Two states tell schools to teach about Christmas

State schools in Western Australia and Victoria have been encouraged by education officials to teach children about the religious significance of Christmas.

CLICK HEREThe West Australian reports that WA Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich says she would encourage all schools in her state to teach Christmas traditions.

Under Education Department policy, teachers in government schools can teach children about Christmas as part of general religious instruction.

Ms Ravlich said all school communities should work together on ways to celebrate Christmas.

"While WA is a multicultural society, it is predominantly Christian and I think it is important that students celebrate the birth of Christ," she said. "I would be very surprised if there were public schools out there that didn't celebrate Christmas in one way or another."

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks yesterday gave official sanction to nativity scenes, carols and other Christmas traditions in schools, saying every school would be reminded not to ban Christmas.

Last year some Victorian schools banned nativity scenes and other Christmas celebrations for fear of offending non-Christian children.

Rob Fry, president of the WA Council of State School Organisations, the peak parents and citizens group, said schools had to celebrate Christmas or the traditions would die. He did not believe that people of other faiths would be offended by Christmas carols or nativity plays but schools should also mark religious festivals of other faiths.

Islamic Council of WA President Rahim Ghauri said: "We are living in a multicultural society so we must respect each other's ways of life and enjoy each others' celebrations."

State RSL president Bill Gaynor said schools should not be forced to celebrate Christmas by a government decree but he supported teaching about Christmas in schools.

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Vicar General, Monsignor Les Tomlinson, said bans on nativity scenes and Christian themes are political correctness gone crazy.

In a world living with the constant threat of terrorism, Monsignor Tomlinson said tolerance and respect were needed more than ever.

"The Christian message is so important. The message of compassion for the suffering of others, of tolerance, of respect, of pursuing peace through justice - they only enhance human society," he said.

Teach about Christmas, schools told (The West Australian 22/11/05)
Schools told 'don't ban Christmas' (The Mercury 21/11/05)

Christmas decorations that could change the world (CathNews 27/10/05)
Sydney City change of heart to put Christ back into Christmas (CathNews 26/9/05)
Nativity ban sparks city protest (CathNews 20/12/04)
Melbourne bishop regrets politically-correct Christmas downgrade (CathNews 7/12/04)
Baby Jesus let back into Sydney store (CathNews 1/12/04)
PC Christmas: Don't mention the 'C' word (CathNews 23/12/04)
Politically correct 'Holiday Tree' threatening identity of Christmas Tree (CathNews 28/11/02)

Life-size Nativity scene for cathedral forecourt (Catholic Weekly 20/11/05)
Schools told 'don't ban Christmas' (The Mercury 21/11/05)
Don't ban Christmas, schools told (Herald-Sun 21/11/05)
Christmas lights will shine in Brixton (The Universe 14/11/05)
How the secular humanist grinch didn't steal Christmas (Salon 21/11/05)

22 Nov 2005