non-Christian and non-religious/atheist populations of their schools are, and they should give as much importance to celebrating and providing education about the Holy Days of any Muslims/Jews/Sikhs etc who reside in the school, and for us atheists we should also have Secular Celebration Days, again providing education on why secularism is important and what exactly it means. In other words, we should be inclusive, and not just censor things on sight.

Now, one argument I could potentially see Con using is that perhaps we should simply change the title and go for "Happy Holidays". Ultimately, I prefer "Merry Christmas" though. Less syllables, and it's the name that holds the most charm to me and it's the name I think of when I reminisce from time to time about all the snowball fights, awesome presents, roast turkeys, days out, and seasonal times of goodwill I've enjoyed throughout the years.
Debate Round No. 1
Jama53juice

Con

I do understand what you are trying to say "pro". That the Christmas where everyone has a good time and there's good food and people bring tree's to their house and people exchange presents is totally cool. look I'm totally for that, but let me ask you this, what is the reason for the entire Christmas deal? It is to celebrate the birth of the Christian's messiah (Jesus).

That is the reason I am the con, because it is not fair to me that the Christians get to celebrate their messiah's birthday in schools all over the country, but non-Christians like me do not get to celebrate the Their festivels like for example the Muslim festivel called Eid is not welcome to celebrate in school all over the country. I'm not against the present exchanges and Santa clause it's the statues of Jesus and Mary all over people's backyards. But what I do not like is the celebration of the messiah part of Christmas that I don't understand.
JonMilne

Pro

We are getting closer to the crux of this debate, when Con asks what the whole reason behind "the entire Christmas deal" is. He asserts that it's because of the birth of Jesus. I'm sure he'd be interested to know that that's not entirely true.

Actual Origins Of Christmas

Let's start with the fact that even the Catholic Encyclopaedia acknowledges that Jesus was not actually born on December 25th, but sometime during the fall, so like April or something. (1) The truth of the matter is that actually, the celebration date for Christmas has been adopted from a celebration period that already belonged to the Romans called Saturnalia, as well as a whole bunch of other Pagan festivals (2). I'm sure even Con must be aware that even elements of the Jesus birth story itself is adapted from a whole bunch of Pagan stories (3), including Perseus, Amenkept III, and Horus. In other words, what Christians have done with Christmas is simply adapt it from existing cultures. It's a fallacy to say that the "Christmas deal" is all to do with Baby Jeebus when the truth is considerably more complex than that, not to mention that, as you've already conceded, Christmas is evidently so much more than that around that time of the year.

Unfairness

Again, I share your sentiments about the double standard in terms of celebration, but as I pointed in Round 1, this does not mean that banning Christmas is the answer, but rather that education about the Eid and the ability to celebrate it should be emphasised. Considerably more productive rewards can be gained by being inclusive rather than attempting to censor and ban holiday celebrations. Con also mentions the statues of Jesus and Mary in people's backyards, but as it is their private property it is their entitlement to show such statues on their yard if they so wish. We have laws about that. Had Con said that things like nativity scenes and the like were being shown in public schools, THEN I would absolutely advocate that he follow the brave and excellent examples of the likes of Jessica Ahlquist (4) and Damon Fowler (5), who took on clearly religious monuments in their public schools in court and won due to the schools violating Separation of Church and State. Again, as a fellow non-Christian, I sympathise with the fact that any Christians you may potentially meet perhaps act particularly obnoxious around the time of December, but as long as they aren't breaking any rules around that period, their right to celebrate Christmas should not be taken away from them, any more than a Muslim's right to celebrate Eid, or a Jew's right to celebrate Hanukah, or an atheist's right to just enjoy the secular parts of the December holiday celebrations.

Sources

(1) http://realtruth.org...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) http://rationalwiki.org...
(4) http://freethoughtblogs.com...
(5) http://freethoughtblogs.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Jama53juice

Con

Jama53juice forfeited this round.
JonMilne

Pro

Sadly, Pro has not appeared in this final round. My arguments about Christmas not being banned remain unchanged. I now conclude this debate and I now hand it over to the voters, while thanking my opponent for the debate, as well as any people who enjoyed viewing it. Also, this is my first debate I've completed, so there's a note of celebration too!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ThoughtsProvoked 4 years ago
ThoughtsProvoked
I think this argument is irrelevant due to the fact that Christmas celebrated in the United States has almost nothing to do with religion at this point in time. The origin of Santa and the tradition of giving and receiving presents is much more of a Western thing than a Christian thing, the two may overlap, but it is not like students in public schools are walking around worshipping close to Christmas. Also, I do not know if we are talking about a certain geographical location but I know in the United States it is no longer "Christmas break" and is now "Winter Break", it is nothing more than a holiday off from school and whether or not one celebrates Christmas is a personal decision.
Posted by JonMilne 4 years ago
JonMilne
I'd like to clarify that I did not see the comment posted by Ragnar before I accepted this challenge. However, I will argue that it is very likely the case that giving people holidays does in fact reduce the risk of burn-out, not to mention that if you didn't have holidays you're going to have demotivated kids, and demotivated teachers for that matter, which is bound to affect any quality of education being handed. I've been to school, and often-times it is absolutely tedious. As long as a school is competent about handing out assignments for students, a student can rather competently do their work from home during the holidays as opposed to constantly potentially trekking through snow to get to their local school/college where people may be tired out and really not give a crap.
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
Change the resolution to "Christmas should be banned from public schools" and I'll accept
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
This seems to be an argument of morality rather than practical matters? Pro will have an uphill argument, as they will need to support that the students would not be better off with days of education.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
Jama53juiceJonMilneTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, plus Con ceded every point, plus con had no sources, plus Con's entire argument was based on the fallacy that Christmas should be prohibited in order to be fair to other religions, which Pro was able to recognize and point out. Grammar was lost because the resolution is in the form of a question
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
Jama53juiceJonMilneTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit, and too many points conceded. Plus lack of professionalism "I'm hurt" instead of pointing to any source which shows a trend of people hurt.