Friday November 26, 2010

Local News

Tradition vs. Politically Correct

School Trustee Maahs a culture hero overnight



hat's In A Name? Apparently a lot when it comes to Christmas. Chilliwack School Board Trustee, Heather Maahs has turned into a Canadian culture hero overnight as a story sweeps the nation regarding the  Board's decision last week to change the school break name  from Winter to Christmas Break.


Each year stories popup like bad websites regarding political correctness and the season holiday and how some feel it's changing the face Christmas.

Before pleading political correctness, the world already knows what Christmas is. Essentially it's a secular holiday, and nowhere is it written that you can't enjoy the spirit of the season if you don't subscribe to Christianity. One of the things that people love about Christmas, is that it's not exclusive and everyone is welcome to enjoy the brotherly spirit.

Last Tuesday, when Maahs made the motion to amend the name from Winter Vacation to Christmas Vacation, the rest of the board supported it.

By Wednesday the story was picking up steam and by the end of the week it had gone viral coast-to-coast and according to Maahs, "the rest is history."

On Friday, Maahs was on CKNW's Bill Good Show talking about the Board's Nov. 23 decision.

She said that while going over her calendar she was making notes and saw the name "Winter Vacation" and thought "for goodness sakes, it's 'Christmas'.

Maahs said since the motion passed, she's been overwhelmed by e-mails that were mostly in support. Good said that out of 100 comments on their website, 95 were positive and 2 weren't, but he found it troubling that many were "churlish" and seemingly one-sided.

She also made the observation that "when people see that they're not allowed to call it Christmas because of multi-culturalism then people turn to people of other cultures and say that's not fair that you're doing that to us."

"In reality I don't think it's those people that are doing it, I think it's people who live in Canada who think they are being political correctness police and they're saying 'no, we're not going to do that because people that I know from other cultures embrace our culture and they enjoy Christmas and all the practices that we have that are traditions."

South Asian and Muslim callers supported Maahs saying that she did the right thing with most saying that even though they weren't Christian, they still liked the spirit.

"It's the best time of year and I'm Muslim," said one caller. An East Indian caller said "I've never told my kids that they can't sing Christmas carols or enjoy Christmas."

Would you want the Muslims to rename their holidays of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha because you didn't follow the Quran?

Christmas has always been a double-sided coin, with religion on one side and culture on the other. For those who celebrate the season, it's always been about family and neighbours. And it's also about community, respect and tolerance.

But all political correctness aside it really is just Christmas.


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