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Restore Traditional School Holidays

April 20, 2007

Unique among nations, America’s identity is not founded on race or ethnicity, but upon a powerful spiritual idea that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” These rights flow not from a King, a constitution, wealth, or party, but from God our Creator. The Declaration of Independence, our nation’s founding document, tells us that government’s role is to secure these God-given “unalienable Rights.” To this end, our founding fathers boldly proclaimed their “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” Our Constitution reveals the profoundly Christian roots of our republic. For example, consider this phrase: “…if any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him.” Sundays are “excepted” on the same reverential grounds that mail isn’t delivered on Sunday.

hpc-larger.jpgThere is ample other evidence of our Christian roots. Christmas and Easter are national holidays, the Presidential Oath of Office asks God’s blessing, every session of Congress and the Supreme Court begins with prayer, and chaplains have served our military since Washington commanded the Continental Army.

We can ponder if it would even be possible to write our founding documents in today’s America. Some among us are determined to make this a very different nation from the nation established by our founding fathers. Groups like the ACLU have succeeded in their unrelenting campaign to rewrite America’s history and to ban our religious expressions from the public square and from our schools.

But our schools are supposed to instill in our children a sense of what it means to be an American, teach American history truthfully and accurately, and develop good and virtuous citizens. How can schools possibly do this when school systems across America are refusing to acknowledge the historical fact of America’s Christian roots? They’ve even gone to the extreme of renaming Christmas and Easter breaks as “Winter Break” and “Spring Break.”

America has been blessed in the past because it honored the covenant that was drawn up in Philadelphia and secured with the blood of patriots. Should we then be surprised by what is happening when we have let our schools be stripped of prayer, have let textbooks be purged of all references to the religious roots of our nation, and have failed to even acknowledge those major religious holidays revered by the vast number of our citizens?

Not surprising, many once fine schools now have become places of deadly violence. Our popular culture has become debased and our country has become a place that earlier generations would be unable to recognize.

If America, the “shining city on a hill,” is to enjoy God’s continued blessing, our nation must return to its historical roots. When one has taken a wrong turn, it can be a long way back. But turning back can be the only way forward. A couple of school districts in other states have taken a small step on the return journey by restoring the terms “Christmas Break” and “Easter Break” to their school calendars.

Here in South Carolina, we should “stand in the gap” and refuse to yield any further to those who scorn our nation’s Judeo-Christian roots. At a minimum, our local school districts should respect the observances of our families, and our national holidays, by restoring the terms “Christmas” and “Easter.” At the same time, let’s continue, as we’ve always done, to protect the right of others in our society wishing to observe any of the world’s other religions — or even no religion at all — to pursue their choice in any way that doesn’t interfere with our right to honor the faith of our fathers.

(The writer, Richard Eckstrom, is the State’s Comptroller General.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 20, 2007 12:34 PM

    I agree that our schools should keep the Christmas and Easter holidays.

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