It’s that time of the year again — the season for salvos over the War on Christmas is in full swing.
Of course, some of the aggressions that heat up the conflict are over frivolous matters. Take the example of the Starbucks Holiday cup, which turned out to be a craze primarily driven by the media rather than real-life evangelical Christians.
But at the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee, school administrators actually want to play the role of Christmas Grinches.
UT’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion sent out a directive that aimed to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise,” according to an MRC-TV report.
The directive — entitled “Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace” — instructed students and staff on how to effectively avoid the travesty of hosting a not very inclusive “holiday” party.
These steps for ensuring an adequately diverse event include: “Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture” and “Holiday parties should not play games with religious or cultural themes,” such as “Dreidel” and “Secret Santa.”
The reason for these intrusive measures is to make sure everyone “celebrate[s] your religious and cultural holidays in ways that are respectful and inclusive of our students.”
Christmas — the holiday the vast majority of Americans celebrate in December — is curiously treated by the memo as a minor festivity that’s only observed by a minority of students.
Maybe Kwanzaa is the real reason for the season in the minds of these uber-politically correct administrators.
Not surprisingly, Tennessee lawmakers are up in arms over the school directive, and some are even calling for the termination of school chancellor Jimmy Cheek over the whole fracas.
Cheek issued a weasely “clarification” in the wake of the backlash against his school trying to snuff out the joy of Christmas parties. It did nothing to allay concerns, but further cemented the idea that the school doesn’t think much of the holiday taking place on December 25.
The chancellor described Christmas merely “as one of the celebrations of the season” and that, “We are in no way trying to dismiss this very important Christian holiday. As a diverse campus, we do promote ways to be inclusive of all cultures and religions. I am disappointed that our efforts to be inclusive have been totally misconstrued.”
There should be no surprise that the same man who signed off on the idea to instruct UT students to start using “gender-neutral” pronouns would release such a statement. (RELATED: Orwell’s Newspeak Is Coming To A Campus Near You)
There’s more than a few eye-opening things about UT’s effort to eliminate Christmas from campus. For one, it’s an absolute buzzkill to try to eradicate the holiday traditions people enjoy about the season. The P.C. crowd certainly has a reputation for being anti-fun, and this effort only solidifies that image.
Secondly, it shows off the ridiculous lengths universities will go to suppress free expression — even when that expression comes with the best of intentions. It’s surprising the school didn’t issue warnings about consequences for wearing oppressive tacky “Christmas” sweaters.
But most importantly, the memo illustrates how P.C. administrators want to treat Christmas. The original directive and Chancellor Cheek’s statement make it seem like they’re talking about Dies Natalis Solis Invicti — the ancient December festival for the Roman sun god Sol Invictus — than a holiday celebrated by nearly 90 percent of Tennesseans.
It’s little wonder that state legislators responded to the memo with accusations that it “is offensive to the vast majority of Tennesseans who help fund this university through their tax dollars.” UT is a state university and it’s very likely that a large majority of its students celebrate Christmas. The majority of taxpayers who fund the institution certainly celebrate it.
To eliminate eggnog and Secret Santa in order to make sure no one gets offended basically leaves everyone unsatisfied. You’re also left with drab parties more appropriate for the old days of the godless Soviet Union than the United States.
While in the grand scheme of things, this little kerfuffle may appear insignificant, but it does reflect larger trends in our society. White Christians are now a minority in America, making it more likely that universities and other government institutions will do more to separate Christmas from the newly undefined Holiday Season.
The desperate attempt to achieve “inclusion” at any and all level came at the expense of the vast majority’s wishes, which is typical for the aims of political correctness. The possibility that even one person of a designated protected class would be offended by a Christmas display is enough of a reason to purge all events of associations to the December holiday.
What’s even funnier is for the administrators is to try to claim that Christians are an unimportant minority and that they need to recognize their place.
Christmas is the whole reason why we we have a holiday season in the first place, and to pretend otherwise is completely delusional. The only people cowed enough to buy into that assertion are university administrators.
Let’s hope state lawmakers get Cheek to resign and send a message to these spineless deans that they need to stop being such killjoys.