Tom Regan: Schools should stop planning holidays around religious events

Children's Nativity Play in  Edmond, Oklahoma, 2007. Photo by Wesley Fryer, Creative Commons
Children’s Nativity Play in Edmond, Oklahoma, 2007. Photo by Wesley Fryer, Creative Commons

It’s a mistake to think the use of religious vacation breaks in public schools promote tolerance in any way, argues Tom Regan in his new column, Time to end religious holidays in public schools. An excerpt:

Tom Headshot
Tom Regan

Recently the Board of Education in the Virginia suburb of Montgomery County (which is just outside DC) faced a dilemma. A group of Muslim parents were pressing the board to add religious holidays that would allow Muslim children to observe the important days to their faith without missing any school.

On the surface, I have no problem with this. If we’re going to allow Christian students to observe Christmas, and Jewish students to observe holidays like Yom Kippur, then it only makes sense that we allow Muslim students to observe their religious days.

But I do confess I wonder where will this end? Islam is currently one of the faster growing religions in the United States and Canada, so I understand it from that angle. But there are lots of other religions in the world with different holidays, and what do we do it in the future one of those religious group starts to grow in popularity in the two countries?

And what happens when you get into the question of the Gregorian calendar that some religions observe versus the lunar calendar that others follow? It can really make for a bit of a mashup. … read more



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