Archive for Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Season is time for Santa, not Grinch

December 17, 2003

'Tis the season, but all isn't jolly in Baldwin City. The glare of the national spotlight has again fallen on our town, thanks to the ACLU taking exception to Santa Claus visiting our schools.

It's sad that Santa's visit a year ago has brought attention to Baldwin. There was a minor blip caused by it last year with a story in the Lawrence Journal-World. But, it went away ... we thought. The American Civil Liberties Union rekindled the issue two weeks ago by sending a letter to the Baldwin Board of Education basically requesting that Santa not be allowed to "proselytize a sectarian message" to Baldwin elementary students as allegedly happened last year.

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Area, state and national media picked up on the story. At this time of year, Santa is as newsy as it gets. To have a different angle with a request to keep Kris Kringle away brought the Kansas City television stations, which in turn helped make the story national news. It was on CNN Monday night and Web sites such as FOXnews.com and even the Drudge Report has spread it around.

It's hard to say how the story has been played far and wide, but judging from the strange e-mails from all across the country we've received, there is great sadness that Santa isn't coming to our town.

Well, we know better. Santa has been to Baldwin and he'll certainly be back. But, it's a safe bet that he won't be espousing Christian beliefs -- at least not in our schools.

We have had the Grinch here, too, and as far as we know, the media attention hasn't shifted there. Several Grinches have made anonymous, some obscene, phone calls to board member Stacy Cohen's home. There's no excuse for that. She's not the one that caused this uproar, it was the ACLU. All Cohen has said is we shouldn't be promoting one religion over another in our schools. The entire board agrees to that.

So, while it may not generate any outside media coverage, let's make it clear on what the real state of Christmas is in Baldwin City -- Santa is welcome; Grinches are not.

And, yes, God bless us, everyone, whichever God you choose to believe or not believe in.

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