Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween: Teachable moment of tolerance

Yesterday during dinner with the kids as we were discussing what everyone did at school the conversation moved toward Friday. My two oldest boys mentioned that they were having a Fall Festival instead of Halloween and that they cannot wear costumes. I put a small rant on Facebook placing blame on progressives, liberals, and commie's in general. From my rant I was accused as being an ideologue and asked to do more research on the topic of why Halloween is no longer allowed in school. So I took the challenge unlike some of those that respond to my rants or blog entries.

Halloween or All Hallow's Eve was established by the church when Pope Gregory IV created "All Hallow's Eve for October 31 and All Saints Day for November 1" (http://atheism.about.com/od/religiousholidays/p/HalloweenChurch.htm). I did locate an article from 2003 where New Harvest Ministry evangelist Mark Poff pushed for schools to drop any Halloween observance because of its pagan roots (http://www.sullivan-county.com/w/ban_holl.htm). Granted the Pope is Catholic, although they are trying to incorporate Anglicans again, who is Poff to question Pope Gregory IV's decision? One of my friends did retort on my Facebook rant that their Catholic Church was having a "Halloween Trunk or Treat" celebration and another church is allowing kids to come to Saturday night's mass in costume.

So, if my progressive and liberal friends are not behind the rebranding of Halloween to Harvest Festivals then where are they in defense of it? Why is there not more outrage? In researching the removal of Halloween I came across this article http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4136266.html where Puyallup School District decided to have no observance of Halloween because "Halloween parties and parades waste valuable classroom time, some families can't afford costumes, and Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches." WHAT, offensive to real witches?

While I agree that school ought to be academic related, so why not use Halloween as a teaching moment instead of banning the event or rebranding it. As Halloween approaches teach children to roots of All Hallow's Eve and its relationship to Wicca and Mother Earth. Fight the demonic symbolism and teach children in American schools that religious tolerance is a basis of our society. Teach the children that not all people they will encounter share their view on religion. Before anyone gets out of hand here, I am not looking for religious teachings of Wicca or Satanism; rather I am preaching tolerance. All too often in our society we look to eliminate the perceived offensive comment, symbol, or activity in dealing with differences our grand melting pot encompasses. Let's embrace our differences and use moments these moments to discuss and understand.

We, as Americans, need to step up and use the power of conversation, understanding, and compassion to illustrate that tolerance is still the basis of our society instead of allowing the undercurrent of political correctness to erode tolerance.